The cradle hold is generally used for an infant, a sleeping baby, or for breastfeeding a baby at any age. Your baby can be cradled with their head on the ring side, or opposite the rings. Most find that they prefer to cradle their baby with the head opposite the rings after the first month or two, or while breastfeeding (this provides more room for you to latch baby on). Cradling baby with their head near the rings means that baby's entire body - legs and all - remain in the sling. Baby will outgrow this position quickly! Placing baby with their head opposite the rings allows baby's feet to hang out. As baby grows, the sling will securely wrap around their bottom, and their legs may hang out, knees to feet. This position allows even a breastfeeding toddler to be accommodated safely in the HAVA.
WARNING: Positional asphyxia (suffocation) can occur in young babies. Although this has never happened in one of our slings we want to alert you that this can happen when a baby's chin is pressed against his or her chest, restricting airflow. Always check to ensure that baby's airway is unobstructed and baby is breathing regularly at all times, especially when sleeping.
Begin with your HAVA in the neutral position, with the rings a bit higher than corsage position. Pull all excess fabric from around your back, then create a hammock for your baby by placing the lower rail of your sling against your chest. Let's assume that you're placing baby's head opposite the rings. If the shoulder pad is on your right shoulder, then hold your infant in your right arm. With your left hand, hold the hammock of your sling open and bring your baby up and over the top of the hammock, placing their feet toward your right hip. You may desire to rest your infant’s head inside of the top rail or on the top rail. With baby's body in the hammock and with the lower rail securely between you and your baby, slowly remove your right arm from under your baby and release them into the sling while supporting them with your left arm outside of the sling.
To bring your baby closer or higher, use your left arm to lift your baby. Pull down on the tail with your right hand to tighten the material and bind your baby next to your body. Make sure you continue to have an amount of hammock fabric between your body and your baby, for a secure hold, before letting go with your left hand.
If you have placed your baby's head on the ring side of your HAVA, then notice that if the rings are in the proper position, they should not touch your baby’s head. If they do, the rings are probably too low or your baby is too big, and would be better accommodated with their head opposite the rings. Also, notice that your baby’s feet rest inside of the sling, and that the position of the sling fabric places your baby in a natural reclining position.
Beginning with your sling in the neutral position, with the rings a bit higher than corsage position, hold your baby against you, with their back high on your chest. Support them there in a “chair-like” position. With your free hand, hold the hammock open while you lower your baby’s bottom into the hammock. Take the lower rail and pull all excess fabric from around your back toward the rings, and place some material between your body and your baby’s back. Your baby will sit in the hammock with their legs crossed, tailor style. You’ll continue to support your baby in your HAVA so they are riding at your waist or higher, pulling on the tail (label or below) to tighten. Next, tighten the top rail alone as needed, by "bubbling" the top rail.
Begin with your sling in the neutral position, with the rings a bit higher than corsage position. Pick up your baby or toddler and place their tummy high on your exposed shoulder, opposite the rings. Reach between the sling fabric and your body to grab your child’s feet. Bring both feet through your HAVA and place your child on your hip. Pull any excess fabric around your child's body, toward the rings. While supporting your child at your waist or higher, pull the tail (label or below) to tighten. The top rail will go behind your child’s shoulders, or can be pulled up to support their head if they fall asleep. Ensure that your child is in "froggy" position. This means that their knees are higher than their bottom, and the sling fabric is wrapped securely around their bottom, with the lower rail under their knees. In this way, hammock fabric is securely between you and your baby. Keep in mind that toddlers will recline away from you if the fabric is too loose behind their back. It is important, for your comfort, tighten the top rail alone as needed, by "bubbling" the top rail.
You’ll find that toddlers who are used to the sling will automatically tuck their legs up and stick them through the sling. If your toddler is not familiar with the sling, you may have to reach in and take hold of both feet, pulling them through onto your hip. When your toddler is ready to get down and play, the simple way to let them go is to loosen the sling as you squat, allowing your toddler to slide out of the bottom of your HAVA.