What is a sling? A wrap?
You can use a sling, wrap, or carrier to carry your baby on your body. It’s also known as babywearing. This is not a new practice and has been used for carriers and other devices across different cultures. In the remainder of this article, we’ll be using the terms carrier, wrap, and sling interchangeably. There are many styles of slings, so it is worth learning about them and trying some before you purchase one.
Is there any benefit to using a sling?
It’s practical for parents, regardless of your lifestyle. You can tidy up and prepare lunch for your toddler while you are in a baby carrier, or baby sling. They’ll likely explain their meaning to you.
While slings can be used to transport babies, they also have the potential to help parents bond with their baby and keep them active as they navigate the new parenting journey. Babywearing has been a great way to improve the relationship between parents and their babies, especially for younger parents. Multiple babies can be easier for parents to manage if one baby is in a sling and others use a separate sling. It may be an accessible way for parents who are in a wheelchair or have limited arm strength to transport their baby or bond with them. This can be a great way for co-parents and fathers to bond with their children and help them grow.
Research shows that babies who are accompanied by their parents tend to be more responsive than those who are not in close contact. This fosters close contact and bonding that can improve the baby’s social, emotional and speech development. Studies show that breastfeeding can be good for mothers’ mental health, as it lowers stress levels and promotes breastfeeding.
What are the potential risks associated with using carriers and other devices slings
Some babies were injured or even killed in unsafe baby carriers and slings, but this is rare. Dropping or falling of an adult were the most common causes of non-fatal injuries. However, positional asphyxiation was responsible for many deaths. Positional asphyxiation refers to a baby’s breathing being blocked by their body. If this is not noticed, they can suffocate. To keep babies safe, there are stricter safety standards for carriers and slings.
Talk to a doctor about the safe use and care of a carrier or sling if your baby was born with low birth weight or has medical conditions. Keep an eye on your baby, especially if they are under 4 months.
What can I do to keep my baby carriers and other devices safe while they are in a sling, wrap, or carrier?
It is important that you follow a few guidelines when using slings. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine if the sling is suitable for your baby’s size, weight, and age.
Check for wear and tear before you use the carrier or sling. If you are unsure, don’t use the sling or carrier. The best sling/carrier will keep the baby in a stable position against the parent and evenly distribute the child’s weight across the shoulders, hips, and back.
Baby positions for carriers and slings
The spread squat is also known as the jockey position, M-position or the jockey position. Spread squat means that the baby faces their adult with their legs spread out around their torso. The baby’s hips should be bent slightly so that their knees are higher than their buttocks or at the buttock level, with their thighs supported.
This is a good practice for the baby’s first six months to ensure proper hip development. It also promotes socialization as they face their caregiver. This is especially important for babies who are being kept in slings for extended periods of time. Learn more about hip dysplasia, or abnormally growing hips in our article.
Can I breastfeed my baby in a sling or saddle?
A sling is a convenient and effective way to breastfeed. It also allows for greater breastfeeding duration. However, it is important to be able to safely do so. Make sure to read the instructions carefully as some manufacturers suggest that you not breastfeed in your slings. These are our top tips:
People will often breastfeed stationary so they can stop and settle. If you’re feeding on the move, be aware of trip hazards.
Make sure your baby can easily breathe. Healthy babies will not compromise their ability to breathe, but poorly nourished babies may have difficulty breathing.
Always support your baby carriers and other devices
You can breastfeed either vertically or more relaxed. Although you’ll still need to use your hands to breastfeed, the sling will allow you to move more freely. You can also use one hand to assist you in securing your latch.
After you have finished feeding your baby, make sure they are facing up. Make sure their head is not in contact with the sling.