I’d like to tell you a little bit about Sheffield and why we call it Sling City…. Once upon a time I and four friends had an idea about making babywearing more visible in our home town. We began having sling meets in local parks, attending festivals and street markets with our babies in carriers, walking around the city centre and going to playgroups. Quite quickly other parents became curious about what we were doing and wanted to know a little more about how the slings and carriers worked. We told them how fantastic it was to be hands free, to be able to get around easily, to be able to look after our older children while our babies slept contentedly next to our hearts. We shared how much we loved the freedom they gave us and how many friends we had made through this shared hobby – a hobby that gave our babies as much benefit as us.
Soon our numbers grew and grew. We started meeting in cafes, but had to move on as we took up too much space. We rented church halls, theatres, even sports centres!
It didn’t take long to recognise the need for education; to help parents know how to use the various types and keep their little ones safe, I got some consultancy training with Lorette at Slingababy and set up the Sheffield Sling Surgery. Soon I ran out of time to help everyone, I became a peer supporter trainer with Born to Carry so that I could train my fellow parents to support others. Five years later we now have our own permanent premises – the Snug in the city centre, and numerous branch sessions all around the city. Over 50 people have volunteered their time and skills to help families; and currently we have about 30 people acting in a peer supporting role. Many thousands of children in Sheffield have been and are carried daily and we all enjoy a game of “sling spot” – its not hard here in Sling City. In fact, when we opened our shop selling baby slings and carriers we named it “Sling Spot!”
The sling library has a whole wall of carrier boxes; we have one box just for Integra, and one stand in the Sling Spot shop just for Integra too! Why?
It is the perfect solution for many parents who want something lightweight, comfortable, simple, beautiful, affordable and long lasting. It can carry babies from newborn to walking; as the panel is so flexible it can be fitted to the baby’s body perfectly and be set at just the right width and height. Older babies who enjoy being able to be arms out, can do so. That’s how flexible it is! The crossable straps that tighten easily in both directions help to distribute baby’s weight nicely, and the little headrest on the hood adds a touch of gentle extra support for necks that are still not quite strong enough to hold a little head up. People enjoy the pretty patterns as it allows them to express their personality, and knowing they can back carry with it later when baby is older is brilliant. The Integra is one of our most popular hires; all the peer supporters are trained to use this carrier as it meets so many people’s needs. Its also made in the UK; and has helped a factory in the south to get back onto its’ feet again; as a small business we like to support other small businesses too!
Best of all, they do a solar version for hot and sunny weather, which provides some UV protection and packs down so very very light and small, making it awesome for travel. We have a lot in the library so people can hire them for holidays abroad all year round, or just for random heatwaves here! We’re big fans of the Integra.
To read more about Rosie’s amazing work check out her newest project Carrying Matters ! And if you have not already read her book ‘ Why Babywearing Matters’ we highly recommend you order your copy today!