HOW TO WEAR YOUR BABY SLING
Always wash, dry and press your sling before using it. The rings adjust more easily after the sling has been washed removing sizing from the fabric. Many babies have allergies to the chemicals and dye present in new fabric.
YOUR SLING HAS ONLY 3 PARTS
The parts of the sling are as follows:
a. The two rings b. The shoulder pad at one end c. The loose unpadded fabric (a "tail") at the other end
LET'S ASSEMBLE OUR NEW SLING You will need to pass the tail up through the two rings; looping over the top ring and passing the tail back through and between the two rings so that it is comes out through the bottom ring. You will find that you can only pull a certain amount of the tail through the rings, as the padded rails are too large to fit.
HOW TO PUT IT ON
Hold the baby sling in front of you with the rings at the top, the shoulder pad facing you, and the tail (loose end) in front. Put the sling over your head and one arm, with the pad resting on one shoulder (put it so that the rings are in front, about where a floral corsage would go) and the body or bulk of the baby sling draped around the opposite hip. Grab any fabric that's loose in back to the front. Take your time, get comfortable and get the feel of your baby sling.
BEFORE YOU LOAD UP BABY
When you are just beginning to practice using your baby sling, try using it with a baby sized doll, teddy bear or other like sized stuffed animal, or a full 2-liter bottle. Put it on and off a few times, just hang around in it for a little while. Then practice shortening and lengthening the baby sling and basically trying to get a good feel and a good fit before you put your infant in for the first time.
Keep at it till it is comfortable and will work for you and your baby. Always use your own judgment in regard to the safety of your child. You may want to give some of the suggestions below a try. They are ARE just—suggestions. Listen to your own voice of reason and never do anything you feel uncomfortable with. I do feel it’s a good idea to have a friend on hand to help you adjust things especially for your first few tries. Call that baby sling wearing mom who gave you this unique shower gift to help you. Daddy may be willing to help as well. It’s really good to have someone there to read your babywearing instructions to you while you do the practice.
YOUR FIRST FEW TIMES TO WEAR YOUR SLING
From the time your baby is born they feel more secure when moving - it reminds them that mama is there. As soon as your infant is in the baby sling, start moving and talking. If your baby looks uncomfortable, just ease him into a more natural position. Relax! Keep your arms under the sling and baby in the beginning. You will quickly be able to perform household tasks while baby wearing. This is not a race and there is no time limit, take your time.
Call a friend to visit and be your extra set of arms for the times you wear the sling. They can help adjust the baby sling and the baby until you are comfortable doing it yourself.
Fidget with it and see how snug you want the sling to be.
To make the sling more snug (or for a smaller baby or parent), lift baby with one hand just enough to loosen or "unlock" the rings and pull down on the tail with opposite hand. In order to enlarge the sling, lift up on bottom of upper ring and pull down on sack portion with the other hand. The sling should be adjusted to position the baby at approximately the same height that you would naturally hold him in your arms. When not using a sling and your baby is nursing, he would normally lie just under your bustline, not down on your tummy. The sling be at around your waistline to avoid back strain.
The tail should be far enough through the rings so that you can grip it securely. If not, a larger sling may be necessary.
If baby fusses when you first put him in the sling, and he's in it properly, try again later when you are both in a relaxed mood. Your little one may cry the first time he is placed in a sling. He may also cry a little when he’s placed in his baby bath the first time, and you know how babies love bath time! If your newborn still doesn't like the sling after several tries, try again around 4 months or when your baby has good head control - he or she may like the "kangaroo" or "tummy to tummy" position.
start moving as soon as you put your baby in the sling.
Your baby will let you know when he's not comfortable -- don't worry if he looks just a tiny bit crowded.
Try several positions to see which one works best for you and your baby, and try a new position when he begins to fuss.
Listen to your baby's cues because his favorite position last week may not work this week.
Never cook with your baby in the sling.
NEWBORN or INFANT BABY SLING POSITION Some babies love this, some don’t. Try it a few times when you and baby are in a relaxed, good mood and see how it goes. If it just won’t work for the two of you. Let a few weeks or months pass and make a fresh start from the beginning.
The newborn position provides maximum head support and keeps your infants body in a nice natural comma shape. For a newborn infant, tighten the tail up to make the sack smaller to fit. Turn the inner rail of batting up against your chest to build a secure back wall, tucking extra fabric behind your back. Pulling the sack open directly in front of you. Lay baby on his back with his head toward the rings. Remember to keep the rings high on your chest as described earlier in the basic instructions.
