Can we talk money?

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.

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 rachel@northeastslinglibrary.co.uk 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.

Voila!!

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.

Carriers for All Campaign

charlotteI’m a little scared to share this but today I launched my first ever crowdfunding project. The aim of the North East Sling Library is to help as many families as possible in the North East to carry their babies big and small. In the nearly  6 years we have been running we have never applied for any form of funding and have self-funded from my savings in the early days and now day to day costs (insurance, new stock, etc) are covered by fees, so this is all very new for us. But I have a very specific plan and this blog is to tell you more.

We currently charge £5 for 2 weeks hire and £8 for 4 weeks (as of 1st May 2017 this will rise to £7 and £10). This can be reduced for families in receipt of means tested benefits (you can read more about this in our mission statement) but I know there are still families who could benefit from our help. This is where crowdfunding comes in.

gofundme

We have launched a Carriers for All Campaign  with GoFundMe. We are looking to raise £300 to help create a dedicated library of slings that can be hired free of charge for 3 months (and then at a nominal fee of £5 per month) for families with children with additional needs or life limiting conditions, or families experiencing PND (although we may be able to help other families too – the more help we receive the wider our remit can be). We have spent the last 18 months or so sharing stories of how our carriers (or a carrier) has helped families in a number of different situations. Here is a chance to be able to help even more. Families will need to be referred to us via a Health Care Provider (GP, HV, MW, Physio etc). Although, if you see a family you think would benefit but don’t fall under HCP category do send us an email (rachel@northeastslinglibrary.co.uk) and we can see if we can help. Further details of how to apply will be added to our website in the next few days.

We need your help. We initially want to raise £300 but the more we can raise the more families we can help. GoFundMe, unlike some crowd funding sites, pays out any donations, so this is very much an every penny counts project. This money will be used to buy carriers that can be used from birth (including premature baby) to preschool and beyond. There a number of thank you rewards available but we truly hope that people can see the benefit in this project.

I want to say thank you for the bottom of my heart and urge you to support us. To help our campaign just visit our GoFundMe page. It would be amazing if you can share the link too!

Best Wishes

Rachel

View More: http://alidover.pass.us/rachel

The day I have been dreading arrived.

Yesterday was a day of celebration as we attended a family wedding. It also marked a milestone. It was the first major occasion where I didn’t sling. 


Despite Isaac getting up at 4.50am,  he never flagged. He sang, danced and partied the night away until 9.40pm when exhausted he did collapse. Henry was also tired, so it was time to go home. I did have a Ring Sling with me: a Woven Wings Leaf Gold conversion, chosen as it matched my outfit. It was also the sling Isaac had chosen from the two available. The other being a Pavo Coy Hearts ring sling conversion.



I was sad. My husband didn’t let me out Isaac in the sling at 9.40 as he said it was “for your benefit only”. Carrying Isaac has been part of my parenting toolkit. Slings are part of my fabric. I can honestly say I felt heartbroken. My baby is not a baby anymore. He starts school in September. Last night when he was exhausted I wanted to carry him. It is what I have always done. I did feel like part of me was missing. The carries we have had over the last 4 years have been a major part of our relationship. They are what got us through the difficult days, the lack of sleep, reflux, the sleep apnea, teething, countless chest infections and just those bad days. Now to embrace the in arms cuddles from the fiercely independent little boy.

How did you cope when your carrying journey came to an end? Yesterday my ring sling lived in my bag, until eventually it was used as a shawl.

Reflections of a babywearing consultant and mother

Four years ago today I had just been discharged from Ward 8 of the University Hospital of North Durham, also known as ‘labour ward’ or the delivery suite.

Four years ago today I had just been discharged from Ward 8 of the University Hospital of North Durham, also known as ‘labour ward’ or the delivery suite. I had been there since 11am after being sent as an emergency by my community midwife following a routine 33 week appointment that morning. I had spent the previous evening and most of the night in agony. My bump tightening and feeling very sick. I had barely slept. I couldn’t eat. I felt, as the ‘On this Day’ feature of Facebook tells me, “like death warmed up”. 

