My babywearing journey started in the year 2000 when I met a woman in a market place who had her new little baby in a wrap. Although far off having child myself I was hit by the ‘right’ it seemed to me. “Of course that is totally where a baby would want to be.” I started making stretchy (really stretchy!) wraps for my friends as they started having babies and finally for myself in 2007 when our son Eli was born. Well that fully stretchy wrap didn’t cut it for long at all.
[Right: photo of the first cotton/lycra, fully stretchy wrap around sling I made for Kyra (Canadian Homebirth Midwife). A bit too stretchy!]
At the time we knew almost all of the babywearers in town – there weren’t many back then. A Nelson mum came to Dunedin to run a Babywearing and Nappy Free workshop that I had organised and secured funding for. From this workshop we started the Dunedin Conscious Parenting group to support other parents practicing babywearing/nappy free or elimination communication. We also talked baby-led weaning, co-sleeping and other less mainstream parenting ideas. Eventually, I branched off and formed the more specific Ōtepoti Dunedin Babywearing group and Library.
The DVD/Download was an idea dreamed up in that semi sleep state while feeding my baby to sleep during the day. I thought I’d start writing a babywearing book and actually did write at chapter on the history of babywearing until I realised it was crazy to not be utilising my husband’s media production skills!
The Tummy to Tummy DVD was still around but had many out of date techniques. Swaddling below the hips is no longer recommended and the M or straddle squat position is the ideal in most cases. I did a small survey on Facebook and many people thought a babywearing instructional DVD would be a great gift to newly pregnant friends to inspire and empower them to wear their babies.
Our first shoot, now more than three years ago, was a bit of a disaster! Funnily enough our friends babies weren’t that keen on someone they didn’t know so well or being surrounded by bright lights and other large pieces of equipment.
This experience wouldn’t be the first time we would throw our hands in the air, question our madness and almost give up on the idea. Each time we persevered spurred on by our friends and fellow babywearers telling us what a great resource it will be and my own stubbornness.
By the time we started our babywearing instructional DVD it was becoming more common and I didn’t know all the babywearers in town anymore. I still had many conversations with parents who didn’t know where to start with babywearing so never did! Stephen, ‘a soon to be Dad’ explained that he’d seen people wearing their baby and thought it was a different cultural thing. After viewing part of Wearing Your Baby he was so excited at the idea of wearing his baby when he/she arrives in December.
Many people suggested we look for sponsorship for our project and it was definitely tempting as we spent more and more of our ‘spare’ time planning, filming and editing as well as a significant amount of our savings. I was very aware that more and more carriers were appearing on the market, everyone believing that theirs was best. It was important for us to not be influenced by carrier manufacturers or even organisations in the baby health industry. We have strived to provide information on best practice, ideal babywearing through research within the not for profit babywearing community and not for profit organizations focused on what is best for baby development.
When it came to soft structured carriers it didn’t make sense to cover up brands so we chose five to review and demonstrate. It can be hard to get out of the house in the first few weeks of having a new baby and takes effort to seek out information that’s not readily available through midwives or well child providers. We thought having a multi carrier babywearing video that you could download from home might overcome some of these challenges.
Now that it’s out we need your help! Please spread the word that this resource is available as a DVD in a cardboard cover (less plastic is a good thing for future generations!) or as a very reasonably priced download. The DVD will help new parents work out what carrier might suit them and give them good instruction and tips once they have bought one. And for those new parents not sure about ‘wearing’ their baby at all – gift them a copy and they will be inspired.
Thanks Babywearers – you rock!