Thanks to everyone who made it out to the meeting! We were so busy that we didn’t manage any photo opportunities! We discussed ring slings, the K’tan brand carrier, back-carries and sizing up SSC’s with infants one year and younger. Going forward, we have decided that our meeting livestreams will only be available during the meeting itself. It just takes too much time to edit 60-120 minutes of video. If you have attended a meeting and would like access to the video for review, let us know and we can send you a private link.
At a previous meeting, a mama had a Baby K’tan Active, which is made from a wicking synthetic blend, intended to dry quickly. We found to be very lightweight with a lot of stretch– almost to the point of making it feel less secure, even with the belt tightly tied. At this month’s meeting, another mama brought in the K’tan Breeze, which is made from a cotton mesh, intended to keep you cool but not necessarily wick away moisture as quickly as the Active. The Breeze had some stretch (K’tan’s are stretchy wraps) but it was considerably more supportive than the Active. When choosing a size of this brand of carrier, consider the style and fabric type. You may want to size down if purchasing the Active style in order to make the carrier more supportive.
If you have been using a SSC with a newborn, at some point you will need to stop using whatever newborn adaptation (built in, pillow insert, folded blanket, etc.) as your baby outgrows it. But when exactly? This is largely a matter of your baby’s comfort. Ideally, the seat of the carrier will support your baby’s thighs from knee to knee, with knees higher than or level with their butt.
What if the newborn adaptation of the carrier only reaches from mid-thigh to mid-thigh but without the adaptation, the sides of the carrier go past baby’s knees? Two questions: Is your baby uncomfortable in the carrier with the sides going past their knees? Are they still sitting high enough in the carrier?
If the answer to both is yes, then you’re good to go– though you may need to adjust the shoulder straps as baby is situated differently in the carrier. If your baby is comfortable but sitting too low in the carrier, then pad out the seat of the carrier with a folded blanket. If the answer is no to both, then continue to use the infant adaptation for a while longer.
Shoulder styles are a common question when it comes to ring slings. It can be complicated to figure out which ones are the best for a person because so much depends on their mobility and the shape and size of their shoulders. We will be writing a more in-depth article on the different styles of ring sling shoulders. In the meantime, you can find Kelsey’s tutorial on sewing your own ring sling here.
Check out our: “No Sew Ring Sling” video
Ring slings can be used from birth through whatever size and weight child you can/want to carry. Obviously, check the manufacturer’s suggested weight limit and use your common sense. Our favorite position for a newborn in centered on the front, facing in, legs out in a deep M squat. Older babies can be worn in the same position, though lower, or on the hip, or facing out in a kangaroo carry. Toddlers can even be worn on the back.
Check out our: “The How To (Everything) Ring Sling” video (circa 2010!)
Nursing hands-free is fairly straight forward in a ring sling. The easiest way to practice is to have the ring sling around you and baby, while you are seated. Have baby latch on and get comfortable while you tighten the sling material, starting with the bottom or inner rail and working towards the top until you feel that the fabric is supporting your baby enough for you to let go. Try standing, walking around, adjusting the fabric as needed. Some find that with baby in a semi-reclined position, they prefer to support baby’s head with their inner elbow, but still enjoy having two hands free for other activities (think using their phone, cooking, eating, shopping, helping other children, packing a bag or lunch, typing, reading a book, folding laundry, etc). It is also possible to nurse with baby in an upright position by loosening the sling and dropping baby down to the level of the breast (some may find they don’t need to lower baby at all for baby to latch on). If you like, you can use the tail to cover a distracted or sleepy eater.
Here is a video by J.R. Parker showing how she used her ring sling to nurse semi-hands free. She encloses her baby’s feet in the pouch, however, if you transition from an upright, legs out position to the semi-reclined position shown here, you can let baby’s legs stick out the side if they prefer it.
Our next meeting will be on June 3rd, we hope to see you there! Follow our blog by email or WordPress account for updates, including our next giveaway! Happy babywearing!