4 beautiful slings made by mothers, for mothers, and helping other mothers.
Whether you’re new to the world of baby-wearing or just sick of fussing with clunky strollers and over-stuffed baby-packs, let us point you back to a simpler, sweeter, more comfortable solution: the baby sling.
It may not surprise you to learn that these smart little kangaroo-carriers, which swaddle the baby close to mom’s body leaving her hands-free, have been around since prehistoric times. One researcher, Dr. Timothy Taylor of Bradford University, even credits the invention of the sling with helping prehistoric babies grow bigger brains: “The invention of the baby sling, which allowed more babies to successfully mature outside the female body, instantly removed the barrier to increased head and brain size.”
Big baby heads aside, many modern parents argue that slings are still the perfect thing for bringing an infant along on the go. Because, as much as modern technology gives us, sometimes it can also over-complicate its simple predecessor, which already worked well. That said, you don’t need to look like a woman of the stone age: Today’s slings have the added perk of being extra comfortable and stylish, coming in all different colors and designs. So whether you want your sling to be warm or airy, to blend in or be the accent piece of your outfit, you’ll have plenty of options.
Don’t know where to start? Here are our four favorite Etsy “mompreneurs” with the best tried-and-true slings around, with a few tips on how to wear them.
Simplicity in a sling
Maria Zelenetskaya, the owner of Okrosh Babywearing, presents customers with a simple choice: blue or pink? Both are soft enough to be gentle on newborn skin. Maria first inspired to start hand-making her own baby slings after the birth of her son because she found it was a great way to maintain an active lifestyle: hands-free but with your child held close.
Her Etsy shop also sells handmade silicone teething jewelry for moms to wear without worrying about their child choking on a regular piece of jewelry, which is especially important if they’re being carried in a sling.
A hip sling to help you, and another, too
Hope Carried is more than just a business to Brea Albulov—it’s a mission to empower women. Brea hires women unable to find work elsewhere to help make baby wraps and ring slings for the Etsy shop. The beautiful slings come in a variety of cheerful colors and prints that make baby wearing look effortlessly cool. Brea even says that her slings are so pretty, they can double as stylish scarves!
A mother herself, Brea has a lot of advice that she likes to share with the rest of the baby wearing community, often through her social media accounts or on her blog. For instance, as seen above, she suggests this tummy-to-tummy wrap for gassy babies because it helps massage your infant’s tiny belly.
A gorgeous Greek wrap
Ana and Alex, who currently live in Russia, first got the idea to start Harmaslings when they took a trip to Greece with their two and a half month old daughter. For them, a sling was the easiest way to travel with a newborn baby, and when they got home they wanted to share their experience with others. So they began designing stunning slings with supportive straps that mom (or dad!) could wear comfortably. Alex even shows dads how to put on the sling comfortably in an instructional Facebook video.
The couple produce gorgeous multi-colored hand-woven sling wraps that offer a little more structure than just a scarf-like shape, and can be used to carry your baby on the front or back—whatever works best for you and your child. Just look at the beautiful texture of the company’s merino wool sling offerings, which draw moisture away from the skin while regulating temperature naturally:
It takes a village … so why not help a village?
For many cultures, the baby sling isn’t a returning trend but a long held tradition. Toto Wraps is a small business of mothers and local artisans from Nairobi, Kenya who work together to make ethical, eco-friendly, fair trade baby slings to share with the rest of the world, no matter where you and baby live. The slings are made from traditional, hand-woven Kikoy fabric and colored using natural plant dyes.
The women of Toto Wraps also like to use their business profits to help the community they live in by donating to local charities. So if you’re looking for a stylish sling and a socially responsible company, this is the choice for you. As one mother, Jennifer Gaus, put it: “My son is 28 lbs, and I am comfortable carrying him in this ring sling while shopping or walking short distances. It has a fair trade feel and comes with character. I loved it enough to buy another for a friend of mine who is expecting a baby!”