As a Babywearing Consultant I see families of all shapes and sizes. I regularly see babies, toddlers and parents with complex medical needs. I also see families who just want to carry their children. They have sought my help and my expertise. They know I have been trained (and continue to do so) to help them. I am insured to help them. The number of Babywearing Consultants in the UK has grown massively since I first qualified. There are 3 active training schools in the UK, with 2 based on the continent who can arrange course here too. I have been doing this for over 4 years (nearly 5 as a sling librarian only). I have thousands of hours of experience. This experience is priceless.
As a consultant I do charge. I charge because I have expenses to cover and a small living to make (this is my sole employment). I have carriers to buy and replace, insurance costs, BABI membership, website and printing costs, even simple things like tea and coffee. For £30 families get 90 minutes of my time, to demo, teach and trouble shoot, and a sling to take away to try. I can spot common mistakes, provide alternative ways of starting or simply say stop let’s start again. They get support before the appointment: from booking, to being able to select appropriate carriers before they arrive based on the needs they have expressed, post -consultation support via email, by phone and from within my group. They have a pack of materials to take home. Tell me how a YouTube channel gives you continued support?
There are a plethora of YouTube tutorials (hey I have my own) and lots of Facebook groups out there. I am a member of lots of them and even admin in some. I give this time for free. I do it to provide some form of I hope trained, clear and high quality support. But, there is only so much I can do via text. Sometimes there are just times when I need to see people in person, or they need 1:1 help from their local consultant (find yours on Sling Pages). There are times when very often I simply just put “see a consultant”. For example:
“My baby is 3 weeks old but only weighs 5lb”
“My baby was premature, what is the best stretchy to use?”
“I have x,y,z condition can I use a sling?”
“My friend has just had a baby but it has X,y,z, what should I buy them?”
They are just a few examples. These families need support but they need specialist support. Carrying a low birth weight or premature baby need special consideration. Are there issues with muscle tone? Feeding or oxygen tubes to work around? Special handling techniques needing to be followed? It isn’t simply just a case of follow TICKS, as crucial as they are not the only consideration. I also sometime see people suggest “visit a sling library”. But for the cases above and many more this is would not be appropriate, and I say this as a sling librarian from a large and active sling library. The simple issue being time. They require more time than I can physically give in approximately 10 minutes. I have a plea, as good as your intentions are by saying “visit a sling library”, please think, would a better reply, for those families with additional needs, be “visit a consultant”. Help families to get the appropriate help to their needs. Appropriate doesn’t need to be because they have complex needs. It may be they want to try lots, worried about feeding in public, can’t make the times the library is open.
For families with babies (or wider family) with complex needs but who can’t afford a consultation it is worth contacting The Up Project. For those in the North East I am their DBS checked and I house trained consultant. I give my time for free to this worthy cause. If you don’t qualify under their terms, it is worth asking your local consultant if they can offer payment plan, skills swap or reduced price appointments too. We want to help as many families as possible, we simply can’t do it for free.