Sling Diva: Carry Your Baby... and Steal the Show!

Success Through Play™ is delighted to bring you this exclusive interview with Sling Diva, a UK based Babywearing company. Sling Diva provided a complimentary babywearing consultation to one of our readers and gifted her with a wrap.

Can you tell us about Sling Diva?

Sling Diva is a small business run by a certified babywearing consultant Jin-Hee Choi, Classical Singer and Mum to Kai and Toru. Sling Diva's mission is to help parents and their babies discover the fun, convenience and beauty of babywearing.

At Sling Diva we stock a range of the best and most beautiful slings and carriers including: Gypsy Mama, Didymos, Oopa, Bara Barn, and Catbird, all of which we have used and loved with our own kids.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of your company?

I wanted to focus on bringing babywearing to a more mainstream audience. I live in London where parenting trends are set - London mamas and papas like to be ahead of the game!One of my aims was to highlight that babywearing can be for everyone,whatever your lifestyle. I know that there is a strong "natural","alternative" image behind babywearing and I felt the need to bring the concept to a hip, urban audience too!

I have always felt that new mothers could really benefit from face-to-face *in person* assistance, which is what inspired us to train to become Babywearing Consultants. We believe that it is through *quality*babywearing classes lead by trained consultants that the practice will become more widely accepted and mainstream. With Baby Yoga and

Massage so popular amongst parents today, it is only a matter of time before babywearing becomes as commonplace!

Wearing your gorgeous baby in a gorgeous sling brightens your day and make you feel beautiful - who can argue with that?

Congratulations on becoming a certified Babywearing Consultant Certified from Trageschule in Dresden, Germany. What did the training involve?

The training took place over three weekends, spread over four months. I traveled to Germany in February 2007 to take the Basic course - the first of a three-part training. The course introduced and immersed us in the philosophy of Babywearing Consultancy:

*Precise wrap tying methods,sensitive communication skills and building a relationship with the

* Ulrike walked us through the wrap-tying, explaining step-by-step, the optimum methods for the basic carrying variations: Front Wrap Cross Carry, two Hip Carrying Variations, and the Basic Rucksack Carry.

*I thought I was a pretty good babywearer before I went to Germnay, but it was Ulrike's
methods that *really* brought out the Sling Diva in me! *

The second course, I took in March a mere two weeks after the first! Building upon what I learnt in the Basic course, this Advanced course focussed on more complicated carrying variations. In addition I was required to develop my own teaching methodologies for working one-to-one as well as teaching small groups. I even had homework to complete between the courses! The scientific background behind babywearing,was covered in great detail: the particular characteristics of the newborn infant that makes babywearing such a vital practice for optimum

Crucially though, what Ulrike showed me to be vitally important, is that it is not enough to simply *know* the benefits, it is not enough to think yourself an A+ babywearer;

*if you want to work with parents and their babies, if you want them to leave your class feeling like they've learned something new, and feeling good about themselves, then you must know the right ways of communicating this information.

* Sensitivity, empathy, and an equal relationship are what make teaching successful for both pupil and teacher.

When Ulrike found out that I was expecting, she offered to travel to London to complete the final part of the training: Certification. For this I had to complete a practical examination of our tying methods, give a 15 minute talk about a babywearing subject, carry out sample consultations with mothers and their babies, submit written reports, and create step-by-step photographs of each carrying variation. Phew! It was hard work but unbelievably enjoyable and I felt an enormous sense of achievement at having completed and passed our training.

Please can you tell us more about your consultations. If a UK reader is interested in scheduling one with you, what kinds of things will you go over in the hour ?

- In 1 hour we cover 1 carrying variation. With beginners and those with very young babies I always start with front carrying since this is the most useful and suitable way to carry an infant. It's also the simplest way to begin learning.

- I tend to start with wrap basics: explaining how best to tighten the fabric evenly (rail-by-rail) as well as what qualities to look for in a wrap (diagonal weave, non-toxic dyes etc)

- I cover correct positioning for hip and spine development, including how to ensure both the baby and the wearer are comfortable for extended periods.

- I use specially-made weighted *and jointed *babywearing dolls and my clients are always free to practice with the doll before trying things out with their own precious baby.

