When was the last time you visited your library?

Sling library that is!

It can be really hard to decide which sling will work for you without seeing them in real life, and even when you get your hands on a sling, it can be tricky working out how to use it properly. You can read our post on picking a good carrier, and get advice from friends who use slings, but sometimes you need a bit more help.

This is where sling libraries come in, they’re run by volunteers, usually mums who have plenty of experience with slings and may have even done a baby wearing course or two. They should have a wide range of carriers for you to try and you’ll be able to get advice and help, you might even be able to loan a carrier from them to try at home.

All this face-to-face advice is brilliant, and will really help you get to grips with your favourite carrier or find a new one!

Our local Sling Library is the South London Sling Library run by the lovely Emily, who has an amazing range of slings and lots of helpful advice. If you’re in London and wondering which sling you need next, you should definitely pay her a visit!

If you’re not nearby, you can find your nearest sling library by visiting the UK Sling Libraries Network. Or of course, you can always loan a sling from us and we’ll pop it in the post to you!

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How to pick a winner

What makes a good sling? I get asked this all the time. Parents ask my opinions on various brands and styles, and whether a particular sling will suit them and their children. It’s hard to choose from the many, many carriers available on the High Street and over the Internet and I’m sure most people think that they’re all much of a muchness, and surely, if some carriers were less than perfect, those big shops wouldn’t sell them would they?

Firstly, it’s really important that your child is comfortable and that they are properly supported in the sling. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has written a really useful piece on baby carriers and hip health (read it here). We only sell slings which adequately support the hips and legs of the baby or child being carried, we believe it’s more comfortable all round and the best position for your child.

These images show the advantages of a wide-based sling, the thighs are well supported and the forces on the hip joints are minimal.

A good sling should be completely comfortable for the wearer too, it shouldn’t dig in or hurt at all. If you find your sling uncomfortable it may be that it’s badly designed or it may be that you need to adjust how you’re wearing it. Sometimes the smallest tweaks will make a huge difference, and we’d always recommend that you try and get advice in real life, either from your local Sling Library or ideally from a trained Babywearing Consultant who can help you get the best out of your sling.

I’d always advise that you buy a trusted and established brand of sling, that way you can be sure of the quality of the fabrics and manufacture. A sling is firstly a functional item, it is designed to safely carry your child and it should withstand the inevitable wear and tear it will undergo. Manufacturers spend a lot of money having their products tested to ensure they meet rigorous safety standards. There are some fabulous companies out there who specialise in making custom or one-off slings, these slings are beautiful and on the whole extremely well made, if you’re considering buying from a lesser known brand, do your research! There are plenty of forums where you can ask for the opinions of other sling users, Natural Mamas even has a dedicated feedback section.

Think about how, when and who will use the sling. Currently, I mostly carry my four month old on the school runs, some mornings we’re in a rush so I tend to pick a carrier I can put on quickly, usually my Connecta, Boba or a Mei Tai. I also have a couple of slings which are better for carrying big kids in as every so often my 3 year old needs a lift!

I seem to have developed a bit of a sling stash and have a sling for every occasion, if my husband asks, they are all entirely necessary and they certainly do all get used! I’m planning another blog very soon discussing the pros and cons of each style, so I won’t say too much about it now…

Once you have your gorgeous new sling, please make sure you are familiar with the T.I.C.K.S guidelines, I try and send a copy out with every sling I sell and I’m always happy to pop extra copies in the post.

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A bum deal….

Gabriel - determined to keep me on my toes!

There are parenting challenges every step of the way, and just when I think I’ve got it sussed, my children throw a spanner in the works and I’m back to square one!

Since Nathaniel arrived in October we’ve been adjusting to being outnumbered by children! A combination of slings, Madeleine starting school and CBeebies has seen us through, and I was starting to think we were doing quite well. Gabriel obviously decided that life had become boring and predictable, so aged 35 months, he’s decided he’s not keen on nappies anymore.

He communicated this in spectacular toddler fashion by smearing the contents of a particularly unpleasant nappy all over himself, his bed, walls, bedroom door and (new, beige) carpet. Just for good measure he repeated this the next day too.

