A Sheffield mum has spoken about the life-changing effects using a sling has had on raising her children.
When she became pregnant with her first child, Cat Regi, aged 34, planned to use a baby carrier.
But when she discovered her unborn son had bilateral talipes, a condition affecting the foot and ankle, her need for a sling became even more important.
“Luckily I had already found a sling library before Arthur arrived, so I was able to plan ahead and find a sling that would work with his full leg casts as well as the boots and bar he would have to wear for the first six months of his life,” said Cat.
“The sling gave me flexibility. We could get fresh air walking the dog and on days when I felt down, I could hold my screaming baby close even when I didn’t want to, until we both calmed down.
“Our second child Holly arrived recently and I am loving carrying her constantly while I chase my lively toddler. She snoozes while I cook, read books, paint and build towers with the toddler.”
Cat, who lives in Loxley, is one of the team of volunteers behind the Northern Sling Exhibition, which is returning to Sheffield on Saturday March 4.
The free event at Sheffield University’s Octagon will see hundreds of families from across the UK gathering to learn about and celebrate the benefits of carrying.
“I would encourage anyone who is curious about slings to come along to the NSE, speak to the experts and give carrying a try,” added Cat.
“Carrying has helped me stay afloat with both babies for totally different reasons, so come and see if it can work for you too!”
Building on the success of the first exhibition in 2015, this year’s free show promises to be even bigger and better, with seminars and workshops to help parents and carers learn all about slings and carrying. As well as a soft play area to keep smaller visitors entertained.
Seasoned sling users will also find much to enjoy with a market place offering the chance to chat to the faces behind popular brands, including Connecta Baby Carriers and Baie Slings.
The NSE is the brainchild of Sheffield GP and Sling Librarian Dr Rosie Knowles. The mum-of- two found using a sling an invaluable tool when she had her own children, and has spent the last five years working with a team of volunteers to educate and enable parents to use carriers with their children.
Rosie said: “We are so excited to be holding the NSE in Sheffield again this year. The first event was a great success, and we are hoping to reach out to even more people this time round.
“The positive effects of carrying our babies is considerable. The evidence for all the good things it brings is becoming increasingly well known as research continues. Carrying in arms and in a sling really does matter - families thrive when children are carried.
“We want to reach out to families who may be curious about carrying, and to provide an opportunity for health care professionals who work with families to find out more about this valuable parenting tool.”
To keep up to date with all the latest news about the NSE, follow @NSE2017 on Twitter, or visit www.facebook.com/NorthernSlingExhibition. Visit www.NorthernSlingExhibition.co.uk for details.