Here at Beautiful Bonds we are committed to helping you find your feet as a new family. Whether that is finding the perfect carrier or supporting you in your postpartum recovery, we are here to guide you.


Beautiful Bonds

Beautiful Bonds started life part of Ipswich and Colchester Sling library and was run by the lovely Katherine, who still does consultations over in Ipswich.

In May 2019, Maria took over the Colchester half of the library and has made it her own. First, offering consultations so people could get more than a quick 15 minute check, and then moving on to retailing of slings and offering courses to new parents.


Maria Renshaw, Carrying Consultant

I began Beautiful Bonds in June 2019 (although then it was known as Colchester Slings) when I took over the Colchester half of Ipswich and Colchester Sling Library.

I started my own baby wearing journey when my first son was born in 2013. My mum bought me my first sling because she thought it might help and my was she right! I went on to wear my first son on and off for the next few years. I then had my second son who was worn in a sling for the first time the day he was born. I was pregnant with my third son during my take over and so I've thoroughly enjoyed trying out all the library slings with him.

I am also a trained breastfeeding councilor and try hard to keep updated an all things baby and baby development.

In May 2021 I launched my brand new course "The Beautiful Fourth". I passionately believe that all parents need to prepare for the 4th Trimester, the first few months of a baby's life. As well as the traditional antenatal topics, such as infant feeding and baby care, I also go through what is normal, where to go when things are not working and how best to recover from your pregnancy and birth. I also have a session on baby carrying which includes a complete tutorial on using a stretchy sling.

I can't wait to see how Beautiful Bonds grows and develops!


Oct 2020-Slingababy Baby carrying and Infant Feeding

Aug 2018-HypnobirthMidwivesUK teacher

Jan 2018-Breastfeeding Councellor

Feb 2017-Slingababy Carrying Consultant

Standard courses updated yearly, including but not limited to: Infection prevention and control, Fire Safety, Safe guarding, Equality and Diversity



Mary Watson, Hypnobirthing teacher and Library Administrator

I volunteer at the sling library as admin support for my daughter Maria, but I am also a midwife and qualified hypnobirth instructor.

I am a mother of four and when my first child was born in 1982 I was very keen to try carrying him in a sling, or rather a baby carrier as it was called then. Unfortunately there were minimal instructions on how to use it (and no sling libraries!) and even though my first baby was very small, I found carrying him for any length of time made my back ache, so I didn’t use it very often (and I have no photos sadly).

Fast forward about 25 years when I cared for a woman postnatally who had purchased a stretchy sling and was happily carrying her baby whilst in hospital. She re-convinced me that carrying was the way to go and I, in turn, persuaded Maria a few years later to try it with her first born. I never imagined it would lead to Maria running a sling library and to Beautiful Bonds, but I am so glad it has!

I have been a midwife since 1982 and whilst working for Mid Essex Hospitals Trust I trained as a hypnobirth practitioner with ©HypnobirthmidwivesUK and then qualified in aromatherapy for childbirth. I have been aware of the use of self-hypnosis in labour since the 90’s and have been particularly enthusiastic about it since Maria had her first child using hypnobirth techniques.


Since 2018 I have taught hypnobirthing classes both within the NHS and privately and I am now very excited to be joining Maria at Beautiful Bonds to offer this amazing and wonderful course for small groups at her studio in Colchester.


Jan 2020-Peer Supporter training with Maria at Beautiful Bonds

Aug 2018-HypnobirthMidwivesUK teacher

Feb 1982-Qualified Midwife




Krysy Elgaard, Peer Supporter

I've been using slings since 2012. My first sling was a Moby stretchy wrap and I used it from birth, after my c-section. It worked well for us as my first baby had reflux. I’ve also breastfed in various slings. Slings make life so much easier!


I’ve either attended or volunteered at sling libraries since 2013. My first role was in admin/payments. I then decided to do my Peer Supporter training and have been helping fit slings since Jan 2018.

I no longer own as many slings as I used to and some are in the library stock we rent, but I still carry my youngest on the odd occassion she gets tired - I offer her the chance to walk or go in the sling and it makes me so happy when she chooses the sling as we both enjoy the snuggly cuddles.

I’m a Management Accountant the rest of the time but I enjoy volunteering at the library. I’ve seen bumps becomes newborns, growing out of stretchy wraps then into baby-sized buckles and into toddler-buckles and even becoming older siblings to new babies. Most of all I love to see a person’s face when they realise how comfy a sling can be for them and the baby.


Jan 2018-Peer Supporter training with Born to Carry

2013-Library volunteer


Jess Cook, Peer Supporter

I am a mum of two and have used the sling with both of them since very early on. When I was pregnant with my first, I knew I didn't want to be restricted to using the pram, especially for those woody dog walks.


With the arrival of my second, I was reminded how powerful a tool the sling really is. I love using a wrap, but since joining the team at Colchester Slings, my eyes have been opened to the many, many different buckle carriers.

When I'm not at the sling library, or walking the dog, I teach music from my home, volunteer with Colchester Cloth and run Sling Swing and Beanie Boppers Colchester. I look forward to seeing you at our next meet.


2018-Sling Swing instructor

2018-Peer Supporter training with School of babywearing


Aly Sanders, Peer Supporter

I began volunteering as a peer supporter at the library just before COVID hit!


I gave birth to my daughter Zen in the summer of 2019 and my love for babywearing evolved. We had a hard time with evening crying for the first three months and nothing soothed her. We hired a sling from the library and she loved the movement and closeness. The sling allowed me to know I was meeting my daughter's desire to be close but have my hands free to feed and take care of myself. 

Zen was exclusively worn in the sling for her first 5 months of life which I am sure has contributed to our incredible bond and her outgoing personality!

Use of the sling was the most valuable tool I had as a new mum. And the connection we have formed as a result of it is lifelong. 

I look forward to supporting other mums, dads, grandparents in this incredible journey...after all it takes a village!


Jan 2020-Peer Supporter training with Maria at Beautiful Bonds

2017-HypnobirthMidwivesUK teacher

2012-Qualified Midwife