I invite you to rethink ring sling carries as a modified torso carry. Here's why.
Babywearers are plagued by a host of fiddly problems while wearing ring slings. Almost all of them can be nipped in the bud with a single solution. Simply tighten the sling much more tightly than you might have previously thought necessary before shimmying and curling your little one down into it.*
So simple! How could this help?
Problems tightening? If there is no need to retighten, then there are no problems. No tips and tricks needed. Rings ending up on your sternum? Again, this won't happen if the pocket is just barely big enough for your babe to begin with. Starting with rings near the top of your shoulder ensures they only come down an inch or two as your babe settles in.
Can't chase out the slack or somehow get twisted? No slack to twist, so no worries! Bunched in the rings? Pull up the fabric by just the rails on the top of the rings and then yank on the rails on the hanging tail for nicely spread fabric... But do that before you put the biscuit in the basket and they won't bunch again because ... You guessed it! Little or no tightening.
Seat popping and/or leaning? If the top and bottom rails are rather tight, with room in the middle to allow for your child's c-curved spine, that curve will bring their knees up and discourage popping. This method also keeps arms more effectively in: A big c-curve even and especially with a toddler (where it is not as critical as it is for a baby) in a tight carry keeps arms down naturally. Plus, there is no tightening/fighting step that can be spoiled by leaning.
Why do ring slings hurt shoulders and backs? Leaning kids, bunched fabric, and weight down on your shoulder rather than across it. All of these go away when thinking of a ring sling carry as a modified torso carry.
Leaning is the enemy of ring slings. A leaning baby or toddler uses her or his knees as a fulcrum, and you have to apply force the other direction if just by tightening your muscles. It's exhausting, and it strains muscles in atypical ways.
Bunched fabric in the back and on the shoulder creates pressure points rather than distributing the weight more evenly over a broader surface.
Both of these become moot when everything is tightened and spread properly before you pick up your little one.
What about a ring sling as a modified torso carry? Seek to bear the weight ACROSS your shoulder diagonally rather than letting the weight pull down on your trapezoid muscle.
A torso carry combats gravity with horizontal tightening only. And it works! No shoulder straps. But it only works with excellent tightening so that there is not the baby-knee fulcrum problem.
So next time you set up a ring sling, spread and tighten it as if your baby were already in it before sliding him or her into the pocket. Seek for a notable c-curve spine in all age wearees. Spread the shoulder so that the weight of the carry falls exactly diagonally across, not down onto your trapezoid. Consider putting even toddlers more centered on your front rather than on the hip. And once a final tightening is done if necessary, roll your shoulder back into the sling to help with posture so that even the diagonal pressure doesn't cause pain.
So ratchet down those rails and have fun!
*There is such a thing as too tight, especially on the bottom rail, though a good M-shaped seat helps prevent that. If in doubt, check to see that you can slip a finger easily between baby's kneepit and the fabric.