Tips for buying a baby sling.

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Slings have become very fashionable and are being promoted as the best way to carry your baby and to help promote bonding. At the moment they are not readily available in the high street shops, making it very difficult for buyers to know what type of sling is best for them and what they should be looking for when buying a sling. This guide is intended to help explain the various types of slings and also to help you get the best (and avoid the worse!!)when buying from ebay.

I have listed here four main types of slings:

  • Ring slings - The best and most versatile all round sling.
  • Pouches (available in adjustable and non adjustable types) - Easy to use great for first time parents and dads!!
  • Wraps - Great weight distrubution for older babies and toddlers.
  • Soft carriers - A softer alternative to traditional type carriers.

For a more detailed explanation on each sling type see my other guides or have a look on my website

Most sling manufacturers and some WAHM's( work at home mums) who sell slings on ebay, also have a website where they have all of their range on sale and usually a little more information on how or where the slings are actually made. It can be a good idea to check this out as some also have some bargains on their websites.

With so many people selling, what should I look for?

  • With ebay, ALWAYS read feedback comments..especially those that mention the quality of the sling.
  • Ask questions of the seller if you feel some details on the listing are a bit vague i.e. returns policy, details on the fabric used, sewing or manufacturing  experience,where and how they are made.
  • Don't always believe what a seller claims is the RRP. Some sellers will artificially inflate the retail price of the sling they are selling to make you believe that you are getting a bargain....so when a rrp is quoted check where and if it actually sells for that price and also that it is the sling listed.eg Huggabay, New Native,Peppermint etc are established sling maufacturers whose slings may retail at £45+  but you wouldn't expect to pay that for a non branded sling.
  • Check that the sling pictured is actually the sling that you are buying, again some sellers will use pictures of different slings on ther listings...opt for reputable sellers.
  • Watch out for false claims.....as I said, slings are broken down to four main types and within those types most sellers use the same pattern so be wary of claims that state "designed by a midwife, nurse, doctors " etc. Most times when you look at the slings you will see that we nearly all use the same designs or variations of those design, that are based on the sellers experience of either babywearing or sewing.
  • "Recommended by midwives"....most slings are, however some like my own are actually endorsed by a named expert in the case of Freedom Slings, by Sharon Trotter a leading breastfeeding expert, midwife, best selling author and mum.

Price?..is more expensive always the best?

Whilst price can be an indication of the quality of the sling you are buying especially when new.It's not always the case.

  • Many wahm are able to use quality fabrics and still keep the cost of the sling down because they are making them at home so it is still possible to get a good quality sling at a low price.
  • Look a the business ethos of the seller you are buying from. eg., here at Freedom Slings, we have our slings made to the highest standards locally in Glasgow, we only use quality fabrics that are either sourced locally or are Fair-trade organic cotton but are able to keep our costs down by running our business from home using family members (having twelve children has it's advantages!!) and because we are not profit driven but are genuinely fed up ourselves with having to pay inflated prices for baby and child essentials.I am able to provide slings that match the established sling makers in quality but at a far better price.
  • Some other sling makers also have their slings manufactured here in the UK which is unfortunately more expensive to do than to have them made elswhere so you may feel that it is worthwhile paying a bit extra to support manufacturing here in the UK.

In Short, the best advice that I can give ( though perhaps not the most professional!) is that once you have decided on the type of sling that you want and wether you are opting  for new or used , then buy from the seller who "feels right" to you.

 

 

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