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London Has a Network of Lending Libraries for Baby Equipment

Rent infant carriers and slings for less than $4 a week.

Walking London's South Bank, via flickr user Garry Knight

Londoners who want to wear their babies instead of pushing them in “prams” are in luck: A network of baby equipment lending libraries has sprung up around the city, allowing new parents to test out slings and carriers for just £5 for two weeks (less than $8).

As Emily Williamson of the South London Sling Library told the Londonist blog, purchasing a baby sling “is like buying shoes. Other people can tell you what is comfy for them, but that's no guarantee it'll work for you. Everyone's a different shape, size, proportion. And so are babies.”

Slings and carriers are also expensive, at about £80 ($125) a pop. For that reason, London’s Sling Libraries give new parents the opportunity to test out different varieties and brands before making a financial commitment. Some libraries sell discount, secondhand slings, for the most cost-conscious local parents.

The libraries also offer instructional courses on “babywearing,” which teach parents how to safely wrap their children in slings.

via wikimedia commons user Dynam0tv

As Londonist points out, the city’s ten Sling Libraries might be the perfect solution for urban parents on the go: “With a carrier, you've got two hands free—one for your Oyster card, the other for your coffee.”

Additionally, some British health officials say the babywearing technique help infants bond with their parents.

"Babywearing or ‘kangaroo care’ allows babies to continue their development in the perfect environment—safe in the arms of their mother, father or other caring adults,” a National Health System infant feeding coordinator told the BBC.

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