A dad tries out a stretchy wrap using a teddy
When my partner first told me about slings and babywearing I thought she was a bit mad, after all prams are the norm, why would we want to use anything else? Of course, being the good partner that I am I indulged this idea, begrudgingly, thinking that she would easily get bored of the idea within a few weeks and we would just use the pushchair like "normal people".

In the interest of not spending much money whilst still indulging the idea we decided to have a go at making our own stretchy wrap. So, I helped my heavily pregnant partner measure out and cut the fabric (I even bought her a sewing machine!). Of course, as soon as she got her new toy I had to try it out. Now baby wasn't here yet so we tried it with a teddy. I have to admit I felt daft, after all there's a huge difference between a baby human and a stuffed toy.

We had the general misconception that our daughter would be a fragile little thing and were both scared to put her in the sling at first. As coincidence would have it, Evelyn Rose arrived at the beginning of International Babywearing Week, so that was handy.

Last week saw the turning on of the Christmas lights in Sheffield and a number of our members popped down with their families. Here they are, sharing the benefits of babywearing at a busy, public event.

"Mya usually becomes overwelmed by characters/mascots, with them being so big, but she was perfectly happy for me to approach 'Pooh Bear' and for her to give him high 5 as she has re-assurance of me being right there for her to snuggle into." 

 "I enjoyed the ease with which we could interact with the characters - my son, the fire brigade bear and I all played peek-a-boo till T was screaming with laughter as the sling meant he was high enough to see over the barrier and I had my hands free for peek-a-boo!"

"Can we have a meet in Rotherham?" asked one of our newer members. "Your wish is our command," we said, and within a week we had organised what we believe to be the first ever sling meet in Rotherham, South Yorkshire! 

Six babywearers got together - a few old hands and a couple of newer mums - and had a fun time swapping slings, drinking excellent hot chocolate and chasing the toddlers at Camelot Play Castle (a lovely, inexpensive soft play centre in Rotherham). The two newbies went away completely converted and planning on heading to Sheffield Sling Library at the first opportunity to try some slings with their gorgeous 6-month-old daughters, one wanting a wrap and the other a mei tai
A few things were certain by the end of the meet - we're doing it again, we're going to convert Rotherham to babywearing, and we're getting more hot chocolate...
I started off my babywearing journey by borrowing a friend's homemade stretchy. The fabric she has used contained a lot of polyester, which was very hot and sweaty for the summer so when I went into Fine Fabrics in Hillsborough with the intention of buying some fabric to make my own I opted for some thin cotton jersey fabric and made my own, which you can see in this photo of me carrying my 8 month old son Daniel in a front carry for a 5 mile walk in the peaks around Hartington. 

I think they still have the same fabric in stock so if you want to make one like this you can! 

Safe babywearing
Safe babywearing
Last weekend two members of Sheffield Babywearers went down to Bristol to attend a training course to become Babywearing Peer Supporters. This OCN Level 3 course is run by the School of Babywearing, and when they've finished the (rather arduous) coursework they will be qualified to help other babywearers. There's not many babywearing peer supporters or consultants in our area, so we're really excited about this. 

We've added a page to our website on babywearing peer supporters and consultants, and it's filed under "Safe babywearing" because that is the area where these people are most useful. If you, as a babywearer, are asked to help with carrying a premature baby, a low weight baby or a child with a medical condition, it's best to refer them to a trained consultant, or sometimes a peer supporter. You may know lots about babywearing, but the medical issues are often complex. Also, if you are ever unsure about a baby's safe positioning in a sling, refer the parent rather than take risks with the baby's safety. A full list of when it is appropriate to refer a parent is on the new page.