General tips on how to wear a Pouchlings baby sling
Babies can be carried in a sling as soon as they are born - in fact, the sooner the better as they will already be missing the warmth, movement and comfort of their mothers womb. There are a number of ways you can wear your baby in a Pouchlings ring-sling but these are divided into two main categories: "newborn holds" and "toddler holds". For all the "newborn holds" it is essential that you pull the back edge of the fabric up against your body to form a pouch into which your baby is laid as though in a hammock. "Toddler holds" don't need the fabric to be folded in the same way as invariably the older child won't be completely enclosed in the fabric.
Using your sling will soon become second nature, although it might take a bit of practice to begin with to get it right. (It helps to start with a happy baby who is well-fed and well-rested!)
The Pouchlings sling can be worn on either shoulder. These instructions are for wearing the sling on the left shoulder so just reverse the instructions if you prefer to wear it on the right.General Rules
The higher and tighter the baby is carried in the sling, the more secure they will be and the lighter they will feel. Always begin by taking the weight of the baby in one arm, pull on the whole of the tail to get the general positioning right. Then pull on either the front or back hem to take up the corresponding slack To loosen or remove the sling, (hold the baby) lift the bottom ring over the top ring. The weight of the baby will make the fabric slip through the rings so always hold the baby when you do this.
It's worth familiarizing yourself with the threading technique. When your sling arrives:
- lay your sling out flat on the floor with the POUCHLINGS label face up (this will form the inside of the 'pouch' part of the sling.) (Fig 1a)
- take hold of the end of the fabric furthest away from the rings (the 'tail') and fold the fabric back over itself up towards the rings. (Fig 1 b)
- push the tail fabric through both rings, feeding about one half of the tail through.
- fold the tail fabric backwards over the first ring and under the second; pull it through until you have taken up all the slack.
- at this point, be sure to spread the tail fabric evenly over the rings so that the left hem of the 'pouch' part of the sling comes out on the left side of the rings and the right hem of the 'pouch' comes out on the right side of the rings. This will make it easier to adjust your sling for comfort and security once your baby is in. (Fig 1c)
When you wash your sling, unthread it completely and, when dry, re-thread it following the above instructions.
- hold the rings in your left hand with the pouch towards you and the tail hanging in front of the rings away from you. (Fig 2a)
- put your right arm through the pouch and bring the sling over your head (as if putting on a 'Miss World' sash). The rings should rest in front of your left shoulder just below your collarbone. The sling fabric should be spread across your shoulder/ top of your arm NOT your shoulder/neck. (Fig 2b)
- pull the fabric of the sling pouch forward so that it takes up any slack across your back. (This will ensure that the rings don't slide down to the middle of your chest when you tighten the sling.) If there is a lot of fabric forming the pouch, tighten the sling by pulling on the whole of the tail in a slight up-and-over-the-rings movement.
- if you are about to use any of the newborn positions, you need to create a secure 'pouch/hammock' at this point. (Fig 2c) You do this by locating the bottom/back hem of the pouch fabric and folding it up against your tummy. Tighten the fabric by pulling on the left hem as it comes over the rings and becomes the tail. Leave the front of the pouch fabric slack enough to be able to put the baby in.
- Decide which position you are about to use. For all positions start by lifting the baby into the 'burp' position over the shoulder opposite the rings. (Whenever you place a newborn into the sling, be sure to support their head until the sling is correctly adjusted to provide enough support.
| || || |
For maximum comfort and safety when using a POUCHLINGS ring sling, it is useful to familiarize yourself with these general rules:
- the higher and tighter the baby is carried in the sling, the more secure they will be and the lighter they will feel.
- always begin by taking the weight of the baby in one arm and pull on the whole of the tail to get the general positioning right. Then pull on either the front or back hem to take up the corresponding slack.
- pull the fabric with a slight "up-and-over" movement across the front of your body NOT out to the side, away from you.
- to loosen or remove the sling, take the weight of the baby, and lift the bottom ring over the top ring (the weight of the baby will make the fabric slip through the rings so always hold the baby before you do this!)
- if, once the baby is in, something doesn't feel right, it is not necessary to start from scratch. Simply loosen the fabric slightly, make whatever adjustments are needed and tighten again.
From Newborn to six monthsTummy to tummy hold (vertical)
This is possibly the most comfortable newborn hold and is particularly good for colicky babies as it keeps them in an upright position. It also makes for a very gentle transition from the womb as they have their ear pressed to your chest where they hear the comfortingly familiar sound of your heart.
- hold the baby over your right shoulder with your right arm.
