Front Cross Carry with a Long Woven Wrap Tutorial

Front Cross Carry is a fabulous option for older babies. Generally once baby has good neck and upper torso control you can use this carry.

It’s main pro’s are;

  • You can pre-tie it and the pop baby in and tighten around them. Likewise you can loosen to take baby back out without untying. Making this a very practical carry because you can pre-tie before you leave the house or before you drive your car … avoiding the need to tie near muddy puddles when you reach your destination. It’s also a great option for toddlers who are “up and down” a lot as you don’t have to keep retying it every time they want to come back up.
  • Secure cross between babies legs means this carry is great for older babies who like to straighten their legs and try to stand up in the sling. Or those that “bounce” in the sling. The material between their legs feels really secure and means they can’t “pop” or lose their seat.
  • Supportive band of fabric around your lower back really helps distribute baby’s growing weight and can feel very comfortable
  • It is easy for older babies to get their arms out and have a good look around – great for “nosy” babies.

It’s main con’s are

  • It’s not great for babies who really want to lean out. The way the material runs across baby’s back means that a baby who is determined to lean back can often work the material down to a point where it no longer feels safe. You can try twisting the material (as shown in the video below) and this often helps tighten the top up and keep it feeling secure. It’s definitely worth trying but if your baby really wants to lean, but trust your instinct if this carry just doesn’t feel right. Instead Front Wrap Cross Carry or Kangaroo Carry often work better for those who want to lean!
  • It doesn’t work well for younger babies as the cross does open their legs wide and doesn’t offer the best neck support. Consequently, I don’t typically recommend this carry until baby has a strong neck and upper back and is naturally spreading their legs wide around you when you hold them in arms. Around the same time you might feel comfortable supporting them in arms on your hip. Instead for younger babies or for those wanting a snugglier carry the closely related Front Double Hammock carry is worth exploring.

Here’s how to do it;

Wrap shown is an Ali Dover Dream in size 6 which is my base size. There are variations of this carry that allow you to use shorter wraps – a knotless finish that will work with a base -1 and a short variation that will work with a base -2 or 3. And you can find more info on woven wrap sizes here.

If you are struggling with this or any other carry please do get in touch. I can go through it with you step by step and provide real time feedback (whether online via Zoom or in person) and really help flatten the learning curve and ensure your 100% confident going forward.

-Madeleine

New Year, New Location and New Dates!

2021 has been an interesting year! While there’s still be distruption, Sling Library sessions were able to come back in April and ever since September they’ve been getting busier and busier and busier! As have consultations, workshops and online consultations too! Which has been amazing to see.

Looking to 2022, Sling Clinic will be back at both Kingston Town Children’s Centre and Barnes Children’s Centre. And then to keep up with the increasing demand I will be adding a brand new location – Old Malden Childrens Centre!

All of these sessions are completely FREE to attend (although donations are welcome). They are small group friendly informal sessions, perfect for those who have a couple of questions, would like a quick fit check or have a fair idea of what they want to try and would like like to try it on in person or hire to try before they invest in their own. Booking is essential and you can find the dates for each venue and the booking form here.

For those needing more indepth help, private consultations in my home, clients homes or online are back from the 5th of Jan. These are the perfect way to explore a number of options and really delve deep into how to use them and become competely confident using whatever you choose.

Once you have found the right option for you the Sheen Slings webshop is here for you! Carrying an increasing range of slings, carriers and accessories – all purchases come with the added bonus of me! I care much less about what you buy and much more about whether you can use it and that it add value to your like … so all carrier and sling purchases come awith a free 20 minute online video fitting appointment that you can book at anytime if you are at all unsure. And all my clients – are always welcome to send me a photo to double check fit and/or ask any questions. I want to ensure you love carrying and all the products in the shop are carefully curated based on what I know works for a wide range of parents and babies. They are all things I have seen work time and time again for families of all shapes, sizes and needs. Most are also things I have either used personally myself or wish had been available at the time for me to use personally!

Finally, I am continuing to build my learning zone with ever more tutorials, reviews and frequently asked questions. So if you have a question and can find it here please do ask!

