Welcome to the Carrying Matters website, run by the award-winning Dr Rosie Knowles.

 It is important to support caregivers as they build a happy brain for their children. Soft touch and loving connections play a vital role in this. There are so many benefits of babywearing, which can be explored in this site. Babywearing safety matters; our guide to slings and our commitment to sling education will help parents and those who support them feel confident with sling use at every age.

The positive effects of soft touch, close loving contact, and meaningful connections are enormous, and investment early on in family life is well worth it. Holding and carrying is connection; it matters to children, their carers, and society. The close contact helps to build a happy brain, and creates the relationships that buffer against adversity and promote resilience and long term positive health outcomes. It also helps mothers to survive the “4th Trimester” period and the months and years ahead. Here you can find everything you need to know about how to carry your baby safely and well, why babywearing is so normal and useful, how to choose a baby carrier, and help for all sorts of circumstances.

This page is run by Rosie Knowles, the author of the book Why Babywearing Matters (you can get a signed copy here). She is a GP in Sheffield, a carrying advocate and babywearing expert. She is passionate about supporting parents and carers to be close to their children; holding, soft touch and carrying matters in so many ways.

carrying children matters, carrying matters, rosie knowles,

The simple act of connecting with a small person through the medium of loving touch has powerful and long-lasting effects on both child and carer. Babies need to be held close to encourage normal physiological and psychological development, especially in the early months.  Every child needs love and connection to grow normally: the absence of responsive and supportive relationships that involve loving physical touch will hamper a child’s potential. Mothers heal best with their babies close to them.

Children thrive when they are carried, resilience builds and families flourish when the needs of all its members are met. Carrying is connection; carrying matters!

carry me daddy

Keeping babies safe in any kind of baby sling or baby carrier is of paramount importance. The first most vital issue is to ensure that baby’s airway is open and unobstructed, with chin off the chest and the ribcage well supported. Babies’ temperatures should be considered too; they are surprisingly warm, and overheating can cause problems. Read more about sling safety here.


beco gemini

Secure attachment to other people is vital to human health and wellness; we thrive on relationship, on belonging. Such healthy attachments are the bedrock to future positive mental health and enjoyable relationships. However, 40% of children lack secure attachments, and are significantly disadvantaged. Encouraging carers to spend more time in close physical contact with their children is one way to improve children’s resilience and support everyone’s mental health. Soft touch is an essential part of building a happy brain and positive bonds that last a lifetime.

Read more about the importance of building secure attachments here, and how encouraging close physical contact can help build the resilience that children need to thrive despite adversity.


when the time comes to stop carrying

About Rosie

“I am a mum of 2, a family doctor in the UK (a GP), and a passionate advocate of building secure attachment relationships between children and their carers, due to the long lasting effects this has on future health. I believe that carrying children plays a large part in building such bonds, be it in arms or in a sling. With Carrying Matters, I focus on providing accessible information and education about this for parents and the professionals who support them. Sling and carrier use is not a new concept at all; but our Westernised society has lost the communal sharing of knowledge. We are no longer surrounded by a community of people who can help us get to grips with parenthood and share the load, so we need support in newer and more structured ways. This is what I do; empower people to keep their children close in a safe and positive way.”

Her book, “Why Babywearing Matters”, was published by Pinter and Martin in May 2016. It was translated into Polish “Dlaczego noszenie ma znaczenie?” by Nicminiewisi and Lenny Lamb in May 2018.  She has written for a wide range of publications, including Juno Magazine, and has a regular freelance blogging role for Boba (links can be found in the Blog section).

She founded the Sling Pages, an independent website listing all the known sling professional resources in the UK and Eire.

She is a practising GP in the UK with a particular interest in holistic medicine as well as children and women’s health and medical ethics. She began her career in hospital medicine but switched to general practice because of its flexibility with family life and the opportunities it presents to be more closely involved with communities, from cradle to grave. She has two children of her own, who have both been carried happily, and a husband who works alongside her at their local Sheffield premises. Rosie founded the Sheffield Sling Surgery and Library in 2013 and has supported thousands of parents across the South Yorkshire region, helped by a volunteer team of fantastic, committed parents who have found carrying their own children to be life-changing. They all want to help their fellow parents to discover this for themselves!

Rosie has won several awards for her work in this field; the Babywearing International Vijay Owens Babywearing Advocacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Promoting Babyweaaring in 2016 and the 2019 Association for Infant Mental Health AIMH (UK) award in recognition of those who have highlighted and promoted infant mental health in their discipline.


Rosie developed the “Fourth Trimester” sling meet model with her colleague Lindsay Snow, focusing on the needs of parents with bumps to four months. Families often struggle to deal with the biological needs of their new baby within the confined structures and expectations of modern society, which can be damaging to the building of secure attachments.

The needs of baby and caregivers are both important, as is the mental health and happiness of the whole family. Human beings were not designed to live in small isolated units but in supportive social groupings.

Holding babies close (in arms or in a soft sling) can be a very useful tool for families struggling with mental health disorders, pre, peri or postnatally. The close contact and the soft touch has biochemical hormonal effects that can help to reduce anxiety, improve feelings of wellbeing and connection, as well as lifting the mood. Read more about this here.

You can find your local sling library or sling meet by searching the Sling Pages resource, get in touch with them!

Using a sling (carrier) helps parents to keep their child as close as their biology needs, while also being able to function as adults in a demanding and inflexible world.


Rosie trains carrying advocates and sling/carrier peer supporters through the Born to Carry initiative, running courses in Sheffield and nearby. She has trained health care professionals, sling librarians, fitness course leaders and interested parents.

She lectures at conferences and gatherings around the UK and Europe about a range of topics, all related to early years parenting and how slings and carriers can make a huge difference to babies, their carers and to society.

peer supporter training professionals
rosie knowles learning education carrying matters lectures

“I’d highly recommend any enthusiast to attend this course. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and look forward to being able to use this new knowledge to help more parents discover the benefits of babywearing, as I have.”

“Rosie is a wonderful teacher, very clear and good at explaining. I felt she was well educated in her field and able to answer any question thrown at her. Also very friendly which made me feel comfortable and relaxed in a learning environment and confident to ask questions.”

Get in touch with her here.

5 days ago

It’s Martin Luther King Jr day today - Mon Jan 20th.

“Without love, there is no reason to know anyone; for love will in the end connect us to our neighbours, our children and our hearts.”

5 days ago
UNILAD

It’s apparently #bluemonday today so here is something to make you smile... the power of connection and cuddles!

He heard his little sister cry and rushed to check on her 😢🙌

6 days ago
Photos from Carrying Matters - Dr Rosie Knowles's post

I’m really pleased how our first #mybabymymind antenatal workshop went this morning. Eight expectant couples and one mother-to-be came along for a morning of discussion and preparation for new ... See more

1 week ago
GroBrain

I’m so glad that what so many of us in the sling world have been saying for YEARS is now part of world guidelines; showing how this closeness is so vital to human health and wellbeing, and busting ... See more

MYTH: you should leave babies to settle alone so that they become independent.

Excerpt below from 'Building a Happy Brain - A Guide for Parents' written as part of a collaboration between UNICEF ... See more

1 week ago
Timeline Photos

Tomorrow Anna and I are running the first “My Baby My Mind” workshop at the snug for parents-to-be: how mental health can be challenged by the arrival of a new baby and how babywearing can become ... See more

1 week ago
This mom's viral tweet shows what *really* happens to your time after you have a baby

This is fascinating... does this feel like your experience? The amount of time a mother spends feeding and caring for her baby in the first few months of life...

But that it DOES change. If things ... See more

A data scientist breaks it down.

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