The hottest new accessory this summer?
Don't pretend you don't want in on this trend.
Excuse my tired face. I am tired. There is a whole world of babywearing fanatics out there that I've only just discovered. Obviously, not having a baby to wear before now. We received a Baby Bjorn carrier as a shower gift and I was really excited at the prospect of being able to pop newborn baby Jane in to it and carry on about my business. (I'm also excited about J wearing Jane a la The Hangover- tee hee!) Unfortunately that is not what happened. I've tried several times to get her in to the Baby Bjorn unsuccessfully. She screams and yells and is not happy. Since she can't hold her head up yet she has to go in facing me with her little legs frogged in front of her. It truthfully doesn't look very comfortable. I think she doesn't like it because of the large leg openings on the sides. It feels to me like she could slip out of one of those leg holes if she squirmed around too much. Not very secure. Once she can hold her head up I know we'll get lots of use out of it. Then she can face forward and stick her legs through those openings. But for now it's a no go. So my dream of packing my little bub in to the carrier and leisurely strolling around Target was shot down. It's the little things that get a new mom excited.
Enter the ring sling. I learned about the baby ring sling after seeing a beautiful silk version on Sew Fearless. She linked to the instructions she used for making it by Jan Andrea of Sleeping Baby Productions. Holy cow. Everything you ever wanted to know about making a baby carrier and wearing your baby is covered and linked to through her website. I was so impressed with how much thought obviously went in the construction of her slings.
I used instructions for a reversible, unpadded ring sling using two fabrics of differing weights. The fabric is pleated at the shoulder to fit in the rings and then fan out over your back. I used an ivory handkerchief weight linen for the inside and a printed linen for the outside that was slightly heavier. In hindsight I wish I had used only handkerchief weight linen. My sling is a little heavy and as a result is kind of difficult to slide through the rings. I'm hoping it will soften up with use. Plus I don't really love the print I chose. It's pretty earthy, if you know what I mean. But then again, I am wearing my baby. I did have to cut away the fabric underneath my pleats to take away some of the bulk. I bought my rings from SlingRings.com. Like Jodi said, DO NOT use any old ring you find at the craft store. These rings are made and tested to support the weight of baby.
The first time I put Jane in it she wasn't too impressed. But we've used it a few times now and she really seems to like it. One thing that made a difference was making sure her bottom was down lower in the sling than her legs. That definitely made a difference in her comfort level. What I love most about my ring sling is that it's fully adjustable. You pull on the tail to tighten up any spot in the sling that needs it. I like that I can sit her up high- more on my chest. Much easier on my back. For reference, baby Jane is five weeks old and about ten pounds. I have her in an upright "cuddle" hold. She is sitting in the sling much like she would in the Baby Bjorn except she is totally supported by the fabric. It's super snug. Here's a photo without her in it so you can see how the fabric makes a pouch to hold baby.
I've worn her around the house for short periods of time. Today she was kind of fussy until I put her in the sling and she promptly fell asleep. But I do have to walk. Can't sit down with her in it or she starts fussing. Maybe I'll get that leisurely stroll around Target soon.... bwahahahaha!
So that's that. I actually sewed something-- with a five week old baby. Yay me!