Private Consults are back! In my garden with new Safety measures…

I am so excited that I can finally announce that face to face help is back! I have taken a few weeks to digest all guidelines and advice and find the best path to offer these again in way that reduces risk while still allowing parents to access crucial face to face help and the ability to try carriers and slings on before they invest.

Starting this Sunday (28th June), I will be offering private consults in my back garden.

I am lucky for a Londoner that my garden is easily big enough for 2m distances to be maintained! And I have large bifold doors so if the weather is looking a bit wet, we can stay inside but with the doors open so that it is a well ventilated space and again easy to maintain at least a 2 m distance. Here is what you need to know;

  • When you arrive it is a straight walk from my front door out to the back garden, you can easily do it without coming into contact with any surfaces etc. I do have rear access but it is very hard to find, however, you will be welcome to leave via back gate which comes out onto Rutland Close, which means you don’t need to walk back through the house.
  • When you arrive you will be welcome to wash your hands in my kitchen sink which is located close to the back door.
  • We will set up in the garden on the patio. Please do bring something to put your baby onto while you are putting carriers on/preparing them ready for baby. I won’t be able to offer hold your baby (sadly!) so please do bring a blanket, car seat, pram or pushchair as appropriate.
  • I will ask you a number of questions in advance of your session to help me determine which carriers will be most useful for you to try. These will be clean (either freshly laundered or quarantined for 72 since last tried on or demoed with) and handled by no one other than me (and I will handle only very minimally, only as absolutely necessary and only following washing or sanitizing my hands).
  • These carriers will be set out ready for you to try and I will have separate carriers to demo and teach with so that we are not sharing carriers. When you have tried something on there will be a second bag or area for you to place them and then these will be either quarantined for 72 hours or washed ready for the next client.
  • There will also be a doll for you to use if required (just in case baby doesn’t cooperate, or if baby hasn’t arrived yet!), and this will be freshly wiped down for your use prior to your arrival.
  • All teaching will be done at a distance of at least 2 m. It can help to have another member of your family with you as a spotter if your feeling nervous or if you are learning back carries for the first time. If you would prefer if I came closer to spot you myself, I will wear a mask and freshly sanitize my hands and I ask that you do the same. However, I am very confident at teaching at a 2 m distance and find most parents like the space to help them learn and assimilate the new information without feeling crowded or hurried!
  • At the end of the session you will be welcome to hire or buy if you’d like to, although there is no pressure to do either. I will simply ask you to dictate details for the hire form so you need not touch anything.
  • Payment for the session at the end can be done via contactless card reader, bank transfer or PayPal so there is no need for cash.

More info on costs, how to book etc can be found here. In general consults in my home can be offered any weekday or weekend at any mutually agreeable time – simply suggest a few dates and times that work for you and we will go from there.

Consult in your Home

From next week I will also be offering consults in clients homes.

  • As with a consult in my home, I will ask you questions in advance to determine which carriers will be most useful for you to try. These carriers will be clean (as described above) and I will be bring separate carriers for me to demonstrate with so that we are not sharing the same carriers.
  • Likewise I will bring a doll for myself and a second doll for you to use if required, both of which will be freshly wiped down prior to my arrival.
  • When I arrive at your home I will be directed by you as to where you would like me to go. If you have an outdoor space this would be ideal, but if not I am happy to be led by you and teach in whichever space you are most comfortable in. If indoors I will wear a mask unless you specifically ask me not to (i.e. if this would make communication difficult for you).
  • When I arrive I will wash my hands or sanitize if washing is not possible.
  • I will teach throughout at a distance of 2m, unless this is impossible, in which case I will wear a mask and re-sanitize my hands as needed.
  • After your consult you’ll be welcome to hire or buy if you’d like to, although there is no pressure to do either.
  • Payment for the session at the end can be done via contactless card reader, bank transfer or PayPal so there is no need for cash.

