I still love ring slings for my toddler. They are perfect for quick ups and downs around the house. I can put my son in a ring sling in seconds. My son is too busy to want a cuddle for long (unless he is tired or sick and then I bring out my mei tai). Rings slings are great if my toddler falls asleep in the car. It is much easier to pop him in a ring sling than to wrestle a sleepy, floppy toddler into a two shoulder carrier. It is perfect for visiting or unfamiliar places as my toddler can get comfortable for a little while in his new surroundings close to me, before hoping down to play and tear about as he usually does.
Ring slings are perfect in any situation where my toddler needs a nap but I'll also be sitting down for a while (such as going to the cinema). Once my toddler is asleep I can loosen the ring sling until he is supported in my arms and lap and I am very comfortable When it's time to leave I just tighten up my sling and go without disturbing my sleepy baby at all. Timing visits to the movies at nap time is great! My toddler would never sit through a whole movie otherwise! When my son was around 18months old I had an hour long speech therapy lesson to go to with my four year old. My toddler slept through almost the whole session cuddled in my ring sling, waking towards the end and after a quick feed which left him bright and happy and ready for a short play until it was time to leave again - in the ring sling of course - ideal for crossing a very busy road back to the car.
My toddler is almost two and is still a little small to walk beside me without darting off but in the future it will be great to bring with me to rest his legs if he gets tired walking with his older siblings to school. And in the meantime it keeps him safe on the short walk to pick up big sister from Kinder.
Ring slings also my a handy spot to lie my toddler down for a nappy change and makes a great emergency blanket.
I love wrap conversions for toddlers (although double silk or linen is great too). My favourite toddler sling in Vatanai Perito (pictured below) because it's thick, cushy and molds to my shoulder so well. Plus it's pretty! I wore my toddler for an hour recently and it felt great. I love my Didymos burgundy Pfau too just as much as it is also lovely and cushy. An ideal wrap for an older baby or toddler is one in which you would comfortable use is a single layer carry i.e. nothing too thin (but thin and dense can be good. I love my Ellevill Zara ring sling almost as much).
It's getting difficult to use my toddler as a sling model! The best place I have to take photos is outdoors and as soon as my soon feels the fresh air he wants to get down. He could spend all day exploring outdoors if he could!
But it actually helps me to get more interesting photos as I have to keep him amused. Here my son is exploring a plum tree with me. I love the colour in this sling by the way. So tempted to keep it! There are more photos here.
Here he is trying to flip out of the sling so he can get down. I'm glad he couldn't manage it. I had to let him have a play in the backyard after this though!
I thought I would share these great videos.
First is an easy back carry by Purple Elm Baby.
The next video shows you how to create a twist in your ring sling which helps to create a deeper seat for your older baby or toddler. Then the video covers how to get your baby onto your back. The link to the video is here.
This video was made by Paxbaby and shows how to use your ring sling in a ruck sack style back carry. Very cool! Check it out here.
Finally some great ring sling tips (getting a good seat and how to stop your ring from sliding) form Babywearing Internation of Birmingham.
I don't generally babywear while pregnant but sometimes I find it very useful. I live only a short distance from my older daughter's kindergarten so my two and a half year old finds it an easy walk and is usually happy to do so. Recently she went through a stage where she refused to let me put on her shoes and I was not willing to let her walk in her socks! She was also refusing to hold my hand when we crossed the road meaning I had to pick her up, which made it difficult to hold her sister's hand. At first I wrestled her into the stroller (which for some reason she also objected to - normally she doesn't mind as long she can get out and walk sometimes). She cried all the way to the kindergarten and back. I didn't like that so I decided to try babywearing next time she was being difficult - which wasn't long! I chose to use a wrap conversion ring sling. She didn't want to go in but calmed down quickly once she was there. I wore her for about 30 minutes and found it comfortable. Once we said goodbye to her sister she wanted down and happily walked back with me to our house. The next time I tried a mei tai with the straps tied over my bump. I normally only wear mei tai's at my waist as that's what I find most comfortable but with a baby bump that's a bit hard! With the straps tied high I felt there was too much weight on my upper body (it might work better with a smaller baby) which I didn't like - but her weight was distributed well as I didn't have any aches or pains afterwards.
My daughter has liked walking since then. She even lies down voluntarily so I can put a nappy on her (just in case) and puts her arms out for me to put on her jacket and she is happy to put on her shoes - as long as she can choose. I haven't worn her since but I think next time I will try tying the straps under my bump and see if I like that better. What have your experiences of babywearing while pregnant been? I'd love to hear your stories!
