Q How can I find my nearest one? The School of Babywearing updates its list regularly at schoolofbabywearing.com/sling-groups-libraries. You can also check out slingmeet.co.uk for gatherings of sling lovers, (but without slings to hire). Try also ukslinglibraries.co.uk.
Q Will I be able to speak to an expert at the library? Most libraries are run by parents passionate about babywearing – do feel free to ask them about their experience and any qualifications they may have. Bear in mind that library sessions are often quite busy with lots of people attending – and lots of babies/children. So if you would like more detailed one-to-one advice, you may be better attending a workshop or arranging a session with a Babywearing Consultant.
Q What else happens at a sling library? Each library runs differently. Some are also part of NCT branches or attachment parenting groups, some run alongside cloth nappy libraries. Some offer tea, cake and chat in someone’s home, others run in Children’s Centres.
Q How would I go about setting one up? If you’d like to set up a sling library, first of all ask yourself if you feel sufficiently qualified to help other parents. How long have you been babywearing? Are you comfortable with all types of slings? Have you supported other parents, perhaps while attending a Sling Meet. If not, it might be a good idea to attend a training course, such as the School of Babywearing’s Peer Supporter course. Visit the European Babywearing Conference on June 20-21 in Bristol where you can take part in a workshop for those running or interested in running sling libraries. See babywearingconference.co.uk. Running a sling library is a significant investment in time and money, you are unlikely to make money from running a sling library, at least at first, so you’ll need to be able to put time and effort into it for free. In addition to acquiring a range of slings suitable for babies and children of all ages and sizes, you need to think about a venue for the group, inventorying and washing the slings, checking for wear and tear, replacing worn slings, etc.
Victoria is mum of four little people, all who have been carried in baby slings and carriers.
This gorgeous image is of the lovely mamas at North East Sling Library.