Sling School Stretchy Wrap Review

20180228_103319At just £26.50 the Sling School stretchy wrap represents a seriously good budget option.  There are a great number of budget stretchy wraps available, many many many on Amazon and Ebay and for almost all the old maxim “you get what you pay for” definitely rings true.  The Sling School Stretchy wrap, however, is very much the exception to this.

Unlike the Amazon/Ebay cheapies, the Sling School Stretchy wrap has two way stretch (it stretches equally across both its width and length), which makes it very easy to tie and use.  In terms of the amount of stretch – its a perfect balance between stretchy enough that its easy to pop baby in and out of and enough recoil and strength that it will continue to support baby as they grow.  This wrap has been designed by sling consultants with a wealth of experience and it really shows.

Its made from 94% cotton and 6% lycra and in terms of thickness I’d say its medium to light.  Its thin enough that I’d happily use this wrap pretty much any time of the year other than maybe the 2 or 3 days a year where it gets truly warm in the UK!

Two lengths are available – 4 or 5 meters respectively.  Which length you need depends on your size and if you’d prefer to have the knot at your front or back.  I prefer to knot in front so that I can sit down without a knot digging into my back and at a size 16 I would need the 5m size.  If you don’t mind tying behind you or if your petite and/or a size 12 or under, the 4m wrap is likely to be preferable.  While if you are taller or fluffier or sharing the wrap with a larger partner then the 5m maybe more suitable.

So whats the catch?  How have the Sling School managed to make such a great wrap at such an affordable price?

  1. It’s unhemmed.  Unlike woven fabric, jersey knit doesn’t fray and so doesn’t have to be hemmed.  Most wrap companies do hem their wraps to give a more ‘finished’ look.  However, as wraps are generally 4 or 5 meters long… the labor cost of hemming contributes a significant proportion of the overall production cost.  As it is not vital to hem jersey and as it doesn’t affect the safety or use of the wrap, the Sling School have cut costs by simply not hemming.  This does result in a slightly scruffier looking wrap and it does mean that the edges have a strong tenancy to roll in on themselves.  This will bother some people while others may well not even notice!
  2. It’s very narrow.  Most stretchy wraps measure between 54 and 65cm wide.  Generally speaking, it can be a bit easier to tie a narrower wrap but the trade off is how well you can spread the passes across baby – particularly as the baby grows.  Jersey fabric is generally made in bolts 150cm wide so most manufactures can cut 2 wraps out per length of fabric.  The Sling School Stretchy is exactly 50cm wide, so they can cut 3 wraps out of the same width of fabric – thus cutting costs and enabling them to offer a good quality wrap at a great price.  But the downside to this is that it narrow compared to most.  And it wraps even narrower than it is, because the unhemmed edges roll in giving even less usable width.

When it comes to width, this is to a certain degree a matter of personal preference.  But for me the Sling School Stretchy wrap is very narrow.  I can see this working well for the newborn phase, and really well for babies born prematurely.  While the material itself is more than supportive enough to support a bigger baby, the narrow width is likely to mean that babies will grow out of this wrap sooner rather than later.  However, as most parents love stretchy wraps for the 4th trimester period and then feel ready to move onto something else by 3-4 months anyway, many will happily just move on as this starts to be an issue.

Compared to other stretchy wraps on the market, the Sling School Stretchy is most similar to the Lifft Stretchy wrap in terms of feel, stretch and ease of use.  The Lifft is wider, hemmed and approximately £10 more, but otherwise feels very very similar to the Sling School stretchy.   For more on how this wrap compares with other brands please see here.

All in all the Sling School wrap is a great budget option – it represents amazing value for money … a really good quality sling for £10-30 less than many other brands.  Its narrow width and slightly scruffy appearance may mean it might not last as long as other wraps on the market – both in terms how quickly a baby grows out of it and in terms of how many babies it will do (for those planning more than 1 child or those thinking of the second hand retail market).  But for many, this is a trade off they will happily make for such an excellent wrap at such a wallet friendly price.



Boba Bamboo Wrap Review

You can’t beat Bamboo viscose on softness.  It’s just such a strokeably soft material, and a perfect choice for a baby carrier designed for newborns.  So I was delighted to test the new Boba Bamboo wrap.

