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Ireland's One Stop Baby Sling Shop
 
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Sling Advice

Bewidered by the wide choice of slings and carriers available? Not sure which sling suits your lifestyle? Worried you won't be able to use the sling you like best? You've come to the right section! Here you will find a guide to sling types, tips to help you choose your sling, videos to show you how to put on your sling and a list of the benefits of babywearing.

If you have any questions that are not answered in this section, feel free to contact us and we will endeavor to answer your queries.

 

Click above to visit our new sling selection tool that will help by suggesting some carriers that may be suitable for you based on some brief questions.

 

Types of Slings

Wraparound Slings

A waparound sling (known as a "wrap") is the most versatile type of sling. It is basically a long piece of material that can be wrapped and tied in different ways to provide a suportive and secure carry for any age of baby or toddler. With a wrap you can wear your child on your front, back or hip in a variety of different carrying postitions. These slings are ideal for parents wishing to share a sling. Wraps are generally split into two categories: those made from stretchy material and those made from woven material.

Stretchy wraps are generally recommended as the best type of sling for newborns because the material is so soft and snuggly. They are also easier to master than woven wraps.

Manufacturers of stretchy wraps state that they can be used for older babies but most people move on to using woven wraps after the first few months because they find that stretchy wraps stretch too much as baby gets older (JPMBB stretchy wraps are the exception to this rule - they are supportive enough even for toddlers). Woven wraps take some time to get used to and require some practise but they do come with very clear instructions and are one of the few slings that will truly take you through from newborn to toddler.

Tie on Carrierss

A tie on carrier is known as a mei tai. Based on the traditional Asian carrier, a mei tai is basically a rectangular piece of material with 2 long straps at the base and 2 long straps at the top.The lower straps tie around the wearer's waist and the top straps are crossed over the wearer's body, brought forward to cross under baby's bottom and then tied around the wearer's waist. They are simple to use because they are just tied on using basic knots.

With a mei tai you can carry your baby on your front, back or hip. The weight of the baby is spread across both shoulders so they are very comfortable for long periods and with heavier babies. Some styles have a headrest and a few have sleephoods. Mei tais are suitable from newborn to toddler (although some makes are smaller "bodied" than others and so may be more suited to the baby stage - check the measurements if you are in doubt) . They are useful for parents wishing to share a carrier because they are usually "one size fits all". The lack of bukles makes them very adjustable in that they can be tied wherever is comfortable for the wearer.

Mei Tais are generally reversible - usually to a plain side the side the same colour as the straps.

Hip Carriers

Hip carriers are similar to ring slings in that they are one shouldered carriers and are generally (as the name suggests) worn on the hip. The difference between hip carriers and ring slings is that hip carriers are usually more "structured" in appearance - with a buckle waist and often a padded waistband.

This type of carrier is very easy to use and is generally very adjustable making it suitable for sharing with multiple users. It is an extremely useful carrier for older babies and toddlers who like to see around them and are at the "up and down" stage.

Bear in mind that these kind of carriers are only suitable for babies who can hold their heads up independently, When your baby reaches a certain age (typically between 4 and 6 months) you will find it becomes natural to carry your baby on your side (legs straddling your hip). This is the perfect age to start using a hip carrier! Some hip carriers also allow for short term front and back carries (the Scootababy is a good example of this.)

Note: Some people with back problems may find that this type of carrier puts too much strain on one shoulder. It may help to swap sides regularly in this case or you may find that a different carrier is more suited to your needs.

 

Buckle Carriers

Buckle carriers are usually referred to as Soft Strctured Carriers (SSCs). Like the mei tai, this type of carrier has a rectangular fabric panel with waist straps and shoulder straps. The difference with the SSC is that the straps are attached using heavy duty buckles instead of being tied on. The waistband is also normally wider and more stuctured in appearance than that of the mei tai.