Wishing you a very happy 2022 and really looking forward to welcoming many of you in the New Year.

-Madeleine

Decision Fatigue! And how I can help…

Decision Fatigue is something I learnt about recently and wanted to share with you because it is something that we all encounter everyday and understanding about it and why it happens can really help…

The phrase “decision fatigue” describes the idea that your ability to make good quality decisions – weighing up all the pros and cons – goes down the more decisions you need to make.

Making decisions takes a lot of mental energy and so it makes sense that the more decisions you need to make in a given time the more likely that your going to become fatigued and start making snap descions, impluse purchases or start to suffer decision paralysis (where you just can’t decide).

So why am I telling you this? Well as new parents you are literally having to make 100s of decisions constantly, all day, every day. When to feed the baby, when to change the baby, why is baby crying? Do they need burbing? Are they over tired? Do I have enough nappies in the change bag? Does baby need an extra jumper? Do I need an extra jumper? … I could go on, but you get the idea. ALL DAY, EVERYDAY!!

That constant mental tax makes it really hard to make good decisions about things like what what carrier to buy.

It makes it really likely you’ll feel overwhelmed with choice. It makes your more susceptable to “timed” sales offers, or to just buying whatever that celebrity or influencer was gifted. In fact, this phenomeon is the reason companies offer timed sales, offer influencers free gifts – they are using the fact that many of use will be scrolling when we are feeling burnt out and desicion fatigued and thus much more suceptable to just buying without researching or trying first as we usually would. This mental tax can also make it more likely that you experience “decision paralysis” – that feeling where you just can’t decide… and so you don’t get a carrier at all but then maybe feel guilt and worry that you’ve missed your opportunity or left it too late (you haven’t, it is literally never too late).


If this is you – I can help.

I can listen to your needs and work with you to whittle down the choices to the ones that are most likely to suit you. I can ensure you feel confident fitting and using whatever you choose and I can help you check fit for you and baby and assess suitability for you personally so you can be assured whatever you go on to purchase really does fit your needs.

I offer hires so you can try before you buy and really be sure your making a great decision. I offer discounts to anyone who has hired first too, so you won’t lose out by hiring first.

I stock a carefully curated selection of carriers that work for a really wide range of parents and needs to ensure there is choice without too much choice!


If your feeling decision fatigued trying to find the right carrier for your family please do get in touch – I really can help.

-Madeleine


Richmond Sling Clinic is back at the Barnes Children’s Centre

I am so excited to announce that Sling Clinic is back at the Barnes Children’s Centre (67B Lower Richmond Rd, Mortlake, London SW14 7HJ) from Tuesday 11th of May. Offering low cost sling and carrier support to local families. Everyone is welcome – from bumps to toddlers (or beyond), those with a carrier already they’d like a bit of help with to those looking for something new.

I will be there once a month on a Tuesday from 10-11.30am, and this brings the current total of free to attend Sling Clinics up to 2 per month – one at the Barnes Children’s Centre in Mortlake and one in Kingston in the Kingston Town Children’s centre.

Inline with current Covid guidelines these sessions comprise of 10 minute bookable slots (with 5 minutes between each family to allow cleaning of demo dolls, touch points and time to fill in hire forms etc as needed. Booking is essential and you can do so here:

We have dates booked in for May, June and July and you can find the full information on dates, when, where and what to expect for both venues here

If the current dates don’t work for you or if you need more help than can be offered in a 10 minute slot then please do get in touch to book a one to one consultation – either face to face in my home or yours or online via Zoom. Or if you don’t feel quite ready yet to come in person – all my socially distancing friendly services will still be running. Including postal or doorstep collection hires and online consults.

Looking forward to welcoming many of you to the Barnes Children’s Centre in the coming months!

-Madeleine

Kingston Sling Clinic Is Back!!

I feel like it I have waited forever to be able to finally announce this news – since the last Kingston session back in March that was sadly cancelled just 22 hours before I was due to be there. But at last! Here we are! Kingston Sling Clinic is back from Monday 26th of April.

