Carrying your child in a sling can be beneficial for parents and children alike. We meet two mothers who share a passion for babywearing.
Gathering at the monthly meeting in Ardler Community Centre, the Dundee Sling Library group welcomes everyone from familiar faces to flustered first-time mums and dads cradling their wriggly newborns.
The group, which has been running at various venues across Dundee for the past six years, is currently led by volunteers Ali Roberts and Vicky Stepien and has a private Facebook support group that parents can request to join.
Keen to support parents who want to learn more about carrying their precious bundles in one of the many different structured carriers, slings or wraps available, the meeting provides a relaxed atmosphere in which parents and carers can seek advice, be fitted with, and even hire carriers.
It’s also an opportunity to share issues they might be experiencing as a first-time parent.
Ali had a rough start with her firstborn – from allergies to colic – and initially struggled to find likeminded parents: “Once I did find people, spending time with them brought me some very great friends and a strong support network. I want more people to have that.”
Both mums-of-two, Ali and Vicky met at a baby massage class and soon hit it off. From then on they have been passionate about helping others on their parenting journeys.
They are both trained NHS volunteer breastfeeding support workers and say that babywearing can be useful when establishing and continuing feeding.
Vicky also runs a breastfeeding support group in Broughty Ferry as well as running a small business from home.
Originally established by another local mum called Ingrid Warden, the Dundee Sling Library has grown over the years and now offers a huge range from stretchy and woven wraps to mei tais, ring slings and buckle carriers.
It costs only £10 to hire a sling for a month which lets people check they’ve chosen something that works for them.
Babywearing is the idea that keeping your baby close (especially during the months immediately following birth) can have many emotional and physical benefits, including providing comfort and aiding the transition from the womb to the world outside.
All new babies born in Scotland are now gifted a baby box and one of the items included is a stretchy wrap ideal for newborns, which has led to people attending the group to find out how to use it.
Vicky says: “Thanks to these boxes, babywearing has been made much more accessible to all. We want to support parents in using this valuable parenting tool.”
When doing anything involving a baby or young child, it’s important to follow safety procedures.
For babywearing, there are rules that the group can help clarify for anyone in doubt.
Ali adds: “We often say babywearing with your first baby is a pleasure – but with your subsequent babies it’s a necessity!”
- The next Dundee Slings meeting is on January 9 2018 at 10.30am.
- For further information visit: https://www.facebook.com/dundeeslings/