So, we’re potty training. It’s my least favourite parenting task, honestly, I hate it! The constant “do you need a wee? Do you need to sit on the potty? Are you sure?” conversations and the inevitable need to wee just as you’re leaving the house, or worse, five minutes after you’ve left.

A few things are saving my sanity, the Tommee Tippee potette is making weeing al fresco much easier and the fabulous Bright Bots Training pants which look like regular pants but have a waterproof layer inside and a little bit of extra absorbency. It means that Gabe feels wet if he has an accident but it gives me time to whip his trousers off before they get wet too. I tried pull-ups, but they’re far too much like normal nappies and he keeps weeing in them (or worse!) and then pulling them off and handing them to me!

So, wish me luck, I fear this could be a long process, I may need wine and chocolate to steady my nerves!

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Want to win a sling?…

I’d really like to get some reviews on the website for all the fabulous products we stock to help prospective customers decide what they need and to get some feedback on what works and why!

Now, I could do it all myself, but that would take AGES and be very boring and hardly unbiased!

So, I need volunteers to have a look at our website and write a review (or two) about our products. We stock loads of things from slings to Sock Ons and nappies to toy ties, so we need lots of opinions! The reviews don’t need to be long, just your honest opinion of the product and anything you think might be helpful to someone considering buying it.

As an incentive, everyone who sends me a review will receive an exclusive 10% discount code and every review will be entered into a random prize draw to win a Hoppediz shorty wrap! So the more reviews you submit, the better your chance of winning.

Send your reviews to me at cathy@petitpoppet.co.uk before 2nd September for your discount code and chance to win!

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A bit about me…

Week One: Done!

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind this week, I’ve been very busy getting up to speed with everything and updating the website, I’m not naturally a computer whizz, so it’s taken a while! I thought I’d briefly tell you a bit about me, while I have five minutes to myself.

Chris, carrying Gabriel in a sling and Maddie on his shoulders.

My name is Cathy, I live in South London with my fabulous husband Chris. We’ve been married for eight years and have two children, Madeleine, four, and Gabriel, two, and are expecting a third baby late this summer. You could say there’s never a dull moment in our house!

I started using slings with Madeleine, because she had reflux and being anywhere near horizontal made her sick, so she was happiest being upright and a sling meant I had my hands free some of the time. I used slings all the time with Gabriel, he was a bit of a grumpy baby and enjoyed being held, soon my whole family were using slings quite regularly with him to give me a break and keep him happy. Slings made my life so much easier that I carried on using them as the kids grew older and found them the perfect solution for tired toddler legs, impromptu naps and just getting anywhere quicker than a snail’s pace!

Gabriel and I, using a Connecta with co-ordinating Huggalugs!

My own experience is the reason I’m so passionate about Petit Poppet, I’ve found slings so useful and have tried so many that I kept finding myself being stopped in the street and asked about them. I realise that actually, it isn’t easy to buy a sling, it’s difficult to know the difference between the carriers readily available on the High Street and the ones which are truly comfortable and allow you to carry a heavy child in comfort, for long periods of time. It’s also hard to choose between the different options, especialy if you haven’t used a sling before.

With Petit Poppet, I’m hoping to make the whole experience easier. We already operate a very popular “Try before you buy” scheme and our Agents are brilliant for giving honest, helpful advice face-to-face, we’re always very happy to answer your questions and can be contacted very easily through the website, our Facebook page or Twitter.

Over the next few weeks, I’m aiming to write some posts explaining what to look for in a good sling, what the differences are between the main different types, and how on earth you make a decision about which one will work for you! In the meantime, if you need some help, just give me a shout (or an e-mail, Facebook message or tweet!).

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So, here we are then!

After what feels like months of e-mailing, texting, talking, planning and dreaming the handover of Petit Poppet is finally complete. Laura and I had a lovely weekend talking everything through and celebrating over chocolate brownies before we signed on the dotted line, and Petit Poppet had a new owner – me!

