Path to successful Babywearing

Whether you are new or old to babywearing I am sure you have come across the many acronyms like Ticks, Hands, and ABCs when it comes to safely babywearing. As part of my Slingababy training we covered a few of these and tried to remember what the letters meant. I hate to add to the list of them, but I am going to anyway because it has worked really well for me and the people who use my Sling Library.

Whenever anyone asks me if their carry is okay, I always go through the same check in my head. Position, Airway, Temperature, and Happiness.

  • Position – Upright, chin off chest, fully supported, tilted pelvis, curved lower back, feet free, and head in alignment with the rest of their body.
  • Airway – Face clear, visible, free airflow, again making sure the chin is off their chest.
  • Temperature – Wear layers, (You and Baby,) favour comfortable loose and light clothing. Bear in mind the thickness of the carrier, and how many layers it is. Make sure you and baby are well hydrated. Legs, Head, Feet and Hands protected from elements.
  • Happiness – Are you both happy? Don’t ignore your intuition, you know yourself and your baby best. As long as you are both safe and happy the rest will fall into place eventually! If either/both of you aren’t happy – step away from the sling! Have a break, come back to it later if you can.

As well as these points we still always refer to Ticks or ABC or whichever the individual finds easiest to remember. We all have different things that stick out to us and that we find easier to recall. But feel free to use this my acronym as a PATH to successful babywearing!

And just in case like me you sometimes need a refresher on TICKS here it is!

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Keep Kent Breastfeeding!

Today (8th February 2018) in my home town of Maidstone, I attended a petition debate to try and protect the amazing breastfeeding services we have here in Kent. Little did I know that despite being able to attend, I could not take part!

The Councillors were so happy to see so many of us ‘strong empowered women’ attending with our gorgeous little babies, they just didn’t want to hear from us!

Our novelty definitely wore off after we denied them a photo opportunity. Yes – they honestly told us they didn’t have time to hear from us, but did have time to pose for a picture! The message was clear.

We should be seen, but not heard.

You know it isn’t going to go well when the age old line of “not everyone can breastfeed” gets rolled out. Yes it is true – not all women can breastfeed – but when only 1% of women breastfeed past 6 months I can say with confidence that we as a species haven’t lasted this long with 99% of mums unable to breastfeed.

In 2010 there was a high for the UK of 83% breastfeeding from birth, by 3 months that figure drops to 17%, and like I already said – it’s just 1% past 6 months. People are starting to breastfeed, why are they stopping? I can’t speak for everyone but I can tell you why I stopped with my first. I was failed by the ‘professionals’ around me.

I was told to top up with formula, and even given the milk by the hospital! I wasn’t told how to express milk, how often, or how important it is to do so to stimulate supply. I don’t blame these ‘professionals’ – because after today I have learnt that when it comes to KCC – qualifications don’t matter when it comes to breastfeeding.

The question was raised, repeatedly, of what training the health visitors replacing the current service would have. What training the people at all these clinics and drop ins would have. The question was repeatedly dodged and swerved.

I can tell you these specialists would have a 2 day course, basically the equivalent of what our peer supporters currently have. They will also have leads that are ‘passionate’ and have a ‘special interest’ in breastfeeding.

I have a passion and special interest in politics, it doesn’t make me a politician! It’s not going to let me have a say in what’s being discussed today! Because it’s not enough.

This is not enough. This will fail so many families all over our county.

It’s simply quantity over quality.

This proposal is being portrayed as an improvement, but it is just diluting the expertise available, and this will be make or break for a lot of breastfeeding families. This will affect babies with tongue tie and those who need specialist help. We are fighting for these people, that’s why we are asking the questions of what accreditation they will have and how often they can be accessed.

We were told to ‘trust them’, and that the ‘status quo’ just won’t do, and to not ‘stress out’ over change (yes it really was that patronising – you should watch the webcast!) I fear they are so set in their minds that they don’t realise we aren’t campaigning for things to stay the same, we aren’t scared of change. We are scared of losing access to this specialist help that is so vital to succeeding.

We want to KEEP KENT BREASTFEEDING.

We just want future parents to be able to not only choose how to feed their children, but to reach their goals. Whether that be with our current system, or with the new one, we just want them to at least be as qualified, and accessible, and anything extra is obviously a bonus! We are never going to object to more groups, but when are they? Where are they? Who is going to be there? We were given none of these answers today.

And that is why we will keep fighting. We are so lucky to have such an amazing family community here in Kent, as shown by the turn out at this debate, and the numbers who signed the petition.

We have until March 7th to keep persisting. Ask your local Councillor, and/or MP for these answers. Hold them accountable. It seems like this is the only way our voices will be heard! Find out more about the campaign at www.keepkentbreastfeeding.org

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Mothering the Mothers

Happy Mothers Day!

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, and this day is for all of us. No matter who looks up to you as a mother, and no matter who you look up to as a mother, celebrate every aspect of motherhood.

Some people find themselves without their mums on this day, some mums find themselves without their children. Some mums celebrate with other peoples children, and some people with other peoples mothers. But there is one thing we all have in common, how much we all need each other – for guidance, support, inspiration, and motivation.

