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Sling help

At slingheaven we have TEN babyweaing consultants trained with Trageschule, Slingababy or both. We want to help and support you on your babywearing  journey. We have put together some of the most frequently asked questions here. If there is something we haven't covered please contact us and we will endeavour to work with you to find a solution.



Best sling for a newborn?

Of course it is all down to personal preference however we would recommend a stretchy wrap, woven wrap or ring sling as the perfect slings for a newborn.  This is because they best replicate the womb environment and ease baby's transition into the world, therefore making baby less likely to protest being in the sling.  They are touched on all sides, tight against you with the even pressure of the sling and are close enough to hear the soothing sound of your heartbeat.


Buckled Carriers (SSC’s) and Mei Tai’s are ok to use, but more care needs to be taken to ensure baby is supported correctly. There are many slings on the market that have a ‘newborn setting’ or ‘newborn insert’, some are sold as extra and some are included with the sling upon purchase.


Best sling for a toddler?

Basically anything that isn’t a stretchy wrap! Toddlers and preschoolers can be carried in a buckled carrier (SSC), Mei Tai, Ring Sling, Pouch Sling or Woven wrap.  Depending on the age and height of your child you may need a toddler or preschooler sized carrier rather than the standard or baby sized ones.  As long as the carrier you use supports the child’s legs so that they are at least level with their bum, but preferably higher,knee to knee support is not such an important feature once your baby has learned to walk. There are many toddler sized slings on the market right now, which many people find more comfortable to carry with rather than a standard sized carrier when their toddler gets that bit bigger.


Best sling for breastfeeding in?

There are lots of factors to consider when breastfeeding in a sling.  It depends on the age of your child, their ability to latch and your confidence with the sling.  In the early days (the first 6 months) it is an idea to use the sling as a feeding ‘aid’ rather than a replacement for your arms and hands.  Use the sling to support and take the weight of baby’s body and you support the head with your hand or arm.  This means you still have one hand free to make some food or drink, turn the pages of a magazine, or to get some jobs done!


You should never have any fabric covering baby’s head.  This can pin baby’s head to your breast and cause baby to choke should they need to unlatch and also may hinder their breathing.


When baby is finished feeding, always return them to the upright tummy to tummy position.  This aids digestion therefore reducing the chance of wind and reflux.  


Once baby is confident with their latch and you are confident with the sling, you can feed on the go!  Usually it will be a case of loosening off the sling, jiggle baby down a bit and allow them to latch on in the upright position.  Once finished, take their weight with one arm and tighten the carrier again.


Best sling for both baby and toddler?

There are many adjustable slings available on the market at the moment.  The width and height of the main body of the sling are adjustable to make them wider/longer for an older child or narrower/shorter for a baby. Some non adjustable slings come with additional removable aids like stirrups to enable an older child’s legs to be well supported or newborn inserts for use before your baby fits into the wide base of the carrier.  


Most slings on the market are weight tested to approx 20kg/44lb.


Won’t I get hot in a wrap-around sling?

It can get a little bit toasty!  However if you both dress accordingly it shouldn’t be any worse than carrying a bag. You want to ensure you are as close to skin to skin as possible as, especially with a small baby, you will regulate your temperatures together.


In the summer all you would need is one layer of clothing each, perhaps pop a muslin in between you to absorb any moisture.  Try to stick to the shade and ensure both of you are well hydrated.


Different materials are more breathable and better suited to warmer weather, for example linen is a very strong and supportive material used in wraps and also thermoregulates to help keep you cool.


How do I dress my baby in a sling in the winter?

The sling generally replaces one layer of clothing.  You need to protect their head, hands and feet with extra layers but their body only needs a few layers.  It is best to carry your child inside your coat rather than outside as you will regulate your temperature against each other.  It is not advised to carry baby in a thick snow suit when in a sling as they will absorb your heat, as well as baby’s heat and keeps it inside and can very quickly lead to baby overheating.  Feeling the back of baby’s neck is a very good indication of how hot they actually are, hands and feet are pretty much always cold so don’t always indicate the actual body temp.


You can get specialist babywearing coats which have additional panels, separate head holes or enlarged head holes to fit both of you in. They are ideal if a sling is going to be your main mode of transport however not necessary.  A fleecy jacket 2 sizes bigger than you would usually go for also does the trick!


Will my baby fall out?

As long you as you follow the manufacturers instructions carefully, your child will be completely safe.  


Are they safe?

