Since training with Slingababy in 2014 I have found that demo dolls are worth their weight in gold as a consultant. They really set professionals apart from amateurs in the babywearing world. Slingababy taught me that the doll is not just a doll. It is a baby, it has to be handled with care and affection. You are not just teaching parents how to use a sling, but how to hold and be confident with their own baby.
Finding the doll that suits the way you work is important. Many libraries and consultants begin with a 6 month old doll (approx 24inch/ 60cm) which will be suitable to demo most standard carries and carriers.
For the time I was running a library, I used Ruby, a doll produced and distributed by SlumberRoo. Ruby weighs 7lb, but this is deceptive, as a deadweight, she does feel much heavier. She is 56cm tall, and has jointed limbs. She has a Renate head, with pleasing features, and plastic hands (upto just below elbow) and feet (upto just below knees).
I found her great for front wrapping, ring slings and soft waisted carriers such as Connecta and mei tais. But a little small for structured waisted carriers such as Tula. When it came to back-wrapping demos, I found that she got lost in the fabric. Without the weighting and definition in her legs, I found it difficult to create a good seat in wraps and carriers on my back. I did find that the addition of a cloth nappy did help create a seat for a basic demo.
I have found that Ruby fits perfectly in the standard Beco carrier. The Gemini measures 14inches, rather than the 16 inch width of many standard carriers.
The extra ½ lb (226g) really makes a difference, as it seems to have been added to Kevin’s legs, meaning they a bit more naturally. I also find that his legs are a bit longer, making him fit a structured carriers better. Such as a Lillebaby Complete.
The doll above is Ruby, and you can see that she is too small for the wide setting of the Lillebaby. But could be used to show how to use the carrier without a problem.
There is no right and wrong when it comes to demo dolls, each has its place, and it’s fans. It is important to consider your client base, your budget and your personal preference.
Ruby costs; £69.99 plus £10 p&p Available from SlumberRoo.co.uk
Kevin costs; £59.95 plus £3.95 p&p Available from Slingheaven.com
Please follow the link below to view a full comparison chart of weights and sizes of dolls available.