My friend gave me this sling…

My friend gave me this sling…

So someone gave you their sling. Maybe they loved it, maybe they hated it, but either way, you are probably not sure what to do with it.


Here are 5 things to try first.


1. Find manufacturers instructions


This is the best place to start. Most brands tend to have a video or picture tutorial on how their sling works these days.


This is one of the times Google is your friend 😉


2. Practice with a teddy


Whilst you are getting to grips with clips, straps and the instructions, use a teddy in place of your baby.


This can help to remove some anxiety around hurting your baby, until you feel more confident with the steps to get your baby secure.


3. Try different slings



Just like we know the same bra style will not suit everyone, the same sling will also not be universally loved.


Even within the same family, care givers have different body shapes and needs. A sling that works with mum in the new born days might not work with another carer on a long walk.


There are lots of types available, and many traditions all around the world.


Have a look at the different sling types here or find your local sling library where you can hire slings too.


4. Look within your own community


There might be people within your own community who are skilled in traditional carrying or experienced with their own children.


Ask your communities elders, or approach someone who looks confident with a sling.


Most humans will be happy to help another parent master new ways to enjoy their little ones, honestly.


I love this Facebook page for an insight into traditional slings world wide.


5. Find Skilled help


If you are still struggling, finding skilled help can save you some time and frustration.


Think of a sling educator as someone who has been there, seen the common pitfalls and is trained to help find a solution that works best for you and your family.


Find your local skilled help here.


Or search your location with terms such as


Babywearing consultant /educator


Infant carrying consultant /educator


❤🧡💛💙💜


What ever you do, enjoy holding your little one. Food spoils, but little ones do not.


💜💙💛🧡❤


Find out more about me or how to work with me here.


What’s in a name?


Everything.





Beyond Babyhood is more than just a name, a business handle or a hashtag. It is a statement of purpose, a promise and an evolutionary normality.





Purpose





It is not one size fits all care.
It is not half hearted assistance.

It is care with a conscious focus on being inclusive and adjusting for inequalities in care.

It is meeting you where you are at, and empowering you to move towards your goal with confidence.

It is about lack of ego, if I am not the right person to work with you, we shall find the person who is.





Promise





It is skilled support, at the time you need it, for as long as you need it.





You do not need to feel lost, alone, over whelmed, or wonder where to turn.

I am not afraid to say, I do not know, but I will find out for you. Puzzles fascinate me and there is always a way to move forward. Some times, that looks like redefining your version of success.





Evolutionary Normality.





How ever long you aim to feed, it is A ok with me. If you learn to love what you are doing and want to keep going longer? I’m here for you too.





It is both normal, and natural to feed well beyond babyhood but most support and public opinion drop off after the early months.





Beyond Babyhood does not.









What next?





Join





online community of parents committed to breastfeeding Beyond Babyhood on Facebook.





Met me





face to face @ The Big Latch On & Workshops (2ns Aug)









Book





Visit my packages page to find out how to work with me.


What actually happens in a 1:1 session?


(Blurr to protect confidentiality)




Once we’ve agreed upon a date and time, I’ll send you a previsit questionnaire. This makes sure I know a bit about you before I come also helps us both plan what we are going to cover.





We start in your home, where you are comfortable and sessions last between 1-2 hours.





I’ll bring my bags with resources and slings with me and we’ll use which ever one’s seem to fit your situation.





Often support people are around too, to share in learning and support you.





But what do you actually DO?





Are you are wondering what just can you cover in a session with me?





What am are you going to get from it?





How is it really different to what is available for free locally?









Listening





No, you are not failing at this. Yes it is this hard and yes it will get easier (eventually).

Every family I help, get’s to tell their story. The highs, the lows and somehow the deepest darkest fears about parenting always make their way to the surface. This is a result of my honed listening skills and experience and training. Many of us rarely experience the true gift of being listened too, with out judgement or suggestion. Often, parents I work with discover the answers they need, where already inside of them!

The complex mix of hormones during the first months of parenthood, literally compel you to seek support and find the answers to your problems but many of us do not find the skilled support they need and its not uncommon to feel confused and conflicted by all the conflicting information presented to us by loved ones and professionals.





Love





You might be feeling lost, overwhelmed or struggling to cope with the intensity of your baby/child’s needs. What ever their age, what ever led you to me, I shall meet you with love and work with you to honor your unique situation.