Absolutely!  As long you as you follow the manufacturers instructions carefully, your child will be completely safe.  Most sling manufacturers satisfy and sometimes exceed the EN-13209-2 European safety testing standard and also adhere to the OEKO-TEX® Standard for testing fabric for harmful substances. If you are concerned you should always ask the retailer or seller about the sling’s safety testing.


Can a baby suffocate in a sling?

As long as you follow the manufacturers instructions and the TICKS guidelines, absolutely not.  Always carry in an upright, tummy to tummy position unless advised of a safe alternative by a qualified sling consultant.


Aren’t their legs too wide?

Babies naturally hold their legs in a spread squat position, drawing their knees to their chest, ergonomic slings support this rather than allowing the legs to hang down.  As the child gets older they are held in more a seated position, the same is they would in a buggy or on a sofa.


Positioning needs change as baby gets older:  

Newborn to 3 months - Knees level with belly button, slightly open pelvis allowing legs next to body, leg from knee to foot parallel to the floor, spine curved into a ‘C’ shape.

3 months to 12 months - Knees higher than bum, open pelvis, spine curved into a loose ‘C’ shape.

12 months onwards - Knees preferably higher than bum but at least level, ‘J’ shaped spine.



Why does my baby cry in the sling?

The most common causes of baby crying in a sling:

  1. They don’t like to be stood still!  Have a bounce, gentle dance or walk around.  Perhaps go outside for a change of scenery

  2. They don’t feel safe in the sling.  This is especially prevalent with babies under 4 months.  A new baby isn’t used to being able to feel gravity, or their arms, or having to try and support themselves.  Ensure that the sling is tight enough to you that they don’t come away from you when you lean forward (support the head when leaning forward!). It really is surprising how tight you need it! Just ensure that you can both breathe!

  3. They have associated the sling with sleep and they don’t want to sleep right now (even though you know they need it)!  Try incorporating your sling into your playtime so that baby doesn’t see the sling and immediately think its nap time.  Perhaps use your sling as a blanket, use it to build a fort or use it to play peek-a-boo.

  4. They are too hot.  Try removing some body layers.  A good test of how warm baby is, is to feel the back of their neck.  Babies often have cold feet and hands so aren’t a particularly good example of their temperature.

  5. They aren’t comfy.  Ensure that they are in the age appropriate position.

  6. Their clothes are making them uncomfy.  If baby is wearing an all in one, check baby’s toes to ensure they aren’t bunched up.  Check the fabric build up at the backs of the knees.  If they are wearing an outfit check that the waistband isn’t digging into their tummy.


My baby has reflux, can I carry them in a sling?

Absolutely! Slings are brilliant for easing reflux symptoms.  The sling keeps baby upright therefore gravity keeps everything down in the tummy. The warmth from carrying tummy to tummy eases any tummy cramps and the sling allowing the spine to curve into a ‘C’ shape takes the pressure off a sore tummy.  Sometimes baby will protest about a full tummy to tummy position as it is too uncomfortable for them, if this is the case seek advice from a qualified sling consultant who can advise on safe side seated carries.


I need to carry by baby laying down, which sling will enable me to do this?

Unfortunately there are no carriers that allow safe laying down carries.  Laying down carries are often called cradle carries and can be very dangerous.  They allow baby to curl up into a ball where their chin rests on their chest and restricts their breathing.  A small baby doesn’t have the muscle tone to hold their airway open in a compromised position so the oxygen reaching their lungs is severely reduced. Baby should always be carried in an upright position.  



My baby only wants to face forward, when can I do this?

It is recommended you do not face your baby forward until they are 5 months old and have near perfect head control.  If your baby has NOSY Syndrome before this, you can indulge in hip carries in a ring sling or pouch sling which you can do from birth.  It is recommended by the manufacturers that you limit facing out carries to only 15 minutes at a time, before turning them around again.  You may find that facing out carries are not as comfy as facing in carries and will cause pain in your shoulders and back, this is because in a facing out position baby’s centre of gravity is pulling away from you, rather than into you as it does in a facing in position so you are having to overcompensate.  A hip carry is completely ergonomic for both you and child so you should find it much more comfortable and there are no time limits either!


My baby only wants to face forward, which slings offer this?

The only ergonomic carriers on the market that facilitate facing out are the Lillebaby Complete, the Ergo 360 and the Beco Gemini. The main difference with this to the other carriers that offer facing forward are that they are wider than average therefore offering baby more leg and hip support to make it more comfy for them, and for you. The lumbar support on the Lillebaby also makes this a more comfortable option for the wearer when facing forward.