I have a new slot and a new format! I will be there once a month on a Monday, 10-12pm. It is a longer slot than before but instead of drop in, there will be 10 minute bookable slots (with 5 minutes between each family to allow cleaning of demo dolls, touch points and time to fill in hire forms etc as needed). Booking is essential and you can do so here

We have dates booked in for April, May, June and July and you can find the full information on dates, when, where etc here.

I am so happy to be able to welcome families back to these low cost sessions and to be seeing clients face to face (albeit behind masks) once again! I am crossing my fingers that my other venues (and hopefully some new ones too) will also be able to return soon – so do keep an eye open for news of more dates and more locations.

If the current dates don’t work for you or if you need more help than can be offered in a 10 minute slot then please do get in touch to book a one to one consultation – either face to face in my home or yours or online via Zoom. Or if you don’t feel quite ready yet to come in person – all my socially distancing friendly services will still be running. Including postal or doorstep collection hires and online consults.

Looking forward to welcoming many of you in Kingston over the coming months!

-Madeleine

Garden Consults are back from the 29th of March!

I am so excited to announce that I will be offering face to face consultations in my back garden once more from the 29th of March.

I will be still offering online consultations and still coming to clients homes if you prefer. But if you’d like a face to face appointment and are happy to come to me… these are finally back from Monday the 29th of March.

They are however weather dependent! Between the 29th of March and the 12th of April, I won’t be able to invite you into my home in the event of rain or other inclement weather, so these will be weather dependent. I can book you in and then we will check the weather forecast the day before and make a call and reschedule if needed.

Then from the 12th of April, appointments will be able to go ahead whatever the weather! If it is nice we will be out in the garden, to make use of the reduce risks of being outside, but in the event of rain we will be able to step just inside with my big garden doors open so we have plenty of ventilation but remain dry!

What can you expect?

  • I have rear access, however, I will ask you to arrive at my front door and then I will walk round to my back gate with you so you don’t need to worry about trying to find it or about being in the wrong place.
  • We will set up in the garden on my 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.
  • We will both be wearing masks throughout
  • 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 quarantine 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 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, please ask, I am happy to do so and will keep this close contact time to a minimum. 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, unless you prefer it.

Inline with track and trace guidelines I will be keeping contact details, so if you receive a positive test result after coming please do let me know so I can act accordingly. I am currently making use of our local testing centre and under taking twice weekly lateral flow tests.

If you have any questions or worries about face to face consultations please do get in touch and ask! 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.

-Madeleine

How to secure your woven wrap – knots and other finishes.

Woven wraps are hard to beat when it comes to closeness, snuggliness and flexibility of use. However, despite all these pros many parents are very worried about the knotting part. They are worried it will be difficult, or they will get it wrong and their wrap won’t be secure.

There are actually 4 different ways you can secure a woven wrap. They are;

  1. Secure Double Knot
  2. Slip Knot
  3. Ring Finish
  4. Knotless Finish

Each has different pros and cons, but importantly, none of them are difficult to do and all 4 are completely secure. Here I will show you how to do each one and discuss their advantanges and disadvanges in turn.

The Secure Double Knot

Of all the four, the secure double knot is the easiest. I promise you, you already know how to do it. You simply tie a knot and then tie it again. Sure you’ll see some people on the internet go on about Granny Knots vs Flat Reef knots and blah blah blah… but it really doesn’t matter. ANY double knot will be completely secure. It won’t loosen over time, it won’t undo unless you actually undo it. In fact if someone pulls on the end of your wrap, or you snag on something, the knot will get tighter and more secure – not looser. So the main pros of this knot is that is super simple to do, it won’t slip or move so feels really secure.

It’s main disadvantage is that it isn’t adjustable, so it isn’t possible to loosen or tighten your wrap without untying the knot. So if you need to lower to feed your baby, or if the wrap has become loose and you need to tighten – you will need to untie this knot first, adjust and then re-tie.

