Hello, I hope some experienced sling users out there can help me!
Now that it's winter and my baby is getting heavy (around 20lbs/9kg), I've been using the ring sling a lot more than the Boba, since it's so quick and easy to use over any coat. But whenever I wear it for a while, my shoulder starts to feel compressed and sore, and it doesn't feel very healthy. It's hard to maintain a good posture too.
I thought this was because of the inflexible synthetic material of my sling (homemade, I realized after I bought it online). So I borrowed a friend's expensive organic cotton sling from Germany (brand Storchen Wiege, very well regarded in Europe), and I'm still having some of the same problem, to a lesser degree, but...
Now I'm wondering if it's something I'm doing, the way I'm built (kinda boney in the shoulders), or maybe the inherent design of slings and the way the weight is concentrated. Others with cotton slings have told me they don't have this problem (but nobody with the same skinny-tall type build). I spread the material near the ring over my whole shoulder, so it's more the general weight and pressure, and not that it's digging in, but it feels like a more flexible material might help. I also should mention I had no problem when baby was smaller/lighter, unless I used the sling all day.
Any ideas or tricks to control the weight distribution in the fabric? I love the convenience of the sling, so I really hope it's something I can fix!
Padded ring slings can help as well as spreading out the fabric, like you are doing.
I can only carry baby (20lbs) for a little while as my shoulder starts to hurt. I rotate. And just suffer through it. Ultimately, how comfy can it be when it is all based on one shoulder? I am ready for another carrier to put him on my back.
I have a linen sling (unpadded) and spread over my whole shoulder, it was pretty good for about 30 or 45 minutes when my DD was 18 lbs-ish. (She's skinny so that was around 9 months to a year old.) I haven't used it much recently because she's a toddler now, but once she hit about 20 lbs I noticed that it was kinda hard on the shoulder. I think kids just get heavy...after a while it hurts if you're carrying it all on one shoulder. I really prefer my Ergo now, partly because of that issue. I don't put the Ergo on over a coat, though--I put on the Ergo and strap DD in, then put on the coat. She keeps my front warm, so I don't have to fasten it, and the coat helps protect her little hands and feet from the cold. She likes the Ergo because she can snuggle up to my front, and she can twist around to see forward if she likes. (You can wear the Ergo on the back or the side, too, but I don't like it as much.)
On the plus side, weight gain really slows down after a while! My DD has only gained maybe 2 lbs in the past 6 months (she's 15 months now), and she eats like a champ.
If you decide to buy a natural fiber ring sling... mine is from Sleeping Baby Productions and it cost about $40, I think, and I LOVE it. She also has cotton ones that are even cheaper--I bought this one for use in summer and in India so it had to be really lightweight.
Mom to the wacky and wonderful Kalyani (August 2011)
Thanks for the replies so far - I really hope hitting 20lbs doesn't mean no more sling! The linen sling sounds interesting, but 45min is not very long... maybe my expectations are unrealistic, but I travelled alone with the baby and had her in the Boba or the sling all day sometimes over the summer.
Like Choose2Reuse, I also carry her in the front a lot in the Boba (same basic idea as the Ergo, some design differences that I preferred, especially for a toddler), with the coat open and partly around her, and we happily did this last winter and part of this one (long winters here - she's 14months). However, (1) she's getting heavy for the front and that's hard on my back & shoulders, and (2), it's getting too cold for me, I need to close my coat! I feel fine when she's in the Boba on my back like a backpack (which is what's recommended for that type of carrier after about 15lbs I think), but I can't work it out with a coat on, hence my sling issue...
For other sling users hitting the weight limit, I have been experimenting, and I find that spreading the sling so that more of the fabric is on top of my shoulder than the side (so it's not "centered" on my shoulder), the pressure isn't as bad on my actual shoulder joint. I think it might also help to tighten more at the edges than in the middle, but haven't found an easy way. I'll have to keep experimenting, and will post again if I figure something out, and I hope others will chime in with results too!
Have you looked at any videos online? They really helped me and saved my RS from the closet! I can wear my 16+ pd DS in a cradle carry for an hour or so, but only after I had watched a few videos to check for proper shoulder positioning. Also, when tightening your the rails, I always make sure that I am pulling them out horizontally instead of down, this seems to help with pressure points on the shoulder. It's also worth looking at some different shoulder styles too; my first RS was one that I made myself, and it had a slightly bulky, lightly padded shoulder fold that just did not work for me. I ended up getting a SnuggyBaby RS that has an unpadded pleated shoulder, and I find it great for all carries.
20 lbs does not have to mean no more slings! :-) I wear my almost 2 1/2 year old in a ring sling all the time and we love it (I have petite, bony shoulders as well). It is a wrap conversion like yours probably is, OP, and I just have to get it adjusted properly so that it is neither too narrow nor too spread out. Getting my toddler seated well makes a difference, too. The youtube channel Paxbaby Mom has some good toddler ring sling tutorials that might be helpful for you. Do you know what kind of shoulder your sling has?
DD was 20lbs before she was 9mos - so I did carry her quite a bit since walking wasn't an option yet. 13mo and 24lbs now and I've found that for me, I can have the sling on MY right shoulder more than on my left - no matter how much I try my left is too uncomfortable. I'm small with boney shoulders, but I do ok with it evenly spread across the top of my shoulder. Sometimes I switch her her away from my hip and onto my stomach and that helps too, (especially since she really likes to walk and tolerates the sling better if she's a bit tired) and allows me to cover her a bit more and she'll fall asleep if there's nothing to look at.