I have heard that narrow base carriers are bad for babies hips, are they?

No.  The only chance that a narrow base carrier would not be advised is if there is a history of hip dysplasia in your family or if baby failed their hip click test when newborn.  A narrow base carrier will exacerbate pre existing conditions but will not cause them in healthy hips.  Compared to wide base carriers the only issue is comfort for both you and baby.  Wide base carriers offer more natural support for baby and more ergonomic support for you.  Narrow base carriers tend to hang baby’s weight from your shoulders whereas wide base carriers bring their weight around and into you.


My baby has a medical condition, can I still carry them?

Most likely yes.  Of course it does entirely depend on the nature of the medical condition but it is very rare that a suitable option cannot be found.  You will need to seek advice from a qualified sling consultant and combine with the information from your medical professional but there are plenty of options out there and you are bound to find one that works.


Is there anyone to teach me how to use a sling?

Yes!  We have eight Trageschule qualified babywearing consultants at Sling Heaven who are here to support you on your babywearing journey however we can.


Where can I try a sling before buying?

Yes we offer a sling hire service.


What slings can I use on my back?

Everything except a stretchy wrap!  You can use a buckled carrier, Mei Tai, Woven Wrap, Ring Sling or Pouch Sling.  Most slings will offer both front and back and some have the additional option of hip carrying too.


What slings can I use on my hip?

There are a quite a few slings that are made to be used on the hip, and can also be used as a front or back carrier as an added bonus.  

Buckled carriers:   Other buckled carriers advertise hip carries and these can be done, however, careful positioning is required for comfort.

Ring or Pouch slings:  Simple loops of fabric that can be positioned on your hip, front or on your back and are able to be used from birth to preschool age.  

Woven wraps: A good variable option for hip carrying as you can tie lots of different ways on your hip as well as front and back.

Mei Tai’s: Most regular Mei Tai’s are probably not the best option for hip carries unless they are the Wrap Tai style, or at least have wrap straps.  Regular Mei Tai’s with padded straps will not sit well on your shoulder and you may find you will only manage about 10 minutes before becoming too uncomfortable.  Wrap Tai’s enable you to spread the fabric over your shoulder and away from your neck, therefore making it much more comfy.


My baby is 12 months old, are they too old to go in a sling?

Absolutely not! Some parents find they use a sling more at this age than they did when they were smaller! Depending on the height (not weight!) of your child you may need to look into a toddler size carrier but be aware that most toddler sized ones are based on children 18-24 months old. A good option for new walkers is a ring sling as you can pop them up and down incredibly quickly.  Save yourself from dealing with a wayward toddler in one hand and an wayward empty buggy in the other, just pop a ring sling on and you can save your back and arms a lot of discomfort!


How do I dress my baby in a sling in the winter?

The sling generally replaces one layer of clothing.  You need to protect their head, hands and feet with extra layers but their body only needs a few layers.  It is best to carry your child inside your coat rather than outside as you will regulate your temperature against each other.  It is not advised to carry baby in a thick snow suit when in a sling as they will absorb your heat, as well as baby’s heat and keeps it inside and can very quickly lead to baby overheating.  Feeling the back of baby’s neck is a very good indication of how hot they actually are, hands and feet are pretty much always cold so don’t always indicate the actual body temp.


You can get specialist ‘babywearing’ coats which have additional panels, separate head holes or enlarged head holes to fit both of you in! There are ideal if a sling is going to you main mode of transport however not necessary.  A fleecy jacket 2 sizes bigger than you would usually got for also does the trick!


How do I dress my baby in a sling in the summer?

Carrying anything in the summer makes you hot, the same can be said for a baby too!  What we can look at are ways to ensure nobody gets too hot and are dressed appropriately.   The sling replaces one layer of clothing so in really hot weather it is perfectly acceptable for baby to be in just a nappy!  You can pop a muslin between to you to absorb any moisture and prevent slipping. You want to ensure that baby has their extremities covered in sunscreen and that they are wearing a lightweight hat.  Ideally you would be sticking to the shade or using a parasol and making extra sure that you are both hydrated.  


You can buy sling specially made for carrying in warm weather, ones that are made with UV  protective fabric or breathable mesh.  The Lillebaby Airflow or All Seasons, The Connecta Solar and the Pognae are all warm weather carriers however there is no reason that any regular carrier can’t be used in the heat when dressed appropriately.  For those that use woven wraps to carry, stick to one layer carries such as a ruck, front wrap cross carry or kangaroo carry.  Thinner wraps, made from thin cotton, gauze or linen are available too.



