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Damn Baby Sling

Updated on July 4, 2007

One Wannabe Babywearer's Frustrations with the Ring Sling

I recently purchased a Mamaway Ring Sling after reading about all the supposed benefits of babywearing.  I watched the DVD that came with it and tried it out.  WHAT A NIGHTMARE!  The baby hates it and I feel like I'm torturing, not nuturing him. 

I spent hours on-line at various sites viewing and reading instructional materials--all to no avail.

Surely I'm not the only one?  If you are in the same boat, perhaps this lens will help you.  If you are thinking of a sling, I hope this will help you make a more-educated decision on what sling to buy or whether to buy an alternative baby-wearing device.

The best advice I have to offer, however, is do not buy a sling without having somebody teach you -- IN PERSON -- how to use it properly.  I will try to list resources that can help put you in touch with such a person.    

Why Wear A Baby?

It sounds kinda grotesque: wearing a baby. Images of Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, and "Buffalo Bill" from Silence of the Lambs might come to mind. But that's not what proponents of baby wearing hope to convey and there is no need to run in horror if someone tells you that they wear their baby.

Baby wearing is a recently-coined English term that refers to the ancient practice of carrying an infant or young child in slings, wraps, pouches, backpack-like devices or anything else that allows the wearers hands to be free.

Below are the more common reasons folks promote "wearing" your baby.

  1. Carried babies cry less. Unless, of course, it is my baby who screams like I'm torturing him with red-hot brands until I remove him from the sling.

    I've read that it takes time for the baby to adjust, but how long am I supposed to walk around with an upset wailing baby. Makes me want to run to a store and get a strappy soft carrier and toss the sling away.

  2. Babies sleep better. Note, some argue that they not only sleep more, they over sleep. See "arguments against," below. I wouldn't know, my son is unable to fall asleep in a sling. He is too busy screaming for me to take him out.
  3. Frees the wearers hands. With a sling you can carry a needy infant and even breastfeed while using your hands to take care of other kids, read a magazine, wash the dishes, work on the computer, etc. Well, you can if you not using them trying to sooth an infant upset about being confined in a sling.
  4. Babies that are carried more grow faster.
  5. Babies that are worn bond to people better. Baby wearing is promoted by those who believe in attachment parenting.

Arguments FOR Slings - Why wear your baby in a sling?

  1. Supposedly they are simple to use. I must be an idiot. The learning curve seems quite high, especially if you don't have someone experienced with slings to help you out in the beginning. But I keep reading how easy they are.
  2. Makes it easier to breastfeed discreetly in public. Pull down the back "rail" and pull up the front "rail" and voila! Happy suckling baby and no one is the wiser. You can't do that with a baby backpack or stroller.
  3. Slings are cheap! Slings usually cost much less than fancy, strappy, backpack-type carriers.

The World's Best Slings - (slings only please)

I bought a Mamaway sling (www.mamaway.com). Did I make a poor decision? Are all my problems due to purchasing the wrong sling? Do you LOVE your sling? Then vote for it. If is isn't listed here, please add it. It is easy to do. Take this module and post it on you blog, lets find out what the best slings are.

Please do not submit other baby carriers. My problem is with a sling. Maybe I should just buy a Baby Bjorn carrier, but that's another discussion. For this poll, slings only please.

New Native Carrier Organic Khaki MED
New Native Carrier Organic Khaki MED

Freedom for your hands. Safely bend over or twist with both hands free. The curved bottom keeps your baby in the sling. Versatile. Carry baby on y...

 
Lite-on-Shoulder Ring/pouch hybrid Baby Sling
Lite-on-Shoulder Ring/pouch hybrid Baby Sling

For centuries babies have been carrier in Slings and that have been commonly acknowledged the most natural and versatile way to promote bonding. W...

 

Arguments AGAINST Slings

  1. Consumer Reports does not recommend any ring sling or wrap style soft carrier: "There are also sling carriers on the market, as well as carriers that essentially consist of a length of fabric you wrap over your shoulders and waist. Those we've seen aren't secure enough during activity." Consumer Reports, August 2004. Also available on-line (subscription required).
  2. Risk of Overheating. This is especially true in slings holding the baby in a position that covers his legs and head. Avoid over-dressing a baby when using a sling and check on the baby frequently to make sure he isn't hot (he should not sweat or feel warmer than you).

    CITATIONS: What To Expect the First Year, by Eisenburg, Murkoff, and Hathaway (Workman, NY 1996)

  3. Risk of Understimulation. This flies in the face of everything else I've read about baby wearing. I find this hard to agree with. Certainly a sling provides more stimulation than a crib and probably more than mere holding. Older babies that can sit with their head up, especially facing outwards, get to take in much more of the world than even a stroller I would imagine. But some experts argue that soft carriers like slings let the baby see less of the world. I think this has more to do with how you wear the baby in the sling than the sling itself. It is like saying that if you put a rain cover over a stroller, the baby will see less of the world than he needs to and thereby become under-stimulated. Therefore, avoid strollers. Just take it off and open the top when protection from the weather is not needed and, presto, problem solved. I imagine that sling enthusiasts would argue along the same lines in defense of slings.

