Art Centre Meet
We are at the Art Centre on the second Tuesday and fourth Wednesday of each month for a Sling Drop In session.
10.15- 12 noon.
Dates may vary with school holidays. Check FB for details
Susie has now taken over running of the library and it is a back seat roll for me after five and a half years at the helm. All communications should now be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am excited by all the plans she has to make the library more streamlined so that it will be able to serve our local community even better.
First up is that over the summer Susie has entered all our carriers into an online booking engine so that you can see at a glance what is available. The system also will provide you with links to the instructions for the sling you have hired and a copy of the terms and conditons.
If you are coming to a meet then it will save time if you register beforehand with the system. You are able to create your own user account and password.
We hope this system will make it much easier for you to access our library of carriers.
It has been a busy five and a half years for me. Setting up and running Salisbury Sling Library has been a rewarding experience. I never set out to do this, but it has been the best of voluntary activities for my retirement. I have met so many lovely people and been able to help families with caring for their babies, which has been a privilege.
We started off with a handful of slings and now have close on 200. We started with one meet a month and come September there will be 5- 4 in Salisbury and one in Fordingbridge. There are now 4 trained consultants working for the library and 8 peer supporters.
One of our biggest projects has been setting up the 4th trimester sessions. We have used our resources to make babywearing affordable in the first 3 months so that anyone can try it. We now have 2 sessions a month where parents can hire a stretch wrap for just £10 for 12 weeks.
From September our band of volunteers will be led by Susie Cooke rather than myself. She has exciting plans for the library and I hope to see it go from strength to strength. Alongside the library , which will still be run on a voluntary basis, she will be developing her babywearing consultancy business. It is fantastic that babywearing is going to have an even higher profile in Salisbury. Here is the fantastic new logo that she has had designed for the library and there is a brand new website coming as well.
I am stepping into the background but not quite hanging up all my carriers yet. I will help out at meets if needed and hope to continue to still be part of the supportive community Salisbury Sling Library has become.
Many thanks to all who have supported me over the years and allowed me to be part of their babywearing journey. Good luck Susie- I know you will nail it!
I do love half buckle carriers and these do seem to be getting more love from the babywearing world lately. More manufacturers, both big and small, are adding this type of carrier to their range. Neko ones are about to hit the market and Mamaruga, well loved for their Zen carrier, have developed one to add to their stable.
These are a bit of a halfway house between wraps and buckles. They allow for the individual fit allowed by wrapping but with the security and ease of having a waistband and panel. Some come with wrap straps so can very much behave like a wrap carrier , allowing you to encorporate fancy finishes into your carrying.
I was lucky enough to have this Wrapahula in North Yorkshire Moors made for me. It has a glorious blanket like quality to it and is amazingly supportive. Half buckles are certainly one of the most comfortable of carriers I have tried.
Straps on half buckles vary. Some are straight, others wrap straps and some like the Tula a combination of both. The Tula also has PFAs to help you get the perfect fit. One thing to check is that the straps are long enough for you to use in the way you wish.
A big advantage of a half buckle is that this type of carrier will last a long time. Several have adjustable panels which will fit babes from 1-2 months up to 3 years of age, and they offer a flexibility of use so that they can suit your child whatever their stage of development. All offer front and back carrying positions.
Another advantage of a half buckle is that they can be adjusted to fit different shape and size of parents- there is no compromise re fit if the people carrying are different sizes which is certainly a bonus.
These carriers are soft and light so are brilliant to use in warmer months. They pack away neatly and take up less space than many full buckles. They are generally made of wrap fabric so mould well and actually become softer and more comfortable with use.
Of course being made of wrap fabric allows you to select a beautiful carrier as well, with fabric that appeals to your personality. This Didyclick is made from the EBW2019 fabric so is a bit of a keeper for me.
Some have addition features- the Mamaruga can be converted to use as a Pod and the Didyclick can be used for hip carries. The Fidella and Limas both come in 2 sizes offering an even greater coverage range. All feature great sleepy hoods.
