In English 

Why would I carry my child in a sling?

A child needs affection

The need for affection is equally important with nutrition, sleep and other basic needs. Think of a mother and a child doing their every-day routines. Babies are carried many times during the day – sometimes for quite long periods. Babies are also on the lap or in mother’s arms when nursed, burped, put to sleep, chatted with, comforted, looked at, read to, played with as well as then when the baby is unhappy anywhere else but in someone’s arms. The lap is an important place both for small and bigger children; carrying the child belongs to parenting. A carrying sling is an excellent tool to satisfy the needs for affection. If one is carrying the child anyway, why not in a sling?

Carrying is beneficial for the child’s development


When the baby is being carried, it is involved with her carrier’s movements. It can also keep eye contact with the carrier. This is very comforting for the child and it feels itself secure. At the same time the nerval, muscular and breathing systems get stimulated. In addition the sense of balance and movement are developing. The child is actively involved in action instead of passively following it from the distance. Therefore carrying brings both physical and psychological benefits for the development of the child.

Hands-free

Babies need to be carried a lot. However, sometimes the carrying arms are very much needed for other jobs as well. Surely almost every mother sometimes finds herself thinking: “Why my baby cannot be happier for a longer period on the floor, I should take care of the other siblings / food is getting burned on the stove / surprise visitors should get something to drink.” In the sling the baby is content in the mother’s lap or back and she has free hands for washing up, sandpit activities or even for playing with the older sibling. Slings are a truthful “hands-free” accessory for the parents.

Baby in the sling, in the middle of the action

The carrying position in a sling is anatomically right and very firm. In the sling the baby can follow what mother or father are doing as well as safely study strangers and happenings outside the home. It can actively join in the action right from the start of its life. However, when the world is providing too much stimulation and the baby gets tired or distressed, all it needs to do is to turn its head down to mother’s or father’s chest and have a little refreshing nap. The parent can then pull up the sling a little bit and support the baby’s head.

Living with a colicky baby

Those who have experienced a colicky baby know how those screaming hours can be. Carrying and motion are often the only way to comfort the child (it is also worth checking the nursing mother’s diet and trying zone therapy). When the parent stops moving, it’s a matter of seconds before the crying re-starts. That is tiring even for the strongest of carrying arms. Slings will make the carrying physically easier. The colicky period will eventually pass and the sling will ease up the challenging phase a little bit.

Does the sling replace the buggy?

 

Many mothers have been very surprised after the first use of a sling: the baby has fallen asleep within a minute or two after putting the baby into it! A baby who sleeps in a sling is comfortably and safely next to the parent. The best place for a baby to sleep is near the mother or father! The sling has been especially pleasant for those whose baby has needed complicated ceremonies in falling to sleep. Motion (walking, dancing, rocking or any other suitable form of moving) will make it even easier for the baby to fall asleep and have an undisturbed rest. The sling is equally as good place for a nap as the buggy.

Others like to move the sleeping baby onto the bed whereas others like to carry the baby throughout the nap. There are some tips to move the sleeping baby onto the bed: you can loosen up the sling and lift up the baby and put it onto the bed. Or alternatively, you can loosen up the sling, lie down together with the baby and slip out of the sling. Then the sling will stay as a blanket for the baby and the temperature will remain the same. The baby is less likely to wake up with these tips.

It is a perfect time to have a walk outside and enjoy the nature and sun while the baby is sleeping in the sling. No need to rush to comfort a crying baby, or to be on constant alert in case it wakes up – the baby is right there where you are.

Not all babies are happy in a pram or a buggy. For some babies it is just impossible to settle in the pram. However, there is still some use for the pram if you have one: the baby is in the sling and the shopping is in the pram. Convenient, isn’t it!

Most sling users also have a pram or a buggy. There is a time and a place for all slings. As an answer to the question: yes, a sling can replace the buggy. However, both sling and the buggy can also be used side by side.

When you carry a baby in the sling you can easily get to places where you couldn’t go with the pram. Trekking, day-trips to the forest, staircases and shopping trips to small boutiques must be given a miss if you are pushing a pram.

In addition, slings are light-weight and easy to store. Over-the-shoulder – slings have proven to be a very life-long investment: keep a sling in your pocket when out with a toddler. When a child is saying no more walking, it’s time to take the sling out of your pocket and slip the child into the sling. That is all you need to do. 


Woven wraparound slings have so many benefits that it is actually difficult to find even one reason why not to use it.

Slings can also be a hobby. They are beautiful, often colorful and multi-usable. Though a dedicated user might have several slings, they all have a purpose. Not even mentioning the re-selling price, if the owner has the heart to give them away. Slings, especially a long one, can even be handed down from generation to generation.

Text: Anne Paakkanen

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