Seeing your baby snoozing and happy in their little sling is a joyous sight. The only problem is getting the sling to work in the first place!
There are a lot of misconceptions about this adorable contraption. Some parents aren’t even sure if it’s worth the effort. You’ll be happy to know that baby slings are a great tool when they’re built properly.
Continue reading to learn about baby slings, how to use them, and common pitfalls to avoid.
Are Slings Safe for You and Your Baby?
The baby sling is a rather ancient creation with its roots in humanity’s beginnings. Yes, really! When used properly, slings are a safe and easy way to carry your little one.
The key word is ‘properly’. When the sling doesn’t fit properly, your baby’s fragile neck muscles can be badly bruised. You can even increase the risk of suffocation with a poorly designed sling. This event can be caused by blocking the baby’s windpipe and twisting its head in a bad angle.
This fact isn’t a cause for alarm, but awareness. We’ll define how to properly craft your baby sling so your child is comfortable, safe, and content.
Related: When to Stop Swaddling Your Baby
Safety Guidelines for Baby Slings
Your baby sling is an extension of yourself. When you hold a baby, you have the natural urge to support their fragile neck and to keep a close eye on their breathing pattern.
Your sling is just another way of achieving the same result. Today’s slings are made with strict safety guidelines to ensure they’re capable of keeping your little one suspended, swaddled, and sturdy.
Your sling should have printed specifications to do the following:
- Carry three times the baby’s weight
- Avoid tears
- Avoid uncomfortable chafing or pinching
5 Tips: How to Use Baby Sling Safely
All items made for babies have their limitations. Even an item as simple as a stroller or a toy needs guidelines to keep your infant safe!
As stated above, your sling should come with printed guidelines to ensure its legitimacy. Beware purchasing slings from shady third-party sellers and always read customer reviews to get the full picture.
Ensure Your Baby is in the Proper Position
You can carry your baby against your stomach, your chest, or along your hip.
How do you know if you’re doing these positions safely? Make sure to follow the ABC rule: airway, body, and comfort. Your baby’s airway shouldn’t be obstructed, which means their head shouldn’t be tucked against their neck or twisted at an odd angle.
Their body should be pressed comfortably against yours, with their legs in an ‘M’ position. Last but not least, comfort is when your baby is calm and snuggly. If your infant keeps squirming or crying, that means you need to switch things up!
Consider the Weather
Make sure you take weather patterns into account before you use your sling. You don’t want to lose your work because you forgot to check outside!
Your baby should have everything they need when put into their sling. If it’s cold, make sure they have a soft sweater and a beanie. If it’s hot, make sure the sling doesn’t rub against their sensitive skin or make them sweat excessively.
No matter what, breathable cotton fabric is key! Baby skin care products have a CAGR of nearly 6%, which says a lot about the demand required.
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Take Extra Precautions
When you hold a baby, you have to be extra careful about your surroundings. Just one fall could seriously hurt your infant and put them at risk for hospitalization.
Consider practicing with a doll before you commit to using your baby sling. Be mindful of your surroundings, such as entering tight spaces or bending down to pick up objects. It will rapidly become second nature for you to adapt to the little life attached to your hip or stomach!
Practice, Practice, Practice!
As explored above, practice is key. Holding a baby properly throughout your day may not seem like much, but it’s a very careful skill.
Do you like to go on long walks in the park? How about reading or cleaning? Take your baby doll and practice carrying it throughout your day-to-day life.
Keep in mind there are certain things you won’t be able to do while carrying your baby, such as:
Related: What are the 5 S's? Soothe Your Baby
Try More Than One
Who says you can’t have it all? The baby sling is a flexible solution that lets you switch things up on the fly, from positions to new materials.
Take your time experimenting with baby slings so you can understand what works best. You might find the thicker slings too oppressive, while stretchy slings can increase your anxiety. Remember, you and your baby need to be comfortable here.
Keep Your Baby Safe and Happy
Your baby is a precious creation. They’re also very fragile and susceptible to many day-to-day dangers we can take for granted as adults.
Your baby sling is designed to carry your baby, keep them comfortable, and allow you greater range of movement. You can carry your infant on your hip, stomach, or chest, but it’s important to practice first. Make sure to read the safety guidelines on your sling and to try different models before committing.
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