Shared Learning





You might feel like no one has ever experienced your problems, or can understand the complexity of your scenario. It’s quite normal to feel this way and I would say that it is unlikely that there aren’t familiar themes within them that I have come across before.
I will say that every family I work with do teach me something new, sometimes this might be reaching medical conditions but often it related to the wonder of the human spirit and the resilience of families.
I am not an expert in anything, not even myself! But I am a specialist, I have read many books, studied for many hours so that you do not have too. I can give you a short cut to the answers you seek, and suggest ideas you might not have come across before.





Sometimes I might need to seek further answers from others, this is the wonder of being a chatty person with a huge network of other breastfeeding supporters to ask. Either way, you will never hear me say, I don’t know, I give up. If you chose to work with me, I will help you find the answers you seek, beyond babyhood.





Beyond Babyhood





Many parents feel a bit abandoned after the intense monitoring and supervision during their entry to parenthood. Breastfeeding support services are often targeted at newborns and it can leave you a bit lost.
I remember the loss of intense support so hard, especially when I felt most in need. So my services are different. Not only can I help you with problems you are experiencing now, we can stay in touch for as long as you need too, beyond babyhood.
If you sign up for one of the packages, you can join a clients only Whatsap group and The Quintessential package has monthly video meetings and you can keep on accessing skilled support alongside other parents who share a similar determination as you.





See also Babywearing Consultation





Common Topics





Here are some of the things we can cover during a session, with many able to be done online too. Book a Warm Welcome call to find out more and plan your sessions.









Antenatal breastfeeding preparation
Stretchy Wrap with newborns
Newborn breastfeeding support
Complex breastfeeding challenges

Introduction to slings
Troubleshooting your own slings
Starting solids
Biting

Refusal to breastfeed
Return to work
Tandem nursing
Night weaning

Toddlers and food
Night time parenting
Nursing manners
Ending breastfeeding

Woven wrap skills
Back Carrying
Preparing for Adoption
Debriefing breastfeeding experiences





and much more


10 things about the Who Code (infant milks)


The WHO code & your business.





So you run a baby business and some has mentioned the WHO code on marketing baby milk. They might have suggested that you are unintentionally violating it.

You are confused right? You are passionate about breastfeeding, how could you be doing something unhelpful?





Here’s what you need to know. This is COMPLEX issue. This is brief .





Thing 1 This is not just about hippies boycotting Nestle





Formula companies care about profit first. They do not care about families like we do.
If you are not convinced, try the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary or the film Tigers about Nestle.





Thing 2 Protects all, not just breastfeeding families





Parents need impartial information about feeding their babies, free from misleading or idealised marketing. It is available here via First Steps Nutrition





Thing 3 Advertising influences our behaviours





In the new age of sponsorship and social media, companies are finding even more inventive ways to reach parents. If you are paid by a code violating company to advertise their product, you are complicit in their sneaky ways. Do you mean to be?





Thing 4 When you know better, you can do better.





What you say and do online will reach many people. Make sure the partnerships and giveaways you do, are inline with your personal values.





The British Medical Journal just ended their advertising agreements with baby milk companies , its an interesting read.





Thing 5 There are good companies out there!





The Global Big Latch on have a fab recent blog with examples,





Think of a big brand in the baby world, there is a large chance they are





Known violators, Medela, Lansinoh, Mothercare.





Thing 6 Parents are being misled





All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities (APPGIFI) was formed to address these issues. You can invite your local MP to attend.





Thing 7 The ripples spread





The lure of a network of breastfeeding events with freebies is a sneaky way of increasing brand loyalty. You have a platform, why not use it to explain why you will *not participate in, or partner with events & companies who undermine breastfeeding?





Thing 8 Ethical sources of funding matter





There are many sources of funding for small businesses, other than the comity coin types. Usually, getting in contact with your local council will have resources. There is national lottery funding and many more. Yes this will take more effort, but it is honestly the right thing to do.





Thing 9 Supermarket community schemes





The WHO code and UK LAW prohibit a number of commonly ignored practices around sales of baby milk & food. For this reason, many organizations prohibit the use of their schemes. If you use one, you may find yourself being turned away from events who need to be WHO code compliant.





