Sling libraries are popping up all over the country to help parents and parents to be, which is fabulous news! They exist to help parents distinguish the differences between slings and ensure that they purchase something they are going to find comfortable, safe and get full usage out of. We hear so many stories of people buying a sling as recommended by a friend or that they have seen advertised, only to get it and find it doesn’t work for them, is uncomfy or difficult to use. That is one of the many reasons why we are here; to let parents try on many types of sling and help them find one that works for them, without the financial inconvenience! Others reasons include hire for holidays (airports and holiday spots aren’t always buggy-friendly!), hire for the newborn period (birth to 6 months), and even experienced sling users use our service just to try out something different!
Each library works essentially in the same way; the library starts with a few slings which they hire out to customers for a small fee. Once those slings have been rented out a few times, more slings can be purchased with the hire fees received and so on. Some manufacturers offer us the chance to buy slings at special library rates, and very occasionally a manufacturer donates one to us. So essentially, the more hires we do the bigger and better our library will get!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the East London Sling Library?
The East London Sling Library is run by a team of volunteers – Annabelle and Mim, with occasional support from Becky & Jacki, co-directors of Slinging London CIC (which runs 3 libraries in North & East London). One or more librarians attend each session and set out all the slings and information. You need to make an appointment to visit the library, and the librarians will then help you choose a sling to try that meets your requirements. You will test it initially with the weighted demo dolls provided, and then again with your own child if they are awake and feeling cooperative.
What help can I get at the library?
All of our volunteers are qualified sling consultants or student consultant with a wide range of experience and training. We are able to teach basic usage of the slings we have in the library. As library sessions are usually very busy we are unable to go into great detail about the slings, and to avoid confusion we suggest a maximum of 2 slings to be tested at one visit. However we will always ensure that you know how to use the sling comfortably and safely before you leave.
Re back carrying, we are able to assess and tweak any carry you are already doing in any type of sling, as long as you are confident in getting your child on and off your back without help. If you wish to learn how to back carry from the beginning, or learn how to use a different sling (eg move from buckles to wovens) then we can only demonstrate these skills with a demo doll or a child over 18 months, able to cooperate in getting on and off your back safely. Otherwise please contact us for details of specialised workshops or 1 to 1 consultations.
Some people with additional requirements eg twins or tandem carrying (two children at at time), will usually need to book 2 appointments in order to have enough time to cover the extra safety information and skills.
If you are not sure if your circumstances can be covered in a library setting, or if they require an extra appointment slot please contact us before booking.
What if I need to get advice and time trying on several different slings?
If this is the case, it may be best for you to visit a local sling consultant. A consultation is a very detailed one on one session where you get full instruction on as many different slings as you want for as long as you need. You can find a list of all of the sling consultants in London here. Of course if you are not able to book a consultation for whatever reason, you are still more that welcome to come along to the library and we will help as much as we can, even if it takes more than one visit to find the perfect sling for your needs.
How do I hire a sling from you?
Please see how to hire a sling
How long is the hire period?
We hire out our slings for a standard 2 week period at East London, and you can normally extend your hire, for up to a maximum of 3 months. We also offer a special 3 month deal on stretchy wraps and Caboos. These cannot be extended as they are already at the maximum allowable hire length. However you may return the initial hire and hire a similar stretchy sling for another 3 months if one is available. For more information on extending your hire, please see the T&Cs.