Tamsin Coxhil, founder of Firesprial Slings (firespiralslings.co.uk) discovered her parenting values early on. ‘I first learned about babywearing before I was pregnant with my first child. I was watching a TV series called “Bringing up Baby”, the series explored different types of parenting, following families with new babies as they got to grips with becoming parents. One of the families was following the Continuum Concept, and wore their baby in a Close carrier, breastfed on demand and co-slept. This resonated with me in a very powerful way and before my first child was born I had bought a Close carrier, my husband had built a co-sleeper cot and I had read all that I could find about breastfeeding. Babywearing was everything that I imagined it would be and more. Not only do I now have three independent and securely attached children (my youngest is nearly three now and is still regularly carried in a wrap), I also have an amazing business that enables parents and carers all over the world to experience what I have experienced.’
Zoe Masters, founder of Oscha Slings (oschaslings.com) comes from a long line of babywearers. ‘There is an unbroken babywearing tradition within my family. I first knew of it through old, yellowed photos of my parents; smiling faces, wearing huge bell bottom flares, hiking up Scottish mountains with me or one of my brothers on their back in a big framed carrier. Later, my Nana would tell me stories of my great grandmother, daughter of a Welsh coal miner, a very young mother, freshly moved to England and not knowing a soul but her new husband. She proudly carried her bouncing baby around in the traditional Welsh Nursing Shawl, just as generations before her had, no matter how disapproving the stares. All these memories came back to me much later, after a Gap year in China when I saw families using slings, for both comfort and necessity, and I witnessed how happy the babies were. When, several years later, a little dazed, I found myself with twins and a little girl all under 16 months - carrying on the tradition was the most natural thing.’
Angeline Braidwood discovered a whole new culture through babywearing, and now runs sleepynico.com. ‘My first daughter was delivered by C-section and I had had little contact with children before her arrival. After Amelia’s birth I held her for a while and then asked (because I couldn’t reach due to the section) a midwife to pop my sleeping baby in the crib beside me. They lay her down and her eyes opened and she began to cry. I rang the bell and asked them to pass my baby to me, she fell asleep and as I was tired I rang the bell and asked the midwife to put her down for me, and so began three days of utter exhaustion because my baby would sleep nowhere but my arms. I now know that having a baby you can’t put down is not unusual but in those first few months I was exhausted. We rocked her to sleep in our arms almost continuously which was all consuming. We had been given a very functional baby carrier that we viewed as useful for using the tube or for country walks. Six months later though I met a woman called Maria wearing the loveliest carrier I had ever seen who seemed to be very well rested for a new mum. We started using a Sleepy Nico and it it felt so different, it was like an extension of me. My baby, who previously wouldn’t sleep was happy and comfortable, I would wear her to rock her to sleep every evening and it became a wonderful ritual to put on a CD and sing to her whilst gently dancing around the living room. Maria introduced me to babywearing and in turn a whole new culture (and life as I’m now the owner of Sleepy Nico).’
Jo Mockford already knew that she was going to carry her child before he was born. She started carrymybaby.co.uk to help other mums enjoy the closeness she’d benefited from. ‘I was lucky enough to read about The Continuum Concept and Attachment Parenting before we had children, so we planned to carry in a sling from the beginning with our first child five years ago. The main appeals were to give our child the best start in forming a close relationship, meeting their needs for closeness in the “in arms” period, and the freedom of movement it would give us. We could go for long walks hand in hand just as before, with our baby snuggled up to one of us on our front in the wrap. Nap times were easy getting him to sleep in the sling, and it was so convenient and enjoyable to have a parenting tool that allowed us to spontaneous. Going to Sling Meets in my city was a great way to socialise and make friends with like-minded families too. I very soon carried this on myself into what I run today helping parents to carry their babies, so they too can find the joy, freedom and snuggles.