All about the Happy Sling Lady

Hi!

I’m Brianna Dymond and I am the Happy Sling Lady. I am a fully qualified and insured sling consultant and I trained with the Slingababy Training School and offer lots of services in the Birmingham area.

I first started babywearing when my son Attie was born, wrapping him up in a stretchy sling just 3 days after he was born for a quick jolly to get some bread. From there I fell in love with having him so close to me and I think he feels the same as I haven’t been able to put him down since (except when there are big open spaces to run around or Lego to be played with)!

When his sister Dilly was born in April ’17 I carried her from day 1, and having my hands free to continue to play with Attie, prepare food and do household chores made life so much easier. I often wear them both, which means no waiting for lifts with the buggy or being turned away from buses and it also means that Attie can’t run away when we’re in a rush.

Babywearing has supported a lovely, close relationship between me, my partner, my extended family and my children and I am so excited to be able to share the gift of carrying with other families local to me.

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What’s in the libary? – Buckle Carriers

So, what types of carrier are available to try in the library? I have split the types of carrier into separate blog posts and first up is buckles! As you’ll see, there are differences in waistband, strap types, panel size and adjustability. A sling libary can help you find the right one for your needs (a bit like trying on lots of different jeans!). Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have more questions about the suitability of any carrier.

boba 4g

 

Boba 4G (black) – this buckle carrier has a structured waistband and padded, rucksack style straps. Suitable from 7 to 45lbs and including a newborn booster cushion plus a removable hood. The straps and waist are very adjustable, fitting heights of 5’0-6’3, and waists of 25” to 58″ and there are lots of little extras like a breastfeeding buckle, shoulder bag tab and phone pocket.  You can carry in front facing in and back positions.

 

 

 

 

ergobaby original

 

Ergobaby original  – This buckle carrier also has a structured waistband and padded, rucksack style straps. Suitable from 12 to 45lbs, it has a removable hood and large front pocket. You can carry in front facing in, back and hip positions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISara

Isara (tropicana) – Also has a structured waistband and padded straps, with option to have rucksack style or crossed. Suitable from 8.8-44lbs. The seat is adjustable from 26 – 30cm to ensure the “frog” position and the main panel from 31-45cm to give good back support to babies of a range of ages and heights. Adjusting this asymmetrically can support breastfeeding. You can carry in front facing in, back and hip positions.

 

 

 

 

Izmi baby/toddler – Also has a structured waistband (toddler more than baby) and wide straps, with option to have rucksack style or crossed. The seat in both is adjustable to ensure a good fit and the straps are two-way adjustable. It is lightweight, suitable from 7lbs-33lbs and you can carry in front facing in/out, back and hip positions.

 

 

lillebaby complete

Lillebaby Complete All Seasons – this carrier has a structured waistband and dual-adjust padded straps, with the option to have rucksack style or crossed. Suitable from 7-35lbs, it has an additional, removable lumbar support piece to relieve lower back pressure. There is a removable hiid and the front panel comes off to reveal a mesh under-layer for hot weather. The seat has different settings to widen or narrow for a good fit and you can carry in front facing in/out, fetal, back and hip positions.

 

 

standard connecta

Standard (baby) Connecta – in contrast  with the other carriers, the Connecta has an unpadded waistband and very lightly padded straps, with the option to have rucksack style or crossed. Suitable from 7.5-52.5lbs, it has an integrated hood and the seat is cinchable to ensure a good fit. Its is a very lightweight carrier and you can carry in front facing in and back positions.

 

 

 

 

standard tula

Standard (baby) Tula – This buckle carrier also has a structured waistband and padded, rucksack style straps. Suitable from 15 to 45lbs, (from 7lbs with newborn insert) it has a removable hood and small pocket on the waist. You can carry in front facing in and back positions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading :

Buckle Carrier Comparison Chart

Buckle Carrier Measurements – South East Slings

Positioning

How can you tell your baby is well supported and comfortable in a sling? Mostly, they’ll let you know if they’re not! However, there are some key guidelines to follow in order to check fit and comfort for parent and baby. Remember that manufacturer guidelines for carriers (especially those purchased secondhand) can quickly become out of date, or can be incorrect, as can YouTube how to videos not made by professionals. Historically we would have had the support of our “village” and plenty of experienced family members to pass on their knowledge, but in our modern lives this can be lacking.  If you are unsure how to use a sling safely, try attending a sling meet or booking a consultation. 

