Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Ring Sling - My Newest Must Have

I became a baby wearer when Noah was fairly young - maybe 6 weeks old.  A coworker loaned me a stretchy wrap (like a Moby or a Sleepy Wrap) and I was immediately addicted.  With the help of another coworker, I learned more about my choices in babywearing and researched a lot at the site for all babywearers - The BabyWearer.Org.  I learned of the different materials, sizes, and styles of these wraps before I found my Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze.  I loved that wrap and used it constantly, and plan to again.. eventually.

But, with #2 on the way, I knew I needed to find something easier - easier to put on, easier to nurse in.  I knew I wanted a Ring Sling.

I had a guest blogger share her experience with a standard pouch sling, which I never really got the hang of or felt comfortable with, but other than that same coworker sharing her ring sling with me, I hadn't really seem them often and didn't really understand them. 

Ring slings have a higher learning curve (they take more than 2 attempts to get really comfortable with) and as Noah was several months old when we first tried, neither of us really learned how to use it, though we did figure out nursing in it a few times!

So, before Z was born, I researched and researched (again on TheBabyWearer)  before I decided on a Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) ring sling.  There are so many options - padded or not padded, pleated or not - and I wasn't really sure what I was looking for, but over and over again, I kept seeing "SBP is awesome."  So, I scoured the website and found out that SBP is a one-woman production making excellent slings for an incredibly reasonable price.  The other company I kept looking at, Sakura Bloom, had beautiful wraps, but they were all ridiculously expensive, at least for my budget!  Well over $100 for something I wasn't even sure I would like?  No thanks.

SBP came back to me - prices start around $40 and go up, depending on your choices in fabric and style. Sounds reasonable to me.  Completely custom, I chose the fabric style (linen), color (blue), ring color (blue!), and added a tail decoration with a POCKET.  Yup, a pocket.  To hold my phone or keys, or simply an extra pacifier.  And, I do put stuff in there when we're walking around the grocery store or even around the block.  I considered buying my own fabric, but found one I really liked on her site.  Want her to customize it with a Disney fabric (so tempting)?  Buy whatever you like at JoAnns and mail it to her - she'll do that, too!

Now,  how does the thing really work? 

Holding up the pocket!
Well, I started figuring it out when Z was a couple of days old.  I watched the videos on youtube about how to put them in and feel secure as well as reading the printed instructions that came with my sling.  I had put it together (thread it) before he was born, but between 41 weeks of pregnancy and the following days, it changed lengths drastically, so I also had to learn to tighten it.

Unlike a pouch sling, this is fully adjustable to the wearer and the baby.  As a newborn, I froggied Z's feet so they were completely inside the sling and created a pouch for him to relax in before tightening the upper "rail" around his neck/head.  While his head was still very wobbly, I generally held onto his neck, but over the past several weeks, his neck has gained a lot of strength and our comfort in the sling has increased.  I wear him almost always if we're in public (unless he's fallen asleep in his carrier, then I just go with that), whether at the grocery store, farmer's market, or even at parties.

Over the weekend, I pulled out the sling to show some expectant mama's and ended up wearing him for about an hour, giving me a hands free chance to grab a bite to eat, walk around and mingle, and show off my find.  I showed a few how easy it is to put on and put him in and even gave out the name SBP to a few of them.  And, as long as he needs to feed on my right side, I can nurse in it (I'm sure it's doable to feed on the other side, I just haven't figured it out.  Whoops). I still have my wrap and my ergo, but this is currently my go-to baby carrier. 
Stretched out comfortable across my back

Baby's head is kissable!

stretched underneath his knees, creating a seat! good for his hips

When I favor my sling:
- quick trips into the store
- parties where I'm standing around
- around the house, making dinner, etc..
- I would absolutely wear this at the parks if I was taking a younger baby.. Older babies end up being held in a hip carry and I haven't experienced that yet, so as of right now, I would guess I would be more comfortable with my wrap.

When I favor my wrap:
- Longer walks/exercise.  It distributes weight evenly over both shoulders and the back, so I prefer it for this - also, it's easier to cover his body completely -legs/arms/head to keep him out of the sun.
- Older babies for longer periods of time
- When my sling isn't in reach and I have a few extra seconds to tie it on

When I favor my ergo:
- When my husband learns to use it and starts to babywear

**Pardon the pictures- I wanted to finally post this review and hadn't taken any good pictures with me wearing Z!**

Someone asked me at the party: isn't it hot to carry him in that?  My response?  No hotter than if I were carrying him in my arms.  And it's so much easier to wear them.  And, tired of people trying to touch or hold the baby or does the baby simply need a place to nap?  Strap them on and go about your day.  You'll have free hands and they'll be comfortable.  Win-win.

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