Here is how to do it;

Note – I said this knot won’t spontaneously loosen. I often have clients who tell me that as they were walking their wrap got looser, and they are worried that their knot loosened over time and that maybe they did it “wrong”. If this is happening to you – you haven’t done anything wrong with your knot – and it is not the knot that loosened. It simply means that when you tied the wrap there were pockets of hidden “slack” (hidden loose parts), and as you walked your gentle rocking motion combined with gravity moved that slack around toward baby resulting in the wrap now feeling unsupportive. The trick is to now raise baby back to where you want them and retighten… and over time as you hone your skills you will start to notice that hidden slack and learn to tighten it out right from the start. If your struggling with this – this is definitely something I can help with and something that an online consultation is perfect for.

The Slip Knot

By constrast, the Slip Knot is adjustable. So it is a great choice if you want to raise or lower your sling for feeding, or if you’d like to be able to pretie the wrap and pop baby in or out. Or you would like to easily be able to adjust the tightness as you walk without first untying the knot. It is also a double knot so it is completely secure and is not going to loosen or untie overtime (unless you actually loosen or untie it on purpose!).

It is, however, a knot you will likely need to learn. By this I mean likely you will need to memorise the steps … I still repeat the steps under my breath every time I tie this knot!! But it really does open up a whole load of options and flexibility by learning it. And fun fact – for anyone who (like me) had to wear a tie for secondary school – this is actually the same knot as you use for a tie. So actually you may in fact already know this knot. And if teenagers all over the country can learn to do this knot and manage it in the morning when they are late for school – it really can’t be that hard! Here is how to do it;

The Ring Finish

For this we use a ring instead of a knot to fasten the two ends of the wrap together. Like the Slip Knot, the ring finish is adjustable. In fact it is more adjustable as you can tighten or loosen either end of the wrap through the ring (unlike the slip knot where only the “passive” or straight end can be adjusted). Plus it is physically easier to adjust through – it requires less hand and wrist strength to adjust through than the slip knot. So the ring finish is really useful if you want to be able to raise or lower your carry for feeding or to adjust while you are out and about without needing to undo a knot. Or you like the adjustability of a slipknot but find it too much strain on your wrists.

However, the flipside is because both ends adjust and do so very easily… it doesn’t feel quite as secure as a slip knot or the secure double knot. It won’t spontaneously undo but it may well loosen through the ring a little over time and so you may well find that you do need to adjust it and retighten from time to time as you walk.

Another advantage of the ring finish is it needs less length than a knot. So it can be really helpful if you find your wrap is a little short and your struggling to get a good knot. It also looks really pretty! I will openly confess I have used this finish on many an occasion just because I liked how it looked! Particularly, when wearing a woven at an event like a friends wedding! Here is how to do it.

It is worth noting that the ring you use matters. Because the ring needs to be strong and durable enough to take the weight – it needs to be a “sling ring” rather than any old ring. It needs to be solid metal with no breaks or obvious welding or joins. I purchase mine from here. The ring also needs to be the right size for your wrap – which depends both on how thick your wrap is and how “grippy” verses “slippery” it is. If the ring is too large then it will be more likely to slip and loosen over time. Too small and you may have difficulty tightening through it. In the video I am using a medium sling ring with a fairly thin woven wrap. For a very thick or very grippy wrap I might find I need a larger ring, while for a very thin or very slippery wrap I might find I need a smaller ring instead.

Knotless Finish

The final way you can secure a woven wrap is not to tie a knot at all, but to use friction to hold your wrap instead. I appreciate this initially sounds crazy, but actually what stops a knot from untying is friction between the two ends of the wrap. What holds the wrap in a ring finish is friction created by the ring between the two ends of the wrap. It is possible to create the same friction without actually creating a knot.

