Rosie Knowles is dedicated to helping families to thrive.
When the part time GP is not caring for her patients, Rosie – who lives with her husband Robert and their two children in Nether Green – runs the Sheffield Sling Surgery and Library and the Sling Spot shop, dedicating her efforts to helping people find the right baby carrier to build essential emotional connections.
Rose, aged 41, said: “My first child, who is now ten, never liked to sleep during the day and would wake like clockwork at 8pm. Always at 8pm, the vibrating monitor that I had to wear would go off and I would then spend my evenings walking up and down, hoping he would go back to sleep. As soon as I laid him down, he would wake again and my heart would sink.
“My best friend had a baby who never wanted to be put down and had decided to try ‘babywearing’ to see if it helped. Her baby loved it and cried far less, and so I gave babywearing a try. I bought a stretchy wrap which I found rather difficult due to the lack of clear instructions and had no-one to ask for advice, but my little boy loved it and it helped him sleep. He was much happier upright and close to me -which is entirely normal for vulnerable little people.
“I soon realised that by having him close to me, two things happened. One, as I could feel and see him on my front all the time, I became much more attuned to him and his movements and was quickly able to work out why he was shifting about before he became angry and upset. We didn't need the monitor anymore, as we were communicating through touch. I also realised my quick responsiveness to his needs meant that I was shaping his brain; he was becoming more confident that I understood him, and that I was there.
“When my little girl arrived, I carried her everywhere in a sling and people would stop me and ask how they could do the same thing. I realised that there wasn't enough support and help around for new parents wanting to build this close connection. So a few friends and I decided to set up a sling community in Sheffield, to offer support.
“Babies love being carried and parents love it too. Parents kept telling us how much easier life was, how it helped to ease their postnatal anxiety or depression and how much calmer babies were.
“In only a few months we were lugging multiple suitcases of slings to cafes, church centres, theatres and sports centres all over Sheffield and lending the slings out; the Sheffield Sling Surgery and Library was born.
“Five years later, we have helped thousands of parents to carry their children.”
Visit www.sheffieldslingsurgery.co.uk to find out more about the Sling Surgery, and www.sling-spot.co.uk for the Sling Spot shop.
Visit www.building-bonds.org to refer a family to the Building Bonds Project for free support.