Welcome to the South London Sling Library!

We offer independent information and advice about baby carriers and slings.  As well as offering personalised consultations and small group workshops we run regular drop-in Open Sessions where you can get advice and try out and borrow from our large selection of baby carriers. Browse the site to find out more!

crypto trading investment The South London Sling Library gives you the chance to try out different types of baby carrier to help you to find the one that will suit you and your baby best. We believe that a well fitting carrier is a must have for anyone caring for babies and toddlers; whether you’d like to try using a carrier at home or when out and about; for a one-off holiday or event, or as part of your job or day-to-day life, we’re here to help.

We don’t sell slings or carriers and we’re not affiliated with any particular retailer or manufacturer so offer completely independent advice. We give you the information and help you need to get started with using a baby carrier free of charge, and have a collection of slings and carriers that are available to borrow for a small fee.  It costs from just £5 (plus refundable deposit) to hire a baby carrier for 2 weeks so that you can really see how it will work for you and your family.

Use the menu above to find out more about the South London Sling Library, how it works and what baby carriers and slings we have.  There’s also lots more information about slings and carriers if you’re interested, and regular blog updates posted below.

bitcoin trader in philippines Where to go next:

Open Sessions – find out when our next drop-in sessions are.

Library Catalogue – see all of the Sling Library’s carriers.

Information Request Form – ask us for advice on carriers and what to try.

Or Contact Us if you’ve got any other questions about what we do.


© 2011 South London Sling Library
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South London Sling Library Blog

The Library regularly posts news announcements, carrier reviews, changes to the way the Library works, plus carrier tips and information articles. The most recent blog posts appear on the Library website Home page with the most recent first.  Older blog posts can be found by browsing the sections of the ‘News and Reviews’ menu to the right.

Any comments on blog posts are very welcome, as are suggestions for things for me to blog about!

Posted in Our Library in Action!

Introducing a Donations Box

legit bitcoin trading in philippines I’ve finally decided to listen to the many friends and library users who’ve suggested this and set up an honesty box to collect donations at Sling Library Open Sessions.

At the moment I run the sessions for free (that is, free to enter and with me volunteering my time) and they’re getting so busy I’m finding it harder to help everyone, and to deal with all of the mountains of related paperwork and emails. I’m delighted that the Library is so popular and would love to be able to keep growing and improving to keep up with demand. In order to do this I definitely need to get a more regular, paid assistant to help me with everything.

To raise funds I’m now going to ask for a small donation from anyone coming to get expert information, help or advice and to try on carriers. It’ll still be free to just come and drop off a borrowed sling and the suggested donation is just £2 per adult (or whatever you can afford). An honesty box will be placed by the sign-in table to collect these – during busy sessions we won’t be able to check contributions but trust everyone to contribute whatever they feel the service is worth :)

Thanks so much to everyone for all your support! :D x

© 2012 South London Sling Library
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Wrap Straps

Today I’m enthusing about Wrap Straps!

Wrap Straps are carrier shoulder straps that are extra wide (about 30cm) and often unpadded. You’ll find them on Asian Style Carriers like Mei Tais, Half Buckle Mei Tais and Podageis and they’re usually made from woven wrap fabric.  Carriers like these are also sometimes called Wrap Conversions or Wrap-Tais (i.e. wrap fabric mei tais).

What’s good about wrap straps? Well, they allow you to spread the fabric to cup your shoulders and to add extra support on baby’s back/bottom.

You can also spread the fabric out across your back for really excellent weight distribution around your whole torso.  Wrap Straps are great for small babies as the straps can really add lovely, gentle support for their backs. And they’re also ideal if you want to use your mei tai for hip carries as the wide straps will cup your shoulder and not ride up into your neck.

 

For bigger babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers the wide straps helps to extend the width of the carrier body so it fits your child for longer. There’s also lots of options for spreading the fabric out to distribute your child’s increasing weight.

