My Top 10 Countdown


Wow this was a hard decision (still deliberating as I type). My top 10 carriers stocked by Norwich sling library….

 

So how did I decide? To start with, personal feelings about the carriers. There’s no way I could judge a carrier without considering whether I personally liked it or not so I bet the list would be very different if any of my volunteers had written this post, anyone want to submit their version?

   Secondly, I love it when I get a carrier right first time at the library sessions, when I can pick a carrier up and know it’s going to work for the person in front of me so if a carrier’s done that for me on many occasions it had to make the list. 

   Quality is a huge factor obviously, I’m never going to love a carrier that doesn’t last and being part of a sling library some carriers really do get put through their paces. I also think the actual business is super important, I love being able to buy from people I feel I get to know well, those who are owned by genuine people who really love what they do and enjoy being part of a close knit community. 

 

10.

The Close Caboo from Close parent – RRP from £55

Carrying positions – Front parent facing 

Strap style –  Crossed

The Close Caboo is an amazing carrier, one that works brilliantly for a lot of people and I guess the only reason it’s not higher on my list is that I personally preferred my stretchy wraps. The caboo is definitely one of the most popular carriers in the library for newborns as it’s suitable from 5lbs, easily shared between parents, grandma and grandad and anyone else that wants to carry baby due to it’s adjustability. Also it’s relatively easy to get to grips with, which lets be honest when you’re running on 4 hours of broken sleep and decaf coffee is a definite bonus! 



9.

Tula Free to Grow – RRP from £119.90

Carrying positions – Front parent facing and back 

Strap style – H (rucksack)

The Tula brand has been very popular for years but the original requiring an infant insert made it a bulkier and warmer option. Their solution was the Free to Grow, full adjustable carrier with all the features that made to standard so popular – supportive waistband, curved padded straps, neat little pocket and a sleep hood – plus being able to adjust it to fit a baby from just 8lbs without the need for an insert. Lots of carriers will advertise they’re suitable from 8lbs as that’s what the safety testing allows but I have found it to be a very good fit for those with newborns not wanting to go for the usual caboo or stretchy wrap route. The only downside (though I wouldn’t change it as for those it fits it’s perfect) is that the straps can’t be crossed which does make it a marmite carrier. It’s completely personal preference, there’s no right or wrong for straps either crossed or H style work and that’s it. 

 

8.  

Fidella Flyclick – RRP from 129 euro (approx £115)

Carrying positions – Front parent facing, back and hip

Strap style – Padded wrap straps

The Fidella flyclick offers the best of both worlds with the ease of buckles on the waist and the flexibility of wrap style shoulder straps. Each side of the carrier can be cinched to fit baby which means a great fit from birth to 15kg (33lbs) and the soft wrap fabric means the right amount of diagonal stretch to hug baby close. The padded to wrap straps offer the “cush” of padded straps on the shoulder with wide support across the wearers back and even helps take extra weight of baby when spread over baby’s bottom. It has a soft, padded waist that sits comfortably around you, flexing easily as you move, a hood that can be gathered to create a headrest and is available in many beautiful patterns. 


7.  

Sleepy Nico – RRP £79

Carry positions – Front parent facing, back and hip

Strap style – Crossed or H (rucksack)

This is one of those brands I was talking about, a brand that’s easy to put a face to as she’s a big part of the babywearing community. Sleepy Nico is designed and run by Angeline right on our doorstep so we know it’s story, we know where it’s made and who made it. They are simple, comfortable, easy to use and beautiful. There’s no gadgets and gizmos with a Sleep Nico but that’s one reason it’s on my list. If you don’t need something that will shrink down to newborn but rather are moving on the next stage of your journey and want something easy to throw on and go then this is probably what I’d be searching for (when it’s actually in stock).

 

6.

Beco Gemini Cool – RRP £105

Carrying positions – Front parent facing, front world facing, back and hip

Strap style – Crossed or H (rucksack)

I’ve specifically chosen the “cool” version here as it’s light and breezy, that’s not to say you can’t use it all year round, just throw on an extra layer of clothing when it gets chilly. The Gemini, for lack of a better word, feels very mainstream, like something you could get in the local supermarket but instead of a narrow base and cheap materials that can cause agonizing back pain within minutes it’s ergonomical, supportive and good quality. A quick click, click, click and you’re ready to go BUT it also has some nifty little extras like a seat that can be made narrower when baby is small or to allow forward facing from when baby is around 4-6 months and a headrest that can be used to extend the height as baby grows. 



5.  

