real stories

Opening up again as lockdown eases

We are acutely aware of the huge stresses and challenges faced by parents in the pandemic. While restrictions may be easing, the human cost of the coronavirus will be felt for many years to come. There has been a report on these “lockdown babies” which makes for sobering reading.

The Babies in Lockdown report captures the experiences of respondents and highlights the range of issues parents faced, the lack of support for families, and the inequalities in babies’ early experiences. For example:
*Almost 7 in 10 found their ability to cope with their pregnancy or baby had been impacted as a result of COVID-19.
*Nearly 7 in 10 felt the changes brought about by COVID-19 were affecting their unborn baby, baby or young child.
*Only one third expressed confidence in being able to access mental health support if required.
*Many families with lower incomes, from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and young parents have been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic and were less likely to receive the support they needed. This is likely to have widened existing inequalities.

We are now able to start opening the project up again more widely, and have been sending out carriers again – usually one to two per week. We’ve restocked with our most popular carriers (with kind thanks to our faithful supporters Slumber Roo, Lenny Lamb and Sling Spot in particular) and are working our way through referrals once more.

Our Zoom consult format has been working very well, as has been partnerships with sling libraries around the UK, so we will continue with this.

Please consider referring yourself to us, or if you are someone who works with vulnerable families, please consider referring them to us for a comfortable carrier that can help. Being hands free while able to nurture a young child has many practical benefits, let alone the mental health benefits it brings to both child and carer.

real stories

COVID pandemic update

We have been continuing to provide support for families in need throughout the pandemic. Most of our volunteers are front-line workers (health or social care and education) so we have been a little slower in being able to help. We have been able to support several families around the country via Zoom appointments with careful safety measures in place, and have been delighted to be able to do this. As the situation eases, we remain aware of the many, many challenges families continue to face, and are stepping up our provision once more.

We have a few new team members, our next post will introduce all of the team to you!

Thank you for your ongoing support. We have had some donations, and some carrier gifts (please get in touch with us first about carrier donations) and we’re grateful to those who continue to keep our profile visible and share our services with those who may benefit.

centre for families in crisis
real stories

Visiting a centre for families in crisis

Danielle and Rosie had the enormous privilege and pleasure of visiting a special place in Sheffield -a centre for families in crisis and needing intensive social input, with two suitcases of baby carriers. We were able to explain how keeping babies close helps them to thrive despite very challenging social situations… and how they make life easier for parents too. Strong and secure attachment is important in helping families weather the storm of adverse events and helping babies to do well despite adversity… and carriers can help.

It was wonderful to see how easily the babies settled and many of them fell into peaceful sleep. Parents were walking around kissing the tops of their babies’ heads and stroking them, feeling the connection. Many of them helped each other adjust their carriers, having learned how to use them and keen to offer their support to each other. We helped a family with twins and several dads too, and they were all delighted to hear the carriers were theirs to keep as they return to their homes around the UK. Several of them set off for a group walk with their sleeping babies in slings as we left.

We fitted and donated twelve baby carriers.. six Caboos from Close Parent, five Beco Geminis from Slumber Roo and one from Mamaruga. We’re deeply grateful to them for their generosity that allows us to help families who need it the most.

We’ve been invited back in October as the staff can clearly see how useful this is going to be and commented on how calm the babies were.

We can’t disclose names or photos of the parents due to confidentiality so here is Danielle demonstrating one Close Caboo!

It makes a difference. Help us to keep helping more and more families:

Donate to us here

Donate your nearly new carriers to us, find out how via the “get involved” tab at the top.

Spread the word!

sick children
real stories

Slings can be so helpful for sick children

Slings can be so helpful for sick children and those with life-limiting or chronic illness, as well as those needing intensive hospital treatment.

Earlier this week we had the great privilege of helping a little girl receiving chemotherapy for leukaemia.

