I have recently had a jolt down the sling memory lane whilst sorting through 5 (or 10…) years of accumulated mess and paperwork because of moving house. In the midst of this shredding marathon, I came across my first ever sling library hire form. It took me right back to those early days as a first time mum to my eldest, Robbie.
I remember nervously parking up at the sling library and berating myself for not having come earlier on as R was now 10 weeks old and I *might* have been DOING IT ALL WRONG with our carrier since then. And did I remember the nappies, muslin, change of clothes, toys and all the other masses of stuff that has to be lugged with you when you have your first child and you are venturing out.
And would anyone notice that my hair hadn’t been washed that week…
Then there was the massive internal battle over whether to TAKE THE BUGGY INTO SLING LIBRARY AND BE FROWNED UPON FOR NOT USING A SLING, or put R in my Caboo and risk being seen by experts DOING IT ALL WRONG.
This trepidation was completely unfounded though, as I remember walking into the community room, being welcomed by the sling lady and feeling put at ease. She didn’t seemed alarmed by 1) how I had R in the sling (phew!) or 2) by her strangely non moving baby in her carrier with a unusually large head and disproportionately short legs.
When I saw that she was using a doll to show correct positioning in a carrier for another mum, I realised it was not just me who needed a bit of guidance in carrying my son. And that they were just new parents like me, even though they were obviously much more together, getting themselves to the session before me, because they were, quite clearly, some kind of super mums who babies didn’t need a full change of clothes after every feed and could be put down while they had a leisurely shower. (Ha!) But after a chat while we waited, I found they were just like me.
Fast forward 4 years and I am now running the library, with Charlotte “the sling lady” who guided me early on in my carrying journey. The inclusive, non threatening and welcoming space that she created then, has hopefully continued through to the library’s change to East Surrey Slings and we hope you feel put at ease when you arrive at one of our drop ins or clinics.
The early days with a new baby are hard enough, whether it’s your first or your fifth. Rest assured that you can come and see us with dirty clothes, unwashed hair and having had less that 8 hours sleep in the past week, and you will be welcomed, supported and helped to carry.