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How to Wear a Newborn in a Nalakai Ring Sling - Pro Tips and Tricks

We often get asked about how to safely and comfortably carry newborns in our ring slings.  I'm going explain the carry positions and safety tips for wearing newborns and how to give head support, so you can wear your baby happily and securely! Babywearing makes life more comfortable for both baby and parents. Not only are the needs of your baby being met, but you also have gained something you haven’t had for a while: the use of your hands! We want you to be a slinging pro so you can enjoy all the amazing benefits of babywearing!

Leg Placement

You can carry your newborn with their legs inside the sling or out depending on which position makes them more comfortable. No sure which method to try first? Hold your newborn up against your chest and see if your baby naturally has their legs curled up against your chest or are they stretching them out. If their legs are very froggy-ed, then start with legs in.

My children were both skinny babies. Because they were smaller, I felt more secure and comfortable wearing them in the front carry with their legs inside for the first 4-5 months. To wear your baby with their legs inside the sling, you make a pocket with the bottom of the sling (the bottom rail) and then gently lower your baby down. A newborn's legs will naturally froggy (like their position in the womb). You want their legs in the M position, bum below knees. Once your baby is in the sling, you can reach underneath and gently pull the ankles out from under their bum and and pull the bottom rail fabric up between you all the way to your baby's belly button. You then tighten the fabric until it's snug. My top tip is once your baby is secure in the sling, support his or her back, lean forward and bounce a few times. This puts your baby's weight in their bum and not knees.

If your baby is larger, or tends to squirm and fuss when worn with their legs tucked in the sling, you can wear them with their legs out. You still want to have your baby's legs in the M position, bum below knees. But here, you want their legs outside of the bottom rail. As you lower your baby in to the sling, allow the legs to bend. You want the bottom fabric going from knee pit, across your baby's body at their belly button height, to other knee pit. And again, once your baby is secure in the sling, support their back, lean forward and bounce. This will secure their seat. 

With legs out it is VERY important to have a deep seat as this is what keeps your baby secure. You want to be sure that their legs are bent so their bum is below their knees and the sling fabric goes down their back, around the bum and all the way up to their belly button between you. I have a whole video about getting a deep seat here.

 

Then……

Head Support 

Firstly, with newborns I only recommend the front carry. Until your baby has head control, it's best to have them upright in the sling because this keeps their airway clear.

You have two options for head support. If your baby is sleepy, you can simply wrap the long tail fabric around the rings and this gives your little one a nice pillow.

My favorite way to make head support for a newborn is to tuck the tail fabric under the top rail of the sling. This gives great head support and makes a long pillow behind baby's head. My kids would take the longest naps in this position and I could work and read and clean and chat to friends while slept peacefully up against my chest.

When your baby is in the sling, pull the top fabric (the top rail) all the way up so it's to the top of the back of baby's head. Then take the long tail fabric and twist it, then pull it around behind your baby's head and fold it back again and roll the top rail over the tail fabric, tucking it in. Below is a photo of what I mean. 

I show how to do all of this in our Newborn Tips and Tricks video here

Safety Checklist

TICKS is a set of safety checks for you to use to be sure your baby is safe and secure in their ring sling.

Tight - Fabric is snug/tight across your baby's back.

In view at all times - you want your baby's face and airway in view at all times (so your baby is not sunken down into the sling).

Close enough to kiss - the best rule ever! Baby is high enough in the sling that you can kiss the top of his or her head.

Keep chin off chest - this is especially important for newborns who do not have head control. Keeping your baby upright in the front carry position keeps their chin off the chest and airway clear.

Supported back - baby's back should be in a gentle C curve.

I hope this helps! Ring slings take a little practice at first, but once you get the hang of it, they are so quick and easy to use And because of the womb like position, newborns especially LOVE to be worn in slings!

We have several tutorials on our youtube channel to help you get started with several different carry positions. www.youtube.com/c/nalakai 

If you have questions, comment below and I will answer right away. This way, other's can benefit from your questions too :)

All the best from my family to yours!

Anne

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