I'm Zoë, and I live in Dorking, Surrey
I studied Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and graduated with a first class degree with honours, studying topics including Child Development and Attachment theory.
I then worked in retail management as an operations manager and commercial manager in central London before having children. We lived in London so we used a sling (a narrow based carrier) for practical reasons with our eldest Mai, who was born in 2008. I can't remember why we bought that particular one and we have very few pictures of me carrying her in it but some of Daddy.
We stopped using it after 6 months or so as it had become uncomfortable to use. One day on a train journey I saw a woman carrying an older child in a sling and I asked her what it was called and where she had bought it. I simply did not realise more slings were out there! And so I bought the same soft structured carrier (SSC), which we used until she was nearly 3 years old.
The next chapter of our lives started when we moved to Dorking, Surrey when Mai was 13 months old. Not knowing anyone locally, I decided to volunteer with Dorking NCT. In 2012 I helped to set up the sling library to try to help other parents on their journey.
By this point there were many more slings on the market and it could be quite tricky to know what would work without having the chance to try one on as most were sold online with only a few shops selling slings.
We became a family of four when along came Charlie in 2013, I had already bought a stretchy sling and as Mai was at preschool, he was in the sling from the early days. We then moved onto the SSC we had used for Mai, as both myself and my husband found it comfy and easy to use.
When Charlie got bigger, around 16 months old, it was no longer as comfortable and we decided to buy a toddler sling as we were carrying him far more frequently than we had Mai. Having 2 children was very different to having 1! Mai was at school and it was helpful for the school run to have him close to me, as well as making steps and crowds easy to navigate.
I continued to carry him during my pregnancy with our 3rd baby, time pressures on the school and preschool run meant we needed to be quick, which the sling was. I bought a fleece wrap for our January baby, Jude who arrived in January 2016 and I was back doing the school run on day 4 as a family of 5, tandem carrying the 2 boys. I enjoyed wrapping him so I moved onto a woven wrap and now have a collection of wraps too as well as a variety of other slings.
We also enjoy exploring the wonderful Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty that we are lucky to live in. Using slings/carriers mean we can do walks that otherwise would be inaccessible by any other means.
I really enjoy helping parents on their journey into parenthood through using slings, based on my experience and through running the sling library and I wanted to further my learning so undertook consultancy training with Slingababy in June 2016.
I set up The Sling Consultancy, to be able to offer a variety of services. In order to complete my training I also wrote an article that was featured in Juno Magazine in the Winter 2016 issue on Toddler Carrying and why this is important.
I attend continuing professional development (CPD), usually twice yearly, with Slingababy. These help me to keep current with my skills and up to date with research etc as well as learning about other areas linked to parenting and the ethos around this.
I was involved with the "Why Dads Babywear" project set up by Babywearing with Jess to raise awareness for dads and how carrying is important for them too. This has been turned into a paperback book which you can buy and is great to use as a tool to show parents the variety of carrying options and the many varied reasons why people choose to carry their child(ren).
Slingababy Consultancy training 4 day course June 2016
Slingababy CPD Oct 2016
Biomechanics in Babywearing 1 & 2 - Hayley Standell
Carry on London CPD November 2016
Slingababy CPD March 2017
Language surrounding Disability - Becky Derham, Slinging London
Slingababy CPD March 2018
Normal Infant Behaviours - Emily Fackrell, CalmFamily
Calling the Change Makers - Sophie Christophy
MBCC CPD sponsored by Slingababy October 2018
Perinatal Mental Health & Supporting Parents - Dr Ruth Butterworth & Dr Amy Woolston
Action on Post-Partum Psychosis Workshop - Katy Chachou
Carrying & Breastfeeding - Lorette Michallon, Slingababy
Why Carrying Matters for Dads - Bob Betts, Little Possums
Carrying with Special Considerations - Nicole Hastie & Leigh, Vija-Designs
How Many Layers? Carrying and Core Temperature - Parent Science Gang
Postpartum Physiology and Carrying- Sundeep Watkins
Building Better Brains - Emily Fackrell, CalmFamily
Slingababy CPD March 2019
I offer a variety of workshops which cover a specific topic. These run regularly in Dorking. Alternatively I can run a workshop with your own group in your home or a suitable location (minimum 4 people) perfect for NCT or antenatal groups or those with a shared interest.
Topics we can cover include:
Introduction to Carrying
Introduction to Wovens
Backcarrying in a Woven
Introduction to Ringslings
Using Slings in a childcare setting (nursery, preschool, childminder)
Using Soft Structured Carriers/buckles
Backcarrying in buckle carrier
Workshops are a relaxed environment where we talk through the topic, as well as plenty of hands on practice with our demo dolls. Includes hand outs and follow email with links etc as well as unlimited support from me after. See the Events page on my website or my facebook page for details of upcoming workshops and events or get in touch to book.
Bump to Baby - An introduction to Carrying
Lasts around 90 minutes. It covers the 4th trimester, normal infant behaviour, postnatal period and how carrying helps your baby to adjust to their new world and you to adjust to becoming a parent! We go over a selection of slings using the demo doll to practice to narrow down the choices and go through how to use these in depth. Once your baby is born we have a 1 hr follow up as part of the consultation.
COST : £65
Newborn to 4m - An Introduction to Carrying
Lasts around 60 minutes. Covers similar to above, trying with a demo doll and your own child, no follow up session.
COST : £35
Introduction to SSCs
Lasts around 60 minutes. Introduction to soft structured carriers. We can look at front, hip or back carries (1 of these in depth) trying with a demo doll and your own child.
COST : £35
Introduction to Wovens
Lasts around 90 minutes. Woven wraps offer a huge amount of flexibility in terms of carrying and can be used in many different ways and can seem overwhelming. This session helps you to understand the terms and types of woven wraps and how to tighten effectively. We focus on 1-2 carries ensuring you learn the skills to wrap safely and confidently.
COST : £45
Lasts 30mins. This is ideal if you need some troubleshooting help with a carrier or sling you have already or have attended a workshop and wish to go over something in more detail or if you've had a consultation and need a shorter session to follow up.
COST : £15 for 30mins
Other topics I can cover include:
Using a ringsling
Back carrying with a Woven
Tandem carrying (twins or 2 children of different ages)
Carrying in a childcare setting (childminder, nursery or nanny)
All clients have access to full email support ,including images with troubleshooting tips, videos and access to discount codes from many retailers including brands such as Hana baby, Caboo, Boba, Connecta, Lillebaby, Ergobaby, Tula and many more.
For travel over 8 miles a mileage fee is charged at 40p per mile and additional time is charged at £8 for time over in 15mins blocks.
Get in touch via email for rates and to discuss your needs further.