RACHEL BARLOW, SLING CONSULTANT, MIDWIFE, MUM OF TWO.
My name is Rachel and I am a local East Dulwich midwife & mum of two little ones. I provide NHS midwifery care, as well as midwife-led antenatal classes with my friends and colleagues at The Group Antenatal, where I specialise in half-day refresher courses for parents expecting their second baby. I am also one of the founders of Takes A Village pop up hub for parents.
As a midwife, I've known about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact after birth for a long time: it helps babies to regulate their temperature, breathing and heart rate, as well as helping parents and babies bond in those early hours, days or weeks. However, I'd never heard of 'babywearing' and had no idea about the benefits of carrying a baby beyond those first few hours, or days.
Then, in November 2014, my own daughter was born, after an induction of labour and a week long stay in the special care baby unit. We came home exhausted, emotional and with a little 5lb12oz baby who woke hourly through the night and cried whenever she wasn't held. Whilst I had told so many parents about the 'fourth trimester' and knew this was quite normal, I also realised quickly that even being a midwife can't prepare you for the relentlessness of becoming a mum to a newborn for the first time! Slings became such an important tool for my family, and for many of my friends, that I became really interested in supporting other parents to use them too.
When my son was born in August 2016, it was a whole new learning curve juggling 'two under two'! This time, I learnt to breastfeed in the sling, or in a carrier as he got bigger, which was a godsend for impromptu feeds in the park or supermarket. I trained as a Babywearing Consultant with the UK School of Babywearing, met Katharine, and London Slings (then East Dulwich Slings) was born.
Whatever your parenting 'philosophy' (or complete lack thereof!), whether you are a mum or dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, childminder or nanny, if you think a sling could help make your life that bit easier, then we look forward to meeting you!
Katharine Boylan, Sling Consultant, Primary School Teacher, Mum to Beth
I'm Katharine, mum to 1 year old Beth and live near Brixton. I worked as a Primary School Teacher locally for over 10 years before having Beth and then finding things heading in a bit of a different direction.
I was introduced to 'babywearing' by a close friend who was passionate about the amazing benefits for you and your baby, as well as the great practical help it can be. With her advice, I bought a couple of stretchy wraps which I used with Beth from birth and we both loved the closeness and cuddles it bought us as well as meaning we could whizz around London on tubes, buses and in and out of shops with ease. It meant that Beth was able to nap peacefully on me where she wanted, and I was still hands free to get on with things or just have a coffee and some cake! As she grew, I have loved having her right there so we can chat and share things as we go around and see the world together.
I was fortunate to get some really good support and help as Beth got bigger and our needs changed and we were able to try out some different slings to see what worked best for us. I wanted to find a way to pass on that to other parents who may need it.
I then met Rachel who had just founded London Slings (then 'East Dulwich Slings') and I was really excited to get involved with helping and advising local parents and being part of their parenting journey. I trained initially as a Peer Consultant with The School of Babywearing, and then as a Sling Consultant with Slingababy.
I can't wait to meet you and your little ones and find a way to help you carry your baby and enjoy all the fab benefits it can bring.