I received this item at no cost to facilitate my review.
I have finally gotten into the sling of things. And I finally get to make that amazing pun! Yes, the ring sling is the only style of (fairly common) baby carrier that I have yet to fully try out, and it’s the style I had always assumed I would like the least. Melanie at Gentle Nest is a true curator of luxury mom and baby goods and has introduced me to some pretty fantabulous brands, so I was not about to say no to the chance to try a Sakura Bloom. I selected a sling from the “Chambray” line, “crafted from two layers of the finest Belgian linen”.
I chose a double-layer linen sling because of the extra support: Little Miss is now 20 lbs, and I want to keep slinging her around for a good long while. Also, whoever writes the copy for Sakura Bloom is a poet, and I couldn’t resist: “Linen is a timeless classic, beloved for millennia for its beauty, strength and versatility. Five times stronger than cotton and naturally antibacterial, linen is woven from spun flax—one of the most sustainable natural fibres in the world. Thermo-regulating with a built-in wicking property, our linen slings breathe wonderfully, keeping you warm and cozy in the winter and cool and dry in the summer. The simple gorgeousness of linen is suited to every occasion, from family beach adventures to special events and everything in between.”
My sling colorway (I love that word) is called Nectar, and it is s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g.
It’s all well and good for the colour to be glorious. The question is: do I like using a ring sling? At first blush, I found it tricky. Sakura Bloom has some great instructional videos, so I wasn’t lacking in guidance. As with any new carrier, I just had to get the feel for it. Thanks to my experience with other carriers, I knew what a good seat should look like, and I was able to transfer some of my previous wrapping skills over to my new ring slinging adventure. (Yes, in my world, “to ring sling” is a verb.) At first, I found it challenging to know just where to pull to tighten which area of the sling. I also struggled to get the rings in the right place. They should be at “corsage level,” and I found that as I tightened my sling, they would sink lower and lower. But, practice makes perfect! Until I got my ring placement sorted and figured out how to tighten just right, I didn’t find my sling comfortable. But once I understood I had to spread the fabric nice and wide across my back and how to properly tighten the top and bottom rails without the sling digging into my neck or the rings dropping too low, I found it very comfortable indeed! The best trick I found to getting the proper adjustment is to have the sling nice and tight before putting Little Miss in. (This troubleshooting video is super helpful!)
What makes the ring sling so different than any other carrier we’ve used is that it’s a one-shoulder carry. You can wear baby on your hip or on your front (and for advanced slingers with cooperative toddlers, on your back), but the sling only goes over one shoulder. I found that placing the rings on my right shoulder was how I felt the most comfortable.
I don’t toss around superlatives lightly. So it’s kind of a big deal for me to realize I’m about to confer upon the ring sling three “Best for” titles.
1- Best for Breastfeeding
Because it’s a one-shoulder carry, it’s really, really easy to nurse in. In fact, I’d say that the ring sling is the easiest baby carrier style for nursing.
With this in mind, I’m pretty sad that I didn’t try a ring sling when Little Miss was a newborn. Unlike buckle carriers, a ring sling can be used right from birth. They’re also a “one size” carrier, so in theory my husband could also use it! (He is very stubborn and only uses buckle carriers.)
2- Best for Transferring
Besides winning “best for nursing,” I am also awarding my Sakura Bloom ring sling the “best for bed transfers” prize. If the way you get your baby to sleep is by wearing her, you know the importance of the transfer. I typically get Little Miss down for bedtime in the sling because I can completely slide it off before placing her on the bed, or I can lean down and slide myself out of the sling as I place her down. You can take the tail out of the rings if it helps, but regardless of how you do it, a ring sling is by far the easiest carrier for a smooth transfer. There’s even a hashtag dedicated to this phenomenon. (#SakuraBloomTransfer)
3- Best for Hip Carries
Rounding out the best of trifecta, our Sakura Bloom ring sling is now my favourite way to do a hip carry. I’ve never enjoyed the hip carries that are possible with many buckle carriers, but I’m a definite fan of the hip carry in a ring sling!
It’s really easy to move her over to my chest if she falls asleep, and I find a hip carry to be a nice way for older babies to look outwards without being completely forward facing. I mainly use our ring sling around the house, but this position is a nice way to explore nature with your child, since they’re up high with you and can see exactly what you see.
While you won’t find me ring slinging on a hike, I actually don’t mind using the sling when I’m doing chores at home. (I had assumed I wouldn’t like it at all for this purpose.) If I’ve really got big jobs to do, I reach for a buckle carrier and do a back carry, but the sling is just fine for laundry and dishes and following the preschooler around!
What I love most about our Sakura Bloom Chambray Ring Sling
- One size fits all wearers
- Usable from birth well into toddlerhood
- Made in the US with the finest natural textiles
- Double layer of linen makes it extra supportive
- Breathable and lightweight, helping us keep cool this summer
- Easily pop baby in and out of the sling without taking it off
- The best for happy breastfeeding, bed-transferring and hip carrying
- No long tails like a mei tai or wrap, making it ideal for putting baby in when you’re in a parking lot
- The stunning colours and luxurious fabrics mean Sakura Bloom slings can be part of your outfit, whether it’s loungewear or eveningwear.
What I like less about using a ring sling:
- Not suitable for back carries until baby is much older (here’s a video)
- I personally find a one-shoulder carry to not be the most comfortable carry for longer periods/longer distances … this is not my hiking carrier.
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Melanie at Gentle Nest is the purveyor of the finest in natural parenting products. Besides having great taste in mom and baby gear, she’s also a loyal Maman Loup sponsor!