Are slings safe for my baby to chew?

If you have a baby that likes to chew everything it may be worthwhile looking for a sling that is made with Organic or OEKO-TEX® certified fabrics.  Carriers made from fabric bought from regular fabric shops may not fall under either of these categories meaning the fabric may have been treated with harmful substances, Formaldehyde is sometimes used to treat fabric meant for haberdashery.  You can get ‘suck pads’ which are clip on covers for your carrier straps and are made from moisture absorbing organic materials.  These are easy to pop on and off between slings and easy to pop in the wash.


I have heard about fake carriers on the market? How do I know if mine is real or fake?

The main brands that are known to have fakes are Ergo, Moby and Freehand (fakes are known as Minizone), there are also possibilities of Tula and Manduca being faked too.  Ergo is by far the most commonly faked sling, often sold as an Ergo or an ‘Ergo Style’ carrier and are much cheaper.  There have been instances where buckles have snapped or seams have ripped on fake slings, we also don’t know with what material they have been made and if it is safe for babies to chew.   The differences can be so visually minute that it can be very difficult to tell, on the face they may look exactly the same however you don’t know how they have been constructed and if it is with the same tried and tested methods of the manufacturer.


  1. When buying, buy from an authorised retailer. You will often find a list of these on the carrier makers website

  2. If you are buying a second hand carrier, ask the seller for proof of purchase such as a receipt.  Ensure that receipt is from an authorised retailer.

  3. If the carrier you are buying is cheap, it is probably cheap for a reason!  It is better to be safe than sorry.  Don’t feel bad about enquiring about where they got it from, after all it’s the safety of your child at risk.  

  4. If you are concerned about whether a carrier you have bought is a fake, you can take it along to your local sling library, sling consultant or sling retailer.  They will often be able to check it out for you and/or converse with the manufacturer on your behalf.  Most will also have a genuine carrier to compare it to.



How many hours can I carry my child in a sling?

It’s entirely up to how long you can manage!  Technically speaking you can carry for the whole day if you use a wide base sling as it holds baby and supports you ergonomically.   Realistically, you need to listen to your body. If you start to get sore, or experience pain, its time to take a break.  For new mums in the post-natal 6 months your body is still full of leftover pregnancy hormones which can affect your joints and muscles so be extra careful not to overexert yourself.


Can I make my own carrier?

You can, but there are several things to take into account before doing so.  A carrier may look simple from the outside however what you can’t see is the internal stitching or support structure born from the knowledge and experience the makers have with how fabric works, and the research that has gone into ensuring the components of the sling are safe and appropriate for sling use.  Most are happy to talk to you about making yourself a sling.  If you are looking for something for quick ‘up down\carries’ then you could look at a pashmina or scarf to use as a hip carrier.   Whilst testing of carriers is not yet mandatory it is very strongly advised because of the nature of the product.  


Isn’t it cheaper to buy a bit of fabric from the haberdashery?

Not always.  The average woven wrap is around 5 meters long, Lenny Lamb (a budget but excellent woven wrap maker) charges around £7 per meter for material that has been woven specifically to work well in carrying weight (cross twill weave), is tested to be safe for babies and is pre hemmed for comfort and safety.  From a well known fabric retailer on the web, they are charging around £6 per meter for a straight weave, non hemmed and unknown dyes. Because of the difference in weave, the straight weave will be much harder to wrap with, the cross twill weave has an element of diagonal stretch which makes wrapping easier and more comfortable.  


How do I get my child on my back?

There are several ways of getting your child on your back, depending on your comfort zone.  


  1. Get someone to put your child on your back and bring the fabric of the sling up

  2. Lay your sling on the bed or sofa, lay child on top, sit down in front of them and fasten waist, put your arms backwards and bring the shoulder straps up

  3. Hip scoot. Put your sling on your hip, sit your child in the sling and twist them around your body, under your arm to your back

  4. Superman toss.  Put your sling on your back with the body hanging down, pick up your child under their arms and lift them over your head and slide down your back, bring the fabric of the sling up over their back

  5. Santa toss.  Put your sling over your child's back, pick them up (holding the sling on their back), lift them over your head and slide down your back, secure the waistband.


This is a VERY brief guide to the ways you can get them on your back.  Youtube has a wealth of tutorials or you can visit your local sling library or sling consultant for personalised tuition.


