Baby slings can make your life so much easier as they allow you to carry around your child without actually using your hands. This gives you the chance to do other things around the household including washing the dishes and doing laundry. Moreover, baby slings significantly reduce the pressure that arises on the arms and shoulders from carrying the baby the traditional way.
Carrying your child using a sling has been extensively studied and proven to have beneficial effects on both, the mother and the child. For instance, carrying your baby in the sling increases the production of the “happy hormone” called oxytocin in the mother and the baby alike. This, in turn, makes the mother feel calmer and more enamored with her child. It enables a strong bond and rapport to be formed between the two. This bond is important because it helps combat child distancing during the postnatal depression in some women. Another great benefit is the lower chance of developing a syndrome called “flat head”.
Babies spend most of their time laying down and this sometimes causes flat spots on the back of their heads.
Lastly, babies that are carried with the mother throughout her daily routine have a chance of observing what she does and hear a variety of words thus improving their cognitive development.
How To Choose The Right Fabric
Choosing the right fabric can be really challenging as you would need to choose a fabric that is breathable and will not make your baby hot or sweaty. Moreover, the fabric has to be extra strong otherwise you will risk dropping your baby when the sling will tear.
Some fabrics can look appropriate for a baby sling at first but then stretch and lose their form. To determine how long the fabric will last and how strong it is, look at the type of material and manufacturer.
A lot of textile shops, as well as baby shops, sell specially made long pieces of fabrics that are meant to be used for making safe baby slings. Many mothers go for typical natural fabrics such as cotton, muslin and even flannel; however, these fabrics will stretch with time and become useless.
Another fabric that will stretch with time is jersey hence mothers suggest avoiding these fabrics altogether. Also, avoid using harsher fabrics that you might think will hold shape and last for a longer period of time. These fabrics might scratch and irritate the baby’s skin as well as head and face.
When you go out shopping for fabric to create a baby sling thoroughly inspect it using your own face and hands. You might even rub the fabric on your face to see how it feels and whether it will be soft for the baby.
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How To Choose The Right Accessories for Baby Slings
To complete the baby sling you are going to need to use rings. Often two rings that are somewhere between 6 and 8 cm should do the trick. The rings will make securing the baby sling more comfortable as well as give you the needed adjustability.
Some mothers buy the rings at local hardware stores. Then they paint them with the desired color however finding the right size might be challenging. Moreover, the rings will have to be of an optimal thickness of at least 1 cm. Never use D-rings as these can slide through each other and cause your baby to fall.
Furthermore, never buy rings at local craft shops. These rings tend to be very thin and cannot support much weight.
How To Correctly Carry The Baby in The Baby Swing
Carrying your baby in a baby sling should not pose any harm to him/her. However, you will still follow some simple precaution steps.
1. Correctly position your baby:
If the baby is placed in a position that results in his mouth and nose being obstructed then there is a great risk of the baby suffocating. Hence, always ensure that the face of your baby is open and visible. Moreover, ensure that the baby’s chin is not curled up to this neck or chest as this position can restrict the flow of air to the lungs.
Also, you might want to avoid carrying your child in a baby sling when he/she has a cold or flu as these illnesses cause breathing problems on their own.
2. Support Head and Neck:
When you place your baby in a baby swing make sure his head and neck are properly supported otherwise the neck muscles might strain.
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How To Sew A Baby Sling?
To sew a baby sling at home, measure the fabric of about 2.5 meters in length and 90 in width. Prepare the sewing needles if you are going to sew manually, or take out your sewing machine if you have one.
Before you start the stitching process, select matching threads as well as the support rings. The width of the fabric needed depends on the weight of the baby and the height of the parents.
Therefore, before you start stitching the baby sling check to see whether the fabric you have selected is wide enough to hold your baby. Also, keep in mind that babies grow very fast up to the age of 8 months so you might want to make the sling a bit longer and wider so as to accommodate your growing child.
To start sewing, measure equally and stitch there hems. Take two long hems from each side and sew them to the short side after you fold about 2 cm of the edge. Stitch with two lines for additional security. Some mothers choose not to stitch the hems but this will largely depend on the type of fabric. If you have chosen a fabric that fray then you will definitely want the hems in place.
Create Pleats from the Remaining Fabric
The un-hemmed part of the fabric will need to be pleated or at least folded. Most mothers choose to pleat back and forth going all the way down lengthwise. It will be best if the pleats will be thicker than the diameter of the rings you have chosen.
Secure the pleats so that they do not unravel during use by simply stitching them with a loose stitch. You could also just pin them but most mothers do not suggest this.
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How to Attach the Rings
Attach the rings by feeding the pleated fabric into them. Then fold the fabric over the rings and secure them with another few stitches. Make sure the seam is a sturdy one. For added security make sure to stitch few lines in a zigzag pattern as this will added strength to seams.
In conclusion, keep in mind that baby slings put additional strain on the mother’s back and shoulders. Therefore, carry heavier babies in ergonomic wraps that distribute the weight evenly and offer good lumbar support.
If the carrier wraps are too stretchable then the fabric starts sagging under the weight of heavier babies. This sagging requires frequent readjustments. Moreover, baby slings strain your back and joint muscles aggravating the problem over time. In cases like this, it might be best to invest in good soft-structured wraps and carriers. These carriers allow you to carry your baby on your hip rather than your front or back. Also, placing the carrier as high as possible changes the center of the gravity from your back thus easing the strain on the spine. Furthermore, wider wraps spread pressure over a larger area. For the best experience with a baby sling, you might want to consult your doctor first and then look at ready-made baby wraps and slings.
Read Our Guide on Best Baby Wraps
In the market for a baby wrap? Check out this guide comparing the features of some of the best ones in our opinion.
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