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 not available through the sling library. 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
Presenting yourself online: market yourself to reach higher goals! - Hedwych Veeman - Wrap you in Love
Basic counselling and active listening skills - Wibke Hott
Slingababy CPD March 2017
Language surrounding Disability - Becky Derham, Slinging London
Usings Shawls to support yourself, your family, and parents through the childbearing year by Sophie Messager
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
Slingababy CPD Oct