I have run the sling library for almost 10 years. We will celebrate our 10th birthday on 11th July. Over those 10 years, I have helped hundreds of families both in person and online, for free and in paid appointments. There are opportunities for both types of support, but fundamentally consultations appointments cost. I want to explain why.
Since we founded in July 2011, we have only raised on prices from £7-10 for 4 weeks hire, and my consultancy fees have never changed as I have wanted to keep the sling library accessible to as many families as possible. Sling hire (excluding postage costs) around 33p a day and I will keep it as low as possible for as long as possible. While we were building the sling library, it was entirely self-funded, we have never received any funding and this will be the case for majority of sling libraries. It is surprising, but we are not funded like breastfeeding support etc. Some libraries are lucky to have received charity funding but this is not the case for everyone. Yet, there are regularly people who ask why they have to pay to see a carrying consultant.
There is a limit on what support I can give in a library setting or free via online support groups, and this is where a consultation is more preferable option. A consultation is your chance for a personalised service. I would never imagine or expect my chiropractor, physiotherapist, hairdresser, podiatrist or beautician to provide a free service (if lockdowns have taught us anything it is the value of these services), yet it is a common experience amongst carrying consultants. There are many reasons for this. I feel these primarily come from the relative newness of our industry and that traditionally carrying was a skill passed from generation to generation.
Why does it cost?
- Training with 3 different carrying schools since 2012
- Annual liability insurance to keep you and me safe
- Professional body memberships (BABI and now ACESL)
- Travel costs associated with attending CPD
- Buying slings to stay up to date with the market and to allow you the a wide selection
- Marketing and advertising
- Personalised service dedicated to your needs
- 30-90 minute private appointment in a dedicated consultation space
- Pre and post consultation support via email/Facebook etc
- Making of support materials
- The knowledge I have amassed, the ability to spot small tweaks that will improve comfort and fit
- In current climate, risk assessments and enhanced Covid secure measures (extra cleaning, masks etc)
- Charging for consultants allows me to also then offer free appointments to those in need, and the ability to offer free support online
NESL is here to help you make informed decisions based on our knowledge and skills, and current research and best practice, if you feel you need more support. We will continue to improve our skills through training, Continuous Professional Development and practise, but ultimately that means there will be a cost.
That’s why I and carrying consultants around the country charge.