8 Tips for Getting Comfortable in your Ring Sling

We love ring slings because they carry baby in a natural and comfortable hip carry, are super fast to put on and take off, have great “poppability” and can be shared by babywearers of different sizes.  While ring slings are very simple to use once you get the hang of it, they are also a baby carrier that many parents give up on.  Why?  Because many new babywearers don’t have someone around to give them a few hints on how to make their ring sling work!

If this describes you, then search no longer!  Here are the our 8 easy tips for getting comfortable in your ring sling.

P.S. If the sling you are using doesn’t adjust so that you can achieve the pictured positioning, please consider getting a new sling!  Shop our selection of ring slings.

Tip 1 – Make sure you are wearing the ring sling as high and snug as possible, with baby’s head at the level of your upper chest. 

Wear baby high on your chestBaby too low in ring sling
Do Wear Baby high, snug and in an upright position (unless nursingin the ring sling).  Your positioning should mimic you holding the baby in your arms.  An infants head should be resting on your chest, while an older baby or child’s head will be higher. Newborn safety must: baby’s head , mouth and nose are visible at all times and never covered by the ring sling fabric.Don’t wear your child with his bum much lower than your belly button.  Child should be snug against you and not swinging.  If child does not feel secure in the ring sling, it needs to be tightened.  Don’t wear baby in reclined position unless nursing.

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Tip 2: Check the tension and position of the top rail for the ring sling, for both safety and comfort. 

Keep the top rail tightTop rail too loose on ring sling
Do Keep the top rail snugly against you.  This keeps baby securely in the carrier and is also more comfortable for your body.  Keep the top rail high behind baby’s back.  Older babies and toddlers may prefer to have arms out.Don’t leave so much slack in the top that the baby is leaning away from you.  This is unsecure and also will cause strain on your body.If your sling is padded and you can’t tighten the rails as far as you need to, we recommend another size sling!

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Tip 3: Keep the fabric of the ring sling spread  around the rings to make tightening easy. 

Spread fabric around ringsDon't pull the whole tail at once
Do Tighten the top and bottom rails of the ring sling separately by pulling just the fabric in that area.  When you tighten the top rail, pull up and over across your body.Don’t pull down on the entire tail of the sling at once.  This can cause the fabric to twist up in the rings and make it harder to move easily through.

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Tip 4.  Center the fabric of the ring sling over your shoulder.

Ring Sling Troubleshoot Center RingsKeep fabric off your neck
Do Spread the ring sling fabric as much as you can across your shoulder (many people even pull the fabric down the arm).  Generally having the fabric centered over the ball of your shoulder is most comfortable.  If over the course of wearing your baby, your neck and shoulders begin to hurt, re-spread the fabric, pulling it down and away from your neck.Don’t let the fabric of the ring sling bunch up towards your neck.  Having a narrow, bunched band of fabric causes strain on your neck and shoulders. This is a very common source of neck, back and and shoulder pain with ring sling wearing.

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Tip  5: Spread the ring sling fabric widely and evenly across your back.  This distributes your child’s weight more evenly across your body making wearing much more comfortable for a longer period of time.

Spread fabric across your backScrunched up on back
Do If over the course of wearing your baby, your shoulders and back begin to hurt, re-spread the ring sling fabric: first reach behind over your shoulder to pull up and then reach down behind your waist to pull it down The lower on your back you can spread it, the more comfortable it will be!Don’t forget to spread the fabric out after putting baby into the carrier.  A ring sling that is bunched up in back, or has twisted fabric causes pressure points and back strain. You may not notice the strain right away, but you will after some time wearing.

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Tip 6: Check your baby’s leg position.  When carrying baby with legs out of the pouch of the ring sling (in the hip carry or tummy to tummy position), her legs should be wrapped around you, with baby’s knees up and her bum lower or at the same level as the back of her knees.  Legs should be parallel to the floor, or angled up.

