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Checklist: What should I look out for when buying a Sling?
Who better to answer all the important questions about choosing the right sling than Tina and Anna Hoffmann? After all, the two sisters have been acquainted with slings from an early age. It was their mother, Erika, who established sling-based babywearing in Germany in the early 1970s. Tina and her twin sister Lisa spent the first few years of their lives being put in a sling, while Anna held mom’s hand, ensuring they all got from point A to B as comfortably as possible. And it was only natural for them to carry their own children the same way when they became mothers themselves, a practice adopted by millions of parents around the world today.
The two women share their experiences with you here.
You will find a compact, printable checklist here which provides you with a brief overview of the key points to bear in mind when buying a sling.
How do I know whether a sling is the right choice for me?
Anna Hoffmann: If you're very active and often on the go, whether at home, in the garden, in town, or in the outdoors, then it’s nice to carry your child close to you so you can share a whole range of activities and experiences together. If you’re undecided, then you can rent a sling from us or book a babywearing instruction session at our brick and mortar store and familiarize yourself with this healthy, comfortable, and straightforward option.
What makes an ideal sling?
Tina Hoffmann: The sling is going to hold the most precious gift in the world and so it’s only natural that parents have high expectations of it. It needs to be elastic, but must not wear out. It should be durable and non-tearable, but not too heavy or too warm. You also need to be able to wash it regularly without it becoming worn or losing its shape. And because babies suck on the fabric, it can’t contain any unsafe dyes or chemicals, and it should be easy to wash. We meet all of these requirements for each of our slings and baby carriers by only using uncontaminated materials cultivated under controlled organic conditions and ensuring that they are processed in a particularly wholesome manner.
How do I recognise good quality?
Tina Hoffmann: Good quality can be felt and seen. The fabric should feel nice and soft. Double-lined selvages ensure that your sling maintains its shape at all times. A good nose can also help to recognise good quality, as the sling should not smell of any chemicals.
To determine whether chemicals have actually been used and whether a sling has been produced to a high standard of quality under fair working conditions, you should look at the product details:
- Are the raw materials cultivated under controlled organic conditions?
- Do the manufacturing process and the finished slings undergo regular checks by independent organisations or institutes?
- How and where are the slings produced?
Anna Hoffmann: Slings should really be top quality, as you’ll be using them for many years to come, and not only to carry each of your children. They can also be used as swings, hammocks, picnic blankets, climbing ropes in your children's bedrooms and in other practical ways.
How do I find the right size?
Anna Hoffmann: When choosing the length of the sling, always go by the largest person who will be carrying your child. It doesn’t matter if the sling is a bit too long for the other people, as you can simply tie the surplus ends together at another point. The length you need also depends on your preferred carrying position. You can find the size you need before buying with our online sizing guide. We can also produce any special size upon request to ensure that the sling will fit you.
Which carrying position is right for me?
Anna Hoffmann: The best way to work out which carrying position is right for you and your child is to try out the different positions. But please note that certain carrying positions are only possible from a certain age and with a specific sling size. We particularly recommend the wrap cross and kangaroo hip carrying positions for newborns. You will receive detailed tying/fastening instructions with each of our slings, explaining and illustrating each of the carrying positions we have developed. You will also find a good network of professional babywearing instructors and experienced parents on our website. These individuals will be happy to help you with your initial attempts at tying the slings.
Tina Hoffmann: We also offer other solutions for those who don’t get on so well with our slings. For example, DidySlings are particularly easy to fasten. These quick-to-assemble carriers consist of a specially stitched sling and a pair of rings. The Didy Meh-Dai (DidyTai) is another straightforward option. Consisting of a more or less rectangular sling with a waist strap and shoulder straps, it can be fastened together into a comfortable carrier in next to no time.
What is the ideal sling made of?
Tina Hoffmann: Your sling should certainly be washable. Otherwise, you’re completely free to choose the fabric. The basic fabric for our slings is cotton, sometimes mixed with other yarns, such as wool, cashmere, linen, or silk. Of course, you should pick a sling you like the look of to make babywearing even more fun for all involved.
What should I ask about in the store?
Anna Hoffmann: Obtaining advice is essential. So, please take your time and, ideally, take our checklist along with you, ask about anything you're unsure of and be certain to hold the slings in your hands first. If you prefer shopping online, choose a site that provides you with detailed information about the slings on offer. We offer you everything in one place: sizing guide, background information on the production process, details of the features of each individual sling, other interesting facts about babywearing and tips on alternative ways to use the sling once your children have outgrown it.
Do you still have questions?
Then please don’t hesitate to write to us or call us on: +49 7141 975 71-0.
We’re on hand to answer any questions you have and are happy to share with you our knowledge and experience.
After all, many of us have already carried our own children around in DIDYMOS slings.