20180219_171014The first thing that struck me was that the Bamboo wrap shares all the stuff I love about the standard (cotton) wrap:

  • Beautiful 2 way stretch which makes it very easy to tie
  • Different textured sides – smooth on one side and french terry toweling on the other side meaning that its easy to tell if you’ve twisted the wrap
  • Perfect width and fairly long length so one size fits pretty much everyone

But adds on top of this all the advantages of Bamboo;

  • Supreme softness
  • Thermo-regulation, which means that it feels light and cool in the summer but will still keep you warm in the winter.
  • Natural UV filter
  • Anti-microbial properties, which is always helpful in something that will get a certain level of baby possits and even the odd poo-plosion!

All of which makes the Boba Bamboo wrap a wonderful choice for an expectant parent or newborn.  It’s not the absolute lightest material, I would say its more of a medium weight wrap rather than light weight, but the bamboo means you wouldn’t get overly hot at anytime of year.

Where this wrap shines is definitely for the newborn period, its so soft and easy to tie, perfect for someone who hasn’t ever used a wrap before etc.  But I wouldn’t recommend it for an older baby.

This wrap is very stretchy, and its this stretch that makes it so easy to use.  Its so stretchy that its almost impossible to tie too tightly.  But it is possible to tie it too loose!!  For a new baby where they don’t stretch the wrap out too much it has a very wide window of tolerance in terms of how tightly or loosely you tie it … which is exactly why it is so easy to learn.  But as baby grows, they become more wiggly and their weight increases (i.e. from about 4-6 months onward) this wrap becomes less supportive as it becomes increasingly difficult to tie tightly enough to be as supportive.

20180220_153947However, as most parents feel ready to move on from a stretchy wrap around 4 months anyway, I wouldn’t really consider this a huge disadvantage.  Yes, it didn’t work well for Rachel at 15 months but I wouldn’t usually carry her in a stretchy wrap at this age anyway.  This wrap is absolutely perfect for the newborn to 4-6 month period.  But if I was expecting a high birth weight baby or was wanting to continue using a stretchy wrap for longer, then I’d choose something with a little less stretch that would be more supportive of an older baby.  More about how this wrap compares to others can be seen in our comparison article.

All in all, the Boba Bamboo wrap is perfect for anyone looking for a supersoft, easy to use newborn suitable wrap that will work year round.  They cost £48 and are available from Slumber Roo.



Sheen Slings featured over on Positively Birthing…

Positively Birthing – run by hypnobirthing specialist and student midwife Megan Rossiter – are running this excellent “Ask the Experts” series on all things birth, pregnancy and new baby related.  I am learning so much from this series so I am delighted to feature for their babywearing edition!

If you’d like to read more about the basics of babywearing, getting started and my answers then please do over to Positively Birthing;

Sheen Slings Turns 2!

Sheen Slings hosted it’s first ever Sling Library session on Tuesday 16th Feb 2016 … just over 2 years ago!  I am so proud of how the Library and Consultancy service is grown – and so thankful to the 450+ families who have been through our doors since we opened and helped make Sheen Slings such a success and complete joy to run!

The key really has been those who have come – almost everyone who comes and signs our sign in sheet writes ‘Friend’ or ‘Word of mouth’ in response to the question “where did you hear about us?”.  Our amazing supporters have far out done Google and Facebook and flyers when it comes to getting the word out and I am just blown away by the support and amazing feedback I have had over the last two years!

Your support has meant that as demand has grown, so has our collection!  In direct response to your requests and needs!  We started in Feb 2016 with just 28 carriers and now we have 90!  In particular, the long term stretchy wrap and Caboo hire schemes have been far more popular than I could have ever imagined!  So while we started with 7 stretchy wraps and 2 Caboo, we now have 22 Stretchy wraps and 14 Caboo to keep up with demand!!  Likewise, over 50% of our hires are Buckle carriers, so while we started with just 8 different Buckle carriers, we now have 35 – which includes 2 Twin carriers, 5 Toddler sized carriers, as well as 28 standard sized baby carriers!

I have also expanded my knowledge base – I completed the 3rd and final level of the Trageschule UK Babywearing Consultancy qualification in October 2016, and attended a number of CPD courses including on Babywearing in special circumstances, tandem carrying and understanding alignment – biomechanical and physiological considerations for post-partum carrying.  Formal courses aside, I have also learnt a phenomenal amount from each and every family who has been through here.  Everyone is different and different carriers work for different body shapes, different situations, different needs and different tastes!  Each time I help fit a carrier I add to my experience of what works best in what circumstances and helps inform me when helping families explore what options would be best for them.

