The Baby Sling Trick: how a baby carrier can effectively improve sleep quality and duration
Latest update: September 18, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
A baby sling is ideal
help your baby sleep well and get the most out of her baby
Photo courtesy by Hug a
Carrying easily soothes your baby to sleep.
With a sling, or baby
carrier, you can help
your baby sleep anytime, anywhere ...
... and still have your hands free.
also makes it perfect to
introduce her baby sleep schedule and make the most of her
natural sleep patterns.
The baby carrier
definitely is my personal top favorite baby sleep accessory!
Read my Hug
A Bub review for more on my personal experience or see this (super old
video I made about this technique, in particular to help with nap
Why use a baby sling?
Well, reason number one without a doubt:
... it's just so wonderful to
be so close and all cuddled up, for both of you.
But there are SO many baby
wearing benefits, especially if you use a truly good carrier.
sleeping, use your baby carrier to:
- Introduce your baby's
- Soothe your baby when she's too fussy to settle for
Most babies and children - and adults for that matter ... - sleep very
easily when on
move. A walk in the stroller or a drive in the car very often sends
them off to sleep in a snap.
A 'walk' in the sling does the same
trick, but better in quite a few ways. You have your baby close to you,
which feels absolutely great for both of you: your baby will easily
settle for a safe deep
You keep your hands free
to do other things too, with the older kids, some work around the
You can carry baby in the sling when you are out but of course also at
home. So you do not have to
go out for a walk
soothe her to sleep or when fussy.
Baby carrying benefits
Buggies and strollers and the
likes have become the standard means of transportation for babies in
today's industrialized world.
However, in the past and also in
less-industrialized and more traditional places, carrying baby is the
default way of getting around: babies and toddlers happily join their
mother's everyday activities, carried on her back.
Many scientists regard this traditional way as most beneficial for the
emotional and behavioral development. Although not always possible in
every situation in every society, carrying your baby when you can and
want to, has many benefits.
These benefits include increased
with baby, less
That also means a more relaxed
mum/dad, resulting in a more relaxed baby again. A baby who grows up
And the carrier also makes you very
(compare climbing on the bus while weight lifting a stroller to hopping
on with baby in the
So, when you're working on your baby's
sleep schedule just put her in the sling at your chosen nap
time. Or at night to help her settle for the night.
In No Tears Naps (aka Nap in a Snap)
I discuss setting up your baby's best napping schedule in full detail,
including the sling trick and other handy tools to get the best naps.
this very regularly for a good week or two, it will help set your
baby's "sleep clock". Once she's used to the timing, she will settle
far easier in her crib too.
sling like this is especially useful when your baby does not easily
settle to sleep by herself yet. If she is able to settle herself in the
cot, I would recommend to keep that good habit.
And then enjoy the
wonderful feeling of carrying your baby close to you any other time you
Carrying your baby close in a sling also works great as a baby
Possible concerns about using a baby sling
Even if baby slings become more and more popular, many parents worry
weather they are safe and OK to use. Let's have a look at the main
Is using a
sling safe for my baby?
When used correctly, an
appropriate sling that offers full back support
poses no safety problems. It is important to follow the
the manufacturer to make sure baby is firmly wrapped and in a good
Can I use a
Unless you have severe neck, back, or hip problems there is no reason
why you could not carry your baby in a sling.
Photo courtesy by Hug a
And even if you do have
problems, there are very good ergonomic slings that even help you carry
baby in a safer way than when carrying her without a sling.
Will I spoil
my child when carrying so
research has shown that extra carrying spoils a child in a bad way.
Studies reveal that babies
who are held and
carried more, cry
less and are more content babies.
Babies who are closely bonded to their
parents grow up to be confident independent children.
Is a sling
complicated to put on?
The first time, yes it might be a bit complicated to wrap a seemingly
endless amount of cloth around you and then fit baby in it as well.
after a bit of fiddling around you'll put on most types of slings in
no-time. It's really child's
Choosing a good baby sling
Baby slings are not expensive but it's important to choose one that
suits you well. Your sling must be ergonomic and safe
for both you and your baby.
Since you'll probably end up wearing it
quite often, the sling will be part of your outfit so pick a color and
fabric you like.
There are different types
of baby carriers.
There are the soft cloth slings, ring slings, maya wraps, pouch slings
and you also have the stiffer baby carriers for front and back.
differ in texture and looks of course, but also in comfort for you and
baby, the minimum required age (the soft cloth and wraps ones are
usually from day 1), maximum weight, ...
I've never been creative and brave enough myself to do so, but you can make
your own baby sling using a free online baby
sling pattern. I've seen fantastic results of
beautiful and super inexpensive yet great quality slings!
Whichever sling you decide on, give yourself, and your baby, some time
to get used to it. Once you're both comfortable, you'll be all set for the
Baby Sling Trick: on to more and better sleep!