My daughter is becoming far too independent to be interested in being worn lately. She often likes to actively participate in what I am doing rather than be held. I mostly wear her for short periods, usually if she is not feeling well or is otherwise out of sorts. I still bring a sling when I go out even though I only use it sometimes. When her brother, the times I didn't bring a sling were the times he wanted to be worn! I almost always use a ring sling as she doesn't want to go on my back lately. Her brother didn't want to be worn after 2 and a half. My toddler is 2 years 2 months now. I wouldn't mind carrying her a little longer as I have much more comfortable carriers than I had with my son. I'm a little sad she rarely wants to be carried as it feels so cozy to carry her close to me but it's good too as I can see her growing, changing and learning. Snuggles with her will certainly not come to an end. She loves to cuddle next to me while I read a story to her - and I often have an older sibling or two join us. I'm sure she will continue to have an occasional sling ride for a while yet. My first daughter protested slings as a toddler too but sometimes wanted to be carried when she saw her little sister being worn. My husband carried her around now and then until she was over four.
Cotton, Linen, or Silk?
Pure cotton slings work fine for babies up to a year old, after that you will probably want a more supportive fabri, especially if you would like to carry your toddler for longer periods. I have found linen and silk to be among the best sling fabrics for toddlers. Linen is stronger and tougher than cotton, owing to the parallel arrangement of its fibres. Silk is also a strong natural fibre and is simply beautiful. Linen and silk are especially good in a double layer or an extra wide width. I found single layer slings in linen or linen blend (regular width) fine for my toddler until she was almost two. If you choose this style you will get a lot of use out of it. A double layer of silk is probably one of the most supportive fabric combinations although some people find them hot at the height of summer.
Linen is highly recommended for hot weather babywearing. Linen both absorbs and loses moisture rapidly, and can absorb quite a bit of moisture initially without feeling damp. This helps to keep you and your baby cool.
Hibaby ring sling are available in regular and extra wide width. Extra wide slings are great because your baby's weight is distributed over more fabric plus the shoulder has a slight padded feel because of the extra width. These slings are great for older babies and toddlers. Extra wide slings can be used for newborns but probably not in a cradle carry because the deeper pouch makes correct positioning tricky. However the tummy to tummy position is fine and many newborns prefer being upright over lying down.
All types of fabric I use are generally easily washable which is very important for anything around babies! Fabric care for cotton and linen blend slings is very easy. Simply wash on a gentle cycle on cold in a laundry bag and hang to dry. Linen and blends should only be washed with a liquid detergent. The addition of cotton to linen makes the fabric soft and they are not as prone to wrinkling as pure linen. Pure linen is great though. It wrinkles fairly easily but is a little more supportive which is a plus. To counter the wrinkles I iron my sling after every wash and hang on a hook when not in use - which keeps it fairly wrinkle free. Linen can feel a little stiffer/rougher when brand new but softens quickly with use and washing. The easiest way to care for silk is with spot cleaning (with a damp cloth) and occasional hand washing. Silk may also be dry cleaned. Machine washing on a gentle cycle is also possible but the silk will lose some of its sheen.
And lastly there are wrap conversions. This fabric is especially woven for babywearing, are generally thicker than other fabrics, and have just the right amount of give, so the fabric feels great on your shoulder. Wrap conversions are fantastic for heavy babies and toddlers. There are many choices from cotton to cotton blends and are generally easy to care for.
If you would like any other information on the fabrics I use. Please feel free to ask.
My daughter is two! I wear her far less frequently than I did when she was a newborn but babywearing is still very useful. This week I wore her out and about twice and at home a handful of times.
I always bring a sling if I need to go out and I think my daughter may get tired. I try to avoid going out when she needs a nap but sometimes it is unavoidable. Early in the week I wore her in a mei tai in the supermarket. I tied her on after she got grumpy halfway through the shopping trip but in hindsight it would have been better to put her in from the start since I knew she was tired. A few days later I wore her for a trip to a local fabric shop where the narrow aisles make taking a stroller inconvenient. It's hard to shop and chase a toddler!
I mostly wear my daughter in the mei tai if I think I will be carrying her for a while but ring slings are still usefull for quick trips and frequent ups and downs. I wore her for five minutes in a double linen sling today while getting my older kids ready for school, after she was broken hearted at not being allowed to play with her big brother's new textas!
Babywearing with a toddler who is starting to talk is interesting. My daughter was unhappy but I just needed to do something quickly before I could sit down with her so I grabbed a ring sling. She wasn't happy when she saw that, (she kept insisting 'back' ) so I decided to get the mei tai in case she wanted a nap, she said 'no' and pointed to the ring sling, so I decided to carry her in a ring sling back carry (See picture) which thankfully she was happy with!.
I'd love to hear your experiences of carrying toddlers.
Ring sling sizing is quite flexible. One person can wear several sizes - all that will change is the length of the tail. For safety the tail of the ring sling should be no shorter than around 20cm (8") but apart from that the length of the tail is just a personal preference. Both medium and standard will fit most with larger sizes having a short tail with the size medium. You can wrap the tail around the rings a few times (or all the way around depending on fabric) to keep it out of the way or if the tail is too long for your likeing.
I have added some linen and linen blend slings to my madeit shop. See them here.
I have added a reversible striped sling pattern to hipababy's pattern page. There are some other ideas for striped patchwork slings in the pattern too. Have fun! I'd love to see your creations and display them on my gallery page. Contact me for details.
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!