Every month we feature a carry or carrier to highlight at our monthly meetings and online (“BWITCCOTM” stands for Babywearing International of the Twin Cities Carry or Carrier of the Month).
This month we are featuring ring sling baby carriers and specifically focusing on different types of shoulders.
Did you know ring slings have different shoulder options? Some baby carrier companies only offer one type of shoulder. Maybe you’re someone who tried on a friend’s ring sling and found it so uncomfortable, you decided ring slings aren’t for you. Or maybe you bought a ring sling because you were drawn to the beautiful colors and when you tried it on, it made your back hurt within minutes and got put in the “never again” pile. Often times the discomfort from using a baby carrier can be troubleshooted with a few adjustments. However, some times it’s a matter of finding the right type of baby carrier for each person. Ring slings come in all different fabric blends but also in a variety of ring sling shoulder types including, but not limited to, simple gathered, floating gathered, eesti, hot dog, pleated, and padded. Know your options and try them out to find your best fit!
Simple Gathered Shoulder
A simple gathered shoulder typically has the shoulder sewn approximately 5-8 inches from the rings. A wearer is able to get a good spread of fabric across the shoulder and back.
Floating Gathered Shoulder
A floating gathered shoulder is sewn farther back from the rings than a simple gathered shoulder (approximately 11-12 inches versus 5-8 inches, for example).
A pleated shoulder ring sling has the fabric in a narrower distribution near the rings by pleating the fabric, but still spreads widely across the back.
There are many types of hybrid shoulders, many are brand-specific. Some provide more padding than others and may spread out to cup the shoulder differently depending on how the fabric is bunched and sewn.
The Eesti shoulder is a patented shoulder style created by Karen Hoppis and used with permission by Sleeping Baby Productions. It is a hybrid, modified gathered shoulder. From Sleeping Baby Production’s website: “The Eesti shoulder is a modified gathered shoulder, in that some of the sling’s width is taken up in two small pleats on either side of the shoulder. This allows the shoulder to spread out more than my standard pleats, while keeping it somewhat more contained than a fully gathered shoulder (in which the fabric is simply brought through the rings and stitched in with no folds or pleats).”
Attend a free babywearing meeting (https://babywearingtwincities.org/meetings/) to see if there is a ring sling that fits you best. Volunteer babywearing educators (VBEs) will be present to demonstrate how to use ring slings and explain the differences between the shoulders.
Choosing a Baby Carrier: https://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/choosing-a-baby-carrier/
Ring Sling Shoulders from Babywearing Dallas (photos): http://www.babywearingdallas.com/ring-sling-shoulders/
Ring Sling Shoulders from Babywearing 102 (photos): http://babywearing102.tumblr.com/post/52795393030/ring-sling-shoulders
Ring Sling Basics by Tandem Trouble (video with captions): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKt8fB2nO60&t=13s
Tutorials on Threading/Trouble Shooting/Getting a Good Seat/Front Carry/Hip Carry with a Ring Sling (videos): http://
Optimal Ring Sling Positioning (photo): http://
Jan Andrea’s Ring Sling Shoulder Styles from Sleeping Baby Productions (photos): http://www.sleepingbaby.net/shoulders.php
How to Switch Shoulders of Your Ring Sling Without Disrupting Baby (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=20P1cEPZwVU&app=desktop
The Amazing Versatility of a Ring Sling (uses for ring slings other than wearing your baby): https://babywearingtwincities.org/2017/01/07/the-amazing-versatility-of-a-ring-sling/
BWITC Pinterest Board on Ring Slings (videos and photos): https://www.pinterest.com/bwitc/ring-slings/
All images have image descriptions in the alternative text visible to screen readers.