Wrap straps enable you to have an asian style carrier that’s easy to use but fits and supports more like a woven wrap…. and if you can’t be bothered with all that spreading out wrappiness then you can still bunch your wraps straps up and use them just like normal mei tai straps!

I’m a massive fan of wrap straps! :D

There are several off the shelf carriers with wraps straps including: Hop-Tye, Didytai, Maya Tie, BB-tai, Wearababy Wallabi Wrap Tai, Lana baby carrier. These all have completely unpadded wrap straps.

There’s also lots of work at home mum carrier makers who convert woven wraps into mei tais (and others) with wrap straps including: Kitten Creations, Opitai, Kimimela, Monkey Mei Tai, Ocah + more!  Some of these brands offer unpadded straps or wrap straps that are partly padded to give you the advantage of padded shoulder straps whilst still being able to spread the straps out too. There’s lots of options!

The South London Sling Library has examples of almost all of these brands, though they are very popular so we rarely have them all here at once! :D

© 2012 South London Sling Library
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Why do you still need a carrier for your 2 (or 3, or 4) year old?

I get asked this quite a lot. And I don’t mind being asked :) When I was first pregnant the idea of carrying or needing to carry such a large (and surely walking) child seemed rather silly and unnecessary. But then I got a baby of my own, who grew into a toddler, who turned 2…..

….and then I got it.  At 2 my son (and now my daughter) could happily walk, but not for longer than about an hour. And even then he needed to be in a good mood to not be constantly trying to run off into the road or to look at an interesting stick or to get back to playgroup. Or to actually move anywhere without having a tantrum.

And then there’s the times when we’d be out all day and he just couldn’t keep up, or he needed to sleep, or needed lifting to see the exhibits/animals at the museum/farm/aquarium. Or when he was a bit ill and feeling snuggly. Or had just fallen over and grazed a knee, or bumped his head or got his finger trodden on or got barked at by a scarey dog. These things can all prevent the ability to walk when you’re 2.

And some children just need more reassurance than others at the end of a long day of learning and socialising at nursery or playgroup or with friends.  I know I like a hug when I’ve had a big day at work.  And I’d definitely love to be carried home!

So all in all it’s not really surprising that people find they end up carrying their 2 (and 3 and sometimes 4) year olds more than they ever imagined. Luckily there are lots of slings and carriers that will help you do this :D

So here’s a list of some of my reasons for still needing carriers and slings for my 2 year old, and why I expect I’ll still be occasionally using carriers with her for the next year or so.  Feel free to comment to add your own!  And if you’ve got a picture to email, then so much the better! (Please send any photos to southlondonslings@hotmail.co.uk)

Reason Number 1: Naps when out for the day

Number 2: To get from A to B whilst going in the right direction and at a reasonable pace

Number 3: To get an extra hand free (that would otherwise be holding hands/reins)

Number 4: For snuggles at the end of a long, tiring day of running, climbing and learning

Number 5: For that great view you get from Mum/Dad’s back

Number 6: Because when you’re 2 you shouldn’t be expected walk when you have a scratch on your arm

Number 7: To keep them out of puddles and mud when you’ve forgotten wellies, raincoats or any way of protecting the car.

Number 8: Because otherwise it’s not easy to appreciate all those lovely walks and sights on holiday when you’re dragging a reluctant small person

Number 9: Because a sling is much easier to carry about ‘just in case’ than a buggy is

Number 10: Because they don’t want to feel left out

Number 11: Because carrying a 2 year old in your arms or on your shoulders for a long time without support can really hurt!

Number 12: So she can carry HER ‘babies’!

Number 13: Because toddlers don’t walk fast enough when you’re running late for school

Number 14: Because there’s some things you want to do that they just can’t manage…

Number 15: …but they always want to be able to do what you can do, however small

Number 16: Because today they didn’t ever want to leave the house/playgroup/sand pit

Number 17: Because you can also use a sling as an indoor swing

Number 18: …. and as a snuggly blanket

Number 19: Because sometimes it’s just lovely to bask in how much they love you (for the short moments they want to show you)

Number 20: It’s easier to have a conversation when they’re facing you and at your level

Number 21: Because however much SHE’D like to, you really don’t want her running off in here….

