Your Instagram feed is full of three things: white walls, stylized lattes, and babies in slings. Babywearing looks perfectly serene in everyone's photos — and that one crunchy friend of yours makes going hands-free look so effortless — but your bundle of joy is not having it. If you feel like throwing the fabric across the room while screaming, "why does my baby hate the sling?" you wouldn't be the first. But don't give up.
In an interview with Romper, postpartum doula Liz Maltz says that when it comes to babywearing, there's truly something for everybody. Maltz recommends trying a variety of styles of slings and carriers to find the one that's most comfortable for you and your baby. Even within a single style, like a ring sling, there are multiple options for positioning to try out. If your baby doesn't like the style or position you've tried, simply try another. Borrowing from friends is an easy way to do this, and many stores are willing to let you try before you buy as well.
Maltz also adds that some babies prefer a constant movement, so fussiness might actually stem from mom standing still than from the sling itself. To remedy this, she recommends trying a gentle sway from side to side when you're not walking. Other babies are most soothed by skin-to-skin contact, and while that's not always possible through the course of your day, it's worth a try when you're behind closed curtains.
According to Maltz, it is common for babies to become distressed when they sense their mother's tension. This obviously applies to any area of life, but holds true for babywearing as well. Maltz encourages her clients to take a moment to readjust when they feel their anxiety climbing. One of the most effective ways to do that, she says, is through calculated breathing: inhale for six counts and exhale for six counts. Maltz reports that in her practice as a postpartum doula, she consistently sees confirmation that a relaxed mama makes for a relaxed baby.
If you have your heart set on babywearing, there's no need to throw in the towel after a few failed attempts. Be flexible as you and your baby learn how to sync together — it will happen in time. Just keep calm and breathe on.