Despite what you may have been told, so often the essentials needed for a new baby are very little. Some of those essentials support feeding, diapering, and a safe place to sleep. We also think that you will want plenty of Tula Blankets. But, what is most important to your baby is they want to be held.
Baby's most natural habitat is on a caregiver's chest. After investing in so many places to put their baby, many first-time parents quickly realize that the baby arrived with other plans. At Baby Tula, we have always been in the business of meeting baby's need to be close to you. We see babywearing not just as something that adds convenience to your day but as a gift of relief for both parent and child. Both parties have their needs met, and it's healthy for both of them. We believe a great start to your babywearing journey can be a Tula Ring Sling.
Why do you need a ring sling?
Tula is known for its easy-to-use buckle carriers. We love them, and we are grateful that the world loves them too. In fact, our Signature carrier just won a Cribsie Award for "Best Baby Carrier"! So why would one need anything else?
If you ask a consultants or caregivers with babywearing experience, they will tell you that there is nothing like a ring sling for the newborn period. It shines due to the simplicity of just one layer of fabric around you and your baby, that adjusts perfectly to fit a small baby and offers support over their whole body. You may notice how a ring sling honors a newborn's natural position on a caregiver's chest.
Here are some other reasons you will want to have a ring sling right away:
- Without a waistband, a ring sling is comfortable to sit in and belly-birth friendly.
- It is a comfortable way to practice skin-to-skin or kangaroo care.
- It is small enough to pack in your bag for birth in a hospital.
- While you can feed a baby in any of our Tula carriers, brand newborns are easiest to nurse in an adjusted side carry position that can only be done in a ring sling.
What is a ring sling?
If you have not seen a ring sling in person, it might be hard to conceptualize exactly how it works. Our ring slings are made of beautiful woven baby wrap material. The woven material is made specifically to carry a child's weight with just a single fabric layer, as opposed to a stretchy style wrap, where you typically need three passes of fabric. This often means that your ring sling feels cooler in warmer weather or in the early postpartum phase when hormones can make you feel warmer more often.
Many of our current Signature Collection Ring Slings are made from wrap woven by hand in Guatemala, in collaboration with our partner Girasol. We also have a select number of ring slings made with machine-woven wrap material designed exclusively for us. At this time, weaving is done with 100% cotton threads.
Along with the beautiful soft woven material, the addition of a pair of safety-tested seamless rings secured to one end of the wrap material is what makes it a ring sling. The rings function similar to a D-ring belt and are locked in place with the weight of your baby. Your baby is held safe and snug against your body with their weight on their bottom just as if they were sitting upright on the edge of a hammock.
Are ring slings just for newborns?
Since ring slings are such an asset during the newborn period, people may mistake that to mean they do not continue to be useful as your little one grows. Luckily, that isn't true. The same way that you own multiple pairs of shoes, you may find instances where you prefer one style of Tula carrier over another.
In the newborn stage, your baby will stay in a heart-to-heart position unless they are eating. As they get older and want to look around a bit, it is easy to move them over to a hip carry, which positions them in a similar way you naturally hold them with your arms.
Even through the toddler years, a ring sling can offer those quick moments of connection that a child needs during big feelings, tired moments, or just an extra moment to connect. For those the less frequent ups, a Tula ring sling is small enough to always keep around in case you need it.
When might you reach for your ring sling?
A ring sling is valuable during the 4th-trimester, but in what other areas do they shine? For some, it is all about the look of our baby slings. If you're getting dressed up for an event and your baby will be tagging along, a ring sling might suit the occasion and complement your dressed up attire.
On the opposite side of that, since they are easy to wash and dry, they might be attractive in situations where you anticipate getting dusty or dirty. Since a ring sling just slips over your body, it can be attractive in cramped spaces like an airplane or a ballpark. Some people reserve their Tula Buckle Carriers for wearing outside the home and find a ring sling more "lounge-worthy." A ring sling also ranks well on the list of carriers to wear in warm temperatures. Since our Signature Collection ring slings are 100% cotton, they are very breathable.
Tips for wearing your ring sling
A ring sling will be your quickest carrier to put on once you get to know it. It only takes a moment for you and your little one to be cozy and secure. These tips will help you get comfy in your sling:
- Start with a small "pouch." You just need enough space for your little one's legs to slip through the sling. The more excess wrap you have in the pouch, the more tightening adjustments that need to be made. You will be able to eyeball what size you need rather quickly. At first, it helps to fit your sling around your elbow to get an estimate of how much wrap you need.
- Spread the fabric across your back. Getting it nicely spread out across your back with the shoulder capped a bit down your arm like a t-shirt helps distribute weight evenly and gets the sling off of your neck. Doing this before you put your baby in helps so much!
- Practice the steps without your baby first. We recommend getting familiar with any carrier you choose before adding a baby to the mix. If you have a doll or plush toy to practice with, that helps!
- Place baby's weight on their bottom. The bottom edge should form a straight line from knee to knee like baby is sitting on the edge of a hammock. Make sure you feel baby's weight settle back on their bottom. There is no wiggling out of that position!
- Babies can become wiggly around the 4-month mark. This is usually a sign that they are getting busier and practicing their pre-crawling muscles on your body! This can put a wrench in your slinging plans if you are not prepared. It's a great time to introduce a hip carry. The extra bit of resistance from the baby's legs wrapped around your body vs. just in a spread squat in front of you helps settle them a bit.
- Babies should be positioned upright unless they are actively eating. If you choose to use a semi-reclined position to nurse or bottle-feed a baby, they need to come back up to your chest when they are done swallowing. People are often worried about waking their baby, but surprisingly most do not wake up after being brought back up to your chest.
What sets a Tula Ring Sling apart?A Tula Ring Sling is made from a woven material specifically made to carry babies and hold their weight. In the babywearing world, this is referred to as a "wrap conversion ring sling." It is carefully designed with high-quality seamless rings that do not slip. The woven material is soft and gentle on your baby's skin and actually gets softer with wear. Our ring sling has a 35lb weight limit because, as parents ourselves, we know that children do not stop needing to be held after infancy. You can also feel confident that our slings are ethically produced. The weaving for our Girasol collaboration is done by hand with hand-dyed yarn in a fair-trade/fair wage environment. The woven wraps then travel from Guatemala to our talented sewists in Poland to be hand-assembled into ring slings.
Before you buy (or click, add to registry)
Pick your favorite style at babytula.com/collections/signature-ring-slings. Keep in mind that each design is made in small batches and that a particular style is subject to availability. Next, it is time to pick a size. Baby Tula Ring Slings are available in two sizes, "Standard Length" (~77") and "Long Length" (~87"). Both sizes will fit most wearers, but you can select your preference based on how much length you want in the tail (the fabric hanging down from the rings once baby is in the sling). All of our ring slings are currently priced at $79 regardless of size. For only $79, you receive something versatile, simple, and made with care that will follow the stages of babywearing with you and your child.
Shop BabyTula.com for our Signature Collection Ring Slings.