It seems like no time at all since we were celebrating our second birthday last year, but here we are again having another party to celebrate three years of slings, chat and cake. And this time the weather smiled on us for our picnic in Endcliffe Park.

As one of the longest-running sling meets around, we were determined to celebrate in style. So we found a shady spot near the playground, set up the gazebo, turned up the music and had a great day!
I'm already looking forward to baby number 2 so I can keep using my slings! - Marie

Sheffield Babywearers did a size 3 challenge recently, where some of us tried to use only our size 3 wrap (3.6m long) for a week! None of us quite managed it... but most of us learned some new carries and some new tricks. 

One of our size 3 challengers is sporting a knotless rucksack carry in a Natibaby wrap here.

This is the list of carries we put together during the week.

And so the snow came, and continues to fall. We've had lots of questions about carrying our babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers in these snowy conditions. So, we asked our members and they've given us plenty of tips for and photos of babywearing in the snow.

A common concern is how can you carry in snow and ice without falling on to your child. A popular tip, one that resurfaces every year, is to purchase a pair of grips for the soles of your shoes, like Yaktrax as these provide extra grip for the slippery conditions. In terms of where you carry your baby, there is no right or wrong answer: front, back, or hip, you just carry them wherever feels best for you. The key is confidence, if you feel stable on your feet you will walk with confidence and, importantly, your child will feel safe and secure.

A belated Happy New Year to all our blog readers! 2013 has arrived and we have a raft of fun ahead - we've already put our New Year's resolution into action (more exercise) with a walk out to Forge Dam, had fun at MegaKidz and enjoyed cake at Rosie Lea's in Hillsborough. Please see Upcoming Events for more details of our meets this month, and beyond but we're off to Meadowhall tomorrow morning!
To start this new year we would like to share some photos of our children "baby wearing" their dolls and toys. My eldest daughter has even carried her sister, momentarily - she is 3 and half, her sister is 21 months ... and while it was hugely impractical I could not refuse their enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I could not capture this moment for posterity, but I regularly capture both girls carrying their toys in slings on various occasions. 

Three babywearing mums with their kids having a walk in the woods.
A walk in the woods to start off 2013... the toddler on the left couldn't decide whether she wanted to walk or not, but mum didn't have to bother carting a pushchair around. See how much of a faff it is for her to carry that sling? No? That's  why we love babywearing!

Seven babywearers and nine kids enjoyed our chilly walk to Forge Dam, and we're going to have regular walks this year (New Year's resolution - must do more exercise!) so keep an eye on our upcoming events.
A mum carries her toddler on her back in a Girasol wrap; the child is dressed as Santa Claus
Santa usually carries the presents, but this Santa is only 20 months old and extremely cute, so he gets to be carried instead.

We've been running a photo competition over on our Facebook page, and this is the winning entry! The lucky babywearer receives a gift certificate very kindly donated by Monkey Mei Tai, who make beautiful slings like the one shown on our page about mei tais.

To find out about future competitions and other stuff only available to our Facebook likers, just come and Like our page!

On Thursday 13th December we got all festive at our Chrimbo sling-meet at the Hallamshire House. Everyone got into the festivities, little and big people alike.

There were Santa hats, Reindeer jumpers, cheeky elves and some crazy specs that Sir Elton would be proud of!

We wonder if this lovely mummy will enter this festive shot in our Advent Calendar competition running over on our facebook page - she could be in with a chance of winning a £20 Monkey Mei Tai voucher if she did! Or just come and have a look at what has behind the doors opened to date!

It was a lively meet with lots of chat and lots of demos - below, Katherine, aka Mrs Claus, outs her Peer Support Worker qualification to good use to demonstrate a back carry with a Mei Tai.

And, of course, there was Christmas cake: this was made by one of our members and was one of the prizes in our raffle; along with a voucher for a free loan from Sheffield Sling Library and "Off We Go", a lovely nursery rhyme CD by Jess & Richard Arrowsmith. Charlotte was lucky enough to win the cake but got a bit of a shock when she lifted the beast! We have been told temptation has been resisted and it is being saved for the family on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! And we look forward to seeing you in 2013, you can find us at MegaKids on Tuesday 8th January. Please check our Upcoming Events for more details and other sling meets planned for January, and beyond.

We've got loads of sling meets on at the moment!
A mum getting to grips with her Manduca carrier at our sling meet
Last Thursday was our regular sling meet at the Hallamshire House, where the talk was all about soft structured carriers and other full buckle carriers. There's so many different brands and they're all slightly different, so the good news is that there's usually one out there for everyone. 

But it does mean that you sometimes have to try a lot of slings on to find your perfect carrier - this is why we love getting together for sling meets, and why we are always so happy that Sheffield Sling Library exists.
We're going to publish the results of our carrier comparisons soon in our babywearing help section, so keep an eye out.
Then this Monday we had our first Hillsborough mini-meet, which was a great success. The library turned out to be a fabulous venue where the kids enjoyed playing and reading (or in some cases, just pulling all the books off the shelf and putting them in piles...).
Four babywearers carry their children at Sheffield Babywearers' Hillsborough sling meet
Four of the babywearers who came to the Hillsborough mini-meet

Sheffield Babywearers are running a Babywearing Advent Calendar competition on their Facebook page and the prize is a voucher from Monkey Mei Tai custom carriers. They kindly lent us one of their beautiful carriers for our International Babywearing Week photo shoot, which you can see here.

Here is the photo that was revealed when we opened the first door of our calendar and we look forward to revealing more as we countdown to Christmas. Please come over and either share your pictures with us (to qualify for the competition you must both like our page and share a photo), or just bob across and enjoy the lovely festive images.

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.