Wrap a Hug: baby slings bring east London parents together

Mel Pinet, of Bethnal Green's Wrap a Hug, with her baby in a sling

Mel Pinet, of Bethnal Green's Wrap a Hug, holding her baby in a sling - Credit: Supplied

Wrap a Hug baby sling library, run by mum-of-two, is helping to combat local parents’ loneliness. 

The library - which provides consultations, advice and workshops - is helping to bring together the local community, one sling at a time. 

Mel Pinet, of Wrap a Hug, said: “It began seven and a half years ago when I had my first son.

“Just like every mum out there I had no idea about slings, I got given some slings and like everybody, I had no idea of what I was doing.”

Mel had "quite severe post-natal depression" after the birth of her first son. She says carrying him in a sling helped her bond with him. 

“It really helped me massively through the depression and opened up so many doors,” said Mel. 

Mel quickly got involved with other “slinging mums”, attending local meetings where parents would share ideas, tips and tricks. 

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She said: “At that time, a friend that had started wrap a hug sling library in west London, she was going back to Italy, so she said: 'Why don’t you take over the name and the website and move it to east London?'” 

Mel trained to become a certified baby-wearing consultant, quit her full-time job, and relaunched Wrap a Hug in Bethnal Green. 

Certified baby-wearing consultants help parents explore sling options

Certified baby-wearing consultants help parents explore sling options - Credit: Supplied

Offering consultations from her home, Mel provides a supportive environment in which parents can explore sling options. 

Mel said: “It’s very important to get proper support, to find a sling that fits you, to have a really great experience and to help you get on with your life.

“I’ve had people who leave here and say: ‘This has changed my life – I can be hands-free; I can do things around the house, I don’t feel like I’m trapped anymore.'" 

Wrap a Hug promotes a “pay what you can” message, encouraging those with financial struggles to still get involved.  

Mel said: “[Slings] don’t have to be expensive."

Mel runs a coffee morning every Wednesday in Victoria Park to bring parents together 

Mel runs a coffee morning every Wednesday in Victoria Park to bring parents together - Credit: Supplied

With the community at its heart, Wrap a Hug also gets involved in local events and workshops.

Mel runs a coffee morning every Wednesday, in Victoria Park, which provides parents with an opportunity to chat, take a breath and have a cup of coffee. 

She says baby slings helped her with bond with her son after suffering from post-natal depression

She says baby slings helped her with bond with her son after suffering from post-natal depression - Credit: Supplied

"It’s all about the community,” said Mel. 

“There’s a saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, so this is my aim - to create this village."

Find out more at ww.wrapahug.com