Thing 10 Closing off collatorations





Be mindful of your partnerships when you are seeking collaborative projects with other organisations. You may find, that Baby friendly healthcare teams refuse to work with you if you are unaware of the WHO code. An International Board certified Lactation Consultant would not be able to work with any known code violators or with someone who is in breach of their code of ethics. (Conflict of interests)





An International Board certified Lactation Consultant would not be able to work with any known code violators or with someone who is in breach of their code of ethics. (Conflict of interests)





More Information





Baby Milk Action (UK), Baby Feeding Law Group, The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN0 for reports and monitoring





First Steps Nutrition Impartial information on baby milk & food <5 years





Unicef Baby Friendly Health care teams





The original WHO code


How did I get here?


Tessa Clark
📷 by Elle Narbrook




I trained  for four years, in busy London Childrens hospitals as Paediatric nurse, qualifying in 2011.
After becoming a mother, I discovered a new thirst for knowledge in supporting mothers with carrying and feeding. 





So in 2016 I started a sling library in High Wycombe, undertook peer support training with the School of Babywearing. At the same time, I also began training to be a breastfeeding counselor (BFc) with a national breastfeeding organisation.






“I wanted to become the supporter I needed”






I became a carrying (babywearing consultant) in 2016 with Slingababy, whilst also completing my breastfeeding counselor training (Bfc). I was BUSY!  





Running two very busy voluntary groups, working part time AND being a mum, was too much for me and my family, so I handed over the sling library to its current custodian & it is still thriving.






I have spent years and a fair amount of money volunteering, and now it is time to offer my skills to you all, so I can save you some time and hard work.  





In 2018, after a few years nurturing my growing family and supporting mothers in the voluntary sector as a BFc, I made the commitment to undertake a year long breastfeeding specialist course (self funded!), with the aim of becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.





I sat the exam in Oct 2019 & the results are due end of Dec 2019..





Update..





I passed 😀 This wont be news to you if are reading this after 2020. I am excited to see what this new chapter will bring to my life.





 





These days..





I am supporting parents in their homes, and online with feeding and carrying.





I am teaching introduction to slings workshops with in The Village Midwives Postnatal course.





I am still also…





I am working one day a week in hospital as a Paediatric nurse. 





I am podcasting about feeding at carrying. 





as of 2020 I will be winding down my face to face breastfeeding counseling role.





Want to work with me?





If you feel I am a good fit to support you, I look forward to hearing from you soon 🙂 














Listening Skills


None of us are perfect, we live busy lives, often juggling many mental processes  at once. We try our best to listen to those we are supporting but sometimes we may fall short.





Honing in on listening skills can really help us offer more effective support. The photos bellow are adapted from a list by the Bloemfontein Samaritans. I discovered them as part of my breastfeeding specialist training and adapted them to share with you all 🙂 





This series of images is  about listening skills and what it looks like when you are listening and when you are not





I believe they are applicable to all situations, in all interactions with others, what ever your role is within that moment. I find these helpful in all my roles, from health care professional to babywearing consultant. 
I hope that with awareness ( and practice) we can strive to be aware of our flaws and do better for those we interact with on a professional and personal level. 









You are not listening when… 









You say you understand before you know me well enough.

You have an answer for my problem before I have finished telling you what it is.

You sense that my problem is embarrassing and you try to avoid it.

You are dying to tell me all your experiences which make mine seem unimportant.

You need to feel successful You come up with all the clever answers which have little to do with me.

You cut me off before I have finished speaking.

You are trying to sort out all the details and are not aware of the feelings behind the words.




You are listening when… 





You come quietly into my world and let me be.

You try to understand me when I do not make much sense.

You hold back your desire to give me advice.

You don’t take my problem from me but trust me to deal with it my own way.

You give me enough room to discover for myself why I feel upset and enough time to think for myself what is best.

You allow me the dignity of making my own decisions even though you may think I am wrong.

You don’t tell me that funny story you are just burning to tell.

You realise that how I take from you leaves you a bit tired and drained.

You grasp my point of view even when it goes against your sincere convictions.

You spend a short valuable time with me and make me feel it is forever.








Optional activity 





I invite you to have a look through them & reflect upon how they make you feel.
Do they ring true to you?
Do any remind you of a recent interaction?
Is there anything you will try to apply to your our skill set?
​Are there any you would add?

There is no need to share your thoughts, but naturally, I’d love to hear them.

Post activity thoughts.. 
We are not aiming to be free from our flaws, only aware of them so we can notice them in the moments that matter the most. When will you next give the gift of listening?




This blog piece forms part of my Slingababy consultancy project, we are tasked with sharing good quality information to benefit the whole baby wearing community. 
Photo Credit – Alex Cetra Photography 
Woven Wrap – Didymos Arora

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