So you have made the decision on what sling, wrap or carrier you want to use with your newborn baby, it’s there in front of you, your baby is finally here… and then panic strikes! How do you actually use it? Is it safe? Will my baby fall out? What if I do it wrong? Stay tuned for my 5 top tips on using a sling with your newborn baby.
1. Read the instructions!
Read the instructions! This may seem pretty self explanatory, but in those sleep deprived days of early parenthood it seems like one thing too many to do. Take a few minutes to check that your baby is of the required minimum weight for the sling, and if your carrier needs any particular setting up such as the width or height of the panel adjusted. Manufacturers’ own websites often have good quality videos which will go through using the sling or carrier in more details. The temptation can be to head to YouTube for advice…. If you want to do this, try looking for recent videos by babywearing experts, or the manufacturer, rather than well meaning but untrained fellow parents. If in doubt, please contact me and I can provide further guidance.
If using a buckle carrier, practice using the buckles before trying the carrier on, some brands have extra safety features which take a bit of getting used to. Also practice adjusting the buckles on the webbing. With wrap carriers such as stretchy wraps or woven wraps, practice wrapping beforehand if you can, getting used to the motions and thinking about making sure that the fabric is not getting twisted. With a ring sling, practice tightening and loosening the sling .
2. Choose the right time for your baby
Choose the right time for your baby. Use your sling for the first time when you baby is fed, has a clean nappy, and is not due for a nap. This gives you the best chance of having a co-operative baby rather than an octopus as you try this new skill out with them. Handle them gently, tell them what is going on, sway and pat them as you would without a sling in the picture. Your first time carrying will take longer, so take your time, and at any point if either of you are getting stressed, just stop and come back to it another time. Like anything it will take practice, and soon you will be a slinging ninja!
3. Choose the right time for you
Choose the right time for you. The calmer you are, the calmer your baby will be… they pick up on moods! I found it best to make sure I was using the sling in my familiar home environment and when I wasn’t time pressured to go anywhere. Some people like to have their partner or another adult around, while others prefer to practice alone. I found that using a mirror helped as well. As you build your confidence you will soon be able to use your sling whilst out and about. Get in to the routine of doing safety checks each and every time you use your sling, for example using the TICKS rule. This will give you the confidence to know that your little one is safe and secure.
4. Practice taking your baby out!
This may seem a daft thing to say, but sometimes we concentrate so much on getting baby in that we forget that they will need to come out for feeding or changing. Again, make your movements as gentle as you can, even when your baby is awake.
5. Get expert advice from a sling Consultant
Consultants such as myself are experts who have helped hundreds of families just like yours to carry their child comfortably, confidently, and above all safely. We are be able to advise on the safety and suitability of a sling you already have, or provide guidance on what option would suit your needs best. We are also fellow parents who can provide technical sling advice but also signposting to other services, and a listening ear when needed.
Would you like more information on choosing or using a sling, wrap or carrier for your newborn baby? Fill out the form below for my FREE V-book, or check out more details of how I can help