The advantage of a knotless finish is it is much less bulky than a knot. So if you find a knot uncomfortable or prone to digging in, a knotless finish might be more comfortable. Likewise a Ring Finish is alot less bulky – but again the ring can be quite hard and can be prone to digging in – so a knotless finish can be a great alternative. Another advantage is they are often easier to untie than a knot, which can be helpful if you find untying knots difficult or stressful on your wrists. There are actually a number of ways to do knotless finish depending on the carry your are going for but here is one of the most common and how to do it;

While it sounds less secure – I am continually suprised by just how secure a good knotless finish actually does feel. Once tightened there should be no slippage and it should be just as secure as a knot. Plus you can tighten through it. Of all the finishes this is probably the one I use the most for the simple reason that I prefer not to have the bulk. Mastering this finish does require understanding how friction is generated and remembering to go over the strap first rather than directly under it… but once you’ve remembered that then you can merrily apply this finish to any carry you’d like!

Have you tried any of these different methods for securing a woven wrap? Which is your favourite? Have I inspired you to try a different method for tying? You can use any of these four methods with any carry …. so feel free to get creative!

Happy experimenting

-Madeleine

Half Price Woven Wrap Hires for February

With lockdown continuing at least until the 8th of March (and very likely beyond), I’ve seen a rise in the number of parents considering woven wraps. Wovens are hugely verstile. Soft and snuggly, they are brilliant for wearing around the home and out and about. They can be super supportive but often parents are nervous about learning to tie.

But they are a lot easier than they look, all it takes is a bit of practise. And not even as much practise as you might think… just a few goes and you’ll rapidly find that you’re building up muscle memory and finding it easier and easier. Hence, why right now, when we are all spending more time at home and finding ourselves carrying more at home is a perfect time to give it a go!

To aid this for the whole month of February I am offering half price hires on woven wraps. Hire a wrap of your choice for £10 for 1 month (instead of the usual £20 for 1 month).

Want to really hit the ground running and flatten the learning curve? Add on a online consultation with me for £15 for upto 1 hour (instead of the normal £25 for upto 1 hour), and we will go through each stage step by step and ensure you are completely confident using a woven.

If your not local, you can still take advantage! The offer is valid on postal hires too (postage costs an additional £4 for Royal Mail second class signed for.

Either way, simply drop me a message to arrange!

-Madeleine

Top 10 Hired Slings in 2020! And 2020 in numbers.

2020 has be one weird year. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that I hired less slings, saw less families, ran less consults, workshops and sling clinics than in previous years. BUT, as I reflect back on the year I was still able to

All of which feel like massive wins. I am hugely grateful that despite all the restrictions I was still able to support those 116 families.

Each year I also total up which slings and carriers hired out. Here are 2020 and 2019 compared!

The order has changed a bit, but many of the same names have been popular again this year!! Perhaps most interestingly is the fact that the most popular ones hired out just as much as in the previous year. Despite the fact hires were down by just over 40%, the Ergo Omni 360 and the Beco Gemini hired out as many or more times than the did in the previous years. What really suffered were the lesser known brands. You can see the Connecta fell right off the list and the Kahu baby was much lower. In fact very many simply brilliant brands like the Sleepy Nico, Manduca XT, Didy Klick, Mamaruga Zen barely hired out at all.

The reason for this is simple. So often the lesser known brands are the ones people discover when they come along to a Sling Library session or come along to a consultation. They will try on the brands they’ve heard of and expect to like then, based on what was and wasn’t working about those I would suggest other carriers to try. So often this would then lead them to discovering something they’d have never found otherwise. Without Sling Clinic sessions … the only way to try a range and discover less well heard of slings has been a one-to-one session. The alternative has been postal or doorstep hires and quite understandably people taking this option have been more inclinded to stick with what they know best. Its not a bad thing – everyone has ended up with carriers that fit them and their families well. But I do look forward to a time when Sling Clinic sessions and workshops can come back as they really do facilitate more families experiencing more different types of slings and carriers.

Fingers crossed Sling Clinic sessions will be able to come back soon. Before Christmas and the Tier 4 annoucement I had the green light from 2 venues – Kingston Town Children’s Centre and a brand new venue in Putney! Kingston Town will still be able to go ahead even under tier 4 so is looking hopeful for late Jan onwards (although unsure if further announcements may change things over the next few weeks). The Putney venue won’t be able to go ahead under tier 4 but should be able to under tier 3 or definitely tier 2. So it’s simply a case of crossing my fingers, watching the news and hoping for the best, but hopefully Sling Clinics will be back soon.

