A ring sling is made from a single piece of fabric, usually around 2m long, with two rings sewn into the end. The other end of the fabric is threaded through these rings to form a loop.
How do you wear a ring sling?
Usually, a ring sling is worn over one shoulder like a sash and is tightened by pulling the fabric through the rings which then lock it into place. The most popular ways to carry your child with a ring sling are on your front or in a hip carry, with one of their legs either side of the front and back of your body facing you. This means they are usually used for one-shouldered or asymmetrical carries.
They can also be used to carry your child on your back in both a ruck, or a one-shouldered asymmetrical back carry, or on your front facing out, though these positions take a little more practise.
Video courtesy of Carry My Baby
Other useful videos include Troubleshooting the ring slingcourtesy of Carry My Baby Seated Sideways in a Ring Slingcourtesy of Carry My Baby (this position can be helpful for babies with stomach issues who dislike the pressure being chest to chest involves and “nosy babies” who often want to see out, but are uncomfortable spreading their legs wide enough for a hip carry)
What are the advantages of a ring sling?
• Quick and easy to get on and off
• Suitable from birth to preschool age and beyond
• Folds down small so good for keeping in the car, bottom of the pram or changing bag
• Easy to both breastfeed and bottle feed in
• Easy to lay a sleeping baby down from the ring sling without waking them
What are the disadvantages of a ring sling?
• Weight is not distributed evenly for the adult (on one shoulder rather than both)
• Ring slings take a little practise to learn to use initially
What is the difference between a gathered shoulder and a pleated shoulder?
There are different types of shoulders on ring slings. This refers to the way the material is stitched to hold the rings in place.The most common types are gathered shoulders and pleated shoulders.
Simple gathered shoulder:
Our Girasol Northern Lights ring sling available to hire
A gathered shoulder is the most common shoulder type. With a gathered shoulder you are able to get a good spread of fabric across your shoulder and back, which can help to distribute the weight through your back, rather than only your shoulder. It can enable to fabric to cup your shoulder, which can help to avoid uncomfortable pressure points.
The “Floating Shoulder” is a type of gathered shoulder, but with a longer distance between the seam and the rings (usually 9-12 inches on a floating shoulder rather than 2-5 inches on a standard gathered shoulder). This means that the seam is usually on your back, it gives you a double layer of fabric on your shoulder, which some people feel is cushioning, and it can help keep the rings higher on your shoulder.
Our Natibaby Cyprus ring sling available to hire
With a pleated shoulder the fabric is kept in a narrower distribution on your shoulder but still spreads widely across the back. Different brands will have smaller or larger pleats and more or less of them, so all feel slightly different.
Oscha tend to use box pleats, which somewhat narrow the shoulder of the ring sling, but allow it to spread more than the Natibaby pictured above.
“Hot Dog shoulders” are quite rare and are a folded shoulder which can be good for narrow shouldered people, or those who dislike having their shoulder cupped, but as they are narrow the distribution of the weight is focused through a smaller area, and so some people find this less comfortable.
All shoulder types are different and many people find one style suits them best, so it can be worth trying a few out.
Tips for using a ring sling
A striped ring sling can make learning the tightening method easier as you can tell which bit of the tail corresponds to the fabric positioned on the different parts of the baby. This helps you to identify what to pull to tighten the sling well around your baby
Try to keep the fabric smooth and spread across both your and baby’s back to avoid digging.
Ensure that the fabric is not twisted where it is threaded through the rings.
Do not yank the fabric through the rings to tighten. If you size your pouch for the baby you should only need to tighten parts of the sling a little. To tighten the top rail pull only the top parts of the tail of the fabric.
Get a good seat by sitting the baby on the bunched rope of the fabric so that their bottom is lower than their knees, before spreading it up their back leaving all the excess fabric bunched under their knees.
Is there anything I should know when choosing a ring sling?
We recommend you only use ring slings where the rings are continuous with no welded joins. Rings with a welded join can be dangerous as the join forms a weakness that could break under a child’s weight.
Some ring slings have padding in the shoulder and in the edges or ‘rails’ – this is designed to make it more comfortable to wear, but can also make it bulkier and more difficult to adjust. For this reason many people prefer unpadded ring slings.
We recommend ring slings made from material purpose-made to carry children, like woven wrap fabric, rather than simple cotton bed sheet like material. People tend to find woven wrap ring slings more comfortable for both adult and child.
Like with woven wraps, ring sling fabrics come in many blends which have different properties and can be more or less supportive, breathable or warm.
We also have two MaM Water Ring Slings which are ideal for paddling or showering or getting in and out of the swimming pool as they are made from lightweight quick drying fabric.
Tell me some brands of ring sling to look out for.
Most woven wrap companies offer ring slings. We like Girasol ring slings, JPMBB Wrap without a Knot ring slings, and Kokadi ring slings, but there are many more!
Show me your ring slings available to hire!
We have one of the largest selection of ring sling available to hire in the UK.
Show me your ring slings available to buy!
We have our favourite ring slings available to buy.