In the ongoing debate between Attachment parenting and Babywise parenting it seems that the infant sling is viewed as a tool for attachment parenting only and has no role in a Parent-Directed (Babywise) approach. However, now that we have two children, my wife decided to test out the sling as a matter of necessity (better to have two free hands to chase our 2-year old around the house).
A sling is an integral part of an attachment parenting philosophy. This parenting style calls for your baby to be close to you pretty much at all times. There is really no other way to accomplish this, short of a sling. A major perk of this is the hands-free aspect of caring for your baby. Busy moms quickly find that it is very easy to do all kinds of things without having to worry about holding on to your baby. In general this is the happiest place for baby to be and thus fussing is at a minimum (although not eliminated). Lastly, baby is secure – no worries about the family pet or the over-anxious 2-year-old big brother playing a little too rough.
The PDF approach taught in Babywise focuses on early sleep training. Basically this means teaching baby how to go to sleep in his bed, on his own – with no props (no breast, no bottle, no pacifier, etc.) This is encouraged through an eat, wake, sleep cycle. While the sling is traditionally shunned by this approach, I am not so sure that we cannot find a happy medium and have the best of both worlds. During the day, our newborn spends the bulk of his wake-time in the sling. When he starts to show the signs of being ready for the sleep portion of the cycle, he is put in his bed to fall asleep on his own.
Some may argue that the transfer from sling to bed will be too harsh and baby will not tolerate this. Our experience is actually just the opposite. Baby generally gets very relaxed in the sling and easily falls asleep once transferred to his bed. So from our perspective the sling gets 2-thumbs up and seems like a great tool for both the attachment parenting approach and the Babywise approach.
My wife really likes her HotSling. It is reasonably priced and comes in a variety of sizes and styles.
Apparently there have been some problems associated with the Infantino™ brand sling. They have since been recalled. Click here to read more. Probably best to avoid this particular brand of sling.