The downsides can be those wrap straps, there is a lot of fabric to manipulate when first putting on which can be a challenge in wet and muddy situations. I find adding a couple of loose knots before starting can stop ends dragging on the floor until needed.
They aren’t the cheapest carriers on the block. Several of them are German brands and so may also attract greater costs re postage if buying new. Perhaps because there are less of them around the prices tend to be higher, you are looking at spending over a hundred pounds to buy one- which is probably a good reason to hire one from the library and check if they are really right for you first. If you weigh their cost againgst only needing one carrier they can still be good value for money if this is the carrier that you love and will use regularly.
It is the time of year when many of the library requests mention borrowing or trying a lightweight summer carrier, and yes there are now a number of carriers on the market that are designed for wearing in warm weather, but do you really need a lighter carrier than the one you are using?
My first tip is to follow good summer babywearing safety advice. Wear hats with wide brims or carry a sunshade, and stay inside when it is the super hot part of the day. Dress in loose breathable clothes so that the air can circulate around you and babe. One thin layer between you and babe may well be enough to wear. Have a little hand held fan or carry a bottle of water and use to spray a light spitz over you both from time to time. Stay hydrated and use regular sun protaection.
If you are looking to buy or try something different here are some suggestions.
The beauty of a ring sling is it is one layer of fabric supporting babe so is a cooler option. They come in a variety of fabrics but the muslin ones are super summer weight carriers and will help you both stay cool. Wrapamore used to be the go to brand for these and you may still find one available second hand. Melliapis produce some in block colours as well as cute patterns like these llamas.
Woven wraps come in a range of fabrics and can still be a good choice for summer babywearing. The trick is perhaps to explore a shorter wrap and try a new style of carrying. Look for single layer carries rather than one that uses multiple passes.
A silk blend wrap can be ultra cool, but linen and bamboo blends are also worth considering. Lighter cotton wraps like the Didymos Prima and their Double face wraps also work well in hot weather. We have both of these in the library.
For those prepared to work at a wrap to get it into perfect suppleness then one with hemp will be cool and a real workhorse of a wrap that supports sturdy toddlers easily.
Izmi are a brand designed by a British babywearing consultant and are lightweight, adjustable carriers. There are toddler and baby versions and all come in a mesg breeze version as well. They have wrap-style shoulder straps which help spread babies weight but these will also shade your shoulders from the sun . They are suitable from birth onwards. The library stocks these to hire and buy.
Integrababy carriers are lightweight and come in a variety of fabrics. The cotton ones work well for summer babywearing but there are also solar versions These are made from even thinner, lighter, quick-drying fabric plus is sun-protective fabric. They fold super small so are perfect if you are taking a flight somewhere hot where packing space is important. We have Integras in the library to borrow and can give you a discount code if you wish to buy your own.
Connectababy have both cotton and solar versions and are the pre-runner of the Integrababy carrier. The Kahubaby carrier is another lightweight cotton carrier and is made from organic fabric. The seat synches down so it is good for small babies yet can be extended for larger ones as well.
A number of brands make ‘cool’ versions, with mesh panels in the body of the carrier and other adaptations to make them more suitable for hotter climates but they are still quite bulky when it comes to straps and waistbands. Brands that do this are Tula, Ergo, and Lillebaby. However the Beco Cools are a great summer option as they really are thinner with less padding. We stock the Gemini Cool and the Toddler Cool.
Some are geared as all season as they have zip down panels so can be good whatever the weather. Ones that you could consider are the Beco 8, Lillebaby All Seasons and the JPMBB Physio carrier
If you are looking to use a stretchy wrap then using one with a high bamboo content will be cooler in summer.
The all bamboo Izmi is a great choice . Bamboo fabric is soft, lightweight, anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and offers natural UV protection, thus helps to regulate your body temperature and keep you cool.
