Restarting *In-Person* Services at South London Sling

I am thrilled to announce that from Monday 6th July, I will be offering outdoor, socially distanced, consultations. These Consultations will be held in my front garden, here at SLSL HQ, to allow us to keep a 2m distance.

We will have hand sanitiser available, although you are welcome to bring your own. Please bring either a second adult, or a car seat with you, to hold your baby as I will not be able to offer to hold them for you.

When you book one of these appointments, I will call you to discuss your sling/carrier requirements. This will enable me to ensure that any suitable slings/carriers are laundered & available for you to try. Any carriers that you try on, will then be laundered again before adding them back to the Library. If you would like to hire a carrier, you are more than welcome to borrow anything you try on. You are also welcome to bring your own carrier if you would like assistance with something you already own. I will also have an appropriately sized demo doll available, plastic parts (head, arms/hands, feet/legs) pre-cleaned with alcohol wipes.

I will keep an eye on the weather forecast, if rain is due at or around your appointment time, we can reschedule. Rescheduling rather than refunds will be offered if the weather is inappropriate. Our regular 48 Cancellation policy applies, unless we are reschuling for weather reasons.

If the easing of restrictions continues, I may look to offer Private Consultations indoors, from September.

If you would like to book an outdoor In Person Consultation or one of our continuing Online appointments, you can find them here.

Why Does My Baby Cry in The Sling?

It can be really frustrating, can’t it? You heard that a sling or baby carrier can help babies to cry up to 40% less, but whenever you try to use your sling/carrier, your baby turns into a raging ball of fury, while you get all hot, flustered & panicked & then burst into tears yourself – at least I know I did in those very early days! So, let’s look at why – & how we can help!

My newborn daughter, aged 3 days, in a stripey bue wrap sling. Her little red face shows how cross she was about being put in the sling.
My 3 day old daughetr, red-faced with fury at being manipulated into her sling! Ten seconds later she was asleep.

Babies Don’t Like Change

Ok, let’s face it – who amongst us likes it when stuff randomly changes around us, but most newborns *really* don’t like it when things change. It could be something that we think is relatively harmless, like a nappy change, getting dressed/undressed or, (one of the worst) getting in or out of the car seat, but our babies get really unsettled by it. So, when they’re snug & warm, settled someone’s arms & suddenly you pick them up & start trying to put them into a new sling or carrier, they can protest about it.

The key here is, generally, movement. Make sure you’ve practiced using your sling/carrier with a teddy bear or (once we’re allowed to be “in-person” again) with one of our weighted Demo Dolls, then get baby into the carrier/sling, get them secure & then get moving. Babies love movement – it’s why you can’t stand still when you’re holding your baby. Babies are hard-wired to be soothed by movement & we are hard-wired to provide that movement for them.

Also, the change from “not in sling/carrier” to “in sling/carrier” – doesn’t have to be a single step. You can stop at various points during the process to soothe your baby & bounce or sway, or do what you need to, to allow your baby to relax before you move on to the next step with your sling/carrier. Take your time!

You’re Unsure or Uncomfortable

Babies are ridiculously clever individuals & if you are unsure about your carrier/sling for any reason – even just simply because you’re still learning how to use it – your baby may pick up on that. Your sling or carrier should always feel easy for you to use, otherwise, you won’t use it. Be strong, act confident & remember that you can always book a Consultation (online for now), where we can show you any tips or tricks we have to help. There’s always more than one way to get a sling/carrier on & we can help you find the method that works best for you.

Keep practicing! As you become more confident with your sling/carrier, your baby will feel more confident too.

Make sure that your sling/carrier fits you well by making sure that your baby feels lighter in the carrier than in your arms & the weight is so evenly distributed around your body that you can’t feel it in any one particular place. Your baby should be snugly held against you, to protect their airway & ensure that their weight isn’t pulling away & causing pressure on your neck, shoulders & back. They should be held high enough on your body, that you can kiss the top of their head.

They Are Uncomfortable

Try to make sure that your baby is well supported in your sling/carrier. They should have their knees higher than their bottom & their bottom tucked under (think sitting in a deck chair, rather than perching on a barstool). Baby’s back should be well supported in their natural curved position, like a soft J shape.
Make sure your baby isn’t hungry, tired, in need of a nappy change, or any of the other more obvious things that they could be upset by.

