How to Use a Ring Sling: Quick and Easy Ring Slings Guide



A young Hispanic mother is carrying her 8-month-old baby in a vibrantly colored ring sling. The baby is comfortably nestled against her chest. The mother smiles gently, illustrating the ease and closeness provided by the sling. They are in a warm, inviting home setting.

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Using a ring sling can be an excellent way for parents to carry their babies comfortably and maintain a close bond. However, for newcomers, learning the correct and safe way to use a ring sling is essential.

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use a ring sling. We’ll cover everything from threading the sling and adjusting it for comfort to safely placing your baby in the sling.

Whether you’re a new parent or switching to a ring sling for the first time, this guide will help you gain confidence in safely and comfortably using a ring sling for carrying your baby.

Hello, I’m Maebh Collins, a seasoned baby carrier consultant with over two decades of experience. As a certified expert in both Trageschule and Slingababy, I’ve had the privilege of assisting thousands of families in their journey to find the perfect baby carrier. Welcome to a world of comfortable, confident babywearing!

Key Takeaways: Using a Ring Sling

  • Choose the right size and material. Ensure the sling is the appropriate length for your body and made of a comfortable, supportive fabric.
  • Thread the fabric through the rings correctly. The fabric should be looped through both rings and back over one (at least a third), creating a secure hold.
  • Spread the fabric evenly across your back and shoulder. This ensures even weight distribution and prevents discomfort.
  • Position the rings high on your shoulder. As you adjust, the rings will naturally lower to a comfortable spot, usually around collarbone level.
  • Create a deep pocket for your baby. Ensure there is enough fabric to create a secure, hammock-like seat for your baby.
  • Carefully place your baby in the sling. Gently lower your baby into the sling, ensuring their bottom is lower than their knees in an ‘M’ shaped position.
  • Tighten the sling to secure your baby. Adjust the fabric through the rings for a snug fit, ensuring your baby is close enough to kiss.
  • Ensure your baby’s airways are clear. Their face should be visible, with their chin off their chest to ensure unrestricted breathing.
  • Practice with a doll or over a soft surface first. This helps you gain confidence in using the sling before placing your baby in it.
  • Always check for wear and tear before use. Regularly inspect the sling for any damage to ensure it remains safe and secure.

Understanding the Basics of a Ring Sling

A ring sling is a versatile and user-friendly baby carrier that can be quickly adjusted to fit both the wearer and the baby. Made of a long piece of fabric and two rings, it can be comfortably worn on one shoulder while your little one snuggles close to you on the opposite shoulder.

Different types of fabrics are used in ring slings, and the most common materials include linen, cotton, and bamboo. Each fabric type has its unique characteristics:

  • Linen: It’s known for being durable, breathable, and supportive. It’s ideal for both hot and cold climates due to its temperature-regulating properties.
  • Cotton: Soft and comfortable, cotton slings are usually easier to manipulate than linen. It’s suitable for everyday use as it’s gentle on the skin.
  • Bamboo: Delightfully soft and breathable, bamboo is a luxurious option. It provides excellent support and is a sustainable material.

To get started with your ring sling, follow these simple steps:

  1. Thread the fabric through the rings: Hold the rings with one hand and slide the fabric through them with the other. The wrong side of the fabric should be facing you.
  2. Create a secure lock: Pull the fabric back through one of the rings to form a “lock.” This adds extra security and ensures that the sling stays in place when you put it on.
  3. Adjust the width: Fan out the fabric along the rings, ensuring that it’s evenly distributed. This will help prevent the fabric from bunching up when you wear the sling.
  4. Put on the sling: Place the sling over your head and onto one shoulder, positioning the rings just below your collarbone. The wide fabric should be draped across your opposite hip.

Here are some tips on how to safely and comfortably use your ring sling:

  • Make sure the fabric is not twisted when threading it through the rings.
  • Keep an eye on the baby’s positioning, ensuring their face is always visible and their airway is clear.
  • Always practice safety precautions when using a ring sling, including supporting your baby with one hand while adjusting the fabric and rings.
  • Familiarize yourself with different carrying positions, such as the tummy-to-tummy, hip, and cradle holds, to find what works best for you and your baby’s needs.

Now that you’ve gained a basic understanding of a ring sling, it’s time to give it a try and enjoy the benefits of babywearing!

Choosing the Right Ring Sling

When selecting the perfect ring sling for you and your little one, there are various factors to consider. Keep in mind the sling size, the age of your baby, and the available resources for assistance.

To begin with, consider the sling size. Ring slings come in different lengths to accommodate various body types. To determine your ideal size, use a soft measuring tape and measure the distance from your shoulder, around your back, and across to your hip. Here’s a handy chart to help you pick the right size:

Sling SizeLength (inches)Recommended Clothing Size
Small67 – 720 – 8
Medium73 – 8310 – 16
Large84 – 9018 – 22

Next, think about your baby’s age. For newborns, a ring sling with a soft, stretchy fabric like cotton or bamboo is ideal. These materials provide extra support without being too restrictive. As your baby grows into a toddler, you may want a sling made with a sturdier fabric like linen or woven cotton to accommodate their growing weight.

A ring sling is great for throwing into the diaper bag and always haveing a great back up plan for when out and about.

Proper Threading and Adjusting of the Ring Sling

Threading your ring sling is an essential first step to ensure safety and comfort for both you and your baby. So, let’s go through a friendly step-by-step process to properly thread and adjust your ring sling.

  1. Locate the rings: First, find the rings that are sewn securely into one end of the fabric.
  2. Thread the fabric: Hold the fabric by the end opposite the rings. Now, gather the fabric widthwise and thread it through both rings, leaving a tail of about 8 to 12 inches.
  3. Create a loop: Next, you’ll need to separate the rings and pull the fabric tail back over the top ring and under the bottom ring, making sure to spread the fabric out evenly as you do so.

Great! Now that you’ve threaded your sling, it’s time to adjust it for a proper fit.

Note: It’s always a good idea to practice these steps without your baby first, to ensure you’re comfortable and familiar with the process.

To adjust your threaded ring sling, follow these simple steps:

  1. Loosen the sling: To start, make sure the fabric is loose enough to accommodate your baby comfortably. You can do this by gently tugging on the tail and pulling up on the bottom rail (the edge of the fabric closest to your body).
  2. Position the rings: Ideally, the rings should be positioned in your “corsage area”, which is typically near or just below your collarbone on the side where you want to carry your baby. You can adjust the placement by evenly pulling on the rails for a comfortable fit.
  3. Tighten the rails: Once you have your baby in the sling, you’ll need to tighten the sling to ensure they’re secure and well-supported. Starting with the top rail (the edge further from your body) and working your way down to the bottom rail, gently tug on each section of fabric to tighten and secure your baby. Make sure to pull the fabric horizontally, not vertically, to prevent bunching and to evenly distribute your baby’s weight.

How to Carry Your Baby in Different Positions in A Ring Sling

Ring slings are incredibly versatile and allow for various carrying positions. In this section, you will learn how to carry your baby in the most popular positions: hip carry, front carry, and back carry.

Hip Carry

This is the most common and easy-to-learn position. It is suitable for babies who can hold their head up, usually around 4-6 months.

  1. Place the baby on your hip, with their legs bent in an M position.
  2. Spread the fabric across your baby’s back to form a deep seat.
  3. Ensure the bottom rail is tucked under their knees and up to their opposite hip.
  4. Tighten the fabric, while ensuring your baby remains in a secure and comfortable seat.

Your baby is now ready to observe the world around them while staying close to you.

Front Carry

This position is appropriate for newborns and infants, providing a snug, womb-like environment.

  1. Start with your baby facing you and position their bottom on the sling, legs in, creating a seat.
  2. Gently spread the fabric across their back, while their head is supported close to your chest.
  3. Ensure the bottom rail is tucked under their bottom to create a deep seat.
  4. Gradually adjust and tighten the sling, so your baby is comfortable yet secure.

You can switch to the legs-out position once your baby gains neck control.

Back Carry

This position is suited for more experienced babywearers with older babies and toddlers.

  1. Start by placing your baby on your back, maintaining a deep seat and M position.
  2. Slide the fabric across your baby’s back and bring it over your shoulder.
  3. Adjust the fabric on your shoulder and back for support, while making sure to maintain your baby’s seat.
  4. Tighten and secure the sling using the rings, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit.

Your baby can now enjoy a new vantage point while keeping their hands free to explore.

In all carrying positions, make sure to create a proper deep seat for your baby and ensure they are positioned with their legs in an ergonomic M position. This promotes healthy hip development. Experiment with these carrying positions and find what feels most comfortable for you and your baby. Happy babywearing!

Ensuring Your Baby’s Safety and Comfort

When using a ring sling, your baby’s safety and comfort are essential. To guarantee this, you should always check a few elements and follow these simple steps:

  1. Airway: Make sure your baby’s airway remains open at all times. Their chin should not be resting on their chest, and their face should be visible to you to ensure proper breathing. Keep their head well-supported, either by the fabric or with your hand if needed.
  2. Position: Maintain an upright position, with baby’s bottom below their knees and their back in a natural curve. This position helps prevent any discomfort caused by slouching or unnatural stretching.
  3. Snug and Secure: Your baby should be wrapped snugly within the sling, but not too tight. Adjust the fabric so it securely wraps around your baby, providing gentle pressure without constricting their movement.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you ensure your baby’s safety and comfort:

AirwayBaby’s face should be visible and head well-supported.
PositionBaby should be upright with their bottom below their knees.
Snug & SecureBaby should be snuggled within the sling, with fabric adjusted evenly.

Remember to inspect and adjust the ring sling each time you use it. This way, you can guarantee your baby remains safe and comfortable, allowing both of you to enjoy the full benefits of using a ring sling.