Good leg position for baby in ring slingBad Baby Leg Position in Ring Sling
Do Pull the ring sling fabric up and under her knees.  If there is extra fabric, bunch it up behind her back rather than under her knees.  If you find her legs slipping down, grab them by the knees and give them a good yank upwards, then bring the fabric underneath and up to the knees.Don’t let the baby’s legs dangle straight down.  This is not secure and can cause pressure marks on her legs.Don’t bunch the fabric under your baby’s knees. This can cause pressure points, red marks and impact circulation.

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Tip 7: Get the ring sling on your body and tightened as much as possible before putting the baby in the sling. The less you have to adjust the sling after putting baby in, the easier it will be to get the right fit.

Tighten ring sling before putting baby inPut baby in once sling is in placeDon't loosen sling more than you have toHard to get baby in a loose ring sling
Do Adjust the main pocket of the sling before you put your baby or child in.  Just leave the top rail a little loose until baby is in the sling.Do Loosen your sling just slightly when taking baby out. Leave your sling in position as much as possible when taking it on and off (just slip it over your head). That way you will only have to make minor adjustments to it each time.Don’t Put the baby in when the sling is all the way down around your belly button.  Baby will be less fussy and you will be less stressed if you get sling close to its final position before slipping them in!Don’t Loosen the sling a whole lot when taking baby out or when taking the carrier on and off. This just makes more work for you later!

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Tip 8: Take baby’s weight off the sling when you want to make big adjustments to the fit or position.  Make tightening the tail the very last thing you do: think in terms of wrapping the body of the sling around yourself and baby and drawing it snug behind baby’s legs and back before you pull on the tail.

Take baby's weight off sling when making adjustmentsBaby's weight makes sling harder to adjust
Do Put your hand under his bum and lift him up while adjusting the sling with your other hand.  Keep supporting baby’s weight with your hand while pulling the tail so that the fabric moves easily through the rings; you are just bringing the loose fabric through the rings, with no pressure on it and no change to the adjustment of the sling body.Don’t try to make major adjustments to the sling while the baby’s weight is fully on the fabric.  It is very difficult to properly adjust a sling this way.Don’t just put baby in the sling and then try to yank on the tail to do all the adjusting!

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Bonus Tip: Wrap the tail around the rings for a sleeker, more minimalist look (great tip for dads, too).  This is also helpful when you want to protect a little head from hitting the rings.

Wrap ring sling tail around to ringsRing sling with tail wrapped around rings
Do: wrap the tail around the rings if you prefer a more minimalist look or don’t like fabric hanging around your body.Don’t wrap the tail if you want to use it for a sun shade or breastfeeding cover up!

Huge thanks to our model Jill and her husband Justin (who took the photographs): Jill is an avid babywearer, instagrammer and blogger, formerly  of Goodnight Mush.  Jill is wearing a Sakura Bloom Pure Linen Ring Sling in Plum.  This is a single layer linen ring sling.

Again, if the sling you are using makes it difficult or impossible to adjust so that you can achieve the pictured positioning, please consider getting a new sling!