Sling school stretchy wrap – RRP from £30

Carrying positions – Front parent facing and hip

Strap style – N/A

The sling school stretchy wraps are a great budget two way wrap. They come in a selection of colours and two lengths which is great as the standard 5m wraps can swamp more petite wearers and feel quite overwhelming. Light weight and excellent value for money, they tighten well and don’t feel too thick on. A stretchy wrap is a great introduction to carrying your new baby and will be perfect for those first few weeks. 



4. 

Kahubaby – RRP from £94.95

Carrying positions – Front parent facing, front world facing, back and hip

Strap style – Crossed or H (rucksack)

This one is relatively new to the market but that doesn’t mean it’s got any kinks to work out, it’s a well thought out carrier and super lightweight but with all the little extras you could need. With no padded waistband it’s light to wear and folds small when not in use but this downscaling of padding doesn’t mean less comfort, the lightly padded straps are in my opinion just right and give enough “cush” on the shoulders without feeling bulky. It’s super simple to resize for small babies, just pull on the sewn in strap to cinch the bottom and you’re done, this means you can adjust by the mm for the perfect fit. There’s another smaller strap tucked away under the hood that works the same for the top of the carrier to ensure baby also has optimum neck support. Kahubaby have also teamed up with renowned designer Jojo Coco Designs to offer gorgeous prints alongside their classic range.




3.

Hanababy bamboo stretchy wrap – RRP from £41.99

Carrying positions – Front parent facing and hip

Strap style – N/A

A slightly more luxurious option, the hana wrap is super soft, light and airy and naturally cooler due to it’s bamboo content. Again available in two lengths and a variety of colours, the Hana bamboo wrap would be my number 1 choice for newborns. A stretchy wrap holds baby in all the right places to offer the perfect support and allows the wearer to move freely. Suitable for even premature babies with professional guidance. 

2.

Mamaruga zensling/zebulo – RRP from £84.99/£86.95

Carrying positions – Front parent facing, hip and back

Strap style – Crossed or H (rucksack)

Ok, so I’ve put two carriers at number 2 but I just couldn’t choose between them! Mamaruga first brought out the Zensling which would fly out of the library the second one became available, making an adjustable full buckle carrier out of stretchy fabric that’s suitable from birth was genius. It allows the comfort and support of a stretchy wrap but with the clip on ease that some users prefer and the stretchy fabric allowed the straps to flare out over your shoulders without being restrictive. Don’t think this is just for newborns though, the stretch is just right to see you through to toddlerhood and if the jersey fabric isn’t you for they even come in woven wrap conversions. 

 

2nd up is their Zebulo which sits perfectly between a non structured buckle carrier like the Kahubaby and something sturdier like the Tula. Lightly padded waist and straps with the same adjustability in the panel size as the Zensling make it too hard to choose a favourite. 

1.

Neko Switch – RRP from £125

Carrying positions – Front parent facing and back

Strap style – Crossed or H (rucksack)

This one is a relatively new addition to the library but it was love at first play. Made from a gorgeous variety of woven wraps these are stunning and practical with everything I want from a full buckle carrier suitable from birth. My favourite feature is the ability to clip the shoulder straps to the waistband for smaller babies (up to around 6 months) to prevent excess pressure on their back and encourage a natural spine position. This is another one of those that if I pick it up there’s a 99% chance it will be a perfect fit, I’m yet to put a baby in that I can’t fit it to. They also make a toddler size version which they recommend from 2 to around 5 years which definitely on my wish list. 




 

What to expect from a library session

What to expect from a library session by Emma Palmer – School of babywearing trained consultant

If you want to learn about carrying then Norwich sling library is the place to do it but under the umbrella of “Norwich sling library” there are several services on offer and we want to make sure you choose the best option for you and your child. We have the drop in library sessions, private 1-2-1 consultations with a trained professional, sling parties and starting in the new year, topic focused workshops. Read on to find out more about what to expect from one of our drop in library sessions.

We work on a first come first served basis – come on in and see one of our lovely admin assistants behind the desk/table and they’ll greet you and give you a numbered ticket. Depending on when you arrive there may be several people already in the queue so there may be a wait until you’re seen.

While you’re waiting grab a cuppa, you most definitely deserve one! At our main session there’s tea, coffee, juice and treats to help yourself to, at our playhouse pop up go over to the bar where they serve a huge range of teas and coffee from just £1. Don’t worry, if you’ve gone to the bar we’ll call for you in there so you won’t miss your turn.

