Dancing with Sling Swing

Through extensive research and self-participation, we began our business plan by creating a wish list of classes, workshops and subjects that we wanted to feature through Kindred Meets. From the very beginning we knew that we had to partner with Sling Swing, for it’s fun factor, health benefits (mentally & physically!) and because they care so much about educating parents on the correct and safe ways to wear a baby.

Last week we welcomed Sally and Maria, who run Sling Swing for East London, to host our third Kindred Meets class and it didn’t disappoint. Sally kindly kicked off the session with a ‘top tips for babywearing’ segment, where we were all astounded at some of the safety points we weren’t aware of and had possibly been guilty of.

From my personal experience, the first time I attended a Sling Swing class with Miro who was then around 3 months, Maria enlightened me by correcting the way I was wearing him in my ergo. Miro is my second son, so to realise that I’d been wearing my first child incorrectly for all that time was shocking but quite telling as to why my back might have suffered. Did you know that when wearing your baby you should be able to comfortably lean forward to kiss them on the head? Well I certainly didn’t as I’d always thought sitting the carrier on your hips was the right placement, whereas actually it should be the waist. Between that and some serious tightening across the back, I was amazed at the improvement. I’ve been comfortably standing tall with Miro in the same carrier ever since!

Following the consultation we got ready for our Sling Swing dance segment of the class. No mean feat when you have 15 mums all new to babywearing and in need of a quick check of Sling placement by the experts. Maria led us in a medley of pop songs as we twirled, tapped, clapped and cuddled our babies 💚

During a regular Sling Swing class, the group dances to 5 or 6 songs, including a warm up and cool down routine. There is always a more complex routine added to the sequence in the interest of those who might be looking for more of a challenge, but for those of us that are not the best dancers it’s fun to lose our inhibitions and just have fun! From my experience (three terms!) most babies are asleep by the end of the class, through the gentle and consistent movement and closeness with Mama.

The physical and psychological benefits associated with baby wearing encourage children to feel secure and content and build a solid sense of self-esteem. Baby carrying recreates the skin to skin relationship that babies know so well from the womb. It encourages bonding and helps to regulate baby’s temperature, breathing and heart rate. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours!! The benefits don't just lie with baby though, it allows the parent a sense of freedom - with a happy baby on your chest or back, you have free hands to do other things. When worn correctly, babywearing can improve your posture and give you gentle exercise. Let’s not forget it's also easier to navigate public transport and avoid bulky buggies in crowded places!

Thank you Sally & Maria for such a fun session. Sling Swing runs Wednesday mornings,  11.30-12.15 at the Trades Hall, Tower Hamlets Rd. Booking for this and babywearing consultations can be made via www.buddhababywanstead.co.uk/.

Words by Natalie, inspired by a Sling Swing class