Overcoming Common Ring Sling Challenges

Leaning: It’s common for your baby to lean to one side while in the ring sling. To fix this, ensure that the fabric is evenly spread across your baby’s back and is nice and tight, ensuring baby’s neck is supported and that baby’s knees are in the correct M position.

Make sure the top rail is snug so that the baby feels secure in the baby sling and this will help stop baby’s head leaning over.. Adjust the fabric in the rings for a balanced distribution of your baby’s weight and keep excess fabric tucked in.


  • Slipping rings: In case the rings start to slip, first, double-check if you’ve threaded the fabric correctly. If threaded correctly, try tightening the fabric to maintain a good grip.
  • Discomfort in your back or shoulder: Experiment with different carrying positions to determine which one is ideal for you. Distribute the fabric over your shoulder, and ensure you’re keeping the rings at corsage level.

Using a ring sling can be a challenge if your baby always wants to be held, or if you have tasks to complete. Here are some tips to make task management easier when using a ring sling:

  • Try using a side or hip carry position, so your hands are free.
  • Remember that it takes a little practice to become proficient in using a ring sling, so be patient with yourself.
  • Plan your tasks ahead of time, so you’re not overwhelmed. Make a list of the tasks you need to complete and prioritize them accordingly.

With a bit of practice and these friendly tips, you’ll overcome common ring sling challenges and be able to comfortably carry your baby while completing your tasks.

FAQs on Ring Slings Guide

Difference between a Ring Sling and A Sling Pouch

The primary difference between a ring sling and a sling pouch lies in their structure and adjustability. A ring sling consists of a long piece of fabric with two rings at one end, which allows for adjustability and customization in fit for both the wearer and the baby. It can be tightened or loosened to accommodate different body sizes and baby’s growth.

A sling pouch, on the other hand, is a simpler, non-adjustable design. It’s a loop of fabric, designed to carry the baby in one fixed position. The pouch size needs to be chosen based on the wearer’s body size and doesn’t offer the same level of adjustability as a ring sling.

I personally don’t recommend a sling pouch as its too difficult to get a deep seated position for optimal position for baby’s legs and its harder to carry baby safely in a pouch, as baby’s body tends to slump into the pouch, there are much better types of baby carrier on the market which you will get more benefits of babywearing from, so make sure to read our guide in choosing the right baby carrier for you.

How do I choose a ring sling?

When choosing a ring sling, consider the following factors:

  1. Fabric Material: Look for breathable, durable, and comfortable fabric. Linen, cotton, and bamboo are popular choices.
  2. Length: Ensure the sling is long enough to comfortably fit around your body and accommodate your growing baby.
  3. Ring Quality: The rings should be strong and sturdy, typically made of metal or nylon, to safely support the baby’s weight.
  4. Comfort: Check that the sling distributes weight evenly across your shoulder and back.
  5. Ease of Use: For beginners, a sling that is easy to thread and adjust is preferable.

What is the best ring sling for beginners?

For beginners, the best ring sling is one that is simple to use and adjust, made from a comfortable and sturdy fabric, and comes with clear instructions or access to tutorials. Slings made from a soft yet supportive material like cotton or a cotton blend are often recommended, as they are easier to manipulate and adjust. Additionally, a ring sling with well-made, sturdy rings and a length that fits your body size is important for both comfort and safety.

What are the different ring sling carries?

Different ring sling carries include:

  1. Cradle Carry: Suitable for newborns, where the baby lies in a reclined position.
  2. Hip Carry: Ideal for older babies who have good head and neck control; the baby is positioned on the wearer’s hip.
  3. Tummy-to-Tummy Carry: The baby faces the wearer, with legs in the natural “M” position, suitable for infants and young babies.
  4. Back Carry: Suitable for older babies and toddlers, where the child is carried on the wearer’s back.

How long should a ring sling be?

The length of a ring sling can vary based on the wearer’s size and preference, but typically they range from about 1.7 meters (about 67 inches) to 2.2 meters (about 86 inches) long. Longer slings provide more versatility and adjustability, especially for plus-size wearers or those who prefer to have extra tail fabric. It’s important to choose a length that feels comfortable and secure for you and your baby.

How do you use a ring sling on a newborn?

To use a ring sling on a newborn:

  1. Secure the Rings: Position the rings high on your shoulder, as they will lower once tightened.
  2. Create a Deep Seat: Ensure there is enough fabric to create a deep pouch for the baby to sit in, with knees higher than the bottom in an “M” shape.
  3. Support the Head and Neck: Newborns need extra support for their head and neck. Make sure their head is close enough to kiss and their airway is clear.
  4. Even Distribution: Spread the fabric wide over your back and shoulder for even weight distribution.
  5. Check Regularly: Keep checking the baby’s position and comfort, ensuring they are snug and secure.

Is a ring sling easier than a wrap?

A ring sling can be easier to use than a wrap for many people, especially beginners. It requires less manipulation and adjustment compared to a wrap, which involves more complex wrapping and tying techniques. Ring slings are generally more straightforward for quick ups and downs, making them a convenient option for those new to babywearing.

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