Once you have a bigger baby, 3-4m & up, you may find they want to see a bit more of what is going on around them. Try adjusting your sling/carrier to open the area around their face, flipping the shoulders on your stretchy wrap, for example, to increase their field of vision. If they have good head & neck control & are beginning to work towards torso control, try allowing baby to have their arms out over the top edge of the sling/carrier. This allows them to turn their torso & look around them (they should still have support up to their armpits). At this stage, you may find a hip/side carry helpful too.

They Don’t Like The Sling

This is not a common one at all. Most babies do not care how they are held, they’d be happy to be in your arms 24 hours a day, as long as they have a warm body to rely on, but a very small minority* of babies have incredibly strong opinions about which sling/carrier they want to be carried in. These babies may need to try a different brand or type of sling/carrier – if you think your baby falls into this minority, do get in touch & we can help you look at alternatives. *I met approx 3 babies from the 400+ families we helped in 2019, that seemed happier in a different sling/carrier.

It’s more likely that you are uncomfortable/unsure, or not keen on your sling /carrier & your baby is picking up on this. If this rings true for you, get in touch! There are SO many options, & part of my job, is to help you narrow them down. If you want, or need, to carry your baby & would like to use a sling/carrier to do so, I can help you find one.

It’s Unrelated to The Sling/Carrier

Try to practice with your sling/baby carrier when your baby is calm & happy, they are not due for a feed, or a nappy change. Make sure that you are both as well rested as possible. As discussed above, babies don’t like change, but if all of their other needs have been recently dealt with, they should settle quickly, once you get them in the sling/carrier & get moving.

If You Need Help….

I would be more than happy, if needed, to help you identify or solve the issue. You can book a Consultation (Online/In-Person) or come to a Drop-In (once they’re back up & running).

Fitting Appointments & Special Offer

To try & help you be comfortable & find the right sling/carrier for you, we have introduced FREE Online Fitting Appointments with any hire. When you hire a sling/carrier from South London Sling Library you will find, in your “check out” e-mail, a link to a special calendar on our booking system, where you can book a free ten minute appointment (via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom) to help you wear your sling safely & as comfortably as possible. These appointments are not available to anyone else – only people who hire a sling or carrier during the lockdown period. We are also offering 3 weeks for the price of 2, on all hires.

All slings & carriers are being dispatched via courier, at no extra cost for where the hire charge is £10+. For slings/carriers with a hire charge under £5, you may be asked to pay the postal costs instead of the hire charge. (Postal costs are averaging £8.)

If you are having trouble deciding which sling/carrier to choose you are always welcome to call me (Sarah), at no cost, to discuss the options available & get suggestions as to what to try.

For the next week (offer ends 15th May 2020), anyone who hires more than one carrier/sling at the same time, will receive a coupon code to enable them to book a FREE 30 minute online consultation (via WhatsApp FaceTime or Zoom), worth £10. Hiring more than one sling/carrier at a time gives you the opportunity to compare & contrast them, & really experience the differences between them to work out which you prefer. Don’t forget, it’s three weeks for the price of two, with free postage too!

Our Covid19 Precautions.

All slings & carriers hired during these times, are being dispatched with an envelope containing a dose of Eco Detergent (no fragrances or optical brighteners) so that you can wash them on arrival. Please only use this detergent & no fabric conditioner, at 30c & line/air dry the slings/carriers. You do not also need to wash before you return them, as when they get back, all parcels are being quarantined for 3 days, then washed before being checked back into the Library.

Getting Help with Your OWN Sling/Carrier.

If you already have a sling or carrier that you would like help with, you are more than welcome to book one of our Online Consultations. Consultations take the form of video calls, via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom, whichever you prefer & last up to 30 or 60 minutes, according to your needs.

If you have any questions about any aspect of Sling Library life, or our current ways of working, do please get in touch.

Best Wishes,

Sarah xXx

Online Sling Library Drop-In Session

I hope you’re all managing with the new normal that we’ve all had to adapt to. These are tricky times & we’re all just doing our best to help.