With a SSC you can carry your baby on your front or back, facing the wearer. Many SSCs have a sleephood to support the head of a sleeping child. Some SSCs are suitable from birth - either because of an integral or separate infant insert or because it is possible to narrow the base of the carrier to accomodate a young babies legs. Other SSCs are only suitable from approx 4 months so it is always advisable to check the age range that the carrirer is suitable for before purchasing the product. It can also be useful to check the measurements of the carrier as some SSCs have a small "body" (making them most suitable for babies) whilst others have a large "body" (making them more suitable for toddlers). These carriers are often chosen for being quck and easy to use. They can also be extremely comfortable for long periods of time because the weight is distributed across both shoulders. Most SSCs will fit most wearers but if you fit into either petite or plus sized clothes then you will need to be careful choosing a SSC as the straps may not adjust to fit your body shape.

Ring Slings

 A ring sling is basically a long piece of fabric with two rings sewn on at one end. The tail end of the fabric is threaded through the two rings to form a pouch for baby to sit/lie in. Ring slings are worn on one shoulder and can be adjusted easily using the two rings (although it can take a little practise).

These slings are often chosen because they're ideal for breastfeeding in, are great for popping baby in and out of and are so easy to transfer between parents.


With a ring sling you can carry your baby in a variety of positions - cradle carry, tummy to tummy, on the hip or on the back. The cradle position is great for breastfeeding in whilst the hip carry is perfect for babies who wish to see around them but still need to able to burry their face in their carer's body when the stimulation gets too much.

Ring slings are suitable from the newborn stage right through to the toddler years although some people do find a one shouldered carry puts too much strain on their shoulder as their baby grows. Like the hip carrier, people with back problems may find that this type of sling puts too much strain on one shoulder. They may need to limit the amount of time they use this sling for or else choose a 2 shouldered sling instead.

.Choosing a sling to suit your lifestyle

We've constructed this handy table to help you decide which sling will suit you best. Please note that this is based on our experience and in some cases we are simply giving our opinion and so it is to be used for guidance purposes only. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions when using your sling or carrier. We will be adding more advice to this section soon so check in again for more or email us if you need help deciding in the meantime.

 

  Suitable for:

Types of Slings

Sharing with multiple users Breastfeeding Newborns Toddlers Quick ups and downs Long Walks Ease of Use Hip carries Back Carriers Front Carries Forward Facing*
Stretchy Wraps Yes Yes Yes - ideal for newborns Not generally recommended for toddlers with the exception of the JMPBB Yes (can be pre-tied) Yes Takes practise and time to get used to Yes in some instances - check manufacturer's instructions Not generally recommmended for back carries with the exception of the JMPBB Yes Yes
Woven Wraps Yes Yes Yes Yes Not ideal as they take time to tie Yes Takes practise and time to get used to Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tie on Carriers Yes Yes - usuallly Yes (generally used with baby's legs in) Yes (but check measurements, some small bodied mei teis are not ideal for toddlers) Not ideal Yes Fairly straightforward - some practise needed Yes - not ideal in our opinion Yes Yes Yes
Hiip Carriers Yes Yes No Yes Perfect for this Not ideal for long walks Very strraigthforward to use Yes Yes depending on the make - check manufacturer's instructions Yes depending on the make - check manufacturer's instructions No
Buckle Carriers Somewhat more difficult (contact us for advice) Not usually Only some buckle carriers can be used, not ideal Yes, depending on the make, Always check measurements Fairly quick to get on and off Yes Very straightforward to use Yes Yes Yes Yes - in most cases
Ring Slings Yes Yes - ideal for breastfeeding Yes Yes Perfect for this Not ideal for long walks Fairly straightforward - some practise needed Yes Yes Yes Yes - in most cases

 

* Please note that the forward facing position is often not recommended due to comcern about the development of baby's hips and spine. We recommend that you only use it for brief periods at a time.

 

Sling Instructions

Looking for help using your sling? This is the section you need! Scroll down for instructions on using a variety of carriers.
(Please note that this section of the site is currenly being expandedt- so come back soon for more instructions!)