More info on costs, how to book etc can be found here. For the moment, as my son’s year has not gone back to school I can only offer consults in clients homes at weekends. However, can usually do either Saturdays and Sundays (and occasionally will be able to accomodate a mid morning appointment Monday-Wednesday). Simply get in contact and suggest a few dates and times that work for you and we will go from there.

I am really looking forward to finally supporting parents directly again. If you are worried about anything, have any questions or there is anything I can do differently to help you access my service at this extraordinary time, please do get in contact and let me know

-Madeleine

Free 10 minute Online Sling Fitting with every Carrier hire or purchase!

Want to try a new sling or carrier but would to have the piece of mind of being shown how to use it and how it set it up correctly? Or buying a new carrier and want help setting it up that first time?

These are services that I normally provide at all Sling Clinic sessions and all private consultations, in person. But with lockdown continuing I appreciate it is really hard for parents to simply try on first or gain that confidence that comes with getting all the straps correctly adjusted from the get-go. So for the month of June I will be offering a free online 10 minute sling fitting (via Zoom video call) with every hire and every purchase through the website.

This is additive – so if you choose to hire 2 or 3 carriers you will get 20 or 30 minutes accordingly. If you later buy your favourite you will get an additional 10 minutes if you’d like on the one you choose.

How it works – if you’d like to hire a sling simply get in touch by email to sheenslings@gmail.com or via our contact page, and let me know what you’d like to try. Or what your needs are, age of baby etc, and I’ll make suggestions accordingly. Once we’ve agreed what you’ll be hiring, I’ll send you a hire form and then either post the carrier out to you, or your welcome to collect from my doorstep. Then once you have the sling we will set up a day and time within the next day or two to go through your sling together online (via Zoom) and ensure your 100% confident using it and that its giving you a good fit. If it doesn’t give you a good fit we can talk about alternatives and arrange to swap to something that works better. Sometime finding the perfect carrier is an iterative process and you might need to try a couple of different things to work out what does and doesn’t work for you. Then at the end of your hire you simply return and if you’d like to buy your own I offer discounts to all my hire customers – both on the webshop and with other retailers (if your chosen sling is something I don’t currently retail).

If your purchasing a sling through the webshop, simply purchase as normal and I will be in contact offering you your free fitting call! We will agree a mutually agreeable time that works for you for once your carrier has arrived and your ready. If your buying for a baby who isn’t here yet just let me know and we can roll this over (even if baby doesn’t arrive in June!).

If you already have a carrier or sling you’d like help with as well we can do that at the same time and you simply pay for the additional time you need for that at the same rate as normal online consultations (£5 per 10 minutes).

Easy Peasy! I really hope this offer helps more people find the right option for them and be completely confident using whatever they choose while we all await the reopening of the children’s centres and being able to offer in person support once again

-Madeleine

The Webshop is Here!

I am so excited to announce that the Sheen Slings webshop is here!

For a long time it has been possible to purchase through us, but only to those coming along to a session, for a consultation or following a hire. Now it is easier than ever! You can browse our full collection online, check out the colour-ways, read the descriptions and reviews and then when your ready purchase without needing to do so in person.

This is a step I put off for a long time, because I passionately believe that it is so important to try a sling or carrier on before purchasing. Just as you would a pair of shoes or a pair of jeans – fit is everything. Having a carrier that fits you well, that you are completely confident using and adjusting can make a huge difference! Saving your back, giving your hands back and allowing you snug baby on the move.

So, if you can please please do ensure you try any carrier or sling on before investing in it. Check out our services page to read more about how to go about trying and hiring.

Then when you are ready to purchase the webshop is there to make it as easy as possible for you. This is what I have learnt from you guys – offering the option to buy online doesn’t subtract from our service, it doesn’t prevent people from accessing and gaining help and advice. Instead is adds to the service by making it easier. Easier to go home and have a think first and not having to worry about coming back to collect. Easier to check out options while still mulling it over. Easier to buy something for a second baby that you tried out with the first baby but didn’t need at the time.

