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What is a Baby Sling?

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  • Written By: Deborah Ng
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A baby sling is a device used to carry a baby close to his parent. It keeps the parent's hands free for other duties while aiding in the bonding process. The baby sling also enables nursing moms to breast feed while going about other business. Using a baby sling, or "baby wearing" as its proponents refer to it, is most common among parents who practice "attachment parenting," a form of child rearing advocating co-sleeping and extended breast feeding.

Most baby slings are very simple. They're not much more than a long piece of material, sewn or otherwise fastened together to form a circle. The baby sling slips over Mom's head and hangs on one shoulder. The opposite side of the circle creates a pouch which can comfortably and securely hold a small child.

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There are several types of baby slings:

  • The ring sling uses rings and dynamic tension to keep baby safe and secure. This baby sling is adjustable.
  • The pocket sling, also known as a tube sling, is a single piece of cloth sewn together to form a pocket in which baby can lie or sit. This type of baby sling is made of a single piece of fabric and cannot be adjusted.
  • The wrap around sling is a single long piece of material that can be tied together at the ends to form a pouch for the baby. This sling can be adjusted for length and comfort.
  • The kanga takes a bit more maneuvering. The kanga involves a single piece of material worn over the shoulder and knotted in the front so the pocket — and baby — are worn on the back.

Advocates of the baby sling claim many benefits of baby wearing. Carrying a baby close helps with the bonding process and makes for less crying and colic. Parent's hands are kept free for household chores and parents are able to spend more time interacting with their older children. There are also those who claim that wearing a baby for three hours a day can lead to constant back pain, a clingy child, and jealous older siblings.

As with most methods of child rearing, a baby sling isn't for everyone. If baby wearing interests you, do some further research online or at the library to see if it's for you. The most important thing is that your baby be secure and comfortable.

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