I am Rachel. Mother of two, wife, qualified teacher and a carrying consultant.
I live in the beautify city of Durham. I am also the founder of The North East Sling Library.
The first resource of its kind in the North East of England…
Just over 5 years ago I didn’t have a clue what a sling, sling library or babywearing was. The arrival of my eldest boy in January 2010 (remember the snow?) meant I quickly learnt. Henry arrived at 37 weeks in rather a hurry. He was also a dinky 6lb 12oz which meant he was too small for the baby carrier we had
purchased second hand in order to help walk our dog. The snow, which started falling in the December before his birth, was still falling when he was born and carried on falling till a few days past his due date. Our
all-terrain buggy failed its first mission to get me and my baby boy out.
We were stuck in the house until he had put on sufficient weight to go in the carrier we had.
In the first 12 weeks of his life I tried 5 different slings. In his first year, we tried over a dozen.
Five years down the line I dread to think how many we have used. But buying slings isn’t cheap, but then again nothing about children is.
So I decided there had to be a better way? After all if I wanted to read a different book each week I went to the
library on my street. After chatting with other sling using mums and inspired by two friends in other areas of
the country I decided that what the North East needed was a sling library – a place where
parents could come and try ergonomic slings (a term I use to mean any carrying aid
with exception of framed back carriers) and for a small fee take them home to try.
We launched in July 2011 in my living room with a selection of 25 slings we begged and borrowed from various sources.
3.5 years down the line we have just broken the 200 slings barrier (212 with the others planned),
7 sessions per month, over 2000 likes on our Facebook page and 700+ members of our group.
For £5/2 weeks hire parents can hire from our range. Many try several before going on to buy the one they want.
Others use the library because they have a specific event; whether that is a walk on a route which isn’t
pushchair friendly, a wedding, christening or a teething baby who wants extra cuddles.
There is no set type of parent that uses the sling library or type of baby wanting to be carried.
I have hired slings to tiny premature babies right through to pre-schooler aged children too big for a pushchair
but who’s little legs would tire on a family holiday.
I still carry my youngest on almost a daily basis as it simply makes life easier for us.
I want to walk at my pace (or more correctly run at my eldest’s pace) but he simply cannot keep up.
I am immensely proud of what I have achieved. The sling library is now effectively my full time job.
When I launched The North East Sling Library there was nothing else within 100 miles. Now slings are an almost daily sight,
there are now over 100 sling libraries in the UK.
For every bad day I have, there’s a letter, Facebook message or even a note slipped in with a sling return makes my day.
So if you have a baby, toddler or even pre-schooler
why not have a look for your local sling library? You might be surprised what is on to offer.