And those buying online can enjoy all the same benefits that those buying in person do;

  • Advice from an independent, highly trained babywearing consultant with over 6 years experience matching families up with the right options for them individually
  • Range of different carriers far wider than offered on the high street, and extensive product knowledge, making it far more likely we will have exactly the right thing for you
  • The teaching skills and knowledge base to ensure you can learn exactly how to get the most out of your carrier and get the best fit for you and your baby
  • Ongoing support, so if you ever lose confidence in the future or are worried about anything you know you can come back and we will sort it.

So here it is – the webshop! Happy Shopping!

-Madeleine

New Social Distancing Friendly Services and how to get Sling Help over the next few weeks…

When I was studying viruses and what would happen if a new virus spread through a naive population as part of my MRes in Infection and Immunity I have to say I never really imagined actually being in a pandemic in my lifetime.  It feels surreal.  The scale and the daily changes to the guidelines and feelings of uncertainty about what’s best has felt hugely overwhelming.

But now is not the time for wallowing!  I have been so struck by how amazingly well my local community has pulled together, ensuring everyone is supported while remaining distant and following the guidelines.

Likewise I want to ensure everyone in my local community still has access to sling help if they need it.  While Sling Library sessions, One to One consults and all direct face to face contact is suspended for the time being, I will still be offering help in the following ways:

  1. Door-step Hires and Sales
  2. Postal or Hand-delivered Hires and Sales
  3. Video Consults

This is how each of these will work:

Door-step Hires and Sales

If you know what sling or carrier you’d like to borrow and know how to use it, simply get in contact.  Tell me what day you’d like to come and collect and I’ll firstly ensure it is freshly laundered and then popped out into my front porch for you to collect.  I’ll pop it out there just before your due so it doesn’t come into contact with anyone else.  You won’t need to see me or any other member of my family.  Likewise if you wish to purchase a sling or carrier, your new in box carrier will be placed in my porch for you to simply grab.  We’ll organise payment online so no need to handle cash.

Postal or Hand-delivered Hires and Sale

I can also come to you!  While we are still allowed outside for exercise, I can cycle over to you and drop carriers for hire or sale off with you at your doorstep.  Again we’ll organise payment online so no need for contact on the day, just drop me a message to set this up.

Video consults

All our consults are moving online via Zoom!  If you’d like some help – discovering new slings or carriers that might be right for you, or help with something you already own we can set up a mutually agreeable time to video chat on Zoom.  I can also use WhatsApp video or Facebook messenger.  Cost depends on your needs – a full consult costs £25 for 1 hour, but I can also do mini consults (perfect if you just want a quick fit check and a couple of tips) and these cost £5 per 10 minutes and you simply pay for the time you need (i.e. £5 for 10 minutes or £15 for 30 minutes etc etc you get the idea!)

These can also be perfect if you need a sling and are not sure what to hire or buy, we can have an initial video conversation where I demo and show you the options.  Then I can get whatever you choose over to you and we can have a follow up second video chat where I can help you ensure your completely confident fitting and using the sling you’ve borrowed or bought.

 

-Madeleine

FAQ – How do Doorstep Hires work?

While I strongly believe in how much difference face to face help and support when trying out new slings and carriers can make.  Sometimes, just occasionally, it’s not needed.  Sometimes you know exactly what you’d like to borrow and just want to hire directly.

Maybe you’ve already been to the library and didn’t hire something you tried at the time and would like to now.  Maybe you’re already an experienced babywearer who is going on holiday and want to hire a lighter weight carrier or a toddler carrier for that trip.  Or maybe you are really struggling to make a session, and want to try something a friend has recommended first before committing the time to come to a session or schedule a consultation.  There are many reasons you might want to hire a sling without coming to a Library session or booking a consult first.

For this, I offer “doorstep hires”!

To arrange a doorstep hire you simply get in touch with me (by email, via the form on my contact page, WhatsApp, text, Facebook or Instagram message) and let me know what you want to hire and what day you’d like to collect it.

