So, what is the difference? What exactly is a Babywearing consultant? How are they different to a Peer supporter? Or the enthusiastic amateur I was when I established the library?
There is currently no requirement to have any formal training to run a sling library and in recent months there has been a massive increase in the number of them in the UK. Most are run to allow people to try slings and are built often on the owners slings and experience. Most have some understanding of Babywearing safety and basic ways to carry your baby. Although no requirement for training sling libraries that take a fee, even if they make no income, must make a tax return and should have public liability insurance as a bare minimum. The law also means that you need to meet The Sale of Goods Act 1979 & Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982, and The Consumer Protection Act 1987. No set of terms and conditions, or waivers, remove the need to meet these criteria.
Next are peer supporters. Babywearing UK offers a course designed for this purpose. Peer supporters are usually experienced sling users, but not all) and they are taught how to assist small groups. A Peer supporter supports, informs and shares experienc. Where as a Consultant teaches, assesses/troubleshoots and advises/recommends, and can direct to more experienced people.
Consultants have more in depth training and as such can provide more personalised care. They are also taught and have understanding of physiology and anatomy and babies development. I trained with Trageschule UK in March 2012. More details about my training and consultancy can be found here. They are several Babywearing schools and in 2011 the British Association of Babywearing Instructors was founded. It is designed to have a set of shared guidelines for consultants to follow. It also provides access to Professional and Public Liability Insurance. A full list of spprived training schools and consultants can be found on their website (www.babi.me.uk). Consultants and peer supporters trained by Babywearing Uk can also access insurance but this is provided by different insurers. Consultants by the nature of their more professional training are able to charge for their services.
One comparison I have been suggested was that a peer supporter is like a shop assistant who has a general grasp of the stock, whereas a personal shopper can tailor to individual needs. Fundamentally the difference is about the depth of understanding and training. They are stepped in level of knowledge and understanding. And after all Babywearing has been a skill traditionally passed from mother to daughter and person to person, consultants, peer supporters and enthusiasts all have this shared aim.