Up until a few weeks ago, I’d never even heard of a Sling Library. Though that all changed recently after a friend invited me along to check one out…
There are several across London but the one I went to was part of the north London Sling Library in Coram’s Fields (this is a cool kid only place near Kings Cross where you have to have a child with you otherwise you can’t go in, how refreshing!) There’s a playground for younger and older children as well as a cafe so it’s a total win win of a location! After the Sling Library, we enjoyed a play in the park and a lovely coffee at the cafe (it’s open air but covered so you don’t need to worry too much about making a mess if you’re feeding little ones!)
The Sling Library currently runs on a Wednesday mornings 10.30am – 12.30pm and you can either make an appointment on-line or drop in. It was quite busy when we arrived with two ladies running the session and about 10 people waiting to be seen though it seemed everyone was dealt with smoothly and quickly. There is a wonderful array of slings (ok, I confess I didn’t actually count them all) but I reckon there were about 30 – 40 laid out on tables.
I mean really, who knew there was such a science behind baby slings! All the different makes, styles, models and designs. My charge is presently a pretty solid, healthy ten months old yet I feel I couldn’t carry him for long periods of time, however, the lady said she had carried her daughter until she was four years old! Wow! She explained it’s all about having the right sling and then it shouldn’t be a problem. A bit like carrying a backpack – If you had to carry it holding it in your arms you’d struggle and it’d be almost impossible, yet, if you put it on your back, with the right supportive straps etc, you could walk for miles. Amazing!
Do you know the brilliant benefits of using a sling?
- Babies who are carried are usually calmer and cry less. In their first 6 weeks, a baby tends to cry more and this can be very stressful. The closeness and movement combined can help soothe and settle, encouraging a less fussy baby.
- Using a sling enables you to be hands free! A carrier is the ideal and practical way to allow your baby to be visible, safe and for you to do some essential tasks!
- Building a close bond with baby via a sling can help with breastfeeding, including maintaining prolactin and oxytocin production.
- Keeping your baby close and in view while sleeping can reduce the risk of SID and increase your peace of mind.
- Carrying your baby in a sling for 30 – 40 minutes after a feed can help with the discomfort of reflux.
- Using a sling is great for developing baby’s physical and mental development as well as strengthen parental bonding.
After a good 15 minute chat, including a full demonstration of chosen sling, my friend borrowed one at a cost of £20 for 2 weeks. This can be renewed so she can baby test it to see if she wishes to buy one and if it doesn’t work for her and her baby, she can come back and try another. Genius!
Remember there are five golden rules (T.I.C.K.S) for carrying your baby safely in a sling…
- Tight – always ensure all straps are comfortably tight. Loose fabric and straps can hinder baby’s breathing and pull on your back.
- In view at all times – you should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down.
- Close enough to kiss – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as comfortable.
- Keep chin off chest – your baby should never be curled so their chin falls on their chest as this can restrict their breathing.
- Supported back – your baby’s back should be held in a natural position where they are not able to slump as this can restrict their airways.
Baby Slings, if you have ever either bought one or considered buying one, are expensive (many are over £100 and more). Perhaps a great investment if you buy one well suited to you and baby, however not having the opportunity to try and trial different ones as you can with the Sling Library, can lead to back problems, money wasted etc. Now I’m thinking about booking a appointment for me and my charge. Future trips on the tube or bus with no buggy? Yes please!
Until next time x