I then confirm whether your chosen carrier is available for your desired collection date, and if it I will ask you to fill out the following hire form (although, please only fill out if I have confirmed the carrier is in stock!), as well as confirming costs and how best to pay.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSehvYpCGcd2O6LniSMVJkQa7yLw4tIwUweWM5eCXo2jq5bl7Q/viewform?usp=sf_link

Then on the day I pop your chosen sling in my front porch for you to collect at anytime at all that day.  For payment, I accept cash on collection (posted through my main front door), or bank transfer or paypal in advance.

It’s that easy!

Then you simply enjoy your hire and return to my front porch at the end of your hire period!

Things to note, if your are considering if a doorstep collection;

  • There is no additional charge for organising a door step collection, you pay only for your hire period.
  • There is no opportunity to be shown how to use the carrier or to try it first.  The sling will be in my front porch and I am often not present when doorstep hires are collected.
  • If you would like to be shown how to use the carrier, or would like to try one or two different options and compare them before deciding which to hire please do consider booking a mini-consultation (£15 for upto 30 minutes one to one help and advice) or coming along to a sling library session instead.
  • You are welcome to ask a couple of questions about suitability of a particular carrier for you personally and what else I might suggest when arranging your doorstep hire but please bear in mind that this is no subsitute for face to face help. Without seeing you and your little one in the carrier I have I can not be sure it will work for you, so I can only offer fairly generic advice and not truly tailored information.  As such the doorstep hires works best for those who already have tried or know well what they are intending to hire.

 

-Madeleine

 

 

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New Year – New Plans and New Dates!!!

2019 has gone by in such a flash!  It’s been a year of quite a lot of change for me, including a 5 month building project, my daughter starting nursery, setting up Tea, Cake and Parenting and many other smaller things.  As a result,while much of how I run Sheen Slings has remained the same, the Sling Library sessions have had to change too.

At the start of 2019 I was running 3 sessions a month at my home on very fixed days of the month but as the building work started and with nursery and school runs to accommodate, this rapidly had to change.  Now I am still running 3 sessions a month, but only 1 at my home, while the other two are at the Barnes and Kingston Town Children’s Centres.  This has proved to be a hugely positive change as both the Barnes and Kingston sessions are really well attended, the space is better set up (and bigger!) compared to my home and the two different venues has meant these sessions are able to reach a greater number of parents.

Looking to 2020, I really hope to add more venues over the course of the year and make it ever easier to buy, hire and access help from Sheen Slings.  In the more immediate future, I will be changing how I run the Saturday sessions at my home.  As of January these sessions will require booking a 15 minute time slot in advance. 

For many reasons I have always kept Sling Library as drop in sessions, as I know how hard it can be to keep to an appointment with a new baby.  And the Children’s Centre sessions will stay drop in, no appointment needed.  But listening to feedback from parents, this doesn’t work as well on Saturdays.  Many parents find Saturdays easier to attend than midweek sessions but Saturday is also the day where they have tonnes to do and having a specified appointment time with less waiting and uncertainty involved is important.  So for this reason I will be trialing a new booking system for Saturdays only.   If you use the system over the next few months, please do let me know your thoughts.

New Dates for 2020;

    • Saturday 11th January, 10-11.30am @ Madeleine’s home, 79 Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14 7HU  booking essential – book here
    • Friday 17th January, 10.15-11.30am @ Barnes Children’s Centre, 67b Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14  no booking needed
    • Thursday 30th January, 10.30-11.30am @Kingston Town Children’s Centre, 40 Villiers Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 3AR  no booking needed
    • Saturday 8th February, 10-11.30am @ Madeleine’s home, 79 Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14 7HU  booking essential – book here
    • Friday 14th February, 10.15-11.30am @ Barnes Children’s Centre, 67b Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14  no booking needed
    • Thursday 27th February, 10.30-11.30am @Kingston Town Children’s Centre, 40 Villiers Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 3AR  no booking needed
    • Friday 6th March, 10.15-11.30am @ Barnes Children’s Centre, 67b Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14  no booking needed
    • Thursday 19th March, 10.30-11.30am @Kingston Town Children’s Centre, 40 Villiers Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 3AR  no booking needed
    • Saturday 28th March, 10-11.30am @ Madeleine’s home, 79 Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14 7HU  booking essential – book here
    • Friday 3rd April, 10.15-11.30am @ Barnes Children’s Centre, 67b Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14  no booking needed
    • Saturday 25th April, 10-11.30am @ Madeleine’s home, 79 Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14 7HU  booking essential – book here

