Fundraising for Mind – breast pump donation

In February, we successfully crowdfunded over £500 which we split between two charities (Mind and Medicines Sans Frontiers) and the sling library. Well the lovely people at Nuby have once again been exceedingly generous and given us their last remaining stock following redesign and launch of a new pump. That is 40 brand new breast pumps available for new homes for well.,..what ever you think they are worth. We are going to keep some spares here but will have at least 30 to send to new families in return for your donation.

As many of you are aware I have set myself a summer of running and your money will go to the sling library chosen charity – Mind UK. This charity is close to my heart and I have seen first hand the work they do. So far this year, I have already completed RED January, the Sunderland Half and Blaydon Race. In 2 weeks, it is the Great North 10k and 4 weeks today, the Durham City 10k before GNR in September.

Key features of the pump

  • Dual action Electric breast pump set. Product supplied with UK plug and English instructions only.
  • Adapter to allow for use as a manual pump
  • Memorizes personalized rhythm, fast rhythm to encourage milk flow; slow to express gently
  • Flex Neck silicone Horn and hygienic cover
  • Breast pump standing cradle
  • Includes 150ml bottle , a silicone storage lid, 6 disposable breast pads, Breastpump standing cradle.

How to get yours!

1) Make a donation via our JustGiving page. Please ensure you put your name and that it is for a pump.

2) Send is a message via email to to arrange collection.

3) If you can’t collect, we can post but ask that you cover postage and pay this via BACS or friends PayPal. It’s £3.95 for 2nd signed for delivery.


How much can we raise this time? Let’s smash my target and help Mind to help even more families. Mental Health doesn’t just affect one person but the whole family. 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health issues in their lifetime. Let’s help fight it.


Izmi Baby Toddler Carrier

IZMIAt the sling library, we are lucky to try lots of different carriers. I first saw a prototype of the Toddler size Izmi Baby Carrier at the North Sling Exhibition in 2017 and in December 2017, I was delighted that one arrived here at NESL HQ. Due to family circumstances, it has taken me  until now to blog about it.

Many sling library regulars will know that I am a big fan of ‘unstructured’ structured carriers and there aren’t currently many options in toddler size. Well, I’d add the Izmi Toddler to that category. Like it’s little sister, the Izmi Carrier, the toddler version folds down nice and small but it isn’t just a scaled up version. It has a ‘semi’ structured feel in that it is not a heavy padded carrier. Designed by a carrying consultant, I can tell a lot of thought has gone into how it works.


Suitable from approximately 9 months upwards (can be used to 60lb), it fills the gap between baby carriers and toddler carriers. Many parents want to buy a carrier that will last and will, in my opinion, prematurely buy toddler carrier thinking they will save money but in reality find that it is too big for their little one. However, this doesn’t feel too big. We have tried it with babies so far ranging from 14 months to 3 years.  The ability to adjust the waist is perfect. Although this is increasingly common with ‘baby’ size carriers, it is still a rarity with toddler size slings.img_0858

It is suitable for front, back and hip carrying and has the ability to have either crossed or rucksack style straps for front carrying position. The straps are also dual adjustable which allows for ease of tightening in either front or back carry position. Both myself, and Suzie, found that the straps were a little too long for us when we were back carrying with smaller babies but this would be less of an issue as baby gets bigger. The perfect fit adjusters on shoulder straps and chest strap did help provide support. We both did like the ability to spread the straps out to create a ‘wrap’ style shoulder.

The price bracket that this carrier is in, also makes it an attractive option for families. Priced at £80 for the toddler carrier, and available from an increasing number of retailers including Argos, JoJoMaman Bebe, as well as direct from them at Izmi Baby.  It is also possible to hire this, and the standard size version, from us here at NESL. I have a feeling this carrier is going to be rather popular.

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Just giving fundraiser update

Since launching our breast pump just giving page on Wednesday, all but 2 of the pumps have now found new homes!

So far £542 has been pledged – that’s £142 over what I set our target as.

I am utterly thankful for how well this plan has been received. As soon as all the pumps have been allocated and all donations received (some have been offline donations), I will get the final fundraising figure.

The fundraising (eg my running efforts) will continue and I will provide a fresh link so that we can continue to raise money for Mind and MSF. First running challenge is on Sunday 18th March, that’s 4 weeks fine, and is a 10 mile road race.

Doing what is right for me

img_0122.jpgThis is a hard blog to write as its contents will detail changes to how the sling library will be operating but sometimes hard decisions are the right one.

In June 2016, I wrote to say that I was returning to work. The changes that post revealed were relatively small, we were able to maintain almost all of the sessions we offered. This was due to the fact I was working part-time and that Madeleine and Kelly took over sessions. Unfortunately, Durham City Sling Meet stopped meeting in 2017 but Madeleine has taken our North Tyneside sessions from strength to strength.

If I am so happy with the direct the library is taking, why am I sad (and nervous)? Well, as of 28th February, I am returning to work on a full-time  basis. This is the right decision for my family but it does mean that the library is going to have to reduce what it can offer. I am honestly sorry for the short notice but until recently I didn’t even know I would be making this decision.

With immediate effect, the monthly session we hold at the Consett Tesco  Community Room is cancelled. I have already emailed families with a sling due back  to this session to explain and discuss options for returning the slings they have on loan. So far, the response I have received both from the Community Champion from Tesco and the families affected has been 100% positive.