- I also teach the other sling styles: Ring Slings and Pouches, as well as Mei Ties.

- I hope that parents will find my consultations give them the skills and confidence to to carry their babies in comfort and style!

Do you ship exclusively within the UK?

At present we ship to the UK, Europe and other Worldwide destinations excluding the USA and Canada. We continue to hear much praise for your company!

What do you attribute the Success of your company to?

My love for babywearing and my wonderful family and their patience, and the perhaps most importantly the quality of the products we offer and the amazing benefits that babywearing brings to the lives of parents: it's infectious and news travels fast in this city!

What advice do you have for first time parents who are interested in Babywearing and are overwhelmed by the choices out there?

There are loads of articles out there on the many benefits of babywearing and this is wonderful! - it is always good to be well researched; yet there is no better way to decide if babywearing is for you,than simply trying it.

Go on - give it a go!

Test out a few different brands, discover what works for *you* and *your* baby.

Always remember that new skills take time to master, but for the beautiful feeling of carrying your warm and contented baby, in ease and style...It's worth it - we promise!

Success Through Play™ Comments:

A few months ago, we received an email from a brand new mama, Nina, living in London who had recently given birth to her first baby. Her baby was very colicky and she was desperate to find a way to soothe him! For those parents out there who have personally experienced what it's like to have a colicky baby, you will surely understand the parents frustration and desire to calm their baby. Nina had tried Cranio Sacral Therapy sessions and a host of other methods with no luck. Nina had not tried babywearing and we decided that we would introduce her to it!

Babies who are carried in a soft carrier cry far less than babies who are not carried in the soft carrier and the addition of the proprioceptive, tactile and vestibular input to the baby provides a calming effect. Since the parents were based in the UK, we contacted Sling Diva, who came highly recommended by our readers. We explained to Sling Diva that we had a reader in London who needed help with her colicky baby and was interested in learning about babywearing. We received a prompt response from the owner, Jin-Hee Choi who said:

"I'll make sure she gets all the assistance she needs".

Jin-Hee is THE expert when it comes to Babywearing and is certified as a babywearing consultant. Jin-Hee has 2 children of her own and her personal experience of babywearing combined with her professional training, make her an outstanding resource for new parents. There is certainly a learning curve to babywearing and having an experienced teacher on hand is truly invaluable!

Jin-Hee welcomed Nina with open arms during the consultation and was warm, friendly and empathetic to her needs. Within the course of the hour, Jin-Hee explained some basic babywearing concepts and taught Nina how to wear her baby in a wrap. Throughout the consultation, Nina reports that Jin-Hee was patient, kind and very knowledgeable. Jin-hee gave her excellent hands-on instruction and by the end of that hour, Nina felt fully confident with the method of tying the wrap. Jin-hee kindly gifted her with a beautiful Gypsy Mama Wrap.

In the weeks following the consultation, Nina wore her baby in the wrap and she noticed a dramatic reduction in her baby's fussing and crying when she wore him in the wrap. Nina and her husband were impressed. Their sense of relief was evident and they were so grateful for the assistance that they had received from Jin-Hee. Nina and her husband felt confident going out to see a play, and Nina wore her baby in the wrap, while he slept soundly. Nina continued wearing her baby in the wrap when she saw how soothing it was for him.

We would like to thank Sling Diva for helping Nina and her baby. If you live within the North London area and would like to learn more about Babywearing, why not schedule a consultation with Sling Diva? Sling Diva is now offering workshops! Click here for details. Readers living/visiting London can visit the Sling Diva Shop. There you will find a gorgeous selection of carriers and accessories, including the gorgeous mommy necklaces which we have featured. Finding the right carrier for you and your baby can be tricky, so why not enlist the help of professionals. We would not hesitate to recommend Sling Diva! We wish Sling Diva continued success. Thank you for helping parents and their babies to discover the beauty of babywearing.

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Anne said...

Sling Diva offer a nice variety of carriers and their customer service is excellent.

Margaret said...

What a great interviews. Wow, I had no idea that there are certified babywearing consultants out there! Now I know who to call!