 

As well as these dedicated Sling Library sessions, I will also be providing Sling Support as a part of Tea, Cake and Parenting Social mornings.  These run approximately every other week and full details including dates and times can be found here – https://www.teacakeandparenting.com/events

And of course I will continue offering private consults and bespoke workshops for groups throughout 2020.  And continuing to increase the range of slings and carriers that can be bought through Sheen Slings.

So whatever your baby carrying needs in 2020 – I look forward to welcoming you in the new year

-Madeleine

Announcing Tea, Cake and Parenting!

I am so excited to share my news with you all – my wonderful friend Cat and I are launching “Tea, Cake and Parenting”, a new hub for parents, providing support, information and opportunity to meet others at the same stage and most importantly tea and cake!  We are kicking off Friday this week with our first social morning, with many more planned (full dates and times can be found here).

But before I explain all that I really wanted to share the story behind Tea, Cake and Parenting.

IMG-20190827-WA0029Cat and I have been friends for over 12 years, we met while rowing for Son’s of the Thames Rowing Club and became fast friends as we are both natural organisers!  We hate faffing around wasting time and so would organise our other rowing friends and just ensure whatever needed to get done got done.  Then over the years we’ve had children, and our friends have had children… and we’ve supported each other over and over again at different times.  When I moved to Mortlake Cat immediately sent me a list of playgroups and local activities, and introduced me to almost every local person who had a similar aged son to mine!  Through Sheen Slings I met many amazing people who support pregnant parents and new parents and I was able to pass these contacts onto Cat as and when she needed them.   And likewise Cat, made contacts and passed on to me…   And of course both of us found we are the ones our friends come to to ask if we know something or someone who can help with x because over the years we’ve both become “nexi” or “hubs” of information and contacts.

65839731_355329411843763_8089286966023028736_nBut the biggest thing Cat and I did for one another was simply to listen, to be there, to be present!  Present with a understanding listening ear, a cup of tea and a slice of cake.  Really this more than anything is the absolute key to thriving rather than just surviving parenthood!

This support – having somewhere to turn to if you have questions, somewhere you can be hear and simply be is so important as a new parent.  Over and over again through the sling library I have met parents who have felt overwhelmed and just not sure where to turn, who’ve needed more support than can be offered in during a Sling session and under the umbrella of a Sling consultant.  I’ve always wanted somewhere I can send them where they can ask ANY question, come with any problem and just be heard.  And really this is what Tea, Cake and Parenting is all about. 

This is our aim… to be a hub for new (and not so new second, third or more times around) parents.  To fulfil this aim we will be running 2 types of session – social mornings and topic mornings.  You can read more about both here, but in a nutshell the social mornings are informal fortnightly sessions we are running from our homes.  Come with your worries and concerns or just come for some company of other like minded adults and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake in an environment where you don’t need to worry and apologize if your baby needs to feed, sleep, have a giant poo or just roll around throwing toys everywhere.  The topic mornings will be slightly more formal focused sessions (although babies obviously welcome to come and do all of the above and be as informal as they like), where we delve into a key parenting topic in detail as a group, looking at the evidence and different strategies.  They’ll be guest speakers as the topic demands and plenty of information on how to find out more and get more in depth support if needed.  We have literally tonnes of ideas for these and will be looking to start with one or two later this year before pushing on with a more full schedule early next year!

So do come along and find out how Tea, Cake and Parenting can support you!

Madeleine

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Summer at Sheen Slings!

Summer is definitely well and truly finally here!   And I simply can’t wait for the holidays and getting to spend more time with my big boy in particular.  School is such a huge part of our lives now and I know both of us are looking forward all the fun we have planned for the summer break!

