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London's Sling Libraries: Mapped

By Zoe Craig Last edited 19 months ago
London's Sling Libraries: Mapped
Carrying your kid in London: it just makes sense.

If you're a Londoner with a kid of a certain age and you're not using a sling/carrier/whatever, we have to ask: why not?

Far from being a hippyish fad, carrying your kid in the city just. makes. sense.

It's less stressful, for starters. Lugging a buggy around on public transport is no-one's idea of fun. With a carrier, you've got two hands free — one for your Oyster card, the other for your coffee. Once you've got your little one strapped to your front or back, you no longer have to endure the 'will there, won't there' wait at the bus stop, wondering if this bus already has two pushchairs on it. Or the sideways glances on the train as your buggy wheels bump into yet another pair of commuting ankles. And let's not even mention the toe-curling awkwardness of having to ask someone for help with the stairs because another lift is out of order.

And it's less stressful your baby too. If things get a bit too much for your little one out in our mammoth metropolis, they can just snuggle in, close their eyes and take a break from the world: not so easy in a pushchair.

And that's before we get to the scary stats about pollution in London. In August, this study around Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush found levels of noxious gas nitrogen dioxide to be 30% higher at pushchair level. 30%! We can't think of a better reason to pick your little one up to head-kissing height.

(There are non-London-specific benefits too: carried babies cry less, according to a 1986 study; it's a great way for parents to bond with their kids; it keeps you fit; being close to mum or dad really helps babies and toddlers learn, everything from the rhythms of your breathing and walking to the art of conversation.)

But carriers and slings are expensive. And when it comes to carrying your kid, what suits one family will be quite different to what works for another. There's a mind-boggling variety on the market, making that initial purchase a complicated task. Happily, London is littered with fantastic sling libraries, giving you the chance to hire and road-test baby carriers before you buy.

So much nicer than trying to push a pushchair through the South Bank crowds.

Emily Williamson from South London Sling Library has an interesting comparison: "I always say to parents, buying a sling is like buying shoes. Other people can tell you what is comfy for them, but that's no guarantee it'll work for you. Everyone's a different shape, size, proportion. And so are babies. Slings need fitting to your body, and to your baby. The easiest way to find the best sling for you is to try before you buy."

Below is a map of London's Sling Libraries. If you know of any more, please let us know in the comments below, or email hello@londonist.com, so we can keep this map up to date.

Find more advice and info at slingpages.co.uk. Thanks to the brilliant Slinging London for their help with these pictures.

Last Updated 08 October 2015