Helping Parents in the Manchester Area Learn the Art of Babywearing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sling Sale!

We are streamlining our sling library and selling our stash of fabulous slings. If you'd like to grab a bargain - whether it's an everyday essential carrier, or a luxury sling - check our sling sale page!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sling Library Open Day

Now the moment you've all been waiting for: The Sling School Library Open Day!

Come along on Monday the 16th of July, from 10.00 to 11.30, at Cheshire Health and Fitness Studio, in the heart of Cheadle Village.

You can browse our wide selection of slings. Whether you are looking to snuggle up with your new baby, sling your curious 4-month old, carry your busy toddler on your back, or rent something beautiful for a special occasion, you are sure to find something to suit you.

And we will provide refreshments! So, whether you are after information on babywearing, want to see what slings look like, or have a definite sling in mind you would like to hire, come and join us!

Important bits of information:
  • Please bring your chequebook, as we require a returnable deposit cheque on all slings for hire.
  • We ask for a £1 donation towards refreshments.
  • If driving, there is a cheap car park (30p for 2 hrs) nearby.
  • The entrance to the studio is on Massie Street, next to The Carphone Warehouse.
  • Please leave your buggy in the reception area and come upstairs.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Beyond the Breastmilk

A recent controversial article on breastfeeding and this excellent repartie have put the focus firmly on breastmilk's nutritional value. There is no reference to how breastfeeding shapes the mother-baby relationship and the impact that lack of breastfeeding must have on the development of this relationship.

I have this friend, whose life these past three years has been shaken, in such a sad way. She has touched many of those around her.

My friend has lost a child.

She then went on to have a healthy baby, who she could not breastfeed. Instead, she bottlenurses: she cradles her child against her breast and feeds him her expressed breastmilk or cow's milk with a bottle.

This is a woman who breastfed each of her other living children up to 4 years.

She is acutely aware of what she is missing out on by not breastfeeding: the touch, the attuning, the reflex, the comfort (both ways), the instinct, the connection.

She admits to making a conscious effort to be physically close to her child, to replicate what would have otherwise been "automatic". She has found babywearing and co-sleeping particularly helpful.

An emphasis on the mechanical aspect of breastfeeding and the milk's nutritional aspect can overshadow its other crucial aspect: the infant-mother relationship.

I have no pretension of putting it any better than those who have looked at this topic extensively. So, here is an excerpt of  Ashley Montagu: A Brief Synopsis  of his Contributions to Healthy Human Nurturing, an essay by Dr. Mizin Kawasaki. The following paragraph eloquently says it all.

The mechanical aspect of breastfeeding sometimes overshadows the art of nursing and may undermine the human element behind breastfeeding: the mother-infant relationship.
With respect to breastfeeding, nursing mothers are not merely repositories of milk but the providers of the warmth, love, responsiveness, and touching that enable infants to learn to love as they are loved.
What makes us human is the relationship of mutually beneficial love that exists between individuals, and nothing exemplifies this better than a loving, breastfeeding mother-infant dyad.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sling of the Week


This week's sling: Hana Baby Wrap. A soft and light stretchy wrap which can be used from birth to the middle of the first year*.

Hana Baby Wrap is made of bamboo with a little organic cotton and a touch of elastane, making it unbelievably soft, thin and light. It still offers great support.

I still can't get over how soft and light it feels!

As the sun is finally shining today, why not have a go at the Hana Baby wrap? I think it offers a great option for carrying your baby in warm weather while keeping yourself cool.

May the lovely weather last!

Hana Baby Wrap is available for hire now. 

* Manufacturer's age limit is 1.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Little White Lie

"Breastfeed hands-free while on the phone or shopping" is often mentioned in the same breath as babywearing.

In these times of breastfeeding controversy (which I actually think is positive, my motto being any publicity on breastfeeding is good publicity), it can be useful to remind mothers that they can breastfeed discretely in a sling, any time, anywhere.