These last two years, settling into SW London have been just ace and I look forward to seeing how Sheen Slings continues to grow within the community for the next two years and beyond!




Feb 2016



Feb 2018


Sheen Slings at Twickenham Green Breastfeeding Drop in on Tuesday 13th March

We are excited to announce Sheen Slings will be at the Twickenham Green Breastfeeding drop in on Tuesday the 13th of March at the United Reform Church on Twickenham Green TW2 1pm-2.30.

Wearing your baby can help support feeding your little one – prolonged skin to skin contact helps increase Oxytocin production which in turn stimulates milk production.  Likewise wearing them after feeds (whether breast or bottle) helps keep them upright and can help ease or avoid the discomfort of colic or reflux.

For anyone struggling with feeding at all – I would highly recommend coming to the Twickenham Green drop in or looking up similar groups in their area.  The Twickenham Green group is run by Liz Lambourn and Geraldine Chew who are both absolutely amazing Lactation consultants.  I can’t tell you how much of a difference they have made to so many new parents I have had the privilege of meeting.  Feeding – whether by breast or bottle can seem really anti-intuitive and down right tough in those early days without help.  Timely help can make such a difference, and over and over again I am told how their empathetic, no agenda based approach to supporting new families has been an absolute lifesaver in those crucial early days.  Their session runs weekly, every Tuesday 1pm-3pm and is well worth the trip if you need any help at all with feeding.

Hence I am so happy they invited me back and I am really looking forward to joining them again on the 13th!  So if your in the area and need with a sling – be it help with a sling you already own or that you’d like to try something new and learn more – please do pop in on the 13th and say hi!



Mini Monkey TWIN Carrier Review

The Mini Monkey TWIN baby carrier is a buckle carrier that emulates a similar carry to using a woven wrap in a tandem hip carry.  The idea is to give the wearer the all the pros of a tandem hip carry without the learning curve that comes with using a wrap.

I have to say I was hugely intrigued.  I have taught tandem hip carries to a number of twin parents and while some have picked it up really quickly and gone on to love the flexibility of use that the wraps afford them, others have struggled to quite get the knack for it and really yearned for a good buckle alternative.  So there is a definite market for carrier like this!  And I was keen to try it for myself and see if its as good as the hype.


Ergo Adapt on the Left, Mini Monkey on the Right

My first impressions on receiving the Mini Monkey TWIN was complete surprise over both how small it is and how soft the material is.  The whole package was a lot smaller than I’d have expected for a twin carrier, honestly around the same size as many singleton carriers such as an Ergo or a Beco carrier.  And its super soft to the touch.  From squinting at the photos, I had assumed it was made from a denim or canvas type material.  So I was expecting it to feel quite thick and tough in hand – like a robust pair of jeans.  But its actually feels more like a chambray … like a soft denim shirt, which was genuinely a pleasant surprise.

img_20180205_122932.jpgTo put on, the Mini Monkey first slips over your head.  Then you clip on the waist band.  I found that it’s worth spending a little time making sure the cross at the back is low, the waist band is snug and nice and high on the true waist and finally that the two cross straps are not to loose … bit of space to help getting babies in but not too much so that you don’t have a fight on your hands to get it tight once both babies are in!  Then its time to start loading the babies in!

For the babies there are two obvious pockets – one for each baby.  Its a nice touch that you can slide these pockets along so you have control over how close or far apart your little ones are so that the carrier can cater for different parent body sizes and also different baby sizes (so you can start with smaller twins closer together more on your front and then gradually move over to a more true hip carry as they grow bigger and need more space).

20180204_183304Putting the babies into these pockets is fairly intuitive.  You simply slip them in, guiding their legs either side of the ‘seat’ of the pocket, ensuring they have a nice pelvic tilt/spread squat position and using the excess fabric of the pocket to help support that position and then pull the rest of the fabric up to support the shoulders and back and clip the front clip into the center of the carrier and tighten as needed.

While intuitive to use, putting the second baby in is easier said than done!  With one baby already in, its hard to use both arms fully as the 1st baby is now in the way and so its a bit of a struggle.  This is not really a fault of the Mini Monkey but rather a draw back with ANY tandem hip carry!  It’s definitely worth experimenting with which side you start on and which baby you start on.  I find putting baby in easier on one side of my body than the other, so it was better for me to do the other side first then have the easier side to do last when it is a tougher job all round!  Likewise, I can imagine that some babies will be more tolerant to being reached over than others and likewise some will be more tolerant of the slightly bigger faff of getting in second!