One thing that I’ve found is that I miss our Drop-In Sessions terribly. So, I’ve ordered a new tripod for my phone (say goodbye to the *slide* caused by the precariously balanced phone – he, he) & on Tuesday 28th April, we will be running a LIVE Online Sling Library Drop-In Session in our Facebook group. I will set the tripod up in front of the Sling Library shelves, so we’ll have full access to any & all of the currently “in stock” carriers. You can check what’s in stock by visiting our online catalogue. If you have any sling/carrier related questions, you can either post it beforehand or in the comments on the live chat. If there is a carrier you would particularly like to see, you can let me know in the days before, or via the live chat. If you would like to hire a sling or carrier, you can reserve it via our software & I will have it couriered to you.

If people enjoy the session & find it useful, then I’ll make it a regular thing.

Obviously, you can still book an online consultation if you’d prefer a more direct, personalised session.

Extending Closures

Due to the latest statements from the Government & the NHS regarding Social Distancing & School Closures, all Face-To-Face Sling Library services are currently cancelled.

Despite this, we are doing our best to provide support to parents & parents-to-be during this unusual time.

Services Currently On Offer

We are currently offering:

Courier Delivered Sling/Carrier Hire
You are more than welcome to hire any of our slings or carriers which we will have delivered to your door. Our available slings & carriers can be seen here. I will pay to have the carrier(s)/sling(s) collected from my home* & delivered to yours, all that I ask is that you do the same when it is time to return them. Slings will be dispatched with a small amount of eco detergent in case you wish to wash the sling/carrier on arrival. You do not need to wash them before you return them, all returned slings/carriers are being quarantined for 3 days & then washed before being returned to the Library. I am also currently offering 3 weeks for the price of two, to help compensate for transit time. You are welcome to combine a sling/carrier hire with an Online Consultation. (*For slings/carriers that cost £5, you may be asked to pay the postage rather than the hire charge.)

Online Consultations
We have a range of Consultations available (more coming soon) from £10 for 20 minutes, the same as a Consultation at a Drop-In Session, which is perfect if you have a sling/carrier & you just need a little help with; up to our new DELUXE New Baby Online Consultation, which includes up to £35 of sling/carrier hire. You can book an Online Consultation here.

FREE vBook
We have a new vBook which is in place of the Free Safety Checks we usually offer at our Drop-In Sessions. If the carrier you would like a Free Safety Check for is not covered in the vBook, do please get in touch via our contact page & we’ll see what we can do. You can find the Free vBook here. We’re aiming to complete more vBooks soon!

Limited Closures

As handwashing & Social Distancing are proving the most effective way to slow the spread of the Covid19 Virus, as of Monday 16th March, we will be suspending Drop-In Sessions & Workshops. I’m really sorry for any inconvenience caused.

We will still be offering Private Consultations, Postal Sling Hire, Sling Hire by Doorstep Collection (from SE13 5JE) & will be introducing Online Consultations over the coming days. I will continue to offer Home Visits, unless my children’s School is closed.
So How Do I Get Help With My Sling?

To Get Help With A Sling You Already Own – Book a Mini Consultation (£20) either in-person (SE13 5JE) or online. A 30 minute Mini Consultation is usually enough to show you how to use your sling/carrier safely. This session is not suitable for anyone (parent or baby) who has any medical concerns, or for multiple slings/carriers. Online Mini Consultations will be listed by carrier type – choose the type you need help with.

To Try a Specific Sling/Carrier – If you know that we have a Sling/Carrier that you would like to try, you can request a postal hire/doorstep collection, & book an Online Consultation if you need help once you have the carrier. Alternatively, book an In-Person Mini Consultation & you can decide whether to hire the sling/carrier whilst you are here. (£20)

To Find a New Sling Carrier – You can book an In-Person Consultation (SE13 5JE). To try a variety of slings/carriers & try them with our weighted demo dolls before putting your baby in, we will need a Consultation of up to 90 minutes (£40). If you have a newborn (under 12 weeks),& would prefer to stay home, you can book a “New Baby Online Consultation” with sling hire included in the price. We will discuss your needs, arrange the delivery/collection of a range (up to £35 hire value) of newborn suitable slings/carriers & which we can then explore together during your online consultation. You are also welcome to ask about my availability for a Home Visit (limited areas). The cost for a Home Visit is higher (£60) due to the additional time taken to travel to & from your address.
Postal Hires / Doorstep Collections