Other brands are a cotton/bamboo mix giving additional firmness to the fabric. It is worth considering the Boba, Hana and Joy and Joe stretchy – some of these come in organic versions. the Boba still has the 2 different faces which are a great aid when wrapping and the Joy and Joe includes a funky design sugar skulls one in their selection.
Some viscose wraps are even lighter and feel just like thin silk, the Ergobaby Aura, the Lillebaby Tie the Knot, The Happy Baby wrap and the Fornessi all fall in this category. They are wafer thin, and very light to wear- however some are not too way stretch so may take more adjusting than the thicker two way wraps. These wraps are often strong on the ecological front as well.
Whenever and wherever you are babywearing this summer keep safe in the sun.
We would love to bring the benefits of being carried to even more babies . To that end we have been busy fundraising, training consultants and peer supporters, buying new stock and sorting out insurances, and generally working out how we can develop the service we offer.
The first piece of big news is that from after Easter it will be cheaper. All hires of Boba wraps will be at a reduced rate of £10 for 12 weeks for those who attend our fourth trimester session. If before the first 4 weeks is up you decide that you would like to try something different then the £10 can be used as credit towards another hire.
We are also planning to offer 4th trimester talks at further venues in the near future.
20 weeks into my pregnancy, I have had the anomaly scan and I am given a reassuring result. Like many first time parents, I am ready to start hitting the shops and ticking off the gigantic list I have of things I have deemed necessary to purchase to give my baby the best start in life. We all want the best for our newborns and like myself, it is easy to walk into Mothercare or Mamas and Papas and mistake this for being at the bottom of our wallets. In fact, an average of nearly £2000 is spent by first time parents during pregnancy in preparation, and there are even huge events around the country to provide you with a platform to see everything on offer.
Is any of this really necessary? The answer is largely no.
Apart from nappies, a collection of second hand clothes, and a car seat, in the first 12 weeks of life, all a baby really needs is its primary caregivers. These first 3 months are termed the fourth trimester and the best way to describe the needs of your baby during this time is to understand that they have been born too early in their development, and their environment needs to mimic the womb in as many ways as possible.
They need to be able to;
This is not going to be achieved in the latest pram, or indoor object designed so you can put your baby down for a swing or vibrating massage. How I regret the £600 and the time I spent choosing the perfect pram in the hopes of giving my baby the best, only for it never to be used.
Without books or the internet our ancestors have used their basic instincts to understand what their newborn babies wanted and needed. I can safely say they did not put them down in a corner of the cave. Instead they either carried their babies themselves or had help from a member of the group. Unfortunately, many of us in the Western world do not live with our extended families and of course we need to be able to put our babies down safely to wash and dress when there is nobody else around. For the rest of the day to enable you to carry your baby with ease and comfort a sling library will suggest you use a form of carrier.
How does carrying a baby through the 4th trimester benefit the wearer?
The most widely used in the first 3 to 4 months is a stretchy wrap. This is a long piece of stretchy material that can be wrapped around your body at the beginning of the day and your baby can be taken in and out. A two-way stretch stretches in two directions and is the easiest to use in the beginning in comparison to the one-way stretch. This is because it is easier to tighten and get the best fit. The stretchiness of the fabric allows your baby to be in the most natural position possible, mimicking the curled foetal position they have been in for the last 9 months. If you want the best start for your baby I suggest renting or purchasing a carrier from a sling library and attending the 4thtrimester talk and demonstration.
By Dr Sarah Spiteri, peer supporter at Salisbury Sling Library
I am often asked how I got into doing this-with the this being running a sling library and advising on babywearing- and I must admit I often ask myself the same question!
Being a retired, grandmother I am not your typical sling librarian. Yet my paths so far in my life seem to have led to this point.
Before I had my children I trained as a teacher.
When I had my first child I trained as an NCT teacher.
When we moved to Salisbury I set up a local NCT branch- a mere 50 years ago!