I wouldn’t be the mum I am today without the help of others, locally and worldwide. Thank you to everyone in the variety of Facebook groups, (especially the breastfeeders up at 3am sharing hilarious memes to keep me from pulling my hair out after the eleventeenth feed of the night). Thank you to the mum next door who brings me her daughters puzzles and toys (which to my kids are even better than the brand new toys they get!). Thank you to every mummy out there who has helped shape the mother I am today. With every part of me I hope to repay it by mothering the mothers and being there for them to help make this journey a little easier!

Last year I made a vision board with what my hopes and aims for my business would be and all I knew for certain was I wanted to pass on everything I learned that helped me become the mum I was, and the most important aspect of that was the way I learned, mum to mum, with the understanding that each person is unique and powerful and just needs to trust her instinct – which is easier with the knowledge and experience of an empowering circle of mum friends.

To all of those mums that have been in my life, no matter how brief or fleeting, you have shaped me into such a happy and content mummy, which shows in my creative, hilarious, and inquisitive children! Thank you. You rock my world.

Today is for all of us, Enjoy Every Moment.

Kimmy (Daughter, Stepmum, and Mummy) Xxx

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Stretch your imagination

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Matilda (19 months old) and Me in the Lifft Slings Stretchy

This week I have been lucky enough to have a new sling to try out. As you may know I have a 4 week free sling hire for babies under 6 weeks old, in this offer local parents can try out a variety of newborn options. This covers what we like to call “stretchies” and we include carriers like the Close Caboo, alongside wraps like the JPMBB Basic, Lillebaby Tie the Knot, and Boba Stretchy Wrap, just to name a few!

This new stretchy is by Lifft Slings, I have 2 of their pouch slings, and they are very close to my heart as they are where I started my babywearing journey. I only wish this stretchy was around 4 years ago so I could of had this as my first wrap! It is silky smooth and lovely to wrap with, and as you can see it is very comfortable and supportive, so much so I easily wore my 19 month old daughter in it!

I frequently get caregivers coming to our sling library and meets asking to try new carriers as they think their child has outgrown their stretchy carriers, and that’s not always the case! I am not going to force you to keep wearing your child in a stretchy past how long you want to, but if you do want to get the most out of your stretchy we can help you to! Don’t get fooled by the common misconceptions around what you can and cannot do with your stretchy.

Stretch your imagination!

Speak to your local consultant, sling library, or contact me if you would like to know more.

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Matilda and Me in the Lifft Slings Stretchy

The end of the beginning.

Its the last day of the year, so it is time for all the bloggers to do their post looking back over everything they have accomplished. I am not going to go against that trend, but I am going to do it in a brand new blog. This is my version of my new diary for the year, my fresh slate, a clean break from what many would identify as a horrible year. Dont get me wrong 2016 was hard work. I had to do a lot of learning, growing, hurting, and healing. But I am better for it!

It started out like any other start of year, Christmas had left us with very little money spare and I had to decide between a beautiful new woven wrap, or a place on my a babywearing consultancy course in my area! Okay it was a no brainer for any adult, but I am new to adulting, so it was almost like a breakthrough for me to make the right decision. Its important to add that this wasn’t just any babywearing course, it was the one I wanted above all the rest after weeks of research. I looked into everything from content and ethos, to location, and most importantly to me – what the people I looked up to in the babywearing community thought. I believe a lot in modelling. I see the kind of people in the community who inspire me, I see what they do, and I work hard to emulate those things in my own ways. Almost every person I looked up to were all Slingababy consultants, or had expressed their love for Lorettes teaching. So to have the opportunity to learn from her and be a part of the Slingababy family, and not have to travel halfway across the country for 4 days to do so, it really wasn’t something I could turn down.

Travelling across the country for babywearing wasn’t something I was opposed to in all honesty. My version of a holiday this year all centered around babywearing. In April we had a ‘mini break’ to Salford to go to Sling It. I bought wraps, was a part of a babywearing world record,  fangirled at some of my babywearing idols (Dr Rosie Knowles, Ali Dover, Wrapahula, Joy and Joy, to name just a few), but I guess the most important moment from that journey was taking part in a Sling Swing session. I said to the lady running it “I wish someone did this in Kent,” to which she answered –

“Why don’t you do it?”

This was something I ended up asking myself a lot this year. If I wanted Sling Swing in Kent, why didn’t I just do it? If I wanted a Sling Library in Maidstone, what was stopping me from starting it?  This one question was what triggered me to pull my socks up, and stop waiting for other people to provide me with the things I wanted. In July I trained with Slingababy. In August I trained with Sling Swing. In September I launched Mid Kent Babywearing, which covered it all, Sling Library, Consultancy, Workshops, and Sling Swing. I had brought it all to Maidstone. Something I never would have imagined happening 9 months earlier, let alone it being all done by me!

Obviously the year wasnt all ups. I experienced my first “troll” only a week into publishing ‘Babywearing Kimmy‘. I have ended up going it alone in parts my business I thought would be a partnership. I have realised through the hard bumps – that I am stronger than I know. Each hurdle, and plot twist, is only there to show me how much I can do. And thanks to that I can safely say I am not scared of anything 2017 has to throw at me. Bring it on.