Spotlight on a Slingababy Consultant: Jilly Clarke
Can you give us a quick introduction as to who you are?
Hi, I am Jilly and I am based in Welwyn, Hertfordshire where I live with my two children and husband. I have been a perinatal educator (that is, antenatal, postnatal and baby up to around 2 years old) for the past 9 years. I run CubCare, which is home to my pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing, parenting and baby classes as well as my consultancy. I also run Welwyn Slings, offering slings and carriers for hire in the local area in Hertfordshire and North London.
Can you tell us more about your journey from carrying to becoming a consultant to now?
My sister recommended a sling when I had my son, so that I could give him the endless cuddles that he wanted whilst being able to make and eat my lunch with two hands! I didn’t really use it much beyond the first few months, but when I had my daughter I really got my money’s worth! She was born right at the beginning of the summer holidays so she went in the sling almost immediately so that I was then free to play and be with my son. We carried regularly until she was around 2, and she still loves to be carried now, age 7!
When my daughter started school I decided to add to my business, and had noticed that clients would stop carrying their babies as soon as their first carrier became uncomfortable. They wanted to carry but they weren’t finding the products, or the instructions, were allowing them to do that. Gaining the knowledge and experience from my consultancy training has allowed me to give knowledgeable advice to my clients in class, but to also to deliver 1:1 consults with clients solely on carrying.
What is your favourite part about being a consultant?
Passing that knowledge on, allowing parents the freedom they didn’t think they’d be able to achieve.
Often clients come with preconceived ideas of what they are after, and I love it when I am able to show them the wide variety of options available and they find something that works for them. I do love the lightbulb moment when it all makes sense and they perhaps choose a style they would have never considered.
Would you share a special memory that sticks out for you?
One of my favourite memories is when I went to a home of a two week old family. They had a carrier and a sling that was passed down to them and they didn’t know where to start with using them. They had a dog and a cuddly newborn and needed to work out how to ease back into life. The Dad was immediately drawn to a ring sling and picked up the technique immediately. The look of absolute pride when he was able to get his daughter happy and comfortable in the ring sling and make himself some lunch was a memory that will stick with me for a long time!
What tip would you give yourself if you could get back to the time before you were a parent?
Trust your gut. Don’t be so caught up in how much babies “should” be sleeping or feeding and just go with it. If in doubt, feed the baby!
Why did you choose to train with Slingababy?
When looking for recommendations on Facebook groups, Slingababy was always the most recommended. When comparing websites of different training providers, the Slingababy course was the most comprehensive and supportive. I wanted to train with the best – and that’s exactly what I did!
Do you want to say a few words about your Slingababy experience?
Lorette is so supportive and caring. Always challenging me, and helping me to understand that I am always in the place I need to be. During the training I was the least experienced with babywearing, but time and dedication to learning has got me to a “good enough” place. I am still not in my comfort zone, but that’s where growth continues to happen, and that reminder from Lorette was special!