You are more than welcome to request a postal hire. If you know which sling you’d like to road test, you can simply go to our hire software, register & request it. Add a note requesting a postal hire & I will give you a quote for the postage & packing. If you would prefer to collect from my doorstep, simply reserve the sling & I will get in touch with available times for the date you have specified for collection. (Doorstep collections are just that – if you would like to be shown how to use the sling/carrier, please book an in-person/online consultation too.)
Keeping Slings/Carriers Clean

If your child is of an age where they may lick/chew carriers, you will be given a set of strap protectors if you come to an “In-Person” appointment. These can be fitted to each & every carrier you try your baby in & either returned for washing when you leave or taken home & then returned with any carrier hired. As per our existing Terms & Conditions, you must let us know if you or your child have been unwell whilst you have hired a Sling Library Carrier or Sling, so that any necessary steps may be taken before rehiring the sling/carrier. According to the NHS, viruses do not usually live longer than 12hrs on porous surfaces such as fabrics, however we ensure that all slings/carriers are wiped, steam cleaned or washed as necessary. You are not required to wash a carrier whilst you have it. If you feel the need to launder your hired carrier please contact us for washing instructions, to ensure that the carrier & your washing machine are not damaged. Non-porous surfaces of demo dolls (heads, hands & feet) will be washed with soap & water after every session. Demo dolls clothing is washed regularly. Handwashing You will be offered the opportunity to wash your hands on arrival at an “In-Person” appointment & I will also wash my hands when you arrive.
Book In-Person & Online Appointments here
Carriers Currently On Hire

If you currently have one of our Slings/Carriers you will need to return it to me at HQ (27 Pascoe Road, SE13 5JE). We have a metal parcel box outside the house & you can pop them in there anytime, simply open the flap, drop the carrier in & close the flap. You can also post slings & carriers back – please use a tracked & insured postal service.
I will keep reviewing the situation & will send an e-mail out when it’s time to relaunch the Drop-In’s & Workshops. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience but, I’m sure we all understand the problems.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Stay well!

Sarah

Which Session is Best For Us?

There are lots of ways to get carrying advice and support with South London Sling Library. Here you will find a brief description of the different types of sessions, which may help you decide which one is the right one for you.

Private Consultation (Up to 90 minutes, £40)

A Private Consultation is designed specifically around you and your baby. We can look at whatever you need to look at, whether that’s a general overview of available carrying options for your baby at their current stage of development, or perhaps you are looking to find a more comfirtable carrying solution as your baby gets bigger. Maybe your baby likes to see the world around them and you would like some advice about helping them to do this safely and comfortably? Perhaps your new baby was early, or particularly small, or has a medical condition (talipes/low muscle tone/etc)? Would you like to carry both your twins at the same time? Would you like to learn how to carry your older baby (6m+) on your back? Or perhaps you have seen people with their newborn wrapped up in those complicated looking fabric slings and wondered how they do it (spoiler alert: they’re easy)? Maybe you’ve been given a sling or carrier by a friend or family member and don’t know how to use it comfortably? Is it time to move on from your stretchy wrap and you don’t know where to start? Whatever it is, we can help you in a Private Consultation! Bring your partner for free, or add a friend with their baby too, for just £10. Available in Lewisham (SE13 5JE) most weeks or Crystal Palace ( SE19 3BG ) once or twice a month.

Book Consultation

Mini Consultation (Up to 30 minutes, £20)

A Mini Consultation may be perfect for you if you have a sling/carrier, and know roughly babybjorn-baby-carrier-mini-light-grey-3d-jersey-021072how to use it, but you would just like a few pointers or suggestions to help you be a little more comfortable. This session is also great if you know which sling/carrier you would like to try, and do not need our input to narrow down the selection. (This session is not generally suitable for newborns or parents with a medical condition (talipes/prematurity/bad back), as this may require more time. Bring your partner for free.