What is the quickest and easiest sling to use?

This entirely depends on your level of practice.  Remember the first time you had to collapse your buggy?  Probably took you half an hour!  After a few practices it now only takes you 30 seconds.  The same is said for slings, the more you practise the quicker you get, you get to know where everything goes and which bit goes where.  


How do I know if my baby is in the right position?

Firstly, ensure you are following the TICKS Guide to safe sling use.  This will ensure baby is safe.  


Newborn to 3 months - Knees level with belly button, slightly open pelvis allowing legs next to body, leg from knee to foot parallel to the floor, spine curved into a ‘C’ shape.

3 months to 12 months - Knees higher than bum, open pelvis, spine curved into a loose ‘C’ shape.

12 months onwards - Knees preferably higher than bum but at least level, ‘J’ shaped spine, thighs well supported.


I have a disability, Can I use a sling?

In most cases, yes!  Of course each disability has to be assessed differently but slings can play a really useful part of a disabled parents life.  From using a sling as a ‘safety belt’ for those of you who use wheelchairs to those of you with sight problems needing to keep their children close there will always be a sling that can be used.  Your local sling consultant will happily work alongside your medical professionals to ensure everything is safe and within your limits.


How do I wash my sling?

Every sling has its own washing instructions so please visit the manufacturers website or see their instruction booklet.  There are a some instructions that carry over to all slings.  Firstly, never use fabric conditioner as it coats the material of the sling and can cause the fabric to slip.  Secondly, don’t use any detergent that has optical brighteners listed in the ingredients.  These again coat the fabric but can cause it to degrade quicker. Thirdly, stick to gentle washes with low temps of 30 or 40 degrees. Lastly, put your sling in a laundry bag or pillow case during the wash, this will stop it from getting damaged.


Buckled carriers: Ensure all buckles are fastened.  If they are left loose they can crack against the side of the drum. Hang to dry.


Mei Tais: Put your sling in a laundry bag or pillow case for the washing process to stop the straps getting tangled.  Hang to dry.


Woven wraps: Be very careful with washing woven wraps! Ensure you check the label for the fabric content and wash according to those. Most wraps are 100% cotton and can be washed normally.


Ring Slings: Put a pair of socks over the rings to stop them getting scratched and from banging around in the drum, potentially harming the fabric of the sling.  



Once my child starts walking, I won’t need a sling.  Will I?

If you still use a buggy, you still need a sling! Once they start walking they will probably inherently refuse the buggy, insisting they can walk everywhere. So off you do, wayward toddler in one hand and wayward buggy in the other.  With a sling, you can have both hands free for your toddler and when (in 20 steps down the road) they get too tired to walk you can just pop them in the sling, which is already conveniently secured around your waist, and off you go.  Then when they have rested their tired legs you can pop them down again!  When preschoolers start nursery or preschool, they may be absolutely exhausted by the time they finish, what would be a 10 minute walk home could well end up to be a 45 minute walk with a tired child.


I have seen some fabric I like, can I get a custom made sling?

Absolutely!  There are a wealth of very talented carrier makers active in the UK.  It is best to look through the previous work done by the maker so that you can get a good idea if what they offer is suitable for you and ask if their product has gone through any testing.  You can always ask for recommendations on one of the many sling or babywearing pages on facebook.


What woven wrap size do I need?

A good base size is 6.  If you are just starting out and learning how to tighten and tie, a 6 is perfect as you should have plenty of wrap with some left over.  If you are UK size 6-10 you may well be able to get away with a 5.  Once you are used to how a woven wrap works you can use any size, it just depends on the type of carry you want to do.

*insert woven wrap guide*


I am quite large, what carriers will fit me?

Its actually very difficult to find a sling that won’t fit a larger person.  Slings are massively adjustable so often go from size UK6 to size UK28.  Most manufacturers will have the smallest and largest adjustments available on their websites.


What age can I use my stretchy wrap until?

Realistically, stretchy wraps will comfortably last up until baby is 6-8 months, but depending on wrap brand may go a little further than that to 12 months.  Once the fabric starts to bounce and sag, no matter how tight you tie it, its time to move on.  You will find the more the fabric bounces, the tougher it will feel on your shoulders so always be aware of how carrying makes you feel.


When do I need to ‘size up’ from a baby size to a toddler size sling?

Contrary to popular belief, sizing up is nothing to do with weight.  Its all down to size! Once baby's legs are no longer supported enough to keep their knees above their bum its time to move on to a toddler size.