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

We have been so busy already this year! Our Megakidz meet was the biggest we've ever had, with 30 parents in attendance, and then our Hallamshire House meet was rammed with babywearers as you can see in this photo!

There was lots of sling trying on, help and advice as always. 
This mum was very happy with her Boba from Sheffield Sling Library...
... while this one enjoyed getting to grips with her ring sling.
Our demo topic this month has been demystifying sling lengths. Some of the attendees were amazed at how long a size 6 is - 4.6m - and were interested to see what you can do with it. 

This mama learned how to do a rucksack carry with a woven wrap, and did it brilliantly first time!

And this new mum has her sling situation sorted at the moment - this is a Sleepy Nico - and just came along to chat and show off her lovely baby, only four weeks old and finally named!

We have two large regular meets every month, plus extra smaller ones, so check our our upcoming events page to find one that's good for you!
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.
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

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.

"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! 

Yesterday saw our first sling meet at our new Tuesday venue, Megakidz on Bernard Road, and it was a great success!

We had lots of attendees - babywearers both old and new - and the kids loved the soft play area, particularly the zipwire. The meet was in a private section at the back of the play area, allowing us to make the most of the facilities while not being stared at.
Our back carry demonstration and help session was much enjoyed, and several babywearers were very chuffed to manage their first back carries. The rucksack carry demonstration was rather overpowered by the screaming overtired demo-baby... but everyone was impressed at how she settled straight down to sleep once wrapped up. Some mums with newer arrivals watched and wondered if their babies would ever get big enough to chuck on their backs... don't worry, they will, all too soon!

Well, the thermostat decided that it was time to turn the heating on this morning, so it looks like summer - sorry what summer? - is over. Sheffield Babywearers' main sling meets are indoors, two per month, but we also try to get together for extra mini-meets. Here's a little round-up of what's gone on over the last three months.

We usually aim to get photos of the babywearers at our meets, but the wearees look so cute in these photos we couldn't resist using them instead!
Babywearers' toddlers playing on the climbing frame
We had three walks, two from Hunters Bar to Forge Dam and back again, which were lovely, and one round Graves Park, which was curtailed by rain and turned into a very pleasant cafe meet!

The kids loved Forge Dam playground as always.