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A day in the life of Eastbourne Sling Library

 A day in the life of Eastbourne Sling Library

   During the coming months Slumber-Roo will be introducing a number of guest blogges ranging from skilled babywearers offering peer support in a voluntary capacity, through to health professionals and mummy (& daddy) bloggers who just want to share the fun of parenting!

This week we’re pleased to introduce, “A day in the life of the Eastbourne Sling Library” written by Roamy Hunt who I’m sure you’ll agree, is a sling library inspiration!

  Roamy says:
“I didn’t discover babywearing until my first son was 6-months old. Once I did, I really wished I’d found out about it earlier - it would have made such a difference to both my life and my sons, and I’m sure would have helped reduce the bonding issues and post-natal depression I experienced. 
My second son was born in March 2011 and was carried from birth. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t imagine how people managed with two children under 2-years, without a wrap or baby carrier.

 

I set up Eastbourne Sling Library in July 2011 to help other parents discover their babywearing options and benefit from the wonderful advantages of carrying their babies. I wanted to help people and rather than set up a money making enterprise, so I decided to set up the Sling Library as an independent, impartial service. I don’t sell carriers or promote one brand above another. The Library is run as a non-profit making organisation and I work as a volunteer - my main aim is to find the right carrier for each individual’s needs and lifestyle.

With two very small children (William is nearly 3 and Thomas is 13 months) I can only run the Library on a part-time basis, attending groups when William is at Nursery or my husband is home at the weekend. Our local NCT has very kindly asked me to take the Sling Library to their Bumps & Babies group, which I attend twice a month. I also run a monthly Sling Library with another Mum I met through babywearing. In addition to these I offer postal hires and hires from my home, so most days there’s something Sling Library related happening!

The Library started off fairly slowly as I wanted to get the website and everything in place before doing any real promotion or attending groups. 9-months on and I can’t believe how popular it is and every day is different!” 

Here’s an account of a typical day for Roamy & Eastbourne Library:

  • 8.30am: Drop my eldest son off at Nursery. Stop by the Post Office on my way home to post a buckle carrier to a Mum in Wales who’s requested a postal hire.

  • 9am: My phone reminder alerts me to some baby carriers that are due back in 2 days time. I contact the hirer(s) by text or e-mail; check how they’ve been getting on and remind them the carrier is due back soon. I give them the option to extend their hire (if it’s not reserved) or return the carrier.

  • 9.30am: Pack up my ‘granny trolley’ for the NCT Bumps and Babies group. I take at least one of each type of carrier (buckle carrier, Mei Tai, stretchy wrap, woven wrap, ring sling). A lady had e-mailed me earlier in the week, interested in carriers for her 5 week old baby, so I make sure I include a couple of stretchy wraps and a ring sling for her to see. As well as the baby carriers I take all my paperwork – a folder with details of all the carriers in the library, loan forms, information about safe babywearing and other useful literature.

  • 9.40am: In the car with baby Thomas, I drive to Eastbourne and set up my little table for the start of the group at 10am. Thomas is a total star; happily watching the proceedings, safely snuggled up on my back.

  • 10am: It takes people a while to come over, but once the first person has come over to have a chat I’m pretty much non-stop for the next 1.5 hours. I have a few people dropping off carriers from their hires, so have a chat to them about how they’ve got on with them ... Some people come to the group specifically to see me and the Library which is always nice, but I also really like it when a parent who hasn’t heard of the Library comes over to ask about it and is really interested in how it works .... I spend my time chatting to each person about their individual needs – how old their baby is, what sort of scenarios they’re likely to be carrying in, who else will be using the carrier – then recommend various options to them. This generally ends in a demonstration (with a very obliging Thomas!) followed by them having a go with their own baby.

  • 11am: After contentedly chatting to me and waving to lots of the Mums and babies in the group, Thomas falls fast asleep on my back ... Some people are happy enough after their demonstration to go away and buy their own carrier, but most like to take advantage of the hire service; hiring their chosen carrier for a 2-week period to get a really good idea of whether it’s the right one for them ... Once they’ve decided to hire there’s a bit of paperwork to fill in, then they’re ready to go. Many people’s babies are so comfortable in their carrier that they end up keeping it on after their demonstration and their baby travels home in it – definitely a positive sign!

  • 11.30am: Pack everything up and head off home.

  • 12.30am: After some lunch, Thomas goes down for a nap and I get a chance to sort out the final bits of admin from the morning’s hires. I’m a bit of a spreadsheet geek, so have all the details of hires, due dates, monies received etc on various spreadsheets, which I update now. I also set up alerts on my phone to tell me when each carriers is due back so I can keep track of what’s coming in when ... When everything’s up to date I put away the carriers and put the returned carriers on to wash as necessary.

  • 7pm: The boys are in bed. I check my e-mails to see if there are any requests for information on the Library or for assistance to existing hirers ... I think it’s really important to stay in touch with people during their hire, to answer any questions they have and help as much as I can, so they really get the full benefit of their hire period. At the time of hire, I encourage people to e-mail or call me with any questions or concerns. I stay in touch primarily by e-mail, making suggestions of tweaks and adjustments they can make to get their carrier really comfortable during their hire period ... If there are any carriers due to go out by post tomorrow, I package them up. I also get out any carriers that are being collected from home.

  • 9.30pm: After my husband’s back from work (around 8pm) and we’ve had a chat and some food, I have a look through how the hires are going and if there are any carriers permanently on waiting lists. The Library’s popularity is rapidly increasing, so I need to stay on the look out for good-value, pre-loved carriers to meet demand. I have a quick look on the Natural Mamas babywearing forum for some additional carriers, before leaving the Sling Library work for today.

 

For further information on setting up a voluntary sling library, purchasing stock or completing peer support training, contact Slumber-Roo on 01803 859034, the School of Babywearing on 0300 800 1471 or visit: www.schoolofbabywearing.com