Beginners Guide to Using a Ring Sling
Our friend, Larissa, from Living in Color Blog, has graciously shared her beginner’s guide to using a ring sling with us so we could share the helpful information with you! Whether you have no idea what a ring sling is, or have been considering one but wanted more information, read through this guide where Larissa answers some common questions and gives some helpful tips!
If you’re anything like I was as a new mom, you don’t know A THING about ring slings, woven wraps or soft structured carriers. I hope to demystify what these other carrier options are and share additional tips for using them. Babywearing has most definitely made me a better mom.
Here’s a list of commonly questions I get about ring slings and my answers!
What is a ring sling?
A ring sling is a piece of woven wrap cut to a specific length (depending on size) and sewn at the shoulder with rings to create a convenient “sling” to use to carry a baby.
How does it work?
So chances are when you receive your sling it will be unthreaded, meaning the rings will be up top and the end of the sling will hang freely. The first thing you need to do is thread the rings. See this video that helped me when I was learning how to thread.
After your sling is threaded, you are now ready to practice using it. The rings hold the wrap sling in a way that allows you to create a hammock-like seat, wrap around your baby’s back up to their neck, and then tighten carefully. Read on for tips on using a ring sling!
Who needs a ring sling?
Anyone who wants to carry a newborn. In my opinion, ring slings are the easiest to use with newborns. Anyone who wants to run a quick errand and wants a compact, easy to adjust carrier. Also, someone who has a baby or toddler that you would prefer to hold in a hip carry. Most caregivers will want to carry your baby or child on your hip anyway. So, why not have a nice and supportive piece of fabric to help you do it and free up your hands?
Is a ring sling the only carrier I need for my baby?
Yes and no. If you have a newborn or super light baby, then yes, all you need is a ring sling. At around six months I started wearing G in her soft structured carriers too since they help distribute weight a bit better for older babies. But I still use my ring slings too – just for different reasons! I use three types of carriers daily. A ring sling, woven wrap, and soft structured carrier. They each have different functions and you can read more about that in this post here.
How old does baby have to be to be worn in a ring sling?
Each sling has it’s own weight limit depending on the fabric and the age of the child. Generally, 35 pounds is a good maximum baseline. You can generally wear a newborn in a ring sling right away (assuming there are no medical problems – be sure to consult a medical professional before officially wearing your newborn in a sling – just to be safe.) I wear my 17-month-old in a ring sling daily and still feel very comfortable with her in it. She loves it so much.
How do I get one?
There are buy, sell, trade groups on Facebook, or you can easily buy one on BabyTula.com. That is my favorite place to buy ring slings, which brings me to my next question.
What are your favorite ring slings, Larissa?
I have owned quite a few ring slings in several different types of material. Baby Tula tencel blend ring slings are my favorite fabric/types because of their cute prints and their special tencel material they use. Of the four that currently live here now, three of them are Tula.
Which fabric is best for a ring sling?
I would say tencel blend like I mentioned above, 100% cotton, or bamboo are my recommended fabrics.
How do I know what size I need?
Here’s the thing – when I bought my first sling I had people tell me to get a S/M (small/medium) because that’s what t-shirt size I wear, but I prefer a L/XL (large/extra-large) aka, LOOOOONG tails!
I love the long tails because they serve three purposes: the first is beautiful flowy fabric, the second is a makeshift nursing cover, and the third is extra support at neck or bum or another layer of warmth for baby! It’s a win-win with longer tails, but honestly it’s a personal preference thing!
My size guide in the image below is for Baby Tula Ring Sling sizes. For ring slings that are converted from small pieces of woven wrap, just look at the inches and then refer back to this guide.
S/M – 77 inches
L/XL – 87 inches
THREE TIPS FOR USING A RING SLING
1. Create a deep seat.
When your baby is carried in the ring sling, in a deep seat, you create a position that is very safe and more comfortable. This deep seat prevents them from undoing the “seat” of the carrier when baby straightens their legs.
Check out the photos of G in our ring slings. The bottom third of the ring sling fabric is pulled across her bottom, thighs and supporting her “seat” from the crook of one knee to the crook of the other knee.
2. Make sure you start with ring sling mostly tightened
The graphic below shows optimal comfort and tips for using ring slings. To make sure your ring sling is secured in an optimal position, tighten the fabric of the sling in THREE sections: top third, middle third and bottom third. Start with the sling snug with just enough room to get your baby into the carrier. If your ring sling is loose, it could make it uncomfortable.
3. Make sure there are no twists in fabric on your back.
The fabric that goes across your back should pflat and snug on your back so that it doesn’t mess with the seat or the fabric that’s threaded through the rings.
Bonus tip: Be patient and take your time with learning. You WILL get frustrated, but I can also promise that with practice and determination, you will get good at it. Be confident! Baby Tula offers amazing instructional resources on how to use your ring slings.