When I had my third child, I realised that I was going to need to carry full time as school and preschool were in opposite directions and the entrance to my house wasn’t buggy friendly, so he was one of the very few babies carried in Salisbury back in the day.
Carrying my son started from convenience but I very soon discovered so many more benefits. I became an advocate of babywearing back in the 80’s.
Life moved on my children grew up, I resumed my career and some 10 years ago retired from being a head teacher of a little village school.
When my daughter and her OH started the road to adoption I knew that the one piece of equipment they needed for sure was a carrier. If carrying promoted attachment and security then an adopted child was certainly going to need this. After much research I started on the slippery slope of buying carriers- how the market had exploded since my carrying days!
With my time freed up from giving up from giving up the day job and the advent of grandchildren I began meeting up socially with a group of parents who used carriers when I was on grandma duty.
When opening a sling library was mooted, I volunteered to help in the background………..I had some cash I could invest in a starter stock and I was prepared to write letters and manage the stock purchases……..……. It was just out of interest I did peer support training with SoB wasn’t it?
Then my co- founder’s maternity leave came to an end, and it dawned on me I was never going to be that background helper…….. so I trained as a consultant and have been Salisbury Sling Library now for almost 5 years.
I have maintained a big interest in helping adoptive families and have now had personal experience of how slings have helped us settle 2 children into our family. I love all the carriers, it is amazing just how many variations on a theme you can have…. but I especially love stroking lovely wraps and have a fairly impressive personal collection that I have acquired in the interest of research- as a needlewoman I have always had a love affair with fabric. My regret is I didn’t get to use wraps when I was younger, my old stiff shoulders mean back wrapping isn’t for me.
I have carried all four of my grandchildren. I have helped parents carry who I taught as a teacher. I have helped parents carry who were babies born from my NCT classes.
I do it because I can, I do it because I believe it is important, I do it because I believe in the need for generations to unite in helping to raise children.
I carry you because I carried your mother:
And I want to pass on my parenting skills. Each generation can help the next by sharing knowledge and giving encouragement
I carry you because it helps your parents:
It gives them time together, time to rest, time to do jobs, time to look after your sibling whilst knowing your needs are being met.
I carry you because it helps you:
It helped you with that colicy tummy when you were first born, it helps you feel safe and secure, it helps you when you are tired and need to be able to relax and sleep. It has helped you when you grew and your legs were too tired for walking.
I carry you because I can help you explore the world:
Being held and as one with me I can show you what there is to know from my perspective. Do you remember all the places we have explored together, the smells and sights we have experienced as one, the chats we have had as you have had experiences for the first time?
I loved our early morning trips around Waterloo J, seeing the world wake up and also when we have walked home from Nursery and you decided the game was that we had to study our reflections in each parked vehicle.
I carry because it builds our connection and helps us reconnect after a time apart:
Coming up in the carrier when you visit is your coming home. We can look into each others eyes and instantly know one another and go forward in our relationship.
But most of all I carry you as an expression of love.
Here at Salisbury Sling Library we have a soft spot for Wrapahula wraps and ring slings. The patterns are strong and exciting and the colours often vivid and striking. These are no ordinary wraps and have depth and texture that help to make wrapping easier. If you want to invest in something a little out of the ordinary then do go and take a look.
I was lucky enough to receive a Sui Generis Annie in a size 4 and it is just amazing. This is a 100% cotton wrap although Wrapahula do do different blends. At 295gsm it is on the heavier but that makes it strong and certainly toddler worthy. It is mouldable with a lovely cush to it and feels good on the shoulders.
It had its first outing with our peer supporter Susie, who managed to find the Autumn sunshine which made the rainbow colours really sing out. Already it is beginning to soften down and is going to become even more of a delight to use.
Wrapahula is celebrating its 4th birthday this week- if you haven’t discovered this small company yet then do take a look, especially if you like statement pieces as I am sure you won’t be disappointed.