Book Mini Consultation

Workshops (Up to 90 minutes, £20)

Our workshops are up to 90 minutes long & are a great way to cover a particular subject in a more focussed environment. With a maximum of 6 participants, you will get the chance to learn new skills with our weighted dolls & with your own baby (unless they have yet to arrive). Workshops cost £20 for one adult, or £30 for two, & are held at either our Crystal Palace (SE19 3BG) or Lewisham (SE13 5JE).Beco-8-Rust
Workshops include:

  • New Baby Workshop – Bump to 12wks,
  • Bigger Baby Workshop – 3m & up,
  • Back Carrying Workshop (Buckled Carriers & Meh Dai’s) – 6m+ or sitting unaided,
  • Introduction to Woven Wraps – bump to toddler.

Book Workshop

Drop In Sessions

Our Drop In Sessions are a great place to meet other parents and carers who are interested in using slings and carriers. You are welcome to browse through our available slings and carriers at your leisure, if you would like some help to narrow down the choices, or you would like us to help you learn how to use a particular sling or carrier, you can get some help from one of our volunteers, or request a Mini Consult with Sarah, our Babywearing Consultant for just £10 (approx 20mins). We also offer free safety checks.
Drop In Sessions can be very busy, and you may need to wait to get some help, but you can always have a chat with some of the other attendees. At Drop In Sessions we can cover front carrying and hip carrying. Back carrying can be covered in a Back Carrying Workshop or Private Consultation. We are happy to help you carry Twins at a Drop In Session, but if you would like to see specialist “Twin Slings” then either let us know before hand, or book a Private Consultation, as we don’t always carry the more specialised items around with us. Our Drop In Sessions do not need to ne pre-booked, are held every fortnight at our Crystal Palace venue (SE19 3BG) & restart on the 13th January. Details of our Drop In Sessions can be found here.

In addition….

We also “Drop In” to The Tea and Cake Club Postnatal Group in Sydenham (House PN Group FeetHall,  The Grove Centre Church, Jews Walk, SE26 6PL). You are welcome to come along and grab a tea/coffee and some cake, and get some sling/carrier advice too. We offer free sling/carrier safety checks, or you can have a Mini Consult (£10 for 20 mins) with Sarah, our Babywearing Consultant. As this session is a Postnatal Group, we only have newborn suited slings/carriers available here.

Mummy’s Gin Fund Sling Meet

Once a month, you can also find us at the Mummy’s Gin Fund Sling Meet. Whether you’re considering carrying you first baby, or you’re a seasoned slinger, we would love to see you! Held at Rhubarb & Custard Cafe, 17 Burnt Ash Road, Leegate Shopping Centre, Lee, SE12 8RG, this sling meet will be stuffed full of slings to try, new friends to meet and fantastic cake from the cafe. (We ask for a £2 voluntary donation towards the Mummy’s Gin Fund #NoMumLeft Behind Campaign.)

For those who would like professional advice, we are delighted that both Sarah from South London Sling Library, and Sonia from Wear My Baby Greenwich are on hand every month for 1-2-1 consultations. These will be 20 minute personalised sessions, costing just £10. There are only six 1-2-1 consultation slots available which will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Between us, Sonia and I bring a variety of slings & carriers, but if there’s anything specific you’d like to try, do get in touch beforehand and we’ll see what we can do. Dates for the Sling Meets are here.

You can also hire a carrier without coming to an advice session, consultation or workshop. If you would like to do so:

  • Please do not do so more than ONE week in advance, as we cannot guarantee carrier availability that far in advance.
  • Create an account on our hire software here,
  • Choose and reserve the carrier you would like,
  • Leave us a message in the “notes” section of the request telling us where you would like to collect from (Crystal Palace – Monday’s, Sydenham – Thursday’s, Lewisham – By Arrangement – Any Day)
  • You will be contacted by e-mail and asked to pay the hire fee for 2 weeks in advance, via invoice. The carrier will only be reserved once this payment has been received and acknowledged by us.

I hope these descriptions of the different session are helpful! Do get in touch via our Contact Page, if you have any further questions.

How to use a Two Way Stretchy Wrap (Photo Tutorial)

This photo tutorial shows step by step instructions for tying & using a two way stretchy wrap. If you would prefer a video tutorial, we have one here.

