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.

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.
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.

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!"

Eleven lucky babywearers had a fabulous time last Thursday with a babywearing photoshoot! The aim of the shoot was to get some lovely photos for the mums who took part, and also for use on our website and publicity, and it was a complete success.

We had a range of ages of children, from three weeks to three years, and used every type of sling, from a stretchy wrap for the newborn to a ring sling for the biggest boy.

We are very grateful to Source Photography for donating this photoshoot to Sheffield Babywearers, and for offering a discount on any family or baby photoshoot booked through our website! Visit our Links page for more details (see under Other Links).

The theme of International Babywearing Week this year is Carrying on Traditions. As babywearers, we know that parents have carried their babies since the dawn of modern man, first in arms and then in slings. We love the fact that we are getting back to a way of interacting with our children that pre-dates car seats, prams and bouncy chairs (useful though all these things are). But this year's theme made us wonder, what are the babywearing traditions we are creating nowadays?

Sling Meets
Our favourite babywearing innovation! We at Sheffield Babywearers are very proud of our Sheffield sling meets - friendly, accessible, regular and helpful. We're having a special weekend sling meet this Saturday 13 October, 2-4pm in room 5 of the Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (many thanks to the Showroom for donating use of the room). We hope that babywearers new and old who can't attend our usual weekday meets (we're thinking particularly of dads) will be able to come along.

Sheffield Sling Library and Sheffield Babywearers got together to hold a Macmillan Coffee morning this week, and it was a huge success! Eighteen mums and dads came down with their children to help raise £50 for Macmillan Cancer Support. And lots of those parents left the library with a baby carrier to try out for a couple of weeks.

Sheffield Sling Library owner Natasha was particularly pleased to be able to help seven new parents just starting out on their babywearing journey. The library is a fabulous resource for established babywearers, but for new ones it's invaluable as it gives parents a chance to get to grips with all the options before they spend any money. Our local Sheffield sling meets are also a great way to try out all sorts of baby slings. 

Beautifully iced fairy cakes
What do Sheffield Babywearers like nearly as much as baby slings? Cake, of course! We love any opportunity to combine babywearing with cake, plus a bit of sitting around and chatting.  

So we are joining forces with Sheffield Sling Library to have a Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning, on Tuesday 25 September 2012. The Sling Library is very excited to be back in action, and is hosting this good-cause event in combination with a regular library session.