How to make a DIY baby sling in 10 simple steps

Maybe you haven’t bought a baby wrap or carrier just yet, or perhaps you left yours at the park — whatever the reason, you may, at some point, find yourself in a lurch — sans sling. It might not sound like the ideal option, but you actually can make your own DIY baby slings when in an absolute pinch. It’s rather easy; plus, it gives your baby the benefits of cozy skin-on-skin affection and provides you with mostly hands-free convenience.

Of course, if you’re not confident in your crafting skills, you might consider keeping one palm on your love bug and using the sling as added support. Really, though, using a large scarf, towel, or flat piece of material is similar to using a sling you’d find and buy at a baby store. You’ll be able to rig up this baby-hugging helper in a few minutes with minimal effort and zero expense. Want to give it a try? Here’s how to do it.

baby sling
Lolostock/Shutterstock

Step 1: Source your material

You can use any large or long scarf, blanket, towel, loose sheet, or tablecloth — just check that it’s made of a breathable material like cotton or muslin. Avoid heavy-duty knits and other chunky materials that could overheat your little love and be difficult to tie, knot, and maneuver.

Step 2: Fold in half lengthwise

Take your long fabric and fold it in half, lengthwise. You want it to be long enough to wrap around your body securely.

Step 3: Place it over your shoulder

If you are right-side dominant, place the halved material over your right shoulder with the opening flap facing away from your body. If you are left-handed, position it over the left shoulder. Let the material drape down your back and hang to your waistline in the front.

Step 4: Wrap and tuck it

The part of the sheet that is dangling down your back should now be tightly wrapped behind your waist and tucked into your opposite arm. While you are doing this, pull the end in front of you toward your waist. Yank tight so that the material behind you is smooth and even, and make sure there are no twists, turns, or clumps in the fabric.

Step 5: Tie a strong knot

Take the long end that is tucked into your arm and hanging down to the shorter end by your waist, and tie a knot. The long side should be tucked into the shorter side; make sure it feels nice and tight.

newborn sling
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Step 6: ‘X’ marks the spot

Take both hanging ends and crisscross them. Tuck the longer side into the shorter one, and pull the excess material through again.

Step 7: Identify your baby’s pouch

Now, you should have a sturdy knot and a visible pouch to place Baby inside. You should notice that the side that was tucked under can be moved and adjusted to tighten. Now, reposition the entire DIY sling so that the tied knot is at your shoulder level. If anything comes loose, start over. Safety first, after all!

Step 8: Place your baby in the pocket

At this point, you can put your baby into the designated pouch and adjust the tightness for comfort and security.

Step 9: Make sure weight is evenly distributed

Make sure that Baby feels well-positioned and centered within the pouch. If one part of your arm or shoulder seems to be taking the brunt of Baby’s weight, you can spread the material on your shoulder out. This will even out the distribution across your whole shoulder.

Step 10: Use caution

This is cute and cozy, right? It is a great go-to temporary solution. Keep a watchful eye to make sure Baby is comfortable and safe, and always check that the integrity of the material and the knot remain strong.

There is a time and a place for homemade baby slings. If you can’t find yours or need to hold your baby close in an emergency, a little quick-thinking craftiness can come in handy. With that said, a premade ring sling, baby wrap, or carrier may offer more structure, more security, and more peace of mind for you and your sweetheart. Either way, carry on, Moms and Dads! You’ve got this.

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