What’s all the fuss about ring slings then?
Well, the humble ring sling is one of the most versatile and useful baby slings out there. A ring sling can take you through your whole babywearing journey from newborn to toddler, and be the handy option to keep in the car or changing bag whilst also being pretty enough to wear to a wedding or party.
Q: How do they work?
A: Very simply! They’re a strip of fabric which wraps around you and is anchored in place by threading one end through a pair of metal rings.
There is a full photo tutorial showing how to thread a ring sling and how to decide which shoulder to wear on, at our website here. It might look like a lot of work but trust me, after you’ve done it a few times it be comes second nature.
TIP: before leaving for the day, I take a couple of minutes to ‘set up’ my ring sling properly and then pop it in my bag. That way it’s ready to go whenever needed later in the day (for example in the middle of a supermarket meltdown) when you might not want to be threading up a ring sling.
We’ll discuss which of the carry variations are good for different times next!
Q: What age can you use them for?
A: Ring slings have their own fantastic purposes for every stage of babywearing.
For newborns, they’re a great option to help keep the lovely ‘froggy-leg’ position that new babies like to adopt and which helps promote healthy hip development. The single layer of fabric over them enables their back to stay in a natural curved position and the ‘tail’ end of the sling can be tucked behind their heads as a handy neck support. Tummy to tummy carry is a lovely cuddly newborn ring sling carry.
They’re also fantastic for breastfeeding on the go, which can be tricky in those early days of long cluster-feeding bouts, especially if you have older children needing your attention! Just lower the baby slightly by loosening the fabric (while supporting them), latch them on, and tighten up enough to feel comfortable.
Being able to keep a baby upright can be an absolute godsend for colicky or refluxy babies too. A carry such as the diagonal hip carry can also really help with colicky tummies so is worth a try if you baby is feeling uncomfortable.
For older babies and toddlers, the hip carry is an excellent option. By this age your baby is probably more than a little inquisitive and ready to be looking out at the world more, but also still needing to snuggle in or have the occasional snooze. They might be at the age where they’ve learned the use of their legs and want to hop up and down every few minutes!
I found that a ring sling really came into it’s own for this age thanks to being so small and easy to carry, and so quick to get my daughter in and out of. She didn’t have the patience for being wrapped but she didn’t have the stamina for a whole walk back from the shops. Ring sling to the rescue!
Q: Are they supportive enough?
A: Yes, with a little practice!
This is one of the most common reasons I hear for people not wanting to try a ring sling – that it looks like it would be unbalanced, or the fabric not thick enough. However, even the most highly engineered baby carrier can be extremely uncomfortable if not used properly! The tighter, higher and snugger the baby is to you, the less ‘pull’ you are going to feel. When you’re putting your baby in the sling, remember to mimic how you would carry them in arms – cradled high and snuggled to you.
Making sure the ring sling is threaded properly and there are no twisted sections can make a big difference too. You might not choose a ring sling for a long period of carrying an older baby, such as a day trip, but for popping in and out of shops or trips back from the park they’re great!
Another query we get is, because Calin Bleu are known for their lightweight gauze wraps, the concern that our ring slings might not be thick enough – well, they are actually double thickness, giving extra support and comfort for the wearer.
Which brings me on to…
Q: Are they safe?
A: As long as you follow the instructions, yes!
It’s natural to wonder whether, in an age of hi-tech carriers with all ‘bells and whistles’ and a hundred different buckles, just a simple piece of fabric with a few rings could be safe. But with a little practice and attention to the TICKS (see below) you can put that worry out of your mind.
Please take a moment to check out the safety suggestions on our site
Our ring slings are double layered for strength and use two 100% large 3″ pressed aluminium rings (which will not rust), which are hemmed into the sling by triple sewn stitching for extra strength. Our ring slings have been tested and comply to “EN:13209:2-2005 Soft Baby Carriers”. They are also made in the UK by an experienced team of seamstresses in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, which enables us to keep a close eye on production standards. Always have a quick check over of the sling and stitching before using it, as wear and tear is only natural!
Q: How do I care for my ring sling?
The more you use your ring sling, the softer and more snuggly the fabric will become. Each time you wash and iron it will also contribute to the ‘breaking in’ process, resulting in a floppy and ‘well loved’ feel.
We know how quickly things can get mucky with little people around, so our ring slings can be machine washed at 30 or 40 degrees. Please don’t use fabric softener – it could result in ‘slippery’ fabric – your sling will get lovely and soft with use instead.
TIP: If you’re worried about the metal rings damaging your washer, just (securely) tie a pillowcase over the rings and it will protect both the rings and your machine!
We hope this has answered some of the questions you might have about using a ring sling, but if you have any more then just give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, or through our site.
Our ring slings in the Scarlet colourway are reduced to £25, so if you fancy trying one for a great price don’t hesitate to pop by our site as the offer is only available while stocks last! You can view the full range at our site.