Most babies naturally love to be carried, but it can be hard to complete everyday tasks while still satisfying a small baby's need for closeness. An Over the Shoulder Baby Holder is a ring sling that you can adjust to fit your body and that allows you to move around with your baby. Using the sling does take practice, though, and you must use it correctly to keep your baby safe.
Hold the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder with your left hand. Position your hand so that it’s behind the ring — the sling should be right side out — and make sure the sling’s tail (the piece of fabric that hangs below the ring) is hanging down.
Place the sling over your right shoulder. Rest the shoulder pad on your right shoulder. The ring should be slightly below your shoulder, in the area where you would wear a corsage. The tail should be hanging down.
Place your baby in the sling. A smaller baby might like to be placed in an inclined position. His head should be on the same side as the rings so that it’s elevated. If he’s too far into the fabric, you can place a folded receiving blanket behind his upper body. An older baby will most likely enjoy sitting up in the sling. Place her in the sling, her stomach next to your stomach, and let her legs dangle out of the bottom of the sling. In this position, you might find it comfortable if you have the baby positioned over your hip.
Tighten the rings once your baby is positioned by pulling on the tail. Hold the rings in place while pulling to prevent them from slipping down your shoulder.
Remove baby by loosening the rings. Lift up on the upper ring and then pull it down. You should feel the fabric slide through. Remember to re-tighten the sling the next time you put the baby in it.
Use a doll to practice using the sling. This will help prevent injuries and give you more confidence when using the sling.
To maintain comfort, make sure that the ring stays in the correct place the entire time you’re wearing your baby.
You can wear the sling on either shoulder, so if it’s more comfortable, place the ring on your left shoulder.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, 14 infant deaths over the past 20 years have been attributed to the use of a sling, though not necessarily the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. Many of the casualties were low-weight or premature babies, or those who had breathing issues, such as a cold.
The CPSC says that the baby’s face should be visible, his chin up and his nose and mouth free.