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Baby slings

publication date: May 11, 2010
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author/source: Simone Ross
Simone RossSimone Ross runs Kane and Ross Clinics in cenral London.  She is a member of the British Osteopathic Association and a mother of four. Her clinics specialise in relieving pain in pregnancy and in the treatment young babies through osteopathy. Here she gives her views on baby slings.

Benefits
  • baby carried in a sling will often sleep better and cry less.
  • Babies with colic may be more settled in a sling due to their upright position
  • Lots of physical contact with their parents.  
  • Babies are less vulnerable to other small children and cars than they are in a pram. 
  • Mums may also feel closer to their baby and less vulnerable when breast feeding as some can provide discreet cover. 
  • Carrying a baby in a sling means hands are free for other activities such as comforting other children or pushing a toddler in a buggy.
 
Safety precautions
  • There is a risk of suffocation or breathing problems when a sling doesn’t support a baby fully and keep them upright. 
  • When a baby is placed in a sling its head should be turned to one side away from your chest, or if it is old enough the baby can face outwards. 
  • Slings should hold the baby securely but not too tight.
  • Always follow weight guidance on the sling's instruction leaflet.
  • Babies that are not held securely in place by a sling could suffocate if they roll into it.
 
How the sling should work
  • A good sling will hold a baby upright, so its internal organs are well spaced and breathing is easy. 
  • For the parent’s back to be supported safely it should have straps over three inches wide and the baby should be at a height where the carer can easily kiss the top of the baby’s head. 
  • By eight months, babies are usually too heavy to be safely carried in a sling and may cause neck and or back problems for the carer.