Note: Keeping the batting high on your chest pulls the slack out of the pouch around the baby's head so that he can see out. You may want to try folding a little blanket or diaper and place it behind baby's upper body making him a little custom baby pillow just to fit.
THE HORIZONTAL POSITION The horizontal position is good for infants of a few months old who have a little head control, but not enough to sit upright. Older babies prefer to be upright so they can share your view. The horizontal position is a favorite sleeping position of many babies.
This is also an excellent position for discreet nursing. By pulling the top rail and fabric to cover the baby's head, you can nurse almost anywhere without anyone's taking a second look! This is also handy to shade baby's eyes from sun or to shield from the cold.
Loosen the tail to make plenty of room in the hammock where the baby is lying. Make sure the rings are in a position high on your chest. Turn the channel of batting that is closest to your stomach up against you. Pull the sack out evenly in front horizontally, by pulling out on both rolls padding rolls padding simultaneously with both hands. Position baby's head away from the rings. (Actually, this position works better for some with baby's head toward the rings. Always be very careful about airflow to the baby. Nothing should ever be pressed close to your baby’s face.
As baby grows, he may enjoy hanging his feet out. With smaller babies, if they look lost down in the bottom of the sling, lie their little head right on the padded edge.
KANGAROO or FORWARD FACING POSITION Most older infants (over 4 months of age) with good head control want to share your view and see the world. This is the position that will allow him to do just that. Tighten the tail to about medium, adjusting for baby’s. Turn the inner rail of batting up against your tummy and pull sack straight out in front of you. Cross baby's legs in yoga fashion and place him gently into the pouch. His head should be resting at the center of your chest.
TUMMY to TUMMY or MOMMY to BABY
This position is one that will require good head control. Smaller babies enjoy having their legs tucked up against your tummy in the sack in a fetal position. The older child will enjoy having legs out. Position the rail of batting closest to your tummy either up against your waist to create a curved hammock with baby's legs in, or tuck batting under baby's bottom with legs hanging out. Tighten your sling for a snug and comfortable fit.
For your younger baby, pull the sling fabric all the way up to support the head and tighten the tail until it is very snug. For older children with legs hanging out, pull the sling fabric not just well under the bottom but all the way up to the knees. A variation for younger babies, or for any baby wanting to snuggle or sleep upright, is to lean the baby's head on your shoulder and tighten the tail even more.
HIP STRADDLE POSITION This position is great for older babies, toddlers, and beyond (believe me this one will save you many a backache!). The child being carried should have good head control. Where we have been carrying the younger child in front, now we will be pulling the sack to your side. Place baby straddling your hip, gently putting him inside the sling. Place the inner rail of batting well under baby's bottom and all the way to the knees, if desired. One of baby's legs will be behind you, the other in front of your hip, with both legs hanging out of the sling. Lift baby's bottom with one hand while tightening on the tail with the other. YOu will tighten the sack so that baby is close to your side. Pull upper rail of batting up as high as you like to support baby behind his back or head being careful not to pull bottom rail out from under your child's bottom!
In order to use a back carry position with baby on your back, position him in the hip-straddle position and then slide the sling and baby behind your arm.
BABY WENT TO SLEEP! AND I NEED TO GET HIM OUT OF HIS BABY SLING! No problem!
You can lay your baby down from most any of the positions we have gone over without waking her. Lean over the bed, lying him gently on the crib bedding with your sling on. Lying them into their baby beds would be the optimal height, but any soft surface should be find. Slowly and gently ease the baby down. If he begins to wake at this point, wait just a minute until he settles back into sleep, and slowly back out of the baby sling and slip it over your head. You can use the sling acts as a baby blanket that is harder for baby to kick off.
I realize that's a lot to digest, but it is worth the effort so please stick it out!
Remember, the next time you need a really unique themed baby shower gift what lovely baby accessories that baby carriers can be.
Handmade gifts from your heart are always appreciated. If you are crafty, use this free baby sling pattern to make several to have on hand to give as gifts for babies that come along. Pass the expertise in using your carrier forward and offer to help another mom and baby adapt to their baby sling!
Don't limit yourself to just one type of carrier. Remember, as your child grows there are many other types of safesafe baby carriers to try!
THE LEGAL STUFF:
Liability statement and disclaimer: I offer no guarantees for these baby sling instructions. When I carried my baby in her sling according to these instructions they worked for me and carried my baby safely, but I will not be held responsible for improper construction or use of your infant carrier that you make and use.
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