Ocah – Review

I have been meaning to share this review for a while and I have finally collected enough pictures to post it! Not because I do not use my Ocah’s enough but because I am rubbish at remembering to take pictures!!

I am the owner of two Ocah’s:

Ocah #1 Old pink Hopp standard size with duo straps, hemp silk lining and an applique of my logo done in Silk Indio ( both the hemp silk and the silk indio were dyed by Catherine who also designed the logo- and this site!)

 

I am very happy with this Ocah. It was with me less than a week after the birth of Eleanor and it was initially used with her froggied inside the body. Because it is a standard size it did need some adjusting to make it work for a newborn but I did not find that a problem. One of the things that really helped me was rolling the hood up and then folding it inwards so it worked as a head support for Eleanor. When she went legs out I also folded the waist to make the body shorter. To make the seat narrower I pleated the body sideward. This is only possible as the waist band is not too rigid.

She still comfortably fits into the carrier now at 16 months and has plenty of room to grow. Last time she was measured she was on the 91st centile. The straps on this carrier are new style duo straps which means they have some padding. I like this despite the more bulky shoulders especially in a back carry. The carrier has been washed several times and it has held it shape very well. I am impressed with the level of workmanship both in the carrier on the applique. The old Hopp is really nice and soft yet it is a very sturdy carrier.

Ocah #2 Capetown Hopp standard size with Harmony straps, Double Hybrid Half buckle. The fabric is extra special to me as it was given to me as a gift by the wonderful Oxford Trageschule group after their foundation course!

Another carrier I am very happy with. A big bonus on this one is the fact that it can be worn with a busier frillier print or a calmer more gender neutral print. This means my husband is happier using this one then the pink one. Because it is a half buckle it is faster to use and there is no risk in confusing top and bottom straps when undoing the carrier in a front carry. The harmony straps were a very pleasant surprise. They are as comfortable as the Duo straps but even more versatile. Again there is still plenty of space for my girl to grow so I am looking forward to using this carrier for a long time yet!

In the interest of fairness I feel inclined to add that I consider Kerry from Ocah a friend. I love the work she does though and would never say I liked a carrier just because I liked the person who made it. 

What is a sling?

My question is ‘What is a sling?’, how do we see slings in the modern world and how does that compare with how I believe slings should be seen.

Slings are often described as the way forward to enable a new parent to get on with life in exactly the same way as before they had their baby. ‘Be hands-free’, ‘Let’s you cook’, ‘Breast feed on the go’ and I could go on for a while.

Whilst the above is perfectly true life has changed irrevocably the second that little life popped into the world. The suggestion that life can carry on as usual sets new parents up for a fail as usual has just changed dramatically. Slings can and do help with the transition to the new normal and a sling is in my opinion the most valuable tool any new parent can get. But it is just that a tool. And like any other parenting tools it does not and should never replace our senses.

A sling is like an extra pair of arms but arms which cannot feel. Slings cannot see, they cannot hear, they cannot smell. All senses that the vast majority of parents rely on when looking after their children. Which is why I feel it is important that parents are extra aware of their senses when they carry their child in a sling. It is not a bouncy chair in which the child is placed to be looked at from a distance. It is a way to keep your child close where the crave to be and where they are designed to be just like we are designed to have the senses to look after them.

What is a Babywearing consultant and why would I go and see one/train as one?

A babywearing consultant is someone who has been trained to advice parents about slings and teach them how to carry their child safely and comfortably.

I have been showing parents how to use slings for 6.5 years which is nearly as long as   I have been using them and also nearly as long as I have been a parent. I started my training to become a babywearing consultant in November 2008. Why some people asked me did I feel the need to go on a training course when I had already been advising parents for nearly 4 years. For me the answer is simple. I needed to know that the advice I was handing out was accurate and safe. I also wanted to learn how to teach people effectively.

Coming home from that first course my head was overflowing with information. I had never imagined that it would be possible for me to learn so much more about babywearing!

At first it felt strange to start charging people for a service that I used to give out freely. But then I thought about it. Before I did my course I would always be happy to help someone and would stand up and teach someone while my children played at my feet. Teaching someone generally involved tying a child to them or tugging on strands of material. Now as a babywearing consultant I set aside 1.5 – 2 hours of my time to teach someone a specific carry or teach them how to use a specific carrier. Gone were the days of pulling and tugging. And the children playing at my feet were gone too as when charging someone to come and see me I did feel I had to make sure I could focus my attention on them and not on my own children. I also noticed a difference in how people felt when I was finished with my consultation. Without fail they all left feeling confident in their ability to carry their child. Some coming back for another consultation but for most of them it was just the initial skill set they needed and then they were able to build on it themselves.

Teaching someone how to do a specific carry or how to use a specific carrier is a world away from enabling someone to use slings. Tweaking, troubleshooting, hints and tips are all still part of the free service I provide when out and about at meets and groups. I am more then happy to help someone!

So why do people still come and see me for consultations? Because they want to have that service and dedicated time from a trained professional. Unbelievable to some but it has taken me years to feel happy with that label. Still it is what I am I started my training in November 2008 and have done several more courses and projects to continue my professional development. The learning never stops which with an ever changing industry is a good thing. Being a babywearing consultant connected to a recognised school hands me this on a plate as not only do I get to benefit from my own learning and growing but I get to share in the journey that others are undertaking too.

In Germany where the concept of a babywearing consultant is much more accepted cities can have more then 10 successful consultants. Competition can increase business as well as creating a local network of skills.

For more information on training as a babywearing consultant please see www.trageschule.co.uk ( where you can find out more about me in the trainer section too!) and for information on where to find a consultant local to you please see www.slingguide.co.uk