Beccy enjoying the Spring sunshine with her son

Get the most from your sling this spring

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With the weather getting better (mostly!) and the clocks going forward, many of us will probably be eager to get out and about a bit more. Last weekend was a classic case in point: after a seemingly endless succession of wet weekends and debilitating viruses in the house, it was wonderful to see wall to wall sunshine and to spend almost the entire weekend outside with my family.

However, when you’ve got a baby and/or toddler in tow, getting out of the house can seem a tremendous challenge and you might find yourself wondering what happened to those seemingly carefree days when you could go out for the day without a second thought. The good news is that, while a good sling won’t solve all your problems in this regard, it can certainly make life a lot easier, so, if you don’t yet have one or aren’t getting on well with the one that you do have, it’s important to think about how you might resolve this issue.

By far the quickest and easiest way to do this is to pop along and see us in the library. People often forget that we don’t just hire out slings – we can also help you with yours so, if you’re having problems, do bring your sling in to see us and we’ll do our best to troubleshoot for you.

If you and your sling aren’t getting on, then here are some of the most likely culprits:

  1. Wrong sling.

Sadly, the vast majority of carriers that you see on the high street are not the most user-friendly or comfortable for you and your baby. There are exceptions to this, of course, but the chances are that, if you’ve bought something off the shelf or been given something by a well-meaning friend, you’ll have ended up with one of these. The most common designs tend to be quite ‘rigid’ with a narrow base and maze of spaghetti straps complete with fiddly fastenings. They are perfectly safe and serviceable and some people get on well with them, although usually only for a relatively short period of time, after which they quickly become very uncomfortable. However, some people – or babies – find them very uncomfortable or difficult to use right from the start. The good news is that we can show you some tips and tricks in the library which may transform your experience of this type of sling. If it still isn’t working for you, we can direct you towards something different to try.

2. Right sling, wrong fit.

This is also quite a common problem. People often come to us thinking that they’ve got the wrong type of sling but, in many cases, it’s because they haven’t been shown how to use it properly and, as a result, the sling isn’t working for them or their baby. It can be really hard to learn how to use a sling from an instruction leaflet or even a YouTube video and, even if you have the main principles correct, it’s amazing what a difference a few tweaks from an experienced pair of eyes can make to the success of the experience for both of you (for example, most people have their carriers much too low and too loose when they first start out).

3. Wrong sling for the situation.

Your sling and your use of it may be spot on, but people and things change: perhaps it just isn’t working for your lifestyle anymore? While some people are lucky and do find a ‘workhorse’ sling for all seasons, other people find that their needs can change as their baby grows and their family circumstances develop. As a result, a sling that worked perfectly for them before is now less than great. For example, perhaps you loved a stretchy wrap but now find that your not-so-newborn is getting heavier and more wriggly? In which case, something more supportive which allows a greater range of vision for baby might be desirable. Or perhaps you and your baby were happy pottering around town in a ring sling during the winter months but, now that spring is here, you’re thinking about something that would be better for longer walks in the countryside? Again, coming to the library and having a play with some of the different types of slings that we have can be a game-changer. And the same applies to woven wraps: you might find that the carry you’ve been using up until now isn’t working as well as it was, in which case we can teach you something new that might suit your needs better.

Either way, I hope this article has provided you with a bit of inspiration and a gentle ‘prod’ to come and see us if things aren’t working out as you’d hoped with your sling. Now, let’s get out there and enjoy that spring sunshine while it lasts…