I also found it pretty hard to tighten the straps at the back up once the babies were in.  The front strap, obviously was no problem.  And after a few goes I have to say the Mini Monkey is much easier to use if you get the back straps largely tight enough before you start putting the babies in – only leave just enough space to allow you to get them in.  Then hopefully you can then pull it tight enough.  I really struggled to pull with enough force at the correct angle but I did crack it in the end.  I then found it almost completely impossible to loosen the straps back off to get back out.  For me the reason was these buckles were directly in the middle of my back and I have very poor flexibility so simply either couldn’t reach or couldn’t reach with enough strength left in my arm to physically flick the buckle up to loosen it.  That meant I either had to wiggle babies back out having only undone the tiny front buckle, or I had to ask someone to help me!  Not really ideal, but its worth saying this is body shape/size dependent.  The buckles were in the middle of my back but someone who is shorter/taller, wider/narrower than me may well find those buckles in a far more accessible place!!

IMG_20180204_183524Logistics aside I was nicely surprised just how well this otherwise almost shapeless pocket was able to support both a 3 month old demo doll and my tall 14 month old! It gave both of them a great fit.  The same pocket is really able to accommodate a range of different sized babies and I think this carrier should work well right from around 8 weeks ish to a little over a year if desired. I feel upper limit is really more about parent comfort and strength rather than what the carrier can do.  In terms of what the carrier can do – the Mini Monkey is weight tested to 12 kg per child and for reference Rachel weighs just over 10kg.  The carrier certainly could accommodate a slightly bigger child than Rachel, but not a lot bigger, which makes sense as she is nearing that upper limit.  In terms of parent comfort – the softly padded wide waist band meant I was very comfortable carrying the combined weight of Rachel and the demo doll (approximately 14kg).  Much more comfortable than I thought I would be.  However, realistically carrying two Rachel’s on my front for longer periods than about 10-15 minutes at a time would be a challenge I think!  One on my front and one on my back would always be my preference by this age for tandem carrying.  So realistically I see this carrier as being a great option for twins aged ~8 weeks to 7-10 months.  Which is absolutely great for anyone looking to ‘plug the gap’ between tandem carrying in a stretchy wrap and carrying one baby on the front and one on the back in something like the TwinGo or two separate carriers.

I mentioned at the start that the Mini Monkey is buckle carrier that emulates a similar carry to using a woven wrap in a tandem hip carry.  So how does using the Mini Monkey compare to using a woven wrap?  This is quite a hard question to answer because despite giving quite similar carries, they are really quite different to one another.  The Mini Monkey definitely is a little more intuitive than tying a long piece of fabric for the first time.  I wouldn’t say it is easier, either a Mini Monkey or a woven wrap is going to take a few goes and a bit of trail and error to master, but I would say the Mini Monkey is a bit more intuitively obvious so the learning curve may not feel as steep right at first!  The Mini Monkey also has a lovely well padded but soft waist band that really helps distribute the weight of two growing babies.  Which can also be achieved with the woven wrap although this depends on length of wrap used.  Where the woven wrap really shines is in terms of fit over baby.  The Mini Monkey can only be tightened in two places and this does mean parts of the pockets do stay loose and flappy.  In contrast, it is possible to get a really smooth finish with a wrap no matter the size and shape of your babies (or you for that matter).  Additionally, a woven wrap doesn’t have the issue of the buckles/tightening mechanism being behind the parents back – which was a struggle for me with the Mini Monkey.  Instead all the tightening is done in front where it is easier to reach and tighten effectively.  Finally, the woven wrap offers greater flexibility of use – as it can be used not only for tandem hip carries, but also tandem carries with one baby on the front and one on the back and of course to carry one baby at a time … on the front, back or hip.  In fact with a woven wrap the are options to carry one or both babies from newborn all the way for as long as you’d like to carry for… there’s really no upper or lower weight limit.  The Mini Monkey TWIN is more limited offering only the tandem hip carry and with a weight minimum of 3.5 kg each and a max of 12 kg.  So really between the two options its well worth trying both on and working out which would work better for you personally – the flexibility of fit and use of the woven wrap verses more intuitive, flatter learning curve of the Mini Monkey.