But how true is this? How many mothers, and more importantly, how often do mothers breastfeed in a sling?

If I had a pound every time a new mother came to me with a stretchy wrap she had just bought, asking me to show her how to breastfeed in it, I'd be rich. Well not really, but no harm in dreaming.

Picture this mother at the supermarket:
  • baby needs a feed
  • mum reties the sling (lowers her baby down or shifts him to cradle position)
  • mum lifts the nursing top flap
  • mum undoes the bra clip, makes way for the boob, while not dropping the breast pad in the process
  • mum latches baby on
  • mum readjusts sling and clothes
Doing the above while carrying on walking and not drawing attention is pretty difficult in those first weeks. Remember, breastfeeding and babywearing are skills; combining the two skills can take time and practice.

In reality, the motion and bustle will most probably send the slung baby to sleep and keep him content for the duration of the shopping trip. And when at home, what a great opportunity to sit down, or even lie down.

So is it a lie? No, merely an exaggeration. If this is the reason you want to babywear, then be prepared to be disappointed.

In the meantime, I will carry on mentioning the "breastfeed discretely, hands-free" benefit. Even though it is akin to Mission:Impossible for many mothers, it becomes quickly irrelevant as mothers and babies discover the real benefit of babywearing: making life easier and much more enjoyable for everyone.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What to Expect ... in a Consultation

The traditional art of babywearing is a real skill and one of the best ways to learn is with the help of experienced practitioners who will ensure you can carry your baby in a sling with confidence, competence, comfort and safety.

Although it is possible to learn to use a sling by following written instructions, video clips, or by seeking help from other babywearing parents, there is no substitute for the practical, personal focus you get in a consultation. In a consultation you can:
  •  talk through your own requirements to identify a sling that will suit your needs, and those of your baby and your family
  • see at first-hand how to use a sling correctly, and use one yourself under experienced guidance
  • learn why correct positioning is important for physical development, comfort and safety
  • have the reassurance of being able to ask questions, both at the library and at a later date, if need be
  • borrow a sling that really suits your needs. As part of a consultation at The Sling School, you can choose a sling from our extensive sling library for a free two weeks’ hire.

Join us at our next consult on 26th of June, where we will focus on using Asian-inspired Baby Carriers (Mei Tai, Podaegi and Soft Structured Carriers), on the front and on the back.  This consult is suitable for babies from 4-5 months old.

Special offer: £22.50 for our FaceBook fans; £25 for non-fans. (Normal price £30)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry on the Back

Recently, Hello Magazine featured an article on French actress Marion Cotillard carrying her son in a sling. Despite the sensationalist title, I thought the article itself was well-balanced and informative.

The last sentence in the article said: "A child should be carried on your back when he or she weighs over 17 pounds".  This sentence has since been removed from the article. Why? Could this have anything to do with the uproar elicited by this sentence in some members of the babywearing community?

Of course a blanket rule is unhelpful. If a mother is told that she can no longer carry her 17-pounder on the front, then many mothers would stop carrying their babies altogether past the age of 4 months, or even earlier. This would indeed be a great shame.

Rather than a "use by date" for front carrying, I think there is a "best before date". Take a packet of butter. Its quality is guaranteed before the best-buy date; this does not mean it will go off on that exact same day. Chances are it will be absolutely fine for some time still, though the consumer should exercise common sense (smell and taste) to judge whether the butter is still good.

Same goes for babywearing. It is best to switch to back carrying as soon as possible, feasible and safe for both mother and baby. The 17 lbs cut-off weight could be seen as a best-before weight.

Experts agree that it is best to carry a baby on the back, in order to protect the perineum and strengthen back and tummy muscles. Carrying baby on the back alleviates the pressure on the perineum and strengthens core muscles by redressing the mother's posture.

Back carrying requires practice, patience and perseverance. One cannot be expected to master it overnight. However, if the mother is aware that this is best for her posture and pelvic floor muscles, I am sure she will find enough motivation to master this most fantastic skill.