Baby slings are ingenious, and they're a win-win solution for moms and babies: babies get to be cuddled up close to their favorite person, but mom or dad can use their limbs freely... hallelujah. That said, it seems like there are hundreds of different baby slings on the market, and it's not exactly possible to test drive all of them with your little one. That's why I'm consulting the baby-wearing experts to figure out exactly how to choose the right baby sling so both you and your little one are comfortable.
There are a ton of different types of baby-wearing devices on the market (from wraps to carriers to Meh Dais to slings), so it's important to check out your various options to figure out what exactly you need and want. Similar to a sling you'd wear if you broke your arm, a baby sling puts the weight of the baby on one of your shoulders, wrapping diagonally around your body. Slings are simple contraptions: one large piece of fabric, which threads through a set of large rings to hold baby securely. They're not too bulky (meaning you can easily fit them in a diaper bag!) and they can be worn while nursing. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, making them perfect for moms who prefer to update their accessories through the seasons.
For Kat Collins, baby slings are a way of life. "Slings are my go-to," Collins tells Romper. "We use WildBird. We found them by crowdsourcing and asking about brands, and I joined the community on Facebook and Instagram. Now, we have more slings than I’d want to admit out loud."
For Collins, choosing a ring sling goes beyond the product itself. "We love them because they’re great quality and have a super price point — but mostly because the community is so pro-Mama and supportive," Collins explains to Romper. "I love the way they do their seasonal drops and they have beautiful colors and a few different fabric options."
When Louisa Mattingly was looking for a baby sling for her baby girl, she was repeatedly told that baby slings are at their best when they've already been loved a bit. "I got mine used, because a lot of people said broken in is best," Mattingly tells Romper. "I have the Sakura Bloom sling. I got my Sakura Bloom off a buy/sell/trade Facebook group. It's a good way to get a broken in sling that also is probably going to be cheaper." And what mom isn't trying to save a few bucks when she can?
Of course, dads love baby-wearing too. For Nate Lawrence, choosing the right baby sling meant finding one with multiple carrying options. "I enjoyed it when Audrey was little, and the best part about ours was that it was reversible, so I could wear her on the front or my back," Lawrence tells Romper. Many baby sling websites have video tutorials for putting on the sling and securing baby — and there are plenty of other tutorials on YouTube. After a few rounds of wearing a sling, it'll be second nature.
For many parents, there is a time and a place for the different types of baby carriers. Andie Lunkenheimer is a fan of baby-wearing in all its forms, and has tried it all. "I love baby-wearing! When Korie was really young, I used a wrap — mine was Boba. I then moved onto a ring sling, which is so much easier, but not too structured that the baby doesn't feel they can't move," Lunkenheimer explains to Romper. "I also use an Ergo which can be worn in four different ways and provides the most back support. My husband has his own Baby Bjorn — we didn’t fit the same carriers so he had to find one that felt comfortable for him!"
Narrowing down the type of baby carrier you want is one of the biggest decisions you'll make. Once you confirm you want a baby sling, your options are a bit more fun: fabrics, colors, patterns, and even ring metals! Luckily, if you have any questions about what you need, there are tribes of proud, baby-wearing mamas ready to help you out. You just have to find the one that works for you and your lifestyle, one that you feel comfortable in, and one that you love. After all, it's going to get a lot of use.