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So you may have noticed my little hiatus. No biggie, I just took a short break to give birth to our daughter, Elliott. Born last week, she’s perfect, and already adjusting well to her new house and new family. Big Brother Fin is also adjusting. He hasn’t shown a hint of jealousy, but that’s probably due in large part to the fact that Daddy has been home this past week and Griffin has been attached to his hip.
A new baby means lots of things, but most relevant to this little blog of mine are all of the new projects! First up, a ring sling baby carrier. This is an easy one, even for a beginner. It took me two hours start to finish.
I should probably mention that I already own two carriers. The Baby Hawk is great for Dads and hikes, but it takes a little time to put on and can make the baby and the wearer schvitz. Not so great for this summer heat wave. I also own the Moby Wrap, which I wear around the house and Elliott seems comfy in it, but it’s not so great to wear outside because it also takes some finagling to get on and the baby strapped in, and the material is so long there’s no way to prevent it from dragging on the dirty ground while you’re trying to tie it.
Recently my friend M sent me a pic of her husband wearing her homemade (and totally unemasculating) ring sling while drinking a beer, along with a website that gives step by step instructions for making one yourself. After looking online at various ring sling sites, I discovered that a ring sling is quick to put on, quick to get the baby situated, and is great for breastfeeding in public in a pinch because the baby can sit low and the “tail” covers the baby’s face (and the boobie). After reading the instructions to sew one myself, I decided it was easy enough.
For the fabric, I wanted something sturdy so that I would only need to use one layer, and unisex enough that my husband wouldn’t mind wearing it. I ordered some fair trade fabric imported from Guatemala. It wasn’t cheap, but the fabric is thick, strong, and perfect for a sling because there is no “wrong” side. The front and back of the fabric are the same, which is a good thing because both sides of the fabric are visible after you sew and thread the sling through the rings. 2 1/2 yards is enough to make a sling long enough that will fit an adult male.
Next I ordered rings from SlingRings because you want to make sure the rings you get are strong and weight tested, specifically for slings. Craft rings from Michaels are a no go for this project. I ordered the medium sized aluminum rings but probably should have ordered the large rings due to the thickness of my fabric. The medium ones worked fine, but my sling is a little harder to adjust.
Once I had my fabric and rings, the rest was easy:
- Cut fabric so it is 30″ wide by 2 to 2 1/2 yards long (2 yards is long enough if the wearer is an average sized woman, 2 1/2 yards for larger women and men)
- Hem both long sides and one short side. (Fold over 1/4″ and press, fold over 1/4″ again and press, sew over folds)
- On the last unhemmed side, pin overlapping pleats (follow the instructions here) and sew across the pleats in two places a few inches apart to secure.
- Sew edge where pleats are several times to prevent fraying.
- Place two rings in pleats, fold pleats over, and sew to enclose the rings. Done!
- Instructions to wearing the sling can be found here (pdf), here (web) or here (video on nursing while wearing sling).
Here’s baby Elliott sitting nice and snug in her sling. Doesn’t she look comfy? Don’t mind her manners. I don’t think she’s giving you the bird, she’s just trying to say “stay away from my milk factory bitches.”
Happy Ring Slinging.