What is a Babywearing Consultant?

Aimee Gourley (3)

Babywearing consultants have undertaken thorough training on the benefits of babywearing and how to teach others (e.g. mothers, fathers and other carers of babies and children), through practical demonstration of safe baby carrying methods using a variety of slings or other ergonomic carriers taking into account anatomy and physiology for optimal positioning of baby and carrying adult.

Many, including me, have additional higher level babywearing qualifications that allow them to offer consultations to carers and their babies who have special needs requirements e.g. babies with talipes, low muscle tone, Down’s syndrome, premature babies; carers with back problems, caesarean section, mobility problems, physical disabilities etc.

Frequently, babywearing consultants are also qualified in other capacities relevant to new parents e.g. GP, midwife, doula, adult educator, early years teacher, counsellor, breastfeeding peer support, reiki and other practitioners. Almost all babywearing consultants are parents who have carried their babies and have considerable first-hand experience in babywearing, hence the motivation to train as a consultant.

Free and Paid For Services

Babywearing consultants operate both free and paid for services through slingmeets and consultations/workshops respectively.

Free Services – Slingmeets

If you require troubleshooting help from a trained babywearing consultant, or would like to meet other parents who carry their babies, consider attending your local/most convenient slingmeet. Slingmeets are social occasions to eat cake and chat all things babywearing with the added bonus of tapping into the knowledge of the trained babywearing consultants in attendance. Consultants also like to have the opportunity to engage in the social occasion and frequently have their children with them, as I do.

Slingmeets can be very busy which means that consultant advice is limited to quick how-to demonstrations, often but not always, to the whole group. A small donation to cover room hire and refreshments is usually requested, like most parent and toddler groups.

Here in Northern Ireland we are lucky to have two groups which operate slingmeets to provide specific babywearing support by voluntary trained babywearing consultants: they are Babywearing NI and Sling Library NI. In the south of Ireland, Babywearing Ireland are on hand.  I have had the pleasure of volunteering with all three groups.

Babywearing NI

Website: http://babywearingni.co.uk/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BabywearingNI

Sling Library NI

Website: http://www.slinglibraryni.co.uk/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SlingLibraryNI

Babywearing Ireland

Website: http://www.babywearingireland.ie/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/babywearingireland

Paid for services – Consultations and workshops

Many babywearing consultants offer private consultations and group workshops for a fee.  These provide the opportunity for parents and carers to access the undivided attention of their babywearing consultant. It is good practice for the consultant to request some preliminary information from you in order to meet your needs and expectations during the time you have together. Private consultations and group workshops normally last 60-90 minutes and can occur in your home, the consultant’s home or a hired venue. During this time you can explore any questions you may have about babywearing without waiting in a queue or rushing as someone else is waiting. The majority of consultants will arrange childcare for their own children, or have another carer present, in order to focus on you. You can learn significantly more in a consultation or workshop than you can at a slingmeet.

Regardless of which method of learning you choose, it is important to know that all are available in order that you can select the best option that meets your needs.  Parents often attend all available options: slingmeets, consultations and workshops.  Please note: I no longer offer my consultation services but continue to advocate for better support for parents and parents-to-be in Northern Ireland.

Aimee Gourley NI

Babywearing Consultant & Breastfeeding Peer Supporter

All content copyright Aimee Gourley NI 2015

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