A Sling Review

Oct 19, 2009

While I was pregnant, I wrote briefly about my desire to use a sling with my baby. I knew of a few varieties, but really didn't know which version would be best for me. Eight weeks into mommyhood and I've now had the opportunity to try four different varieties of slings. I thought it might help you future moms, current moms, and friends of moms to know a little bit more about the different types. I think slings are an essential for any new mom. After about 4 days of carting around a car seat, we knew that was not going to work for us! The sling provides a much more convenient way to carry your baby, and we've also found it works wonders for calming a fussy baby down. I also use it while I am doing housework so I can have both hands free, but still be close to my little one. Here are the four types that I've tried:

Pouch Sling
Probably the cheapest and most simple of slings. As you can see, the pouch sling is a very basic design, easy to make (I made this one with the help of the wonderful sewing online community!), and easy to wear. You just slip the baby into place and voila! You are good to go.
On the other hand, sizing is everything on this sling. You really have to have the perfect fit for this to work. Since I'm a rather tall gal, I found that the standard size just doesn't work well for us. When I first brought Parker home, I felt like he was too small and delicate to put in this sling. I just felt like it kind of smashed him in a roll of fabric. I think this was mainly because of the fit, and a better sized one might have worked better. Also, the baby can get heavy in this sling since your shoulder is carrying all the weight. So, the pouch sling is cheap, easy to use, but may not be as functional for moms of different shapes and sizes.

Ring Sling
This sling is slightly more complicated that the pouch sling, but still very easy to use. The fabric goes through a pair of rings making the space for the baby more adjustable. You can loosen or tighten the fabric to get the baby in, comfortable, and out with ease. On many ring slings, the shoulder is padded which helps relieve some of the discomfort of the weight of the baby. You can also use the extra fabric on the end to cover over the baby if you are nursing in the sling. My ring sling also has a pocket in the end which is a nice feature.
I really like this sling. I've seen a lot of women wearing them around with babies of all ages. I like to use this sling when I'm alone because I feel like it is the easiest to adjust and the quickest to put on and take off. The only down side to this style of sling is that one shoulder bears the weight of the baby. My 8 week old is already a hefty guy so I'm not sure that this sling will have as much longevity for us.

Stretchy Wraps (i.e. Moby Wrap)
A stretchy wrap is a long piece of jersey fabric (probably 5-6 yards) that you can wrap around your body in different ways to carry your little one. This one definitely takes some practice. I was lucky enough to see a sling demonstration and learned one-on-one how to put this on. You can also learn by using pictures and tutorials on the internet. The jersey fabric is really stretchy and comfortable for the baby. You can position them in a more upright position, even as a newborn, to help them strengthen their neck while still giving them support. There are a variety of ways to wear your baby (front, back, and side). The weight of the baby is also shared between both shoulders providing the ultimate comfort.
I love the stretchy wrap - and I think Parker does too! Every time I put him in it he is fast asleep within minutes. It is so warm and cozy for him, and yet it is very supportive. With practice, I'm getting better at putting him in and it is becoming much easier. I feel like the extra effort to learn how to use this wrap is well worth it. The only downside to this wrap is that the jersey fabric isn't as functional when the baby gets to be older; it is just too stretchy. You can still use it with a young toddler, but would have to re-wrap frequently to make sure he was secure.

Woven Wraps
Basically the same concept as the stretchy wrap, except it is made with woven fabric rather than jersey. It has all the same benefits of the stretchy wrap (variety of holds, weight shared on both shoulders, etc.), but it is a little more sturdy. The woven material still is breathable, but doesn't stretch quite the way that the jersey does. With this wrap, you can even wear two babies at the same time! There is still a learning curve with this one, but with practice it does become easier.
Although right now the stretchy wrap is my favorite, I can see that once Parker is a little heavier that this one is going to take its place. The woven wrap is a little bulkier (which is the main reason I like the stretchy better), but is still very flexible and practical. This is also the most expensive wrap that I've found, but it is well worth the investment if you are going to be using it over many years.

So, that's a wrap! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself). I'd love to hear about your experiences with slings and if there are any other options or opinions out there. My thanks go out to my kiddo for putting up with the photo session, my hubby for the wonderful pics, and to Slings I Love for introducing me to wraps in the first place!


Jen said...

Nice summary! I absolutely love my stretchy wrap. A lot of people praise the Ergo, but I have yet to try one!

Anonymous said...

I made both a ring sling and a pouch sling and definitly prefer the pouch sling! I've used it since day 3 and Jude took right to it. The ring sling felt really unstable for me... Maybe I was using it incorrectly but it just wasn't working for us. I haven't tried a moby wrap although it's tempting to just buy several yards of fabric and see if I can figure it out. I do want to make a mai tai baby carrier at some point because I could see it working well.

This is a great summary! Thank!

Rochelle said...

Ah, very nice!! So beautiful you are, friend! Parker looks nice & content. :) I'm so thankful for such a wonderful friend like you who I can watch and learn all this fun stuff from before I pop out one of those kiddos, too. ;) Can't wait to see you today, woot!!

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