How to Use a Pouch Sling

Pouch Slings are wonderful! They fold up tiny and are so convenient to bring along for a quick carry! A pouch sling can work well from newborn to toddler! With a newborn, a pouch sling does a lovely front carry. With an older baby or toddler who wants to walk or wants to be up and down frequently, a pouch sling is so convenient!  This post will help you learn to use your pouch sling.

pouch sling

How to Do a Front Carry

Using a pouch sling with a newborn is quick and easy. This video shows how to put on a pouch sling, how to put a newborn in an upright carry in the sling, and how to adjust so that the baby is well supported:

If you prefer photo-tutorials, this tutorial shows how to do a front carry in a pouch sling and shows how to cap the shoulder to tighten the carry.

How to Do a Hip Carry

You can also do a hip carry in a pouch sling. This video by Babywearing Faith shows how to do a hip carry with an older baby:

Pouch Sling Sizing

Let’s start with pouch sling sizing.  Pouch slings are a sized carrier.  This means that the carrier only works well if it fits the caregiver.  It also means that two differently-sized adults cannot share a pouch sling.  If you’re planning to use a couch sling with someone who is a different size than you, you will each need your own sling.

In most cases, when buying a pouch sling, if you feel that you are in between sizes, choose the smaller size.  Most people that I help with a pouch sling have one that is too big.  Pouch slings aren’t like kid shoes, where you can buy one slightly too big and just grow into it.  If your sling is too big, you will not be able to use it.

How to Tell if your Sling Fits

First of all, you can always visit your local babywearing educator or group to get help deciding if your sling fits.  They can also help you get your baby positioned just right in your sling and help you find a community of other caregivers to support you!

Signs Your Sling Fits:

  • Your baby’s head is nice and high on your chest, where you can easily kiss them or sniff their little head.
  • You feel like your baby is held securely.  If you bend slightly at the hip (supporting baby with one hand), the baby remains held snugly against you.
  • Your baby’s body is well supported and isn’t slumping or tilting in the sling.

Signs Your Sling Is Too Big:

  • Your baby’s head is low on your chest or abdomen, where you can’t easily kiss or sniff their head.
  • You feel like you need to keep a hand on baby to prevent them from falling.
  • You feel like you baby could lean out or that your baby would fall if you lean forward slightly.
  • The baby slumps down or tilts to the side in your sling and doesn’t feel well supported.

Signs Your Sling is Too Small

  • When you put on your sling, you don’t feel like there is room for the baby.
  • When wearing the sling, you can’t fit your arm or elbow inside of the sling fabric.

What to Do if Your Sling Doesn’t Fit

If your pouch sling is too big or too small, contact the company that sold it to you.  Many companies will happily exchange for the right size.  After all, they want your baby to be safe and secure in the sling too.

Check Your Carry

This graphic shows how some tips for checking your pouch sling carry:

  • Make sure baby’s face is completely visible
  • Check to be sure baby’s chin is off of baby’s chest.  You should be able to fit two fingers under the chin.
  • Baby’s head should be high on the wearer’s body, where you can easily bend to kiss baby’s head.
  • The baby should be held snugly against the wearer.
  • Baby should be positioned upright and chest to chest with the wearer. Cradle hold positioning is also possible, but most babies prefer upright positioning.
  • Cap the shoulder to tighten the carry.
  • The bottom edge of the sling fabric should support the baby from one knee all the way to the other knee.

pouchslinggraphicjpgIf you want to try a cradle or reverse cradle hold, aren’t sure if your sling fits you, or want to get hands on help learning how to use your pouch sling, visit your local babywearing group or consultant.  They can help you get your baby positioned just right!

Further Reading

Babywearing Safety
Positioning your Newborn
Positioning your Older Baby or Toddler