Being a parent can be hard. The lack of sleep, drinking cold coffee and eating burnt toast, never catching up on the housework you needed to do, trying to negotiate the world with a pram. It can seem a bit overwhelming, even though it’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever do. Using a baby sling or carrier can really make a difference. Before prams became popular in the last century, carrying your child in a shawl, piece of fabric or other carrier was the norm. In many cultures across the world, it still is. It’s an age-old practice that has fallen by the wayside in the recent past. Knowledge and techniques would have been passed down by close female relatives, or the wider community, just as it is in the areas of the world where carrying your baby is part of the normal daily activities. Through modern parents discovering the benefits of using slings or carriers, we are slowly bringing back this skill to our modern parenting. Commonly known as Babywearing, this practice is on the rise in the Western world.
Studies have been done that have shown many positive effects of carrying your baby close in a sling. The bond and attachment between baby and caregiver is higher, leading to happier babies with a greater sense of security. Breastfeeding is more successful, which has been shown to have an effect well into adulthood. There are also developmental benefits for the baby, and parental wellbeing is increased.
Anyone who has ever navigated small shops, or tried to get on a crowded bus knows that sometimes a pram isn’t always catered for. Anyone who has ever cuddled their baby but wished for free hands to make themselves a drink or do the dishes knows that babies love (and need) to be held safe and close. Slings can help make your life a little bit easier, without having to upset or leave your baby.
What we do as a Sling Library is help you to find a sling or carrier that suits you and your child, and to help you use it safely and comfortably. We have a monthly Sling Meet, where you can look at and try out the slings we have, get help with your own sling, ask any questions, and meet other local parents to help find new friendships. We also hire out slings for you to try in between Meets for a small fee, all of which goes back into expanding the stock and printing costs. The man hours we put in are entirely voluntary. We just want to see you, your baby and the wider community benefit from the knowledge we’ve had handed down to us by other Babywearers.