Karena’s story

Karena opens our new series “Stories of Sheffield.”

“Hello Karena! Please tell us about your experience of being a slinger in Sheffield.”

“I love carrying, I didn’t carry my first born and I wish I did.karena-4.

I remember when my son went through his growth spurts and I could never do the chores while holding him. My mother in law mentioned Efe (her son) was exactly the same and she used a piece of fabric to wrap him and pop him on her back while she tended to her other children and the house. She bought me a high street carrier and it was a life saver for a month or two until Alex got heavier, but it was uncomfortable, I didn’t try another carrier as I thought they were all the same. I was so wrong!  I wish I had carried on carrying with a comfier carrier. I carried him in my arms on my hip a lot.

When I was carrying my daughter Amelle I was a bit more clued up, as I’d been to the Little Sheffield Show and Rosie showed me a stretchy wrap, which I loved. It meant it was easier carrying while also having a toddler to run after! I researched different stretchy wraps and used YouTube videos to help me wrap right. I loved my wrap and it was life saver for dealing with a toddler at the same time. We used it everywhere,


I even took my daughter to work with me (I still do). In January I rushed and bought a buckle carrier based on reviews, but after a while I regretted the decision and decided to sell. I realised that I found my stretchy the comfiest, the wrap style straps suited me best so I decided to buy a wrap and have it converted it into a half buckle. It’s so comfy plus it will grow with my little girl!


“What do you love about using slings?”

To us carrying brings happiness, we all seem so happy, even my son. His face lights up as I’m able to hold his hand rather than him holding the pram handle.


My daughter instantly gets sleepy dust plus it’s a bonus for her to see the world through my eyes, Efe and I love baby wearing, we’re able to walk through the Peak District, go for a hike or even pop to the shop with a very active toddler.


It’s something that fits in with us. For me the best thing about babywearing is that our families are so supportive and understand why we carry. When we use a sling we feel connected and close.


My parents never carried, but my grandparents carried their children with a piece of fabric (this was 50 years ago!) My nana says “she liked holding all her children close”. On the other hand my mother in law carried all her children (including Efe) plus her grandchildren! She’s not a fan of my half buckle carrier so she uses fabric that she brings or a back carry with a towel.



“Have you felt welcome as an ethnic minority among the Sheffield carrying community, what can we do better?”

I love the fact that I see so many sling spots in Sheffield, it’s so diverse. I have noticed a lot more cultural ladies carrying and it’s great, about a year ago I never saw this. I think though that there aren’t as many sling spots of ethnic women carrying their babies around Sheffield as there are in the white community. I don’t think they know about any of the help in Sheffield especially Sheffield Sling Surgery.. I’ve not felt any discrimination because of my race; everyone is so welcoming, but I did notice I was the only minority that day at the library drop in. I do wish there was a push especially with new mums. The benefits are great and so much easier for breastfeeding mummies too as I feed on the go, so I do wish it was more known about in Sheffield by health visitors, doctors and midwifes. I think a lot of ethnic minorities aren’t visible at meets because they feel “babywearing” is mostly for the white community, I’ve spoken to a few ladies and they mentioned to me they like to wrap like back home (their words) and feel buckle carriers are too structured. Maybe a special meet for the ethnic minorities would help us feel more included? Black history month is this October, there’s a few events being planned across Sheffield. Some of our stories and our photos would be great to get the word out.

“Thank you Karena! If you could advise someone you meet about wanting to use slings like you, what would you say?”

“Please seek help from a baby wearing consultant, there are so many different slings out there. Please try before you buy and enjoy carrying your baby! It’s such a precious time.”