This post would not have been possible without Katherine Byrne’s generous photographs. Thankyou Katherine!
Ring slings are a great, simple, easy-to-use carrier. But when you start out, there is one particularly common problem that can occur: seating. Getting a good seat in a ring sling is the key to mastering the carrier and it helps if you know what it looks like!
Here we have some examples of great and could-be-improved positioning in babies of different sizes. At the top, we have two examples of shallow seats- the baby on the right looks quite uncomfortable, the one on the left, whilst comfortable, could have a deeper seat.
The babies on the bottom both have great seats. The older baby on the left has a very deep seat with knees above her bottom at about the level of the navel. The smaller baby on the right has a similar, but less pronounced seat: her knees are still above her bottom and her back is naturally curved.
Getting a baby into this position takes some practise. Most of my early attempts in ring slings looked like the baby on the top right. If you have a chronic leg straightener, this may be how all your ring slings end up- but it can be corrected.
To start with:
- As you lower your baby into the ring sling, make sure the bottom rail (the edge closest to your navel) isn’t too tight. Intuitively, one would think that a tighter rail would get the knees up higher, but it can “pop” the baby outwards leading to a shallow seat like in the top pictures.
- As you lower the baby into the sling, try to bring her knees up as you sit her down and then tighten the bottom rail first. Afterwards, try and tighten the top rail so that there is no more than a hands’ width of space between you. Then tighten the middle of the sling.
If your baby straightens out while in the sling:
- Try pushing up on his/her heels to resettle the baby into the sling. This will mimic the “good seat” shown in the bottom photos.
- Try bringing some of the fabric under the knees to create more of a pouch for the baby to sit in.
Mostly, though, remember that although ring slings are easy, it takes a little practise to perfect the technique.