As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love using short wraps as ‘no-sew’ rings slings to carry my daughter. Yesterday I took some pictures to explain an alternative way of threading a no sew ring sling for someone, so have decided to post them here.
You can do this with any baby wrap (or other sturdy fabric – good quality sarongs also work nicely and are thinner for summer wearing) that is about 2.2m to 2.8m long. The length you need will depend a bit on your size, and you can always tuck the dangling end back in under your baby if it’s too long for you. I use specially made aluminium sling rings that are designed and tested for use with baby slings. You can buy them direct from the supplier here www.slingrings.com, or from various babywearing/sling stockists in the UK.
Standard Way to Thread a No Sew Ring Sling
The standard way of threading a no sew ring sling is this (first picture shows from the front, the second picture shows the underneath – when worn the purple wrap represents the shoulder part, the blue wrap is the adjustable, dangly part). Whichever way up you look at it, there should only be one ring showing on top of the fabric – if there are two showing on one side, then it won’t hold your baby safely:
-Start at the shoulder bit first (the ‘top’ of the rings when worn – shown here with a purple graduated indio wrap) with your wrap wrong side facing up. Thread at least 30cm of the end of the wrap down through the centre of both rings, and then bring the end of the wrap up between the two rings (over the ring that’s currently on the top, and under the ring that’s on the bottom). Match up the rails (sides of the wrap) on the main part and the shorter part that’s threaded through the rings. Tighten. Leave this part threaded as it is when you’re using the no-sew.
– Now for the adjustable part (the ‘bottom’ of the rings when worn – shown with a blue fishy wrap); turn over the whole thing so that at the shoulder you can see the right side of the wrap over the rings, and the already threaded end of the wrap is hidden underneath. When wearing, you’ll have two layers of wrap cupping your shoulder, so this method of carrying is very comfortable.
– Bring the other end of the wrap, right side facing up, up through the centre of both rings, and then down between the rings (so over the ring on top and under the ring below).
– To use, put sling over your head and arm, with the hidden end of the shoulder part padding your shoulder – you should have two layers of wrap here. Insert baby into sling at hip (or wherever you prefer) and tighten at the bit you threaded second by pulling down on the dangling wrap end. Ta Da!
When worn (here with just the purple grad wrap), this threading method looks like this:
More tips and a videos of how to do this method are here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7lhk8lcO8as and here: http://www.naturalmamas.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=42796; and there’s also instructions on the Didymos site here: http://www.didymos.de/html/ringtrick.htm
Alternative Way to Thread a No Sew Ring Sling
Sometimes sling rings can dig into your chest or shoulder + this seems to be worse with thinner wraps. For me, using medium (3″ diameter) rather than large sized (3.5″ diameter) rings helps to reduce this, but medium rings are harder to adjust, especially with thicker fabrics. So to help with the digging, you can try changing the way you thread the wrap through the rings. The alternative way looks like this (first picture shows the front, second shows it from the back – as above, when worn the purple wrap represents the shoulder part, the blue wrap is the adjustable, dangly part):
As you can see, the wrap almost completely covers the rings on the underside and your shoulder/chest is padded by fabric so the rings are less likely to dig. You can adjust and spread out the fabric in the knot to get it more comfy to suit you, and to make it look neater. This method can be bulky if using a thick wrap, so it’s better suited to thinner wrap fabrics (which is good, because digging seems to happen more for me when using the standard threading with thinner wraps anyway).
Here’s how it’s done:
– As above, start with your wrap wrong side facing up. Fold up at least 30cm of the end of the wrap + gather the wrap together at the fold.
– Grab the gathered folded part of the wrap and pull it through the centre of both rings.
– You now have a loop of wrap fabric threaded onto the rings. Open out this loop a bit, and pull it down and over the rings (or you could think about this as opening out the wrap fabric loop, and pull the rings up through it).
-Now grab the rings and both ends of the wrap together (by grabbing the fabric just above the rings), and pull to tighten. Match up the rails (wrap fabric edges) to make sure that the short end isn’t bunched up, and arrange the knot to cover the rings. This knot now gets left as it is while you use the whole thing as a ring sling. Here’s how it looks now, looking at it from what’s going to be the underneath (first pic), and the top (second pic).
– Turn the whole thing over so that it looks like the second picture above, and then thread the other (long) end of the wrap through normally as shown above (and like you would for a standard ring sling). Put no sew on, again with the hidden end of the wrap at the top cupping your shoulder, insert baby (or teddy in my case) and adjust by pulling on the dangly ends.
This is how this threading method looks when worn (using only the purple grad wrap):
Let me know how this works for you + if the instructions make sense! I’m happy to try to improve them if they don’t! 😀
Here’s a video I’ve now done of this alternative threading method: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra7YXXbg5Mc&feature=youtu.be
You can also thread the wrap as normal (so the first method), but then after you’ve placed your child in the sling you can wrap the dangling fabric end around the rings so that there’s fabric between you and your little one. The disadvantage of this method is that, by tying up the loose end, it prevents you from adjusting the sling as you’re going along. But it’s worth knowing all the options out there so you can experiment with what works best for you!
How to do a quick and easy Ring Sling Hip Carry
Here’s how I normally use a Ring Sling:
I put the Ring Sling on before the child, threading the tail through the rings and getting it adjusted so that it’s hanging about waist/just above hip height (depends on child height) and not too loose. I then put my child in and tighten the bottom rail only first to help get a good ‘seat pocket’ for my baby. You do this by tugging on the hem of the bottom rail side of the tail that’s dangling from the rings (depending on how you’ve threaded the ring sling, you’ll need to check which side this is). The bottom rail of the sling should go knee pit to knee pit, and LO should sit in a pocket of fabric with their bum below the bottom rail and their knee pits above their bottom.
Then tug on the hem on the other side to tighten the top rail; this pulls your little one into your body. Lastly (if you need to at all, but I don’t usually as it would undo the bum pocket) tighten the middle to ensure that their body is snug against yours. The closer together that you are, the more comfortable the carry will be; if your baby can lean back at all, this will put strain on your back as you compensate for their weight being further away from you.
Here’s a pic of us with a no sew ring sling to try to show bum pocket type action:
Troubleshooting ring slings: migrating rings
This is when you find that your pull the tail to tighten the sling, and the rings move down until their very near your baby. This makes the space to hold your baby smaller and makes the sling less comfortable to wear. This is something that used to happen to me a lot; to solve it, try to make sure that the sling is pulled snug into your back before you put LO in, so that any slack is around the front of your body. Then, when you tighten, the slack will pull through the rings into the tail rather than pulling back over your shoulder and letting the rings migrate downwards.