She’s not well at the moment with quite a lot of pain and is needing a lot of reassurance and love from her family. She is tired a lot of the time due to the illness and her treatment… so it was so great to be able to give her and her family a toddler Izmi carrier. It will help her mum and dad keep her close and make her feel safe, as soft touch and cuddles reduce stress and anxiety and pain. She was very keen to try it on and nestled against her mother as they learned how to use it. It was a great fit and really soft and comfy for her, and will help her to enjoy their weekend away a little more and get through the months ahead a little more easily. The whole family was delighted at the new option for closeness that they now have.


If you’d like to help us help more families, do get involved! Donate to us, send us your nearly new carriers, spread the word!


better start
real stories

Giving children a better start in life

It’s a great privilege being able to help families to be close and to give young children a better start in life. Today we were able to give this pair their own buckle carrier to keep (donated by Sheffield Sling Surgery). C was referred by the Snowdrop Project who work with people who are free from modern slavery. Now she is free, her child has a chance of a better life, and a carrier can help her build her child’s security and confidence.



Today we also gave out a Boba 4G (kindly donated by Slumber Roo) to a mum of a young baby referred to us by the housing/social services department: it’ll help them build bonds and strengthen their relationship, and give the child a better start in life.

cycles of fear
real stories

Breaking the cycles of fear by creating safe spaces

Breaking the cycles of fear by supporting parents is so important. Helping parents to provide safe and consistent spaces for their children despite the traumas of their own lives can change the trajectory of that child’s future. We at Building Bonds are proud to play a small part in shaping the future for some of the most vulnerable in our society.

37053032_1879960942306164_8326613643185618944_nToday we helped a mum and her child who were referred by the Ashiana Sheffield charity. This organisation aims to support and empower those from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities whose lives have been affected by violence and abuse, to take control of their lives and move forward into healthy, stable and safer futures. This Boba 4G donated by Slumber Roo will play a part in stabilising and uplifting this gorgeous pair. Baby fell asleep within a few minutes of being put into the carrier and mum was so happy.

If you’d like to help us support more parents, do get involved!

real stories

Helping a mum in difficulties care for her child

We helped a mum who has been struggling with anxiety and depression, stemming from a very difficult past life. She was referred by social and housing services. Her newest baby is living with her and we gave her a stretchy wrap (donated by the Sheffield Sling Surgery) so she can bond with her baby and become a more confident parent.


hospital, real stories

Slings can help to communicate love and offer practical support

Carriers can make a real difference to families in difficult situations in a very practical way. The Building Bonds Project team were asked to come to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Charity to help this family. Their little boy Blake who was previously very well only a few months ago, is now unable to walk or talk, due to a brain condition. He is getting intensive rehab from the physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams and his family wanted something to help them hold him close: he needs to feel loved and they want to be able to express their love for him. That’s what the power of a hug and being cuddled close can do.
We gave his family this Beco Toddler carrier (donated by Sling Spot) and you can see how it is helping to hold him against his mother’s body. The close all round contact with her familiar shape and scent helps him to relax. She is able to walk around with him nestled into her which makes it very practical for getting on with things.

His arms can be wrapped around her waist and the occupational therapists can be seen working on his stiff fingers and wrists from this place of relaxation.

He smiled and made happy sounds at his father from this position… it was very therapeutic for everyone amidst the sadness of it all.

We hope the carrier proves useful and therapeutic to them all.


real stories

A City Hearts referral and a back carry

How gorgeous are J and her little girl M? They’ve been loving this Ergobaby carrier they have had from the Building Bonds Project (referred by City Hearts, a charity that works to fight modern slavery and trafficking). We taught her how to back carry the last time she came in to see us. It’s given her the freedom to get around easily and do her daily work while little M is safe and calm.
It’s a privilege to meet and be able to help a wide range of people through the Building Bonds Project: making life easier and keeping families close.IMG_4469.PNG

real stories

Helping a lady from Ethiopia

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We recently helped a lady originally from Ethiopia, who had tragically lost her husband while pregnant. She was understandably suffering from depression and anxiety. The midwife team referred her to us to see if a carrier could help. She visited us with support from the Volunteer Doula Project run by Sheffield City Council. We fitted her and her daughter with a Soul Slings Anoona, courtesy of Sheffield Sling Surgery. She is now coping much better and has a wonderful bond with her daughter.