Number 22: …or here…

Number 23: …. or here!

© 2012 South London Sling Library
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Summer Holidays 2012

I’m out of London for several different short holidays over the long school summer holidays this year. I’ll do my best to respond to emails, though may not have internet access while away. I’ll of course respond to all emails and messages when I return, though please give me a couple of days to catch up!

The Library will be closed for all regular Wednesday and Thursday sessions from now until September.  I will still open as usual every other Tuesday on the 31st of July and on the 14th and 28th of August.  To help compensate for the closures on alternate weeks, these 3 Tuesday sessions only will run for extended hours from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  I’m expecting these sessions to be busier than normal so any help would be greatly appreciated!

For more details on Sling Library holidays, please see the following page: Library Holidays

For any pressing sling or carrier questions while I’m away, please try the Natural Mamas Sling Clinic Facebook group.

Have a lovely summer and I’ll be back to normal in September! :D


© 2012 South London Sling Library
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Woven Wrap is a Traditional English Baby Sling…

Almost 15 years ago I studied an anthology of poetry past and present for my English Literature GCSE exam.  One of the poems was written in the 17th Century by the English poet William King (who was pleasingly born in London!) I loved it at the time because of the humour and how a poor woman turns the tables of control on a rich gentleman. And so when I started using long woven wraps to carry my daughter I remembered how poem refers to using fabric in a cross to bind a baby to the adult….. sounds familiar?

It fascinates me that long lengths of fabric were used in this country as baby carriers and that carrying or being close to an adult’s body was known to soothe the baby so that it did not cry. And that this was so widespread that even an educated male poet knew about them and why and how they worked, but that in a few generations our culture managed to completely loose this knowledge and skill. Luckily it’s coming back again!

Anyway, here’s the poem – enjoy!

The Beggar Woman

by William King (1663-1712)

A Gentleman in Hunting rode astray,
More out of choice, then that he lost his way,
He let his Company the Hare pursue,
For he himself had other Game in view.
A Beggar by her Trade; yet not so mean,
But that her Cheeks were fresh and Linen clean.
‘Mistress’, qouoth he, ‘and what if we two shou’d
Retire a little way into the Wood.’
She needed not much Courtship to be kind,
He ambles on before, she trots behind;
For little Boby to her Shoulders bound,
Hinders the gentle Dame from ridding Ground,
He often ask’d her to expose, but she
Still fear’d the coming of his Company.
Says she ‘I know an unfrequented place,
To the left Hand, where we our time may pass,
And the mean while your Horse may find some Grass.’
Thither they come and both the Horse secure,
Then thinks the Squire I have the matter sure.
She’s ask’d to sit, but then Excuse is made,
Sitting, says she ”s not usual in my Trade;
Should you be rude, and then should throw me down,
I might perhaps break more Backs than my own.’
He smiling cries; ‘come, I’ll the Knot untie,
And if you mean the Child’s we’ll lay it by.’
Says she, ‘that can’t be done, for then ’twill cry.
I’d not have us, but chiefly for your sake,
Discover’d by the hideous Noise ‘twou’d make.
Use is another Nature, and ‘twou’d lack
More then the Breast, its Custom to the Back.’
Then says the Gentleman, ‘I shou’d be loth
To come so far and disoblige ye both:
Were the Child ty’d to me d’ye think ‘twou’d do?’
‘Mighty well, Sir! Oh, Lord! if ty’d to you!’
With Speed incredible to work she goes,
And from her Shoulders soon the Burthen throws.
Then mounts the Infant with a gentle Toss
Upon her generous Friend, and like a Cross,
The Sheet she with a dextrous Motion winds,
Till a firm Knot the wand’ring Fabrick binds.
The Gentleman had scarce got time to know
What she was doing; she about to go,
Cries, ‘Sir, good buy ben’t angry that we part,
I trust the Child to ye with all my Heart,
But e’er you get another ‘ti’n't amiss
To try a Year or two how you’ll keep this.’