And in the meantime online consultations, in person consultations in clients homes and contact free hires are still going ahead (full info on all my Tier 4 friendly services here).

-Madeleine

cheerful young woman screaming into megaphone

Sheen Sling Services under Tier 4/ Lockdown

This week brought the news that London has now moved into Tier 4/ Lockdown. How does this affect the services I can offer and how you access baby carrier help?

Online Consultations and Hires are continuing as normal and are completely unaffected.

Online consultations via Zoom or WhatsApp can be a great way of exploring your options or getting help with a sling or carrier you already own. You can read more about these here, and can set one up by simply dropping me a message through my contact page. I will be at home all through the Christmas period and into January so can accommodate pretty much any date and time needed!

Hires are completely contact-free. I can either post the sling or carrier of your choice directly to you or you can collect from my home. The carrier will be left in my front porch (space between inner and outer front doors) for you to collect at any time on the prearranged day so you can collect without coming into contact with me or any member of my family, and so you can time your collection around coinciding with shopping or exercise etc. To set up a hire simply get in touch through the contact page. If your not sure what would suit you best please feel free to ask or book an online consultation to go through your options in more detail.

All carriers and Slings are washed (by me) after each hire, so the carrier you hire will be freshly cleaned and ready to use. Then when you are ready to return you don’t need to worry about washing it as I will wash it again ready for the next family to hire.

Face to Face consultations in my home are temporarily suspended, but consultations in clients homes can go ahead for those whom face-to-face support is irreplaceable.

For some parents, online won’t be enough. Carriers are like jeans in that they need to fit your body and your baby’s body and so it is really important to try carriers on physically, compare them and ensure your confident using whatever you ultimately choose. This is particularly important for those with a history of back pain, post-cesarean section, parents of multiples, parents of babies suffering with reflux, parents of babies born early, parents or babies with additional needs and concerns and a whole host of other situations where face to face support is really needed.

For those that need it – guidelines are clear, direct face to face support can continue in clients homes. Interestingly, the guidelines state I can not continue to offer my home as a venue during Tier 4, but I can come to your home if you would like me to and you feel safe doing so. If you would like me to come but are unsure for whatever reason, do get in contact and we can risk assess this together. For my part I will;

  • arrive with freshly washed or quartineed slings and carriers for you to try and a seperate set for me to demo with so we will not be sharing. Likewise I will come with two freshly wiped demo dolls, one for me to demonstrate with and one for you to use in case you’d like to practise before trying with your own baby (or in case your own baby is not in the mood!)
  • I will wash my hands on arrival and santise as needed
  • I will wear my face mask throughout
  • I will maintain 2m distances throughout. My preferred teaching method is very hands off – where we explore each sling/carrier/technique together … mirroring each movement and each step. Which is very well suited to teaching while remaining socially distanced! On the rare occasions you might want me to adjust a strap or help, I will do so only with your expressed consent and any such close contact would last only a few seconds.
  • I maintain records for track and trace (as well as my professional insurance). You can read my privacy and data protection policy here.

So if you would like face to face help please do get in touch to set this up. You can find details on costs etc here.

The webshop will remain open!

Our webshop will remain open, and I will continue my daily morning post depo runs throughout tier 4 and beyond for all your carrier and accessory needs! We have some awesome winter accessories online at the moment including cozy woolly winter babywearing socks, fleece lined babywearing covers and snuggly baby legwarmers. I offer discounts for anyone who hires a sling or carrier first – so trying before you buy can definitely be a winner… and I offer a free 20 minute fit check consultation on ALL carrier, wrap or sling purchases so you can have complete peace of mind that there is help available if you need it to ensure you get the most from your carrier.

So if you would like babywearing help of any kind – there definitely are options! Whatever the tier, I will remain open and responsive to the current guidelines to ensure any one who needs help can access it.

-Madeleine