It may be true that Wraps, Mei Tais and Soft Structured carriers are better at distributing a child’s weight evenly across both shoulders, as well as to your hips. But well-designed one shouldered carriers can be just as comfortable for shorter periods of wearing (up to about an hour or more, depending on size of child), and with no buckles or tying to fiddle with are often much quicker and easier to use! For us, our Rings Slings and Pouches are invaluable to use a busy and stressful times of day when we don’t want or need to fuss with back carries or fastenings, and are small enough to keep at the bottom of your bag or buggy for when you need them.
Ring Slings and Pouches for Small Babies:
Your brand new baby can be held from birth in an upright position (Rings Sling only), or in a cradle position (Ring Sling or Pouch) on your front. Most babies will start with their feet tucked into the carrier, but when they’re ready will want to have their feet out. From about 3-4 months babies with good head control can be held in an upright position on your hip so that they can look around themselves more easily. All of these are positions that parents instinctively hold their babies and children in their arms, and that most find both natural and comfortable. Both Ring Slings and Pouches are great and easy to use when you need to carry your baby without fussing with ties and buckles (like when you’re up in the middle of the night needing to comfort a colicky baby or rushing for school drop off). They’re also excellent to use for convenient and discrete breastfeeding!
Safety note for using pouches and ring slings with newborns in a cradle position: When using a pouch or ring sling with very young babies, always make sure that baby’s head is nice and high (‘close enough to kiss’), that their back is fully supported with their weight held snugly against your body, and that no fabric is covering their face. This photo shows what your view of your baby in a pouch should be:
For more information, see this great document: Correct Positioning for the Safety and Comfort of your Newborn
Rings Slings for Older Babies and Toddlers:
As your baby grows and their back straightens and strengthens, you’ll find that you naturally carry them sitting on one hip. A Ring Sling or Pouch supports them in this position, spreading the weight across your back and shoulder so that you have both hands free and you don’t get one very tired arm! They’re great for school runs to pick up older children, or to pop to the shops from home or to/from the car. As your Baby grows into a Toddler, they may well want to be carried less, but with all their adventurous running around will still get tired or fall over and hurt themselves. All they’ll want then is to be held in your arms, and having a Ring Sling or Pouch handy can be a life saver when you’ve got a tired, grumpy toddler and other things to carry too! I find that my 24 month old loves to snuggle into me in our favourite Ring Sling at home when she’s ill or teething too