Why Does My Baby Cry In Our Sling?

We often hear from parents that “My baby doesnt like slings” . Sometimes they’ve tried three or four slings with no luck. Yet most of the time we’re still able to find a great sling or carrier that is comfy for parents and that baby loves to be in.

Pretty much all babies love to be carried and it’s biologically normal. The key is finding the right sling and making sure you’re using it correctly, in a way that is comfy for you both. Then get moving!

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How To Settle Your Baby in a Baby Carrier

  1. DON’T WORRY – IT’S NORMAL

    First of all, it’s completely normal and very common for babies to fuss when they are being transferred from one place to another.  In and out of car seats, clothes, nappies and slings – if your baby was comfy where they were they’ll likely react when their situation changes.

    Many babies grumble whilst this is happening, but quickly settle once they are safely secured and you get moving.

  2. GO FOR A WALK

    Newborns are used to movement in the womb; so they’ll be soothed by gentle swaying or, more often, you having a brisk walk. So make sure you’ve got your shoes on BEFORE you put them in the carrier, and get outside for a quick walk. 

    The fresh air will help them settle, too.  If you’re at home, Try going up and down the stairs several times.

    From 3-6 months (at least) babies are likely to fidget, wriggle and push against you in their sling. This doesn’t means they’re necessarily unhappy; they’re just moving as they would if they were tummy-down on a playmat!

    They’re working those muscles and starting to develop the upper body strength they’ll need to master rolling, sitting up and, eventually, crawling. As they want to motor themselves around, but can’t, it’s very normal for them to get frustrated in a carrier (or buggy or car seat).

    So, just as you would in a car or with the pushchair, get moving

  3. PERSIST

    In a sling, any fussing is happening right in front of your face and close to your ears, you’ll probably be far more aware of it then when you’re strapping them into a car seat or buggy. Give it 5-10 mins of movement and they’re very likely to settle.

    With a crying baby, 20 seconds might feel like 5 whole minutes… but it’s not! So time yourself if needed, and be as patient as you can. 

  4. IF THEY DON’T SETTLE: STOP AND FEED (AGAIN)

    It’s so easy to underestimate how often small babies (especially breastfed babies) need to feed. If your baby is hungry then they just won’t settle in a sling. Especially if they can smell milk but cannot get to it!

    Even if they recently fed, check for signs that your baby might still be hungry – these include being restless, shaking or nodding their head against you (rooting), opening and closing their mouth, or sucking their hands/anything close to their face.

    Tired babies are also more likely to fuss and may just need five or ten minutes to settle in a sling before they then fall soundly asleep.

  5. CHECK YOUR CARRIER IS FITTED CORRECTLY

    A carrier or sling that is not fitted correctly will be less supportive than a carrier that is right for you and your baby. Babies just like to feel safe; when they’re in a sling that’s snug and well fitted it will support their spine and head and they can relax. If they don’t feel supported then they won’t be able to settle as easily.

    We often see parents who have loosened their carrier to give baby more space to make them comfier. Actually, it has the opposite effect. In a loosely fitted baby carrier, your baby will feel less secure and will fuss more – and may be unsafe.

    A loosely fitted carrier will also put a lot more pressure on your back, as your baby’s weight pulls down and away from you.

  6.  TRY A DIFFERENT POSITION

    Newborns are usually happy snugged into your chest with their arms in the sling. Once they get past their ‘fourth trimester,’  babies who are 3, 4 or 5 month olds (and older) will often prefer to be less restricted and want to look around.

    Try using a carrier that allows them to ride with their arms and shoulders over the top so they can look around. Or a supportive outwards facing carrier (from around 4 months), a hip carry (from 5-6 months) or a high back carry so they can see over your shoulder (usually 6 months+).

  7. DO YOU LOVE YOUR CARRIER?

    When someone tells me that their baby “doesn’t like the sling” is to ask how the parent feels about the sling. Almost every time the parent isn’t sure if it’s safe or whether they’re using it correctly, or sometimes they just find it really uncomfortable.

    Babies are very intuitive and will pick up on your feelings so if you’re not sure or don’t like your sling then they’ll often feel the same way.

    If you don’t seem to be able to get your sling to feel secure or if you always feel like you have to support your baby with your hands then you may need help (or a different sling) to get a safe fit.

    Your baby should be held high and snug against your chest, close enough to kiss the top of their head; and with the carrier tightened to prevent them flopping or slumping away from your body.

    If your baby is safe, but you’re still not comfy then you may need to try a different brand or style of carrier to make sure that you’re also getting the best support.

  8. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

    The more confident you are about using your sling, the happier your baby will be in it. With practise you’ll be able to get your carrier on quickly and without fuss making the whole process easy for you both.

    Getting advice from a carrying expert so you know that you’re doing everything right can be really reassuring and boost your confidence too.

  9. GET IN TOUCH IF YOU’D LIKE MORE HELP

    You can book a video consultation here. Live chat with us below, call 0345 222 9004, or info@wearmybaby.co.uk.

Home » Why Does My Baby Cry In Our Sling?
Emily Rising

Emily Rising

Emily Rising is a Lead Consultant and Strategic Advisor at Wear My Baby. She is the creator of the Izmi Baby brand, creator of the South London Sling Library and was one of the first babywearing educators in the UK.

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