Today it is Mother’s Day and I am blessed to be the mum of two beautiful boys and a loving husband. They have spoilt me rotten today.

  

Baby C thankfully did stayed put. The tightening’s continued and I spent most of the next 5 weeks on bed rest before ‘nesting’ kicked in at 39 and a bit weeks. Isaac was born at 40+5, a Born Before Arrival birth in just 18 minutes, he has been a whirlwind ever since. He is my carried baby. He is the one I carried from 8 hours old. Carried when he couldn’t feed, carried when breathing difficulties associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea meant he couldn’t breathe, carried as he recovered from countless chest infections and medical procedures, carried following surgery and carried to keep him close when he was scared. He is a definite ‘mummies boy’.

  

But Henry, carried for the practical reason of walking the dog is just as loving. This morning, he came downstairs, got a bowl, filled it with Special K and milk and carried it carefully upstairs to give me ‘breakfast in bed’. Nobody told him to do it, he came into the bedroom silently. I didn’t even know it was there. Unfortunately by the time I did it was inedible. But that isn’t the point. He did it for me, because I am his mum, because he loves me. He might be a true boy, rushing about at 100 miles an hour. Off without a second glance when we get to the school yard each morning but he knows I am there. From the little quick kiss that he plants on my forehead then walks away, or the hand he puts on my lap when he thinks no one is looking, they are his way of saying that I mean something to him. He made me a mother. He and Isaac have shaped my very being since the minute they were created.

 

Without them I would not be me. I am not just Henry’sMummy (my username on many a forum) or Henry and Isaac’s Mummy. I am Rachel but being Henry and Isaac’s mummy is a very big and special part of me.

Without them I would not be me. I am not just Henry’sMummy (my username on many a forum) or Henry and Isaac’s Mummy. I am Rachel but being Henry and Isaac’s mummy is a very big and special part of me.

The day before Isaac’s attempted arrival I had completed my first every babywearing consultation. I had finished my Trageschule Foundation course just 28 hours before. I had travelled nearly 600 miles in 4 days, completed a 2 day course and then a 90 minute consult (it was during that the pains started). And do you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. I completed my last consultation just 11 hours before he was born and restarted them just 3 weeks later.

I had finished my Trageschule Foundation course just 28 hours before. I had travelled nearly 600 miles in 4 days, completed a 2 day course and then a 90 minute consult (it was during that the pains started). And do you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I am honoured to be a carrying or babywearing consultant. I am honoured that so many Mother’s and Father’s let me into their homes, or come to mine, let me hold their precious bundles, their miracles of creation, carry them and show them how to do carry them too. Whether they are their biological children, the result of IVF, surrogacy or adoption, they are all special, they are all unique. Each family is unique. Each set of circumstances unique. I have completed hundreds of consultations since then. Thousands of hours are spent dedicated to helping each family, before, during and after their appointment. My own children are often the ones to suffer, while I answer the phone or an email. They want me but I know others want and need me too. It is a balancing act that I am still mastering.

  
 Four years since I qualified as a babywearing consultant I have gone on to complete 3 more consultancy training courses, I have grown my sling library, I have stopped teaching, I have become solely self employed with all the ups and downs it brings. I have shown strength I didn’t know I had. I have cried tears of joy and sadness. I have spent sleepless nights worrying about families and hoping that I have made their lives just a little bit easier. I am truly thankful for the life that my children have allowed me to lead. Without them and their need to be carried, I would not have found slings. I would not have found the mamas who shared their knowledge with me, I would not have found something I have a passion for and a belief in. Thank you to my boys, my husband and the hundreds of families who have asked me to help them. Thank you to my Mum, who is the reason I am here.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I hope you have enjoyed it. I hope you have been spoilt and I hope you have many, many more to come.