How it Works!
Why does the Project donate carriers? Babies want to be close to their parents and carers; it helps them to feel safe. They cry less when held and rocked and soothed, and will usually fall asleep in their carer’s arms. In-arms carrying can be tiring, so using a sling or carrier can make life much easier. Using a carrier bring many therapeutic benefits to babies and carers from all walks of life.
Babies with disabilities or sick children may benefit enormously from being held close in a carrier. It can also be very useful for those at risk of or suffering with mood disorders. Antenatal and postnatal depression and anxiety is very common, even though many families feel unable to tell others how they feel.
The Building Bonds Project is designed to improve access to carrying help and support for families who would benefit from using a sling and are unable to source their own.
What is the Building Bonds Scheme?
- If you (or your partner) are suffering from pre-existing, antenatal or postnatal depression or anxiety, PTSD or other condition affecting your ability to bond with your child
- or have a child with a serious or life-limiting illness or disability,
- or a child who is spending a lot of time in hospital,
- or a child with special needs,
- are supporting children in the emergency foster care services
- or are in receipt of intensive social care support from certain agencies (such as the perinatal mental health service, City Hearts, The Snowdrop Project, Ashiana, Social Services or domestic abuse charities etc)
- if you are in receipt of Healthy Start vouchers or other financial difficulty, we can help you.
We aim to be flexible. For example we would help a mother who has fled a difficult family situation and needs to be able to care for her baby and toddler until she is back on her feet again. It could be someone with refugee status who hasn’t yet got documentation, or someone who is experiencing postnatal depression or anxiety, has no independent income but doesn’t qualify for additional benefits. For children with life limiting illnesses and those with prolonged inpatient stays we will often offer visit them in hospital due to the intense complexity of the situation. This is to ensure parents get the benefit of a sling in the last part of their child’s life, or while they are unable to leave hospital, as we recognise that trying to source and buy a carrier in such an intensely distressing time is very hard and families can then miss out on the benefits.
Your HCP/social care worker can refer you to us to access the service, or you can refer yourself. This is via our application form in the tabs at the top.
What will happen once I have applied (or my HCP has applied for me)?
If you meet the criteria, one of the team will get in touch via your chosen method to invite you to attend a partner sling library drop in sessions for support. This is free of charge. If you are in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital we will arrange to visit you and your child there. We visit specific organisations with carriers on fixed dates (by arrangement) to help multiple families needing our support.
You can use it for as long as you find it helpful, we will review the situation in one month and then every three months. When you no longer need it, please return it to us so we can help another family. If you find the carrier doesn’t meet your needs any more (eg your baby has grown out of it), do let us know. We may be able to find you an alternative or show you how to use your carrier in a different way.
What happens to the carrier I am gifted?
It is yours to use as you wish. If you no longer need it, and would like to see it help other families, you are welcome to return it to us. If you find the carrier doesn’t meet your needs any more (eg your baby has grown out of it), do let us know. We may be able to find you an alternative or show you how to use your carrier in a different way.
How can I contribute to the Scheme?
We love involving more people in our work! You can spread the word about what we do by sharing our facebook page, liking and commenting on our posts, and telling people about us.
You can donate your carriers, fundraise for us, volunteer for us – read more here!
You can contact us here.
Read about how carrying can help with mental health disorders and aid with bonding here.
Mental health matters; there are many avenues of support for those suffering with mental health disorders. Please go and see your GP, your midwife, your health visitor, your local PND charity (here in Sheffield it is Light Sheffield); don’t suffer alone.
Babywearing is not a panacea or cure-all; but it can be one resource in a toolbox for survival. For many, it can simply be a practical solution for getting around and out of the house and able to do things; for others, the act of carrying can be calming and uplifting. There is a hormonal basis to how close contact can help with mood disorders (oxytocin and dopamine), For many, the use of a sling (when the last thing you want to do is hold a baby) can trigger these biological cascades and bring some relief. Arms can get tired holding babies who will only stop crying when cuddled; a sling can make this easier.
It is important to recognise that for some, close contact is not helpful; please do seek further support.