When we call your number we’ll have ten minutes to briefly discuss your needs and one of our trained peer supporters will select a carrier they feel is most appropriate for you to try (unless you already know what you want of course). If the first carrier doesn’t work for you then we’ll offer a second option but you will only have time to try two options at a library session, if you want to try lots of carriers for a more tailored experience then a 1-2-1 consultation would be a better option for you. We have a wide range of carriers to try so you’re very welcome to hire one for a month then come back and try another. If you’ve outgrown your stretchy wrap, come back for the step in your babywearing journey!

Limitations…. We hope everyone can understand and appreciate there are limitations to what we can do at a library session and that trying to do more than we know if safe in 10 minutes could lead to accidents. Going over those 10 minutes would also mean that others aren’t seen and we want our service to be as fair to everyone as possible.

  • Only two carriers can be tried at a library session, you’re welcome to take another ticket and re-join the queue if you want to try more BUT we can’t guarantee we’ll have time to see you again.
  • We can only show front and hip carries (No back carries) as the time limitations and busy atmosphere doesn’t make for a safe environment to learn to back carry. If you are already confident back carrying and want to try a carrier for yourself that’s fine but if you want to learn to back carry then you’ll need to book a 1-2-1 consultation or back carrying workshop.
  • Although we do our best to ensure you leave feeling confident to use a carrier if you’re a complete novice you may find that 10 minutes isn’t enough for you to get to grips with this new skill, we can signpost you to videos that may help you to continue learning at home but a 1-2-1 consultation may be advisable.
  • Extra needs such as carrying multiples, carrying with a disability or carrying a child with additional needs may require more time than we can offer in a library setting so again, a 1-2-1 consultation may be more appropriate. If you’re unsure get in touch before hand to discuss your needs.

A sling library is a great place to try a new carrier, get a fit check on your own sling, meet other parents and grab a coffee. We’re here to help and hope you’ll leave feeling empowered and confident enough to carry your child comfortably and safely. Learning a new skill, especially when you’re already completely overwhelmed by the other three hundred new skills you’re getting the hang of as a parent can take time and practice so if you don’t get to grips with it straight away, don’t be put off. Come to a workshop, book a 1-2-1 or come to another session.

Happy carrying to you all!

Emma 🙂

My babywearing journey and how I arrived at running a sling library

Today I want to talk about my babywearing journey and why I ended up getting involved in the world of baby carrying professionals.

I never really carried my first daughter and there will always be a part of me that’s sad that we missed out on the cuddles and the connection a sling can offer. I briefly attempted to use a narrow based carrier but my poor back just couldn’t cope and back in 2009 sling libraries weren’t the ever expanding part of the community they are now.

In 2011 I welcomed my second daughter in to the world and the “oh my goodness, how am I going to cope with two” panic set in. This is when I found my online “village” on the Natural Mamas forum, a community of women who wanted to lift each other up and help each other through the struggles of parenting.

From then on my love for carrying developed quickly and soon verged on serious addiction, so many beautiful patterns and fabrics to choose from, I couldn’t have just one…. I’ll never forget the first time I got the bus without a buggy and instead of waiting for three busses to pass before there was one with room in the buggy park, I just waltzed down the aisle and sat down, baby snuggled safely against me.

The day soon came that I decided I wanted to start back carrying but I needed some hands on support and was incredibly lucky to find that Anne who owned the Natural Mamas forum and now runs Born to carry, was my local babywearing consultant. The in person teaching gave me the skills and confidence I needed to start throwing my daughter on my back without hesitation. I continued to carry her for the next 4 years and enjoyed carrying my then two year old on my back, making up for the “slingy cuddles” we missed out on when she was a baby.

It’s safe to say I was hooked! I started helping out at my local sling library, running social sling meets, developing on my skills by training to become a babywearing consultant and creating my own baby carrier brand. The babywearing community is a wonderful one and it’s one I wanted to be part of, helping parents at a time in their lives where we tend to need it most. A baby that’s “clingy” (normal) and won’t be put down, settled securely in a sling can make a world of difference to our lives in a world that no longer fits around our babies but where our babies are expected to fit around it. Where we no longer have a village to help us raise our children I wanted to be part of a surrogate village than can be there when you need us.

My personal babywearing journey is now at an end but I’m not ready to leave such a wonderful community behind. So in 2016, when the opportunity to make the Norwich sling library live on fell into my hands I wasn’t going to throw it away. So please, come along and utilize our services, never apologize when asking us to hold your baby, never apologize for wanting support, never apologize for needing to take time to care for your family and ALWAYS ask when you need help.