- use your left hand to pull open the front of the pouch. (Fig 3a)
- keeping the baby in an upright position, with their chest pressed against your chest, slide the baby down into the pouch tucking their feet and legs towards your right hip (or for very new or small babies leave their feet tucked under their bottoms froggy-style. Make sure there is enough fabric at the front of the pouch to completely cover the baby. (If not you may have too much fabric folded against your tummy and will need to start again!) (Fig 3b)
- press the baby close against you with your right arm and with your left hand pull on the tail to tighten the whole sling and then pull on the front hem to tighten up the front of the pouch. (Fig 3c)
- [TIP: when tightening the sling, always lift the baby to take their weight; pull the tail fabric with a slight "up-and-over" movement towards the baby NOT away from it. If the baby hangs too low, pull on the whole of the tail to raise the baby up high. Then make smaller adjustments by pulling on the front or back hems as necessary.]
- as with the TUMMY-TO -TUMMY position, start by creating a pouch/hammock at the front of your body.
- hold the baby against your right shoulder with your right arm.
- with your left hand, hold the pouch open and lower the baby into the pouch sideways so that their head is close to the rings and they lie across the front of your body. (They may curl into a foetal position with their knees up to their chin). (Fig 4a)
- tighten the pouch, as before, by pulling on the 'front' hem. If the baby seems lost because the pouch is too deep, make the pouch shallower by pulling the fabric in the middle of the tail, which corresponds to the fabric in the middle of the pouch. Always make sure there is sufficient fabric at the front and back, pulled tight enough to keep the baby pressed close against you and safe. (Fig 4b)
Cradle hold 2 (reclining, head away from rings)
This position is very useful for breastfeeding. Follow instructions as above, but lay the baby into the pouch with their head away from the rings. This position is less useful than the others as the baby grows longer. (Fig 4c)
| || |
This position is for babies with good head control.
- start by creating a pouch as for the previous 'newborn' positions.
- with your right arm hold the baby with their back against your chest and your hand under their bottom. Fold their legs up so that their feet cross over their chests in a foetal position. (Fig 5a)
- with your left hand pull open the front of the pouch and lower the baby, bottom first, into it.
- still supporting the weight of the baby, tighten the fabric by pulling on the 'front' hem. If the baby hangs too low, take the weight of the baby and pull the whole of the tail fabric together to lift the whole of the pouch. (Fig 5b)
From 6 months to 2 years
you can use the 'hip carry' position with your sling which
will take the weight off your arm, straighten your spine
and allow the use of both your arms whilst still carrying
your child. For this position you do not need to make
the pouch that you need for 'newborn' positions.
Lift the baby into 'burp' position and use your right arm
to support them under their bottom
Slip your left hand under the sling fabric and use it to
pull the sling pouch away from your body whilst guiding
the baby's legs through the fabric (Fig 6a)
Position the baby onto your hip as you would naturally
carry them but keep the baby held quite high whilst you
adjust the sling fabric.
With your left hand, tuck the fabric well under the baby's
bottom so that it reaches the back of their knees.
Pull upper hem of the pouch at least as high as the
baby's armpits (for arms free) or over their shoulders
(for cosy hold). They will not be safe if you only pull it
up to their waist. (Fig 6b)
Lift the baby high and press close to your body. Whilst
doing this, use your left hand to pull the whole of the tail
to tighten the baby against you. Then take up any slack
on the top or bottom hems as required. (Baby's bottom
must hang lower than their knees for safety.) (Fig 6c)
The closer the baby is to you, the less heavy they will
feel. If they fall asleep in this position you can either
pull the fabric up over their head or twist them round into
either the 'tummy-to-tummy' position (legs dangling out)
(fig 6d) or the 'cradle hold 2 (reclining).' (fig 6e).
Alternatively loosen the sling, lay the sleeping child down
and back yourself out of the sling, using the extra fabric
as a blanket.
slack so that it feels fairly tight.
Now shift the sling right round so that the rings are past
your left shoulder blade. (Fig 7a)
Put the child on your hip as for 'hip carry'. (Fig 7b)
Lean forward, move your right arm in front of the child
and slowly (and carefully) slide (or bounce) the child
and sling round into piggy-back position. The rings
should now have slid back round over your shoulder
into their usual position. (Fig 7c)
Before straightening up pull on the tail to tighten the
sling, pay special attention to tightening the top hem.
Don't let go of the child until you are sure they are
tightly fastened to your back with the fabric well up
their backs to their armpits or shoulders and right to
their knees. (Fig 7d) Until you are confident, practice
this position over a bed or with someone to help.