Ring Sling is uncomfortable

Five Best Ring Sling

Bestseller No. 1
Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling Baby Carrier for Infants and Toddlers (Summer Rainbow)
  • Eco-Friendly - Made with beautiful 100% cotton, hand-loomed, breathable fabric and with top quality aluminum SlingRings. For babies 8 – 35 lbs.
  • Fair trade and individually handwoven with eco-friendly non- toxic dyes in India so each wrap is beautiful and unique.
  • Our lightweight fabric makes the Hip Baby Wrap cooler for baby and easy to manipulate. Superior ergonomic design helps distribute baby's weight evenly and comfortably across caregiver's body, relieving the shoulders and neck from unnecessary strain. Great for nursing on-the-go and as a nursing cover. Enhances parent-child bonding and child development.
  • Machine wash and dry.
  • Easily adjustable to be used for front tummy to tummy and hip carries for infants through toddlers.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Biubee Water Sling Baby Wrap Carrier - Adjustable Shoulder Ring Mesh Breathable Chest Sling Infant Carrier for Summer Pool Beach
  • Made of 100% Nylon mesh fabric allows it to be quick-dry, breathable and lightweight. Gives much better feeling than a Moby fabric.
  • Strong Nylon Plastic Round Ring, no rusty like metal one, provides secure embrace for your baby. Make sure the round ring on your shoulder not the front of shoulder.
  • Portable integrated bag design makes it handy, just be convenient to take it anywhere.
  • Simple but clever way to hold your baby especially in the water. No long straps to tie or complicated wrapping to learn. Be Fashionable!
  • Adjustable and functional strap, just one size fits most adults, suitable for newborns to 35 lbs, especially for water activities.
Bestseller No. 3
Nalakai Luxury Ring Sling Baby Carrier – Extra-Soft Bamboo and Linen Fabric - Lightweight wrap - for Newborns, Infants and Toddlers - Perfect Baby Shower Gift - Nursing Cover (Warm Sand)
  • ✔ CREATES A NOURISHING HEARTFELT BOND: Carrying your baby close to your chest will feel like being wrapped in a loving embrace, which helps your little love gain a sense of trust & belonging. It is the most natural, womb-like position & creates an intimate bond between you both. Even a colicky baby will be soothed quickly to sleep as you carry them in their soft baby sling.
  • ✔ ECO-FRIENDLY, SUPER SOFT BAMBOO & LINEN THAT'S KIND TO BABY'S SKIN: Warm Sand beige is our most popular color. The fabric is a gorgeous, neutral beige with very soft pink undertones. It is more beige than pink. We think it pairs perfectly with our signature copper colored, unwelded rings. Our custom blend of bamboo and linen fabric provides an ultra strong, lush woven fabric that is lightweight & silky smooth to gently shelter your baby as he or she drifts to sleep.
  • ✔ SAFEST CARRY POSITION FOR CORRECT HIP DEVELOPMENT: Many baby wrap carriers interfere with healthy hip positioning as the baby is held incorrectly or facing outward & this can increase the risk of hip dysplasia. Nalakai ring slings harness your baby naturally in the M position so that hips can develop properly while keeping you and your baby comfortable. The front carry position massages your baby’s belly, improving digestion & preventing reflux & colic
  • ✔ REGULATES TEMPERATURE BETTER THAN A WRAP: Not all young babies can control their temperature well & can easily overheat in a wrap. Our ring sling baby carrier will keep you & your precious baby comfortable yet cool & won’t wrinkle your clothes as much either! The tail fabric can double as a nursing cover, so you can breastfeed your baby privately while on the go.
  • ✔ 5% OF PROFITS TO FAMILIES IN NEED: You can help! With each purchase, we donate on your behalf to CEPIA, a charity supporting low-income families in Costa Rica. Designed by a mom of 2, our mission is to help families around the world. All ring slings are backed by a LIFETIME GUARANTEE.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Baby Wrap Carrier Ring Sling-Luxury Extra Soft Turkish Cotton Muslin Grey Rose-for Newborns, Infants and Toddlers-Perfect Baby Shower Gift
  • 💚 CALM AND PEACEFUL BONDING: In a sling, The baby is next to your chest all the time, snuggled in and secure. The physical contact with the infant causes mothers to release oxytocin and promotes bonding and breastfeeding. You can also breastfeed anywhere. The baby sleeps easily. Researchers found that baby-wearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall. Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents. Suitable for the newborn, toddler or your pets.
  • 🌱 %100 TURKISH COTTON MUSLIN PREWASHED: No chemical processes, just washed with water and dried after woven. Softening agents-free. Artificial fragrance-free. Vegan-Friendly. It becomes smoother and softer after every wash. Because of its double face; in summer it's more breathable and cool for the baby and keeps your baby warm in the winter. Allows for airflow, reducing the risk of overheating. Finely-woven breathable and extremely soft fabric.
  • ✅ SAFETY: Please keep in mind that conquering baby-wearing and finding the correct position for you and your baby - takes time and a bit practice. Practice when your baby is relaxed and in a good mood. Babies need time as well. Please remember your baby has to have a clear airway for breathing at all times to achieve that his head has to be high enough for you to see his face and kiss his forehead. Please be sure to watch our tutorial video and read the prospectus. Please check TICKS.
  • 🌸 BABY RING SLING CARRIER LUXURY: Mebien sling, the double face which is grey on one side and pink on the other side. Cozy and stylish...Because of double woven, it is very soft and no ironing required. Only use this carrier with children weighting between 8 and 35 pounds. Perfect as a baby gift for moms. You can use newborn, toddlers, infants, boy and girl or dogs too... Perfect nursing cover. Also comes with FREE CARRY BAG. Perfect for Baby Shower gifts.
  • ❎ BEAWARE OF CHEAP IMITATION: Please consider, Mebien sling produced in Turkey with %100 Turkish cotton. Please don't compare with cheap polyester slings. Mebien slings produced with prewashed muslin fabric. Our Aluminium rings tested by SGS. Baby ring sling can be used as a swaddle or breastfeeding cover. Because of woven style and quality of fiber (double face muslin, %100 Turkish cotton), our sling is softer and more flexible according to linen or bamboo fabrics. ENJOY 🙏
Bestseller No. 5
Baby Carrier Ring Sling by Hip Baby Wrap for Newborns, Infants and Toddlers (Midnight) - Beautiful, 100% Cotton - Perfect Baby Show Gift - Great for New mom and dad - Nursing Cover
  • Made with beautiful 100% cotton, hand-loomed, breathable fabric and with top quality aluminum SlingRings. For babies 8 – 35 lbs.
  • Fair trade and individually handwoven with plant based dyes in India so each wrap is beautiful and unique.
  • Our lightweight fabric makes the Hip Baby Wrap cooler for baby and easy to manipulate. Superior ergonomic design helps distribute baby's weight evenly and comfortably across caregiver's body, relieving the shoulders and neck from unnecessary strain. Great for nursing on-the-go and as a nursing cover. Enhances parent-child bonding and child development.
  • Machine wash and dry.
  • Easily adjustable to be used for front tummy to tummy and hip carries for infants through toddlers.

