You might be wondering what exactly a sling or babywearing consultant is? You might also be wondering why you should see one - what can they offer that your friend who babywears can't? Why should you spend your money on a consultation (which is often in short supply whilst on maternity leave) when you can borrow a friends sling for free? I'll try to answer those questions (and probably more, because I'm known to ramble!) in this post.
So, why should you visit a babywearing consultant?
They've undertaken extensive training
Not only will they be parents with a good few years of babywearing experience under their belt, they will have attended a recognised training course with one of the UK training schools (Slingababy, School of Babywearing or Trageschule are the three main ones). Personally, I have trained with School of Babywearing, on an accredited course with a formal qualification upon completion. While each course is different, they all strive to achieve a high standard of education for their consultants, meaning you can be assured that your consultant will know their stuff.
They understand your body and your babies body too
Pregnancy and the hormones of the postnatal period affects your muscles, your ligaments and your posture, not to mention your digestive system and breasts. Did you know it can take a full 12 months for your body to fully recover after the birth of your baby? A babywearing consultant will take your postnatal recovery in to account when suggesting a suitable sling or carrier, and will find one that will work with your body, rather than fighting uncomfortably against it. They also understand the importance of protecting your babies natural physiology when finding a suitable sling. This is especially important for newborns when they are still developing and adjusting to life outside the womb.
Your sling consultant not only knows the safety guidelines, but she can tell you why they exist, the theory behind them, and how to apply them (taking in to account your babies age and your sling). Sling safety is so important and observing the safety guidelines will soon become second nature as you understand what they are there for.
They know how to find the perfect sling for you
Your friend might have an awesome looking sling that she says is super comfortable, but you try it on and it just doesn't feel right. You might have a sling at the moment, but it's causing you pain or your baby seems unhappy. When it comes to slings, what suits one person may not suit another - choosing a sling is as personal as choosing a wedding dress, and you really have to try a few on to know that 'the one' is 'the one'! A sling consultant will chat to you and ask questions, and taking in to consideration your answers, suggest a few slings to try that may work for you and your families individual needs. If you go to a sling consultant with an open mind, it may very well be that you leave with something different to what you expected! Regardless of your final choice, your consultant will make sure you and your child are both safe and comfortable
They will give you one to one attention
Booking a consultation guarantees you 1-2 hours of time focused solely on you and your baby. This allows you the opportunity to try and practice with a number of carriers till you feel confident using your chosen sling independently. Whether your consultation takes place in the consultants home or your own, you will be in comfortable surroundings, with time to tend to your babies needs as they require it. This means you will be calmer, able to learn more effectively and get your questions answered as and when they arise. It doesn't matter whether you're completely new to babywearing, or carrying already - having the personal attention of a trained consultant means you will get the most from your new sling.
They know all the tricks
Can't get your Connecta straps off your neck? Ring slings got you ruffled? Does wrapping leave you in a hot, sweaty mess? A consultant will be able to share you with you tips and tricks of the trade that will make things a whole lot easier. Save yourself from hours of endless youtube watching, and learn first hand the whys and hows - the secrets of slings are easily revealed when you have an expert on hand to help! Consultants not only know the tricks, they know how to teach them too in a way that is easy to understand (even for those suffering from terrible baby brain!)
They have all the slings
Chances are, your sling consultant will have most types of slings available for you to try (usually purchased at their own expense) and if they don't, they will be able to source one to save you the cost of purchasing. Most consultants will run libraries as well, and hire may even be included in your consultation fee!
They understand when things get complicated
Your baby may have been born prematurely, or with a low birthweight. Your baby or child may need assistance with breathing or feeding, or suffer from a disability. You might have a disability yourself and need help to choose the best sling for you. If you had a caesarean or complicated delivery, you might need more specialised advice on wearing your baby in the early postnatal period. And if you've had twins, you might want to find out how to carry them both at the same time. When things get a little bit more complicated, a sling consultant is able to take the fear out of learning to use a sling and enable you to carry your baby whatever situation you find yourself in.
They are insured
Boring I know, but important all the same. A babywearing consultant will be insured to give advice, hire slings and run consultations, demonstrations and workshops. Your consultant will maintain good practice at all times, meaning you benefit from a professional and competent service. Regardless of the age of your baby and child, and your previous babywearing experience, a consultation sets you up for success right from the very start.
I hope this has helped you understand a little bit more about sling consultants and why they charge for their services. If you want a truly personal, one to one service for you and your baby, then do please feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements