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
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.
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.
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;
Secure Double Knot
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The thing that broke my heart during the first national lockdown was all the new parents who suddenly found themselves completely bereft of all the normal help and support services that would normally be available to help them. As restrictions eased in July I met so many parents who had really struggled.
As we enter this second lockdown the one thing that gives me hope is that this time the messaging from the Government is clear that services to new parents should continue following Covid secure guidelines.
As such one-to-one consultations in my home and clients homes will continued to be offered through out this second lockdown for those for whom need it.
What does that mean? For some parents – particularly those who already have a sling or carrier they’d like help with or expectant parents who would like to see and chat through their options – I can provide the same quality of support via a Video consultation. So in the interest of reducing social contacts if I can help you just effectively online I will do so.
However, for many this 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 and ensure your confident using them. Particularly for those with a history of back pain, post-cesarean section, parts of multiples, parents of babies suffering with reflux, parents of babies born early and a whole host of other situations where face to face support is really needed. And in these cases face to face support will continue to be offered.
Whether in my home or yours we will maintain 2m distances throughout. I will wear a mask and I ask that you do to if you are able. All slings and carriers you’ll try will be freshly washed or quarantined for 72 hours prior to you using them and handled only minimally by me and only with freshly washed hands. Dolls will be freshly wiped down, as will my card reader and anything you might need to handle. Hand hygiene will be observed. At my home we will either be in my garden or right next to my big open doors to the garden so we will have lots of ventilation. If in your home please do think about where would be best in terms of ensuring ventilation and 2m spacings (as well as where you will be most comfortable!).
Most importantly if you are at all worried or unsure if in person or online would be most useful, or worried about how we will keep risks to a minimum please do get in contact and we will discuss and agree the best plan together based on your needs and circumstances. Just as we will work together to find the right sling or carrier option for you!
As of Saturday London entered Tier 2 or “High” Covid Alert level. While this means all kinds of things for myself and my family in terms of who we can and can’t see socially, where and when. It actually doesn’t change much with respect to Sheen Slings and the services I can currently offer.
The main difference, is that the weather is rapidly turning a lot colder. So while I enjoyed many pleasantly warm consults in my back garden in July, August and September, these are definitely becoming more brisk. So please do wrap up warmly, if you do book in for a consult at my home! Because, if the weather is dry we will be outside and if it is wet we will be indoors but right next to the big doors into my garden with those doors wide open… so while we will remain dry it may well still be quite chilly! And please do bring a mask because if we are indoors we will be wearing masks. Either way, I am blessed that both my indoor and outdoor space are big enough that it is very easy for us to remain socially distant – at least 2m apart. I prefer to teach in a very hands off style anyway! I prefer to teach this way because it ensures you are confident using any sling or carrier you choose independently without my help by the time your session is over.
As such this means these sessions can continue in tier 2 and very likely even in tier 3 (under the current guidance, but of course I am continuing to review this continually as guidance is updated).
However, in the event these sessions need to be paused, or if you don’t feel comfortable face to face for any reason. I do have a number of contact-free services including online consultations, hire (either via post or collection from my front porch) and the online shop, which is filled with carriers and accessories that can be posted next day and I offer online support free of charge if you need help using anything you purchase. If you are not sure of what help you might need, or not sure of what you might want, you are welcome to simply email me and reach out.
So whatever happens, Sheen Slings will remain open and will be there (whether in person or online) to help you on your baby carrying journey.
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.
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.
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:
Door-step Hires and Sales
Postal or Hand-delivered Hires and Sales
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.
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.
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