Last night I relocated Petit Poppet to it’s new home in London, and am currently sitting at my desk surrounded by boxes of slings, Huggalugs, Femme Cups, cloth nappies and a million other lovely things.

I’m really excited about taking Petit Poppet forwards and I’m painfully aware of the amazing job Laura has done getting it off the ground; I have big shoes to fill!

I’ll write a post about myself soon, but in case you were feeling nosey, there’s an interview I did with Laura a little while ago here.

For now, I better get back to the unpacking!

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Winds of Change

It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that big changes are afoot at PP HQ.

I have absolutely loved building Petit Poppet and in the main that has been due to the wonderful support and following it has had on its journey.

What started out as a casual idea during a walk in the park with a ten week old baby has grown into an established and reputable online retail business.

Along the way, I have followed various paths of opportunity that have opened up to me through my connections and experiences of being at the helm, and the time has come for me to follow these paths on a more permanent basis.

It has not been an easy decision to hand over Petit Poppet but it has been made much easier by the fact that one of our existing agents is stepping into the drivers seat.  I am delighted to announce that from 25th July, Cathy Williams will be the new owner of Petit Poppet.

Cathy is a passionate babywearer and mum of two (soon to be three!).  Her knowledge of the different types of baby carrier and their suitability for differing needs is second to none.

I am excited to see how she will develop and grow the business and will be watching proudly as Petit Poppet continues to grow from strength to strength.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all customers and supporters who have shouted, shared, sling-pushed and generally carried me on my merry way to this juncture.  Without all of your belief in what I was doing I wouldn’t be sat at this desk right now as a full-time self employed working mum.  I can’t thank you all enough and wish you all the very best for the future.

If you’d like to keep up to date with where I am headed, feel free to read my blog (Laptops & Lullabies) and follow me on Twitter (@TotallyLaura).

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Nappy Days Arrives at Petit Poppet!

Finally…

Way back last summer when the new Petit Poppet site was just a tiny inkling of an idea, it was clear that the Nappy Days site needed to be incorporated into the design.  I wanted to have a clear distinction between the areas of the site which would allow previous Nappy Days customers to continue to shop in the manner they were used to but also allow customers to shop to one basket from both stores.

So today, finally, I am able to present a small-scale version of Nappy Days at Petit Poppet!

Tah dah!!!

What do you think?  More items to follow in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled!

If you are a real nappy user and have essential items you would like to be able to buy from our store, drop us a line or leave a comment and let us know what you would like us to add.  This is for you… to make your life easier!  We need to sell what you want to buy.

Happy browsing!

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Eye Spy Bibs!

Well, it’s been embarrassingly far too long since the blog was updated… Christmas is a whole lifetime ago!

This afternoon I am pleased to say that I have taken a fresh delivery of Hip Hip Baby Bibs.  These have proved so popular that it has been tricky keeping them in stock!  They are available on the site now in a whole array of colours and remember that you can buy any three for £12.  Simply add the ones you fancy to your basket and the discount will be calculated for you.

Another fab new addition this afternoon is a brilliant product designed by Petit Poppet’s very own agent, Emma Ringer.  Emma is the Isle of Wight agent and created the Eye Spy Baby sling mirror at home after failing to be able to find a suitable alternative for checking out her baby when in a back carry.

This handy mirror enables you to see your child while they are on your back in a sling. You can play peekaboo, make reasuring eye contact, check your wrapping work – even have a sneaky check of your makeup!

The 8cm shatterproof acrylic mirror is attached to your sling or clothes with a lightweight clip featuring a 76cm nylon recoil cord.

We think this is a great idea and expect the first batch to fly off the shelves quickly.  Well done Emma for creating something we didn’t know we needed but now can’t live without!

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Seasons Greetings!

A very merry Christmas and happy and healthy new year to all PP loyal customers and supporters!

We will be closed for the festive period from Saturday 19th December until Monday 27th December inclusive.

Please also note that Petit Poppet will be closed for family holiday in January from Thursday 13th and re-opening on Saturday 29th January.

You are welcome to browse the site, place orders and send enquiries during these times but please be aware that orders will not be dispatched until we re-open.

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