But fear not, Sheen Slings will still be continuing over the summer!  Albeit to a different slightly reduced schedule…

Drop In sessions:

There will be 2 drop in sessions over the summer, one in Kingston and one in my home (please see here for full details on what to expect at these sessions).

  • Tuesday 16th July, 11am-12pm @Kingston Town Children’s Centre, 40 Villiers Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 3AR
  • Friday 9th August, 10am-11.30 @Madeleine’s home, 79 Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14 7HU

 

Private Consults:

Private Consults in my home can be booked for any mutually agreeable time during any of the following dates during the summer break:

  • Monday 15th to Sunday 20th July
  • Wednesday 31st July to Tuesday 20th August
  • Friday 30th August onwards into September and the rest of the year.

I will also be offering consults in client’s homes too but for child care reasons these will be limited to the following weekends:

  • 20th July,
  • 3rd/4th, 10th/11th, 17th/18th August
  • 31st/1st September.

Full details of costs and how consults work can be found here.

 

Door Step Hires:

Know exactly what you’d like to hire and how to use it?  You are welcome to book a doorstep hire – simply drop me an email or social media direct message, let me know what you’d like to hire and when you would like to collect it and then I’ll pop it out in my front porch for you to come and collect anytime on the specified day.  Easy peasy!  While usually I only require 24 hours notice to arrange a doorstep hire (and sometimes possible with less notice!), I will be away 21st July through to 30th, and 21st August to 29th.  So if you require a doorstep hire between these dates, please ensure you contact me before I leave so that I can ensure the sling is ready for you (and/or husband is suitably briefed about what sling to put out and when!!!)

 

Then of course we will be back to normal with a full schedule of Sling Library sessions (both in Mortlake and Kingston), consults and workshops from September!   Additionally, Weekend Library sessions will be back from September onwards and hopefully some new venues might start popping up toward the end of the year or early next year!  As well as something new that I can’t wait to share with you all (for a clue head here!

 

-Madeleine

Kingston, Refurbing and the next few months here at Sheen Slings

It’s all change over the next few months here at Sheen Slings!

Firstly we are adding a new location – Kingston!  From May onwards the Children’s Centre are kindly giving me a monthly slot to come and run a Sling Library session.  Exact dates and times to follow, but there will be 1 session a month going forward.  And I couldn’t be more excited!  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time,… I have so many clients coming from Kingston, Surbiton, Hampton, Esher and further and I know that this is an area in need of a Sling Library, and now with Rachel almost at nursery age and with a great venue on board it has finally been possible.

Secondly, we are extending and refurbishing our home.  Well our downstairs specificly.  We’ve been planning this, thinking about it, slowly making it a reality since we bought this house 3 years ago.  I am equal parts terrified and can not wait for it all to start come April.  But it has impacts for Sheen Slings.  For the last 3 years I’ve run the majority of my Sling Library sessions from my home – and this has been fab, its allowed me to continue running the Library while pregnant, then with a very young baby through to a crazy running everywhere toddler.  For the next few months at least while the work is carried out I can’t continue to run these sessions from home.  Too much dust, noise and too little space!  So the last session at my home for a while will be Tuesday 19th March.  But fear not… Sling Library Drop In sessions will continue – I already run a monthly session at the Barnes Children’s Centre (67b Lower Richmond Road, Mortlake, SW14) on a Friday at 9.30-10.45see full dates and details here.   And as above there will be a new monthly session in Kingston going forward too!  The timing feels right to move these sessions away from my home and into the Childrens Centres, alongside other support for new parents.

Private consults will continue as normal, I can still come to clients homes and clients are still welcome to come to my home too – I will just ensure I arrange these at times when the builders aren’t making too much rackett (and/or mainly at weekends).   And likewise I am still very open to organising bespoke workshops so if you have a small group, who are all interested in learning more get in touch and I can come to you!

-Madeleine

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FAQ – How is the Sling Library Funded?