    CITATIONS: What To Expect the First Year, by Eisenburg, Murkoff, and Hathaway (Workman, NY 1996)

  4. Risk of Oversleeping. Supposedly, babies carried in slings get used to catnaps and sleep too much making the less likely to sleep through the night.

    CITATIONS: What To Expect the First Year, by Eisenburg, Murkoff, and Hathaway (Workman, NY 1996)

  5. Risk of Injury. Bottom line: babies can fall out of slings if they are not properly worn. Therefore some people advise against using them or are uncomfortable with using them.

    A sling should not pose any more danger to a baby than carrying him in your arms, but it is easy to get used to having your hands free and forget you are wearing a vulnerable little person. Take the following precautions when wearing a sling:

    --Don't run or jog with a sling as the jostling can injure a babies neck.

    --Don't bend over to pick something up when wearing a baby in a sling. Bend at the knees and hold the baby with one hand.

    --Don't cook while wearing a baby.

    --Don't drink hot beverages like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate when wearing a baby .

    --Avoid holding or working with knives or other sharp objects when wearing a baby.

    --Be very careful when walking through doorways or narrow hallways. Be mindful of obstacles that pose a threat of bumping into the babies head.

    --Always inspect the sling's cloth, stitching, and rings for signs of wear.

BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original, Black, Cotton
BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original, Black, Cotton

Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier The Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier is a favorite of parents throughout the world. It allows parents to keep the baby close and secure while at the market, doctor or any other place. It is a baby infant carrier which can be used right from the very first week. As long as the baby weighs 8 lbs. and is 21 in. long, the Baby Bjorn Carrier may be used. The child carrier from Baby Bjorn holds the baby upright and features a strong back and neck support. It grows with baby thanks to an adjustable buckle which gives maximum comfort for all ages. The carrier is easy to put on and remove because all the adjustments are made in the front. Most parents love the unique Baby Bjorn feature which allows the button to be unbuttoned at the front of the carrier and lay down without waking up. As the child grows it allows for forward facing placement. The seat height on the Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier is also adjustable and the wide straps evenly distribute weight for comfort. This Baby Bjorn carrier has won the Silver Award and Design of the Decade ISDA, 1999 as one of the 36 products of the decade. The Baby Bjorn infant carrier has also won several awards in the United Kingdom.

 
Baby Carrier Original - Gray/White, Mesh
Baby Carrier Original - Gray/White, Mesh

BABYBJÃRN® BABYBJÃRN® offers a wide variety of Front/back Carriers

 

Can I Find Help on You Tube - These people make it look easy...I hate them.

I rarely do this, but I'm letting You Tube auto select as a continued search for new sling videos without my having to search on You Tube every day.

Best Sling Resources in Print or Burned to Disk

Add your favorite books and videos about slings are vote on those already listed.

Babywearing
Babywearing

If someone told you they knew a secret to help your baby sleep better, cry less, and learn better, you would certainly be interested... Babywearing, the practice of carrying baby in a soft carrier close to our body as we go about our daily business, is parenting's best kept secret. Good things happen when we wear our babies. Babies who are worn cry less, are more calm and content, sleep more peacefully, nurse better, gain weight better, enjoy better digestion, and develop better. Babywearing benefits parents! It enhances parent-baby bonding, is practical, facilitates breastfeeding, helps working parents reconnect, and makes transitions from one caregiver to another easier. But most importantly, it allows you to meet your baby's need to be held while allowing you to meet your need to get things done! Anyone can wear baby - mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparents, baby sitters, and day care workers. The more baby is worn the happier baby is. And, a happy baby makes a family happy. In this book you will: *Learn about the benefits of babywearing. *Hear from babywearers all over the country. *Learn how to choose and use the carrier that is right for you. *Learn how to make your own baby carrier.

 

Works Cited: Periodicals

I've got broad shoulders, go ahead and tell me I'm an idiot if that's what you think. I'd much prefer encouragement and tips, but I can take whatever you dish out as long as it doesn't send this lens into "adult" territory.

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    • profile image

      RhondaSplint 5 years ago

      Great article on baby slings. Very informative lens!

      Fertility Calendar

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      c_mcgee 9 years ago

      Thanks for the post, it was very helpful and informative. http://www.allaboutslipcovers.com

    • ChouDoufu profile image
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      ChouDoufu 10 years ago

      Victoria, thanks for your input. Your lens on baby slings has some good tips and I encourage others to check it out. I would also like to suggest that you add or vote on slings you find to be particularly good in my WORLD'S BEST SLINGS list, above.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      The trouble is that babywearing has become such a trend that the market is swamped with poor quality carriers, and the information out there is overwhelming. I'm sure I could help you find a sling that suits you; I've written a great guide on choosing baby carriers - squidoo.com/babybeanbabyslings

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      I love the lens! Much useful info. 5 stars from Baby Games.

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Love my sling, and wish I'd been available to help you figure yours out. I disagree that babies may be understimulated in the sling.