Sleep Baby Sleep: The Sleepy Dust found in Slings

How much time do you spend each day thinking about your baby's sleep? 

Where does your baby prefer to fall asleep and remain asleep?

What one thing would you change about day to day life with your baby to make

your day more enjoyable and easier?

We try not to obsess about our baby's sleep but it can be difficult not to.

They may prefer to sleep on us, they may really struggle to have naps wherever

they are, or you need to walk constantly with them in the pram or they'll wake

up. Or any possible variation you can think of.


The solution could be a sling. When they fall asleep in your arms from being

snuggled, or at the end of a feed they could be transferred into a sling. Or very

often a baby will fall asleep in a sling, either all by themselves when they feel

secure and comfortable, or with a little persuasion, like rocking, singing or

going for a walk around the house or outside. There are no guarantees, but the

wonderful thing could be that if the baby carrier becomes a sleep cue it can be

a reliable way for your baby to nap, wherever you are.

Transferring a sleeping baby out of your arms and into a sling

My top sleepy sling transferral tips include

1. keeping a stretchy wrap pre-tied and slipping them back in when asleep, or having a woven wrap partly tied.


2. A ring sling can be slipped over you both when your baby is asleep, or on you, ready to slip into.


3. You could even buckle up or tie on the waist band of your carrier when you sit down and feed your baby, then position bottom in place holding baby upright, and secure the sling around them. There possibilities are unlimted! We parents can be very resourceful when necessary!

4. As your baby's sleep matures you can use the sling to get him/her to sleep and then transfer  him/her safely to another sleep surface. I loved this as it gave me the opportunity to have a snooze too!

NB Having said this, do NOT sleep whilst carrying your baby in a sling and please follow safe sleep advice if bed sharing.

Where can I find this "sleepy dust"?

Transferring your sleeping baby can sometimes be tricky if you are not prepared, so even easier is taking advantage of the built in "sleepy dust" often contained in slings and carriers. It won't say so on the box but rest assured it is a vital component in most! 

If your baby has a full tummy, clean nappy and s/he not so full of smiles anymore, then use a sling and potter: nine times out of ten s/he will drift off.

Again no guarantees this works for all babies...

You might need to keep moving, pacing, walking up and down stairs, if your baby is particularly fickle. Try going for a walk in the garden or around near where you live. Mums, dads, grandparents and other family members can also make use of this "sleepy dust" therefore giving you a much needed break if you are the main baby carer.


Finding your rhythm


Using a sling daily as part of your nap routine for your baby can be very reassuring and reliable for you both, with baby sleeping more soundly and for longer than if they were without physical contact. They have your physical touch and may even be able to be rocked back into a second sleep cycle when they tend to stir after the first 40 minutes or so. Being put in the sling is an opportunity for a tired or overstimulated baby to rest or nap wherever you are. Often if a baby sleeps well in the day, once they've found their rhythm, and have been held in arms for as long as they need, they settle for evening sleep more easily and sleep better at night. They have had their carrying needs met, and sleep breeds sleep.

Sleep and sling safety


It is important to follow sling safety advice, particularly when your baby is asleep, ensuring your sling is tight, baby's back well supported, head up in a neutral position keeping chin off their chest, close enough to kiss, and with adequate head and neck support.

Ensure your baby's face stays visible and there is plenty of airflow, so no covering them over with a hood, blanket or muslin, which could also make them get too hot. Also make sure your baby isn't wearing too many layers. Stay in the shade, both stay well hydrated, and a muslin between you both can help to avoid sweaty, uncomfortable skin contact.

Feeding your baby in your carrier can be a great way to get them off to sleep, but only do so if you feel confident in adjusting the sling and remaining vigilant of airways, and keeping baby's face visible. DO NOT let your baby sleep in the sling in a feeding position. Always get them back upright again, high and secure again. Feeding in a sling is usually not hands free, so you are using it as a feeding aid and not in it's usual safe method according to manufacturer's instructions.

Baby can sleep anywhere

This is my favourite part.

As long as you have a sling your baby has a consistent place for naps, not just when at home, but when you go out to groups, for days out, when travelling, or staying somewhere new. When staying away somewhere unfamiliar you can go for an evening stroll with baby in pyjamas before you transfer them to their bed. In fact somewhere to sleep is one of the things we most love about carrying our babies in a sling. A place that is warm and safe, and baby can be close to our hearts.

Pop over to the forum for advice on baby wearing and slings. You can also go along to your local sling library or baby carrying consultant for in person advice.

Joanna Mockford is soon to be a mother of three, and is an experienced, certified Baby Carrying Consultant, who runs a consultancy and sling library in Leicester, and an online shop.

Postal hire and home visits are also available.


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