Oh, and I’ve found a great image that would really fit this page, if I can get the rights to use it!  It’s here: http://www.heritage-images.com/Preview/PreviewPage.aspx?id=1239265


© 2012 South London Sling Library
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Washing Slings and Baby Carriers

After a short intermission of failing to wash, our washing machine is once again operational (more or less). This weekend I’ll be churning through all of the library slings to give them a freshen up and I thought I’d post with some general slingy washing and cleaning info.

If you only have one sling, you’ll find you’ll need to plan in when to wash it as most will need to be hung dry and so will be out of action for a day at least.  I’d always recommend having at least 1 cheap spare sling for emergencies if possible.

Soft Slings and Carriers; Wraps, Pouches, Ring Slings and Mei Tais

   

When and how to wash: Wash your soft slings whenever they need it.  For mei tais you may find that the main areas to get soiled are the straps – to avoid getting the whole thing wet you could always sponge clean the straps using warm water and liquid detergent.

All cotton, linen and hemp slings (whether woven, stretchy, ring, mei tai, etc.) should be absolutely safe to wash on a normal cotton cycle at 30 or 40 degrees using non-bio liquid detergent (I use Ecover Delicate).  Some cotton and linen slings can be washed at hotter temperatures, though do check the label. Avoid powder detergents and those with optical brighteners as these are more harsh on the fibres of your sling’s fabric and will reduce the life-span of your sling.

To prepare your sling: For ring slings (and others with rings such as the Close/Caboo Carrier), unthread the sling from the rings and pop a sock over the rings to stop them clanking about inside your machine. You could secure this with a rubber band.  Alternatively you could pop the sling into a pillowcase or cloth bag. I’d also recommend bagging mei tais to prevent the long straps from tying temselves up in knots during the wash. Most wraps are fine to just bung in, though the thinner long ones (like 5.2m Ellaroo wraps) do have more tendency to spaghetti tangles than others.

  

After the wash: All slings can be hung to dry on the line and some can be tumbled on a cool cycle. For cotton, linen and hemp woven wraps, cool tumbling with dryer balls can be a great way to soften them up, especially when new. For soft slings with padding, make sure the padding is not twisted or folded while drying – you may wish to hang the sling on a hanger to dry to help it hang nicely.  You may find that padded mei tai straps and pleated styles of ring sling shoulder can take a couple of days to dry completely.

Most non-stretchy slings can be cool ironed (while slightly damp for the best results). Cotton and linen slings should be able to withstand hotter temperatures and steam ironing, though again do check the label. I would never bother to iron a stretchy carrier!

Notes: The longer you use your sling without washing, the softer and more mouldable you’ll find it gets (imagine jeans after a few day’s wear). If your soft sling is starting to feel saggy or less supportive, then you may find that washing it helps to tighten it all up again – this is most noticeable with stretchy slings.

Even if you’re in a hard water area and washing tends to initially leave your sling feeling a bit ‘crunchy’, it’ll soon soften up again with more use. Older woven slings that have been well used and appropriately washed tend to be the most comfortable and easy to use!

Some slings, particularly woven wraps and more premium ring slings may be made from special fabrics like silk, wool, bamboo, merino, alpaca….. Follow washing instructions for these slings very carefully as you can spoil the wrapping qualities of the sling if it is washed incorrectly. Not all slings made from special fabrics will be hard to wash and most manufacturers will have washing information on their websites so check the manufacturer’s instructions before purchasing if this is a worry for you.

