by April Sanders
A baby sling offers many advantages. Baby slings, unlike strollers or back carriers, allow your baby to be face-to-face with you, which encourages conversation between you and your baby. They are extremely versatile and can be used to carry all different ages of babies, from newborns to toddlers. Baby carriers and slings come in many shapes, sizes and styles, but they are all excellent ways to carry and connect with your baby.
Use the sling to swaddle and carry your newborn. Newborn babies are used to being confined in a small, warm environment, where they can hear the heartbeat of their mothers. Baby slings recreate this environment and can help soothe a newborn.
Wear the sling while breastfeeding your baby. Lay the baby down in the sling and pull up the side to allow privacy. The sling will help support the baby while he or she nurses, putting less weight on your arms and shoulders.
Carry your baby in the sling when he or she is fussy or has colic. The motion of your movements will help calm your baby, and keeping him close to your body will not only comfort him but will also allow your hands to be free to do other things, such as take care of an older sibling.
Use the sling in place of other baby carriers during outings. Babies are sometimes afraid of shopping carts or even strollers, but all babies love to be close to mom or dad. Use the sling in place of a stroller, shopping cart, wagon or even a front carrier, some of which force the baby to face outward, which can be frightening.
Carry your toddler on your hip in the sling. Toddlers may know how to walk, but they tire easily on long errands or trips and usually want to be carried when they grow fatigued. Place your toddler in the sling on your hip instead of trying to carry him with no support, and take some of the weight off of your back.