Questions? Give us a call at 832-239-5110

HAVA Baby Sling Basics

Over the years, we’ve made many mistakes when it comes to babywearing. Learning babywearing the hard way has been a blessing, because we are now able to pass on the tips we’ve learned. If you still need help after watching your instructional DVD and reading these instructions, please email us or give us a call at 832-239-5110.

Parts of Your Sling

Parts of the HAVA Baby Sling To be successful using your HAVA, it helps to know the parts of the sling as they are referenced below. The stitched strap or flared zip pocket area, from the label down, is referred to as the tail. The portion of the HAVA that cradles your baby is the hammock. The rails are the top and bottom padded portions that line the hammock and continue on to provide comfort across your back and shoulder. The slim contoured pillow above the rings is the shoulder pad, designed for long-term comfort of wearing, especially as your baby grows into a toddler. The shoulder pad is not a pillow for your baby’s head. Lastly, the rings are called just that – the rings.

Buckling Your Sling

Hold the rings in one hand and the bottom of the tail in the other hand. Pull all of the fabric of the tail through both rings until the label has come a few inches past the rings. Pull all of the fabric back through one ring, just like threading a belt. The label should end up just below the rings.

Key Tips for Comfort

Rest assured that, with practice, wearing your baby will become second nature to you. Most things that are truly worth it take a bit of work, so hang in there until the art of babywearing comes naturally!

If you are right handed, you may find that the position that feels best to you is to wear your HAVA with the shoulder pad on your right shoulder. To do so, start with your hands out in front of you, with your sling draped on your left hand. The shoulder pad should rest on your left hand, with the tail hanging between your two hands. Next, slide the sling up your left arm and over your head, resting the shoulder pad on your right shoulder. If you’re left handed, you will probably feel more comfortable with the shoulder pad on your left shoulder, so follow the above directions using the opposite sides. The hammock where your baby will be cradled goes across your chest like a banner. The rings should come just between your breast and shoulder. This is called the neutral position.

Correct HAVA Ring Placement
One of the three keys for comfort when wearing a sling is to make sure the rings always end up between your breast and shoulder, no matter which position you wear your baby in. The second key tip for comfort is the position of the shoulder pad. Make sure the shoulder pad is on your shoulder cap (so that it looks to be diagonal), rather than sitting on top of your shoulder or between your shoulder and neck. This is important, allowing the fabric of your HAVA to drape properly across your back (which is actually the third key for comfort). When wearing an infant, you may find that you're comfortable even with the shoulder pad on top, but as your baby grows, it will
Correct HAVA Shoulder Pad Placement
certainly make a difference to slide the shoulder pad to the cap of your shoulder. Draped properly, your baby's weight will be distributed across your body for long-term comfort of wearing. If your rails are criss-crossed anywhere, then the fabric cannot be spread out properly for weight distribution. The best position for your rails to be in on your back is parallel to each other, and as far away from each other as possible.
Fabric Drapes Across Your Back
If you find yourself experiencing some discomfort, try this. Reach behind your back, below the shoulder pad area, and pull the sling fabric down some. Of course, this can't be done if your shoulder pad is on top of your shoulder, rather than on your shoulder cap. Also, check to make sure baby is at or above your waistline. I find that when I tug down on the fabric to make sure my baby's weight is distributed properly, any discomfort goes away!


In review, the three keys for comfort are:

1. The rings should be between your shoulder and breast.
2. The shoulder pad should be on your shoulder cap, rather than on top of your shoulder.
3. The fabric of your sling should be spread out across your back as much as possible – with rails not criss-crossing, and spread as far away from each other as possible.

Placing Baby in the Sling

With your HAVA baby sling in neutral position, start with the rings a bit too high (almost touching your shoulder) so that they will end up in corsage position after you adjust your sling. Initially, you will securely hold your baby high on your shoulder, outside of the sling, opposite the sling rings. Rather than lowering baby into the sling and placing baby's weight on the sling, lower baby between your chest and the sling fabric, but keep holding baby with your arm. Before you place baby's weight in the sling, it is important to sweep any excess fabric from around your back, across baby's body, toward the rings. After pulling the excess fabric across baby's body, you're ready to make the initial adjustment - pulling the tail (from the label down). Pull the tail until the sling fabric is wrapped securely around baby, with baby high on your chest, where you would naturally carry him or her with your arms. All the while, hold your baby securely with your arms, until you have wrapped your baby in the safety of the sling and made all adjustments necessary. Detailed instructions regarding specific positions follow.

Bubbling (Adjusting the Top Rail Only)

HAVA Baby Sling Rail Bubbling
The bubbling technique is key to getting your baby snug against you so that you can be hands-free. “Bubbling” is what you do to take up excess material in just one rail. Most people find that after making the initial adjustment of pulling the entire tail (to adjust how high baby is positioned against the chest), a second adjustment is needed - adjusting the top rail only. To do so, reach just below the rings – between the rings and the HAVA label – and find the piece of material that relates only to the top rail. The material splits just above the label, making it easy to see the fabric that corresponds to each rail. Pull on the fabric split that matches the loose rail, and pull that piece of fabric just below the rings until you have made it look like a bubble. This tightens the top rail, pulling your baby closer to you – which will make a huge difference in comfort for you. Many find that they use the bubbling technique more as their infant is worn in an upright carry position. Also, as your toddler is worn in a hip straddle, you may find that they will recline away from you if there is any slack. You don’t want your baby hanging low or away from your body. The closer your baby is to your body, the safer baby is and the more comfortable you will be.