To find out if your stretchy wrap is a one way wrap or a two way stretchy wrap, you can try to stretch it width ways & length ways. One way stretchy wraps will only stretch width ways, whereas a two way stretchy wrap will stretch both width ways & length ways. Here at South London Sling Library we prefer two way stretchies, as they are slightly easier to use for new (sleep deprived) parents.

The first step is to find the middle marker on your wrap, this may be a label sewn into the hem, or a logo on the front, & place this middle marker high on your chest. Take the ends of the wrap behind you & cross them over.

IMG_3129IMG_3130

Bring the wrap up over your shoulders, creating a cross on your back & allow the straps to fall in front of you.

IMG_3137IMG_3138

Bundle up the ends of the wrap that are hanging down over your shoulders & push them down through the middle section.

IMG_3139IMG_3140

At this stage the wrap forms an ‘H’ on your front – cross the ends over, to make an ‘X’.

IMG_3141IMG_3142

Then bring the ends behind you, cross them over again, bring them back to the front & tie off in a double knot.

IMG_3143IMG_3144

The horizontal section (with the label/middle marker) is known as the seatbelt layer – you can now bunch this section up & put it down near your knot. Put your thumbs under the straps that are coming over your shoulders & push out in front of you – this shows how much space you have, which you can adjust if necessary. When you let go of these straps, they should “ping” back towards your body, it’s this “ping” that will hold your baby. (If the wrap does not ping back, undo your knot, pull to tighten the wrap re-tie your knot & try again.)

IMG_3147IMG_3159

At this stage, it may be helpful to work out which strap (left or right shoulder) is the one that is closest to your body. It dosn’t matter which side of the wrap you put your baby into first, but when you go to spread the fabric across the baby’s body, you will need to start with this layer.
Now pick up your baby & place them high up on your shoulder (burp position).

IMG_3340IMG_3175

Supporting baby with one arm, put your other hand under the fabric on your opposite shoulder. Stretch this fabric down & take it round one of baby’s feet. Leave it by baby’s foot/lower leg – don’t move the fabric up towards the baby’s groin.

IMG_3176IMG_3177

Now gently move your baby over to your second shoulder & repeat the process on the other side. Put your hand under the fabric near your shouder, stretch it down & around baby’s other foot, & leave it near their lower leg/foot.

IMG_3185IMG_3188

Now centre your baby into your chest, leaving the fabric in their knee pits & allow their bottom to come down over the fabric & their knees to lift. You may have already seen your baby hold themselves in this position, it’s known as the “M-shape” or “froggy” position. Your baby will also have a lovely “J-shape” to their spine (as seen below). This is a very natural position for a newborn & we simply want to support baby in this position.

InkedIMG_3380_LIIMG_3195 (2)_LI

Now take your “inside” layer – this is the one you identified earlier, as being the layer closest to your body – & spread it out accross your baby. You want it to spread from one knee pit, accross into the other knee pit, & almost shoulder to shoulder. Then do the same with the second layer.

IMG_3206IMG_3209

No you want to find your seatbelt layer. This is on the back of your ribs, around bra strap level. Grab it like a rope, so you’ve got all your fingers round it, or your thumb tucked under it & pull it down & lift it over baby’s leg.

IMG_3210IMG_3213

Do the same on the other side to put the seatbelt layer over the second leg. You should now be able to unroll the seatbelt layer up over baby.

IMG_3227IMG_3236

Now run through your TICKS Safety Guidelines to ensure that baby is safe & secure.
If you need to open up the area around baby’s face to make them visible,  simply take the edge of the fabric that’s closest to your neck &, making sure it stays up by the nape of baby’s neck, pull it out over your shoulder. (You can do this on either side.)

IMG_3243IMG_3258

When you need to take baby out of the wrap, lower the seatbelt layer & tuck it under baby’s bottom, then start to support the baby as you open the layers that cross over on the baby’s back & tuck them under the baby’s bottom.

IMG_3289IMG_3301

Open the second layer & again, tuck it under the baby’s bottom. You should then be able to get your hands around your baby’s torso & …

IMG_3306IMG_3316

…gently lift them, either onto your shoulder, or straight up & out, Lion King Style (extra points if you can sing the song!

IMG_3323

If you’d like some “in person” help, you’re welcome to come to one of our Drop In Sessions, a New Baby Workshop (Crystal Palace or Lewisham), or Private Consultation in Crystal Palace or Lewisham.