Soft Structured Carriers

Soft structured carriers are usually safe to wash on a cool gentle cycle using liquid detergent.  Many instructions advise you to avoid washing your more structured carrier regularly as, over time, washing can affect the integrity of the padding, webbing and buckles.  I’d always recommend popping your structured carrier into a cloth bag or pillow case to offer it and your machine some protection during washing.

Do not tumble a soft structured carrier – these should be air dried on a line or rack. Make sure that the straps are straight and not twisted for drying – you may find that it’s best to hang on a hanger to help preserve the shape of padded areas. Soft structured carriers can take 2 or 3 days to dry completely due to the padding and more reinforced areas holding water. I try to only wash mine completely when the weather is warm and breezy and perfect for quick drying :)

I usually recommend that you avoid machine washing structured carriers unless completely necessary (so in a nappy failure or complete-jam/juice/ice-cream-coverage-type situation). As with mei tais, you’ll find that the parts that get most grubby are the shoulder straps and the top edge of the carrier. Sponge clean these areas and other spots as necessary using warm water and liquid detergent (washing up liquid is fine).

You can get removable strap protectors and even slip covers for some structured carriers that will protect the carrier itself from spills, stains and dribbles and that you can more easily wash in the machine.

Framed Carriers

Obviously carriers with metal framework cannot go in the washing machine, though some have covers or components that are partly removable for washing. Sponge clean other areas as necessary using warm water and liquid detergent and air dry.

If you have any doubts at all about whether a particular detergent or cleaning method is sutiable for your sling, then get in touch with the manufacturer to ask – they should be more than happy to help :)


© 2012 South London Sling Library
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Slinging in the Sun

It’s a weekend for slinging in the sun! Slings and carriers are great for getting out and about to enjoy the gorgeous weather, so I’ve put together a few thoughts on how to make the most of them for hot weather carrying.

You’re always going to feel warmer when carrying a baby or toddler and to some extent you’ll just have to acclimatise to the heat, like you do without baby or when going to a hotter climate. But there are a few things that can make you both more comfy…

Carriers that are made from natural, lighter fabrics will be more breathable and help wick away moisture.  You can also get carriers made from special solarveil or solarweave fabrics that are specially designed for hot weather use, or that can safely get wet. Carriers that that have less fabric can also improve air circulation.  Those that are easy to wash will be a life-saver when you want to remove sun-cream, sand, drinks and snacks at the end of a long day out.

If your baby is old enough (from around 6 months), and the carrier is suitable, then carrying them on your back will be much cooler than carrying them on your front. Woven wraps, mei tais and most of our soft structured carriers are suitable for back carries from 6 months. If you’re already a confident sling user, then you can back carry a younger baby in a woven wrap and some mei tais from an earlier age.

Ensuring that baby isn’t over-dressed is also important, especially when using multiple-layer carries in wraparound slings. Most slings will be the equivalent of least one clothing layer (and wraparound carries up to 3 layers), though do be aware of parts sticking out of the sling and cover/sun-protect legs, arms and heads if necessary. Some mei tais and buckles carriers have hoods that can be used as a sun shade, and you can use the tail of a ring sling to protect baby’s head from the sun too.

Finally, we find it most comfy if there is a thin cotton layer between parent and baby to avoid sticky skin rubbing. And adding an extra layer (such as a folded muslin cloth) between your body and baby’s head can help you both to feel cooler, especially when baby falls asleep.

Carriers that we like to use ourselves in hot weather are lighter weight woven wraps (like Ellaroo, Wrapsody and Calin Bleu) as well as shorter woven wraps (3-4m long rather than 4-5m long), wrap conversion mei tais (like the Hop-tye or Didytai) and ring slings.  You could also try the Library’s solarweave Connecta buckle carrier or the Ergo Performance, which are made from light fabrics that don’t hold moisture.  And for smaller babies, the lightweight and stretchy bamboo Hana Baby wrap is a great option too.

Enjoy the lovely weather!

I know we will! :D xx


© 2012 South London Sling Library
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