The simple answer is it isn’t, the library doesn’t received any external funding to run.  Instead the idea is that it pays for itself through the rentals and donations.

It’s taken a while, but for the most part the Sling Library sessions do now just about manage to pay for themselves in a sustainable way.  By this I mean it earns enough to cover on going insurance costs and of course for the slings and carriers themselves.  Interestingly, the library alone does not earn enough to pay for my training or my time.  In an ideal world it would, but in reality I’ve found the balance between keeping both the sessions and the hire fees at a accessable and affordable level has meant that these costs are simply not covered by the library.  And so I simply choose to donate the time these sessions and the resulting admin takes.

I think this might be a real suprise to many library users reading this.  I am often asked (particularly during busy sessions) why I don’t simply run more sessions.  Or if I could start this weeks session 20 minutes earlier because someone has x commitment, or if they can arrive as the session is finishing because they have y commitment.  And while I would love to run more sessions, and run longer sessions and would love to help everyone find the right sling and become completely confident using it….  I have to balance this with the needs of my family and what I can sustainably manage to offer while not charging for my time.  I have balance my desire to keep the sessions and hire fees affordable and how much time I can afford to donate for free without negatively impacting on my family.  For now this balance has been acheived at 3-4 sessions a month – or at least when the sessions stick to time and don’t run over!

Sessions running over is something I continually struggle with!  If I sometimes seem impatient with questions and requests when its already 20, or 30 minutes after the end of the session time please forgive me.  Please understand that my frustration is not at you but my own internal struggle to between wanting to help and wanting to answer ALL the questions and my guilt that I haven’t made lunch for my daughter yet, and I need to pick my son up in 2 hours and I promised I’d fix that thing for him before he got back and I’m now worried I won’t get time and I am starting to feel that frustration that something that I do to satisfy my need to volunteer and help is now taking more of my time and resources than I can afford to give.  I know that I need to get better at drawing these sessions to a close.  It’s hard when someone is front of you asking for help to say no, but in reality these sessions can only remain affordable and accessable if I can keep them to time and if those who do need more help (and can afford to) take the private consultation or workshop route instead.  Particularly as it is private consultations, workshops and sale of slings that pay for my training costs, for my time and plug any gaps in finance that the Library side has.  Again these don’t make huge amounts, but they do keep it all going and make it possible!

The other question I often get around funding is about the slings and carriers themselves.  Many people assume that the brands simply give me these carriers, but in reality this is extremely rare.  Most I have bought.  A small number I’ve received in exchange for working at a show or product testing and a similarly small number I’ve been very kindly gifted by the brands or distributors directly.  But the vast majorty I’ve paid for.  Fortunately, most I’ve been able to buy at discounted rate – as many brands recognise the importance of Sling Libraries in allowing potential customers to try before they buy.  With new carriers being released all the time this is of course an ongoing process!! Hire fees and donations from the Sling Library sessions are constantly used on purchasing new carriers to keep collection upto date and meet demand for more popular carriers.

So how can you help the Sling Library Survive and Thrive?  Amazingly, there are several things you can do to help the Sling Library without spending any money at all:

  1. Tell you friends!  Whether you’ve been to a sling library or not, telling your friends, a new parent or expectant parent can make a huge difference.  Personal recommendations are always more powerful than any paid adverstising and often people have never heard of a sling library or are not sure how one might help them but are delighted to discover they exist once someone tells them about it.
  2. Write us a review on Google or Facebook.  Reviews and recommendations on social media help people find us.
  3. Comment on our posts on Facebook and Instagram, maybe even consider sharing a post occasionally.  The more comments and shares a posts gets the more that people get to see that post and other similar posts.  Simply liking a post no longer helps it get a wide distribution – so the best way you can help any small business or Sling Library is to comment on their posts as this helps Facebook know to show more people this post!  Its sad but true but most of my posts are show to only half, often a lot less than half of those who like my page let alone anyone new.  But those posts that do get comments go out to far far more people and can really help get the message out to as many new parents as possible.

 

-Madeleine

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