And just in case you need it, here’s our video about using your stretchy wrap as a breastfeeding aid.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not What You Wear, It’s The Way That You Wear It!

Lots of people come to the Sling Library with their own carriers, to ask for help in getting more comfortable, & over time we see the same issues cropping up, so here’s some info that might help.

Fixed Position Straps
This style of carrier has a plastic square at the back, that the straps pass through (think BabyBjorn Original/Mini, Chicco EasyFit & more). One of the most important things to remember with this style of carrier is that, despite the name, the straps on these carriers are NOT fixed. You can move the plastic square up & down on the straps to make the carrier more comfortable. Lots of people find that by moving the crossed section lower, it spreads the weight more effectively & makes the carrier more comfortable. Having the crossed section high on your back, can cause the weight to be placed mainly on your shoulders & upper back, which can become uncomfortable over time, & as baby gets heavier. Play with the height of this little plastic square, moving it up & down until you find your “sweet spot”. Lots of people find that the sweet spot is between, or just below, the shoulder blades – see what you think.

You may also find you need to lift your baby. You want the carrier to hold your baby exactly where you would hold them, but allow you to be handsfree! When you put your carrier on, if your baby is lower than you would naturally hold them, their weight will pull away from you, which will pull on your shoulders & may cause pain in your neck, shoulders & lower back. If you lift your baby to a more natural position & tighten the straps to hold them there, you should find you are more comfortable.

South London Sling Library

Look at the pictures above. The top two pictures show the crossed section high on the back, with the baby sitting uncomfortably low. The bottom two show the crossed section much lower, with the baby lifted up & straps tightened.

These carriers tend to be optimised for babies around 0-3 months, after which people may begin to look for a carrier that is a little more supportive. If that’s you, do get in touch or come along to a workshop or consultation.

Stretchy Wraps
One of the most common issues that people come to the sling library with is a Stretchy Wrap that doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. The problem often originates from the instructions given by the manufacturer. If you are aiming to carry a newborn, think about where you would carry them – it’s usually high up on your chest. If your first horizontal layer of the wrap marks where you want to carry your baby, then it needs to go high up on your chest. Lots of instructions say to start by placing the wrap at your waist. This can lead to a slack wrap & the baby being held too low on your body. You may feel that the baby’s weight pulls away from you & causes pain in your back or shoulders, or that you are not confident to let go of the baby & feel like you need to hold on.

Look at the differences in the pictures below. The top two pictures show a low starting point for the wrap, with the baby ending up too low & too loose. The pictures underneath that show how high the wrap can really go, to hold a newborn high & snug on your chest.

StretchyWrapPics

If you need more help with a stretchy wrap, try this video from our YouTube channel. Stretchy wraps can be fantastic for up to 3-6 months of age. If you’re considering moving on from a stretchy wrap & you’d like to try some different options, you may wish to join our Bigger Baby Workshop, Intro to Woven Wraps, Carrying Clinic or book a 1 to 1 Consultation.

Chest Clip/Rucksack Straps
Lots of carriers have rucksack style, or straight straps, with a chest clip that does up behind the wearer. If you’re anything like me, you may not have the flexibility to get the clip done up behind you, unless it’s quite close to your neck, which can be uncomfortable. Wearing the clip lower on your back can be more comfortable. These clips can usually slide up & down the straps, do this until you find your sweet spot.

ChestClipPosition

 

Once you’ve found a comfortable place for your chest strap, try this as an alternative way to put this style of carrier on:

1 – Do the chest clip up, in front of you, where it’s easy to see
2 – Lengthen both shoulder straps,
3 – Smooth the carrier up over baby’s bottom & back,
4-Lift the chest clip over your head,
5-Put your arms up through the straps, like putting them into a jumper & then tighten them.

ChestClipTrick

To take the carrier off again, reach the strap behind you, in a similar way to reaching a bra strap, or loosen the straps & take it off by reversing the steps above.

 

Hopefully, that helps. If you’d like to come to a workshop or one to one session, either with a carrier you already have, or to try a few of the Library’s options, you can find & book sessions here. You can see our available slings & carriers here.