For the wearer:

When the sling is on, it should not put any strain on your back, neck or shoulders and you should feel comfortable and secure. If you don’t feel this way, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the “wrong” sling for you, but it may just need some tweaks on positioning or adjustment.

For the baby:

Your baby’s back should be well supported in a C shape and their head should be clear of their chest. Their legs should be supported in the M or J shape as shown at the top of this article. This upright position mimics an in arms carry and as babies often spend their first few months all tucked up, supporting this position for them is the most comfortable. Once a baby is well positioned in a sling their airways are free, fabric should not be covering their face and they often drift peacefully to sleep. Check that the sling supports the baby’s bottom to be lower than their knees, and that the fabric does not extend past their knee pits forcing their legs straight. This can often be overcome by cinching the waistband, but check with your local meet or consultant to be sure.

As mentioned in the previous article about sling safety, babies should be high, tight, in view, close enough to kiss, with their chin off their chest and their back well supported. For this reason, lying down (sometimes called “cradle” position) in a carrier is not recommended. If you’d like to feed in a sling, try to keep baby upright and if this is not possible keep a close watch and return them to the upright position when the feed is finished.

Newborn-85x11-01.jpg

For older babies and toddlers:

Ask them! Make sure the carrier you use has been tested to support the weight of your child, and they still need to be well held across their back, bottom and legs. If they do fall asleep, ensure their head is well supported so they do not strain their neck. Many families carry comfortably through the pre-school years, it’s a case of finding the right carrier and fit.

Toddler-85x11-01.jpg

Other considerations:

If you are carrying on your back, make sure the sling you are using is age and weight appropriate. For example, many SSCs do not hold a smaller baby high enough to be visible and safe, conversely a stretchy wrap is not recommended for a back carry except by an experienced wearer or with the help of a professional as it is a tricky carry to get right safely.

A final thing to consider for safe and comfortable carrying is the weather! Here are two great links from Sheffield Sling Surgery about carrying in both heat and cold. The sling you use may add up to 3 extra layers on your baby and overheating can be a real risk.

Babywearing in summer weather

Babywearing in winter weather

Choosing a sling – Part 1

So, you’re sold on the benefits of babywearing, you’re all set to buy one and you have a quick look in Mothercare. The slings you see don’t seem to be very comfortable, and are quite expensive to buy without trying. You get home, you check Amazon and there are thousands of results – how can you narrow it down?

I’ve mentioned before about getting to a sling library/to see a sling consultant as they can go through many of your options with you and you can physically see and try on the carriers. However, it’s always helpful to have a rough idea of what you need/want, especially at busy meets where your time might be limited.

First of all it’s good to make a note of your requirements. These include:

  • age of baby/child
  • weight of baby/child
  • height and size of user(s)
  • whether you are pregnant/will become pregnant while using the carrier
  • number of children you would like to be able to carry
  • any medical/physical needs of the baby/child or person carrying
  • the budget you have to spend

Then it’s useful to think about why you want to use a sling, and what features would be most helpful for you:

  • being able to breastfeed in it
  • able to adjust to fit very differently sized parents/carers
  • how long you can use it for (as child ages)
  • different kinds of carrying position (front, back, hip etc.)
  • requiring a bit of skill/practice to perfect
  • speed of getting baby in/out
  • choice of colours, patterns
  • accessories available

Knowing these things ahead of time can help your library worker or consultant narrow down the choice of carriers they bring for you. Many high street carriers can also be adapted to become ergonomical (more on this in part 2)! When looking online at purchasing a sling, remember to check that it complies with safety standards (these vary based on location of manufacture – they will normally be stated clearly on the label or packaging). This is important to insure that the buckles, stitching and even fabric dye used are safe and and tested.

Coming up in part 2 – types of carrier

Baby Carrier Regulations

Detailed information about choosing a sling