Our North Tyneside sessions (Killingworth, North Shields and Howdon) are unaffected by these changes, as are the Saturday Slings sessions which run from my home on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month – there are a couple of alterations to these for family  holidays/Blaydon Races/GNR weekend but these are minor (and several weeks will be notice given).  Postal hire will continue to be made available across the NE and the UK as a whole.

Our travelling sessions at Miss Tina’s in Washington, and the latest addition to our meets, at The Thought Foundation are continuing until at least the Summer. However, these will be led by a trained Peer Supporter (Emma) and as such will not be for complex needs (low birth weight, prematurity, multiples, additional needs etc), although you are welcome to go along to get an idea of what is available. We will update you in the Summer with whether they will be able to continue beyond this point.IMG_3857

We will still be offering Babywearing Consultation appointments and Born to Carry Peer support training. One to one consultation appointments can be arranged with myself (school holidays), Suzie and Madeline via our booking site or contact us via email at or using the contact form below.

Since I founded NESL in 2011, I have only ever wanted to help the NE to carry their babies, so returning to full-time employment is a very big step for me. Even though we are reducing the sessions we offer (and thus initially streamlining the number of slings stock slightly – removing duplicates of some slings), our commitment to helping parents to carry their children  remains and we will continue to invest in stock and training. For example, the new Minimonkey Twin sling will be joining library shelves in the coming days and I am completing the JPMBB consultancy course in April.

Best wishes and thank you for your understanding.


When can I carry after…?

Some of the most common queries I read are:

  • When can I carry after a c-sec?
  • When can I carry after giving birth?
  • When can I back carry?
  • When can I carry my baby?

There are others, but largely they fit into these categories. What they all have in common is they are all start “when can I”.

I have seen various responses to all of these questions over the years. Some of these have been worded better than others and some have just made no sense. Each time I read them (and more often or not reply), I think “I’ll blog about that”. Well, ta da. The key to all of these questions is you. There is no right or wrong for any of them. It is to do with you; your comfort, your confidence and your ability.

I have talked in detail about carrying after a caesarean in a separate blog so will focus primarily on the others here. However, in summary, as long as your feel comfortable to carry and there is no medical reason or complication, you can carry as soon as you want. This maybe the same day, day 7 or even 7 months, it’s your body, your baby and your choice.

When can I carry after giving birth?

Although the most common query I see here is regarding a caesarean birth, having a “normal” birth doesn’t mean that you can always carry immediately either. For many women, after a uncomplicated birth they may be quite comfortable to carry their new baby straight away. For others though, pre-birth, birth or post-birth complications or interventions can make using a sling the last thing you want to do. You do not need to wait till your 8 week check, after all a new baby wants carrying then, not in 4,5,6,7 or 8 weeks time.I have been in both camps. Following the birth of my eldest, I haemorrhaged and felt very unwell. It took me until 3 weeks after his birth (basically his actual due date), to feel comfortable holding him in arms let alone use the carrier we had. Isaac on the other hand was carried 8 hours post birth and he would he been worn earlier if he hadn’t arrived in the middle of the night. Both of these deliveries were technically “normal” vaginal deliveries but both could not have been more different or left me feeling more different. It was my knowledge of carrying by the time I gave birth to Isaac that gave me the confidence to carry him from the start. This does not mean that the “delay” I had in carrying Henry was the wrong thing, far from it, it was the right thing for me at the time. I listened to my body and went with it.

Listen to your body. Try it, if it is uncomfortable on day 1 try again in a few days. Be prepared that when ever you do start to carry that your body will need time to adjust. You are beginning a new form of exercise and as such your body needs to get used to it. Taking care not to over do it. There can be a feeling that we must get back to “normal” as quickly as possible after giving birth but remember you have just grown a new human being, your body has just gone through some major changes and there are lots of hormone changes that need to settle. It is perfectly ok to say something isn’t right for me today and to rest and allow yourself time to recover.

When can I carry my baby?

Newborn babies primary comfort zone is in the arms of their caregiver. Our chest and arms mean they are safe and this is why babies want and need to be held. It may seem odd but I am often asked if a parent is “allowed” to carry their baby. This can come in the form of questions regarding the age or size of the baby. It is understandable that new parents can be nervous about doing something wrong or hurting their precious bundle.

Fundamentally though, their is no minimum (or maximum) age or really minimum weight. For extremely premature or low birth weight babies, not all carriers will be suitable but that is where carrying consultants come in. We know what is suitable and what can be used and will work with you to find a solution. We may not be able to address your and their needs in a 10 minute Sling Library slot but we can use our expertise to support you. This may initially just be by providing the options that are available or more information on carrying, or it could be finding you a sling and teaching you to use it safely and confidently.

When can I back carry?

This one is controversial! There are some schools, primarily based on the continent, who will not teach back carrying to babies that cannot sit unaided, or who will not teach multilayer carries or show buckle carriers etc. This blanket “No” approach does not fit with me and most UK consultants. We want parents to feel empowered to do what is right for them and their family. The key once again is you. Do you have the skills needed (or willingness to learn them) to get your baby on and off your back safely? Are you confident you can monitor them? Is the environment in which you want to learn/try a safe and supportive one? If yes, then carrying them on your back can make life easier for you in some instances but it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong by continuing to front carry. There is no best before date on back carrying.

I hope this blog will give you a little confidence to try something new. Carrying your little one can be an amazing experience. It can allow you to feel empowered and maybe even a little bit like Super Mum. But do it when you feel ready. Don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t work straight away or think that because you haven’t carried them before that you have done something wrong or that you can’t start now. As Mums, we simply do what is best for our babies at that moment in time and what is best can change minute by minute, week to week.