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How to wear an adjustable sling
Liability note: I offer no guarantees for these instructions. They worked for me in carrying my baby, but I will not be held responsible for improper construction or use of your sling. In addition to following the sling instructions, please use common sense in carrying your baby.
Questions? Feel free to email me at
Assembling the sling:
The sling has two rings and a shoulder pad at one end, and loose unpadded fabric (a "tail") at the other end. Pass the tail upward through both rings, loop over the top ring and pass the tail back through between the two rings so that it is comes out through the bottom ring. You can only pull a certain amount of the tail through the rings, as the padded rails will not fit through.
Putting the sling on you:
Hold the sling in front of you with the rings at the top, the shoulder pad facing you, and the tail (loose end) in front. Put the sling over your head and one arm, with the pad resting on one shoulder (put it so that the rings are in front, about where a corsage would go) and the body of the sling draped around the opposite hip. Pull any loose fabric in back to the front.
Before the Baby:
Wash your sling before using it. The rings adjust more easily after the sling has been washed.
Practice using the sling before you try it with a baby. Use a doll, a stuffed animal, or a full 2-liter bottle. (Or, if you have one, a very complacent dog or cat!) Get used to putting your sling on and taking it off, and shortening and lengthening the sling before you put your infant in for the first time.
Do what works for you and your baby. Each baby, and each parent, are different. The suggestions below are just that--suggestions. Another sling-wearing mom or dad may be able to help you, too.
Babies feel more secure when movement is taking place - it reminds them that mama is there. As soon as your infant is in the sling, start moving and talking. If your baby looks uncomfortable, just lift him into a more natural position. Relax! The more comfortable you are, the happier baby will be. Keep your arms under the sling and baby as you learn the art of baby wearing.
It was helpful to me to have another
set of arms (Dan, my sister, and/or my mom) the first few times
I tried the sling, to help adjust the sling and the baby.
It will take some practice to figure out how snug you want the sling.
To make the sling more snug (or for a smaller baby or parent), lift baby with one hand to "unlock" the rings and pull down on the tail with opposite hand. To enlarge the sling, lift up on bottom of upper ring and pull down on sack portion with the other hand. The sling should be adjusted to position the baby just where you would hold him with your arms. For example, when your baby is nursing, he would lie just under your bustline, not down on your tummy. The tail should be far enough through the rings for you to grip it securely. If not, make or buy a larger size sling.
If baby fusses when you first put him in the sling, and he's in it properly, try again later when you are both in a relaxed mood. A baby may cry the first time he is placed in a sling, just like the fist time he's placed in a bath tub, but most babies learn to both of them! If your newborn still doesn't like the sling after several tries, try again around 4 months or when your baby has good head control - he or she may like the "kangaroo" or "tummy to tummy" position.
The Newborn Position:
This position didn't work for me and John... he wasn't happy until he could do the "kangaroo" position... But Emma loved it up until about 4 mos.
The newborn position provides maximum head support. Tighten the tail up to make the sack smaller. Turn the inner rail of batting up high against your chest to build a secure back wall,tucking excess fabric behind your back. Pull the sack open straight out in front of you. Lay baby on back with head toward rings. Remember to keep the rings high on your chest as described in the basic instructions.
Note: Keeping the batting high on your chest pulls the slack out of the pouch around the baby's head so he can see out. Or try folding a little blanket or diaper and place it behind baby's upper body.
The horizontal position is good for young infants who have a little head control, but not enough to sit upright. Older babies may prefer to be upright. Many babies quickly fall asleep in the horizontal position.
Some women also use this position for discreet nursing (I never managed to pull it off!) By pulling the top rail and fabric to cover the baby's head, you can nurse almost anywhere without anyone's taking a second look!
Loosen the tail to make plenty of room in the "sack" where the baby lies. Make sure the rings stay high on your chest. Turn the channel of batting that is closest to your tummy up against you. Stretch the sack out evenly in front horizontally, by pulling out on both rolls of padding at the same time with both hands. Position baby's head away from the rings. (Actually, this position works better for some with baby's head toward the rings. You have to be careful about air flow this way, however).
As baby grows, his feet can hang out. Pull the material up for discreet nursing or to shade baby's eyes from sun or to shield from cold wind.
With smaller babies, if they look lost down in the bottom of the sling, lie their head right on the padded edge.
Kangaroo Position (also
known as Forward-Facing)
putting baby in
baby riding kangaroo-style
|Most older infants (4 mos. or older) with good head control want to see the world, and this position has him seeing everything Mommy or Daddy does. Tighten the tail to about medium, depending on the size of the baby. Turn inner rail of batting up against your tummy and pull sack straight out in front of you. Cross baby's legs Indian-style and tuck him gently down into the pouch. Baby's head rests against the center of your chest.|
This position also requires good head control. Small infants typically enjoy having their legs tucked up against your tummy in the sack (in a fetal position), while older kids enjoy having legs out. Position the rail of batting closest to your tummy either up against your waist to create a curved bag with baby's legs in, or tuck batting under baby's bottom with legs out. Tighten tail until it is snug.
For younger babies, pull the sling fabric all the way up to support the head and tighten the tail quite snugly. For older kids with legs hanging out, pull the sling fabric not just well under the bottom but all the way up to the knees. A variation for younger babies, or for any baby wanting to snuggle or sleep upright, is to lean the baby's head on your shoulder and tighten the tail even more.
|This position is great for older infants, toddlers, and beyond. It requires good head control. Pull the sack to your side. Place baby straddling your hip, gently slipping him inside the sling. Place the inner rail of batting well under baby's bottom and all the way to the knees, if desired. One leg will be behind your hip, the other in front, with both legs hanging out of the sling. Lift baby's bottom with one hand while tightening on the tail with the other.Tighten the sack so that baby is close to your side. Pull upper rail of batting up as high as you like to support baby behind his back or head (but make sure not to pull bottom rail out from under your child's bottom!)|
To carry baby on your back, position
him the same as for the hip-straddle and then slide the sling
and baby behind your arm.
Removing a sleeping baby
You can lay your baby down in almost any position without waking her. Lean over the sleep surface with your sling on. Slowly and gently lay the baby down, waiting until she settles back into sleep, and slowly backing out of the sling while slipping it over your head. As a bonus, the sling acts as a light blanket that is harder for baby to kick off.
It may also be helpful to read
other people's instructions:
Over the Shoulder Baby Holder instructions
background tile from donbarnett.com