A Note on Sling Safety

Remember to always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a sling or carrier. Click on the following link for some essential advice for safe babywearing:

http://www.babyslingsafe.com/

It is very important that your baby is positioned properly when in any sling or carrier. You should never have to move any fabric or material away to see baby's face. .Always make sure that your baby's face is uncovered and that he or she can breathe freely at all times. Regularly check to make sure you can hear his or her breathing and that it sounds normal. Always make sure baby is close enough so that you can kiss the top of his or her head. Your baby's safety is your responsibility. But do remember that baby slings are perfectly safe when used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and there is no better way to keep your baby happy than when he or she is close to you!

Video showing the first stage of putting on a stretchy wrap (JPMBB in this case)

 

Video showing the second part of the basic front carry in a stretchy wrap (JPMBB in this case)

 

Video showing how to put on a Mei Tai (front carry)

 

Wrap instructions: The Front Wrap Cross Carry

1. Use the label to find the middle of your baby sling. Place it on your tummy with the two ends of the wrap around your waist and behind you. It forms a belt where you will slide the baby. 

2. Bring the right end of the wrap around behind you back and over your left shoulder.

3. Do the same thing on the other side. The wraparound sling forms a cross on your back. Make sure the fabric is evenly spread out and not twisted. This is the basic tying position.

 3b. This is how it should look from the back. Again, take your time and make sure the fabric isn't twisted but nicely spread out on your back.

The fabric should be fairly tight. There is no need to leave 'room' for the baby in the belt. The fabric chosen for your baby sling has enough 'give' to let you slide the baby in.

4. Now bring the baby over your shoulder as if you were going to burp her, then lower her in the belt formed by the fabric in front of you. Your baby should be facing you.

  • Her bottom should be at the level of your navel, her head at 'kiss level': if you bend you head, you should be able to kiss her forehead.
  • Her legs wide apart and flexed
  • The fabric should be spread from her thighs to her neck.
  • The fabric should be tight enough to support her back.

5. Take the fabric on your right, pull to make sure it is tight enough and bring it along your baby's back and under her left leg.The upper hem of the wrap goes above the baby's shoulder and accross her back. The lower hem is wrapped under the baby's bottom. Tuck the fabric under the baby's leg so you can work on the other side.

6. Do the same thing with the other end of the baby sling. 

7. Bring the two ends behind your back or on your hip and tie. Adjust the wrap around sling by spreading the fabric evenly along your baby's back and legs.

8. Make sure your child is sitting in a frog-like position with her knees up and legs flexed.

 9. Spread the fabric evenly over your shoulders and back if necessary as you'll be more comfortable. 

10. If you feel your baby is warm, you can push the two straps of the sling to the side, leaving only one layer of fabric on her back

 11. You can also spread one of the fabric straps over her head to provide extra head support. This is particularly useful for small babies or when they fall asleep.

  Top tips:

• Be sure the wrap is secured with a double knot and you're ready to go!

• Tie the wrap on your hip, it can be more comfortable, especially if you're sitting down (in the bus...).

• Fold the wrap in half lengthwise beforehand. It can be easier to tie, and avoids twisting the fabric.

 

Benefits of Babywearing

For You:

- Allowing you to be hands free whilst meeting your baby's needs and doing what you need to do - tidying the house, playing with older siblings, washing the dishes - you can do it all with baby in a sling!
- Getting around is so much easier - no more waiting on lifts, avoiding stairs or having to lift a heavy buggy onto the bus!
- A good sling or carrier will distribute baby's weight properly so that you will be able to carry him for as long as you need to without any strain on your body - much easier than having to balance baby on your hip!

For Baby:

- All babies need close physical contact with their parents. Having baby close to you in a sling is the perfect way to meet this need.

- Carrying baby in a sling helps them regulate their own temperature and breathing because they are stimulated by the parent's own body cycles.

- Babies are soothed by being carried - the natural rhythm of your body as you move around can soothe a crying baby effortlessly

- Slings are great for babies suffering from reflux or colic - these babies benefit from being in the upright position as it is often the only position that is comfortable for them