Thank you to Paula at Ecoroos for organizing this tour and allowing me to try the Mini Monkey TWIN. The Mini Monkey TWIN currently costs around £115 and can be purchased from Koala slings, Love to be Natural and South East Slings.

Updated 23/02/2018 to add that we now have our very own Mini Monkey TWIN carrier in the Sling Library collection to try on and hire.



GroovaRoo and what to consider when choosing a carrier to dance with your baby

GroovaRoo is a “babywearing dance class” where quite simply you dance while wearing your baby in a sling or carrier. Originally set up by Amber and Meeshi in San Diego… Veronika Kanska (a professional dancer with babywearing training) is responsible for bringing the franchise to West London, running classes in Mortlake, Chiswick, and Wimbledon.

I have to say, in general the idea of combining baby wearing and exercise makes me pretty nervous.  There always seems to be so much pressure on new mums to get their bodies back and excel as a parent, while juggling home and work and well frankly everything!  When really the only things that should matter for a new parent is bonding with their little one, allowing time for their body to recover and heal and most importantly adjusting to your new normal.  What I really respect about Veronika is that she shares this exact philosophy.  Her first words when we met for a cuppa were “this is not an exercise class, it is a chance to bond and have fun.”

So Rachel and I went along.  And true to her word, her class is very relaxed and laid back – and most importantly fun!  She kicks off with making sure everyone is comfy in their carriers and carriers are correctly adjusted to ensure both mum and baby will be well supported throughout.  Then its onto the dancing!  Her style is soul line dancing and her class is very gentle on a post-natal body.  What I loved about this class was it required a nice amount of concentration learning the steps – really helped wake up my foggy mum brain!  While also moving and getting those serotonin levels up!  Veronika is great at catering for different levels of ability, both in terms of intrinsic dancing skill (I have zero) and overall fitness.  And it really didn’t matter if you went the wrong way – which I did frequently!! The whole class were such a friendly welcoming group, no one minded or really even noticed if you forgot half the steps almost constantly.

img_0704.jpegI would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a welcoming class where they can meet other parents, make friends and most importantly have fun with their baby.  In particular, I would really recommend it to anyone who is maybe struggling with the transition or with anxiety.  One of the reasons I love helping people find the right baby carrier, is over and over again clients have told me (often months later) how much carrying their baby helped them through postnatal depression or anxiety.  How much the simple act of wearing their baby helped break that downward spiral, bond with baby and just make life a little bit easier one day at a time.  I can well imagine that getting out to a lovely, laid back and relaxed class like this where you can simply have fun with your baby and meet people in a zero expectation or pressure environment would help build on this for many parents struggling with similar feelings of anxiety or depression.

So what sort of carrier would I recommend if you wanted to go along to a Groovaroo Dance class?  Well the first consideration is that Groovaroo stipulate that it must be a 2 shoulder carrier with a waist band.  They also stipulate that it is either a Buckle carrier, stretchy wrap or Meh Dai.  While I do think there are plenty of other carrier types that would work just fine these are Groovaroo’s rules and worth being aware of!

Second consideration from my point of view is to select a carrier that you are comfortable in!  The class is an hour long (with breaks) so it needs to be a carrier that both you and baby will be comfortable in for an hour.

If you don’t have a carrier that fits the criteria above Veronika has a small but perfectly formed collection of carriers for you to borrow and try.  Likewise I have a huge collection (over 80 at last count) and several years of experience in finding the right sling for the right person… so well worth coming along to a consult or drop in session and trying a few and finding the carrier that gives you the best fit.  Not only for the class but for your life in general!

Particular brands I’d suggest investigating would be:

  • Stretchy wraps – something easy to tie but not too ‘bouncy’.  The Lifft or Ergo Aura wraps would be my top too but really any stretchy wrap that is well tied would be great.
  • Meh Dais – The Hoppediz Hop Tai, Baby Hawk or Soul Tai would be great options
  • Buckle Carriers – these are the most important to find one that fits you well.  All baby carriers are a bit like jeans and its really worth trying a few to ensure a good fit, but this is most true of buckle carriers where there is the biggest variation between brands in terms of fit.  Brands worth checking out include Ergo, Beco, Connecta, Izmi, Sleepy Nico, Lillebaby, JPMBB and many more.  These are also often the most expensive type of carrier so do take your time to try a few and check whichever you go for works for you both in your normal day to day life and while dancing!