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Hi I’m Jen, mum to Elodie, now a year old, and I’m a passionate baby wearer!You will see us mooching about town or walking along the river in my ever growing collection of slings.
I recently turned my passion into my living – I run Sling Swing in Reading and Wokingham. Sling swing is a fun, gentle dance class for parents and carers who wear their children in slings or carriers. It’s a great way to get out and meet new friends, to get a bit of exercise and introduce your baby to music and rhythm.
How did you get into babywearing and did you plan to wear your baby when you were pregnant?
I initially bought a mothercare carrier when I was pregnant thinking it looked useful, I didn’t know that was a bit different to a sling at the time. My cousin bought me a stretchy though and talked about the benefits, it all sounded a bit hippie to me back then but I figured it might be useful!
What’s your favourite wrap/carrier you’ve ever owned and why?
Definitely my stretchy, it got me through a really hard time and allowed me to bond with Elodie, I have such happy memories of using it and have lent it to 2 other friends so they can make good memories too.
If money were no object, what wrap or sling would you own?
I’m not actually a huge wrap buyer and am pretty happy just with what’s useful and comfortably but I have seen some beautiful Oschas!!
What do you like about babywearing?
So much, baby wearing came into its own for me when Elodie was only tiny. She was a baby who never wanted to be put down and so I started wearing her for practical reasons but it became so much more!
I found the early months very hard, I worried constantly that I was doing it all wrong (thanks to lots of unhelpful advice!) and was eventually diagnosed with post natal anxiety. I was lucky to get great support but really, baby wearing was the best treatment! When I wore Elodie she was calm, and so was I!I could get out and about, people would ask about my wrap or say how comfy she looked. I started to think maybe I wasn’t so terrible at being a mum (as I’d come to believe!) I would feel proud with my baby strapped to me – like nature intended it and despite all the “rod for my own back” comments I wanted to shout “look what I can do” as I wandered about the shops while stroking her back or seeing her look up and smile at me!
Baby wearing, is now a passion of mine and I recommend it to all my friends! I’ve made some brilliant friends through wearing and that’s really helped me feel more confident and just happier all round! I should add that I still love the ease of wearing, being able to go wherever we like with no stress about whether a buggy will cause us a huge hassle! I go into London a lot and it just makes everything so much more accessible!
What do or did you find hardest about babywearing?
Tough question! I guess just the, admittedly few, negative comments I still get. I am sensitive to them as they fuel the anxieties that really affected my first few months as a mum, but luckily, I’ve got great support from the Reading baby wearing group and others like this one, so I’m able to have a whinge and laugh it off!
Does your partner join in with the babywearing?
Yep, he loves buckles, our connecta is his fave, or “the red one” as he calls it!!
What kind of comments do you receive when you babywear out and about? Mostly just comments on how cute Elodie looks all snug etc, I once got chased down the road by an African lady wanting to know where my wrap (Lenny lamb) was from as it “reminded her of home!”
Thanks to Jen- we are really looking forwards to Sling Swing coming to little old Bracknell with a free taster tomorrow morning!