East Surrey Slings - Celebrating Reigate
Find My Reigate exists to bring families closer to the fantastic community on our doorstep. Our 'Celebrating Reigate' series looks to put the spotlight on the individuals, businesses and locations that makes our corner of Surrey such a great place to be.
I fell in to carrying my daughter by complete accident and I've never looked back. I was lucky to find a sling that made carrying easy and comfortable right from the start, but in hindsight that was more by luck than judgement! East Surrey Slings is a not-for-profit sling library run by local mums Charlotte Filcek and Sally Hardy which gives you the opportunity to get expert advice and borrow slings to find the right fit for you. They also run regular sling/buggy walks to give you the chance to get out in the fresh air and meet other parents.
Why did you set up East Surrey Slings?
We both fell into using slings with our first babies, and soon found them invaluable. Since then, the number of carriers on the market has exploded: finding the right one for you and your family can be confusing! We both became involved with supporting other parents through volunteering but went on to undertake higher level training in carrying and wanted to provide a broader service to parents. We now run a good-sized non-profit sling library with help from volunteers, and also offer private consultations and workshops for customers who want a little more detailed help.
What are the main benefits of carrying your baby in a sling?
These differ so much from family to family! For some it is a primarily a practical tool allowing them to walk the dog or look after older children. For others, the main motivation is keeping baby close, which we know has huge benefits for babies, particularly in the early days of the 'fourth trimester'. The great thing is that, whatever your main reason for carrying, the family reaps all the benefits of the carer having their hands free, not being limited by the buggy, and enjoying closeness with each other.
Is it just for babies?
Definitely not. There are many reasons you may want or need to carry a toddler or older child and it can be done comfortably and enjoyably. We have carriers suitable for preschoolers and beyond.
Is it ever too late to start using a sling?
No, assuming both parent and child want to give it a go there is no reason to miss out just because you are beyond the newborn stage. The bigger a child gets, the more important positioning becomes for the comfort of the adult; a carrier that supports the weight of the child's legs and fits both child and adult well makes all the difference.
If someone has tried a sling before, but found it uncomfortable, what can they do?
Often discomfort in a carrier indicates a poor fit. Carriers, particularly more structured ones, are much like jeans: what suits one person will not necessarily provide the best fit for someone else. It is also often possible to optimise the fit of a carrier for better comfort. There is no 'best sling', but a sling library or consultant can help you narrow down to the best option for you and help you get it fitted.
What do I need to know to keep my baby safe while carrying them?
Small babies need to be carried snug against the carer not just for comfort but to keep their airways clear by avoiding slumping. Ensuring that you feel your child is secure in the carrier and can breathe well are our fundamental safety checks. You can find lots more safety information here.
How do I borrow a sling?
You can either come along to a sling meet every Wednesday at Nutfield Memorial Hall from 10:00-11:45, or make an appointment to see us privately. We charge a small hire fee (or include a hire in private sessions) and you can borrow a carrier for up to six weeks without a deposit. We also offer longer, discounted 3-month hires for stretchy wraps so that you can prepare before baby's arrival and make the most of these brilliant newborn slings.
You regularly organise sling walks. Tell us about those, can anyone join?
We arrange a walk most months, around the local area, to get out for some fresh air with other parents. We try to choose walks where we can access some refreshments afterwards! Anyone can join: we ensure there are buggy-friendly options. If you don't have a sling, we can bring one for you to use for the walk if you contact us in advance. Check out the events section of our Facebook page for details of upcoming walks.
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