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12 Responses

  1. Great tips! My son is 10 weeks old and up until now I’ve been carrying him with his legs inside the sling, but he’s too big for that now I think. I followed the advice in tip 6, but I’ve notices that my baby still gets red marks under his knees. I’m nervous to make the sling looser though. Suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hannah, I’m glad you like the tips! At 10 weeks, I would say that you may still be able to wear your baby with legs in the sling, but some babies definitely prefer to have them out! Some red marks may be present no matter what you do and as long as baby doensn’t seem uncomfortable, it’s usually fine. That being said, I find that grabbing baby’s knees and pulling them up while smoothing the fabric away from under the knee and up the back can help.

      1. It’s definitely easier to get situated with his legs inside so maybe I’ll continue doing that until he’s a little bigger 🙂 Thanks for the advice!

        1. Dear Hannah,
          I can only recommend not to carry your baby with his legs in. It’s best for the spine and hip development to carry the baby in an upright position with the legs out no matter how young. The leg should be supported up to the knee with the lower leg hanging/swinging freely. Carrying a baby this way supports the spine and hip in the most natural way without there being an unnatural tension on the hip joint or intervertebral disks.
          You can prevent the red marks under the knee by not only tightening the top and bottom rail but grabbing into the tail-fabric every couple of inches and pulling it tight. That way the wrap is snug around baby’s back as well and the baby is supported throughout his whole body and not only ‘hanging’ on the fabric in his knees. The importance of thoroughly tightening the whole wrap (no matter if you are using a ring sling or a regular woven wrap) can’t be emphasized enough as it is the key to save babywearing and supporting the baby’s body as best as possible.
          Greetings from Germany, Marlena (trained babywearing instructor)

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