Babywearing with Jess

What is a babywearing consultant?!?

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Someone asked me the valid question recently, “what is a babywearing consultant?”

This is just my understanding of it, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, after all I AM NOT YET certified nor have completed any formalised training. I don’t have public indemnity insurance, I don’t charge people for advice….

I do have a shit load of carriers which are the basis of my library for hire once I do get certified later in the year, I do have years and a range of personal experience with babywearing and I am super passionate about the topic…

At the heart of my future business plan, my business mission or purpose if you like, is simply “to share the love and knowledge of babywearing with parents and caregivers, particularly within New Zealand”… And right now, if you asked me my “title” or “position”, it is simply ‘babywearing enthusiast with a shit load of carriers’ which my friends and people I know get to share the love of and try and use for loan…

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A babywearing consultant is someone who has been independently trained to teach others about babywearing, to provide advice and expertise on the range and variety of babywearing options available and/or to help someone fit and comfortably use an existing carrier they own. They are often utilised in special case scenarios (premature bubbas etc) where your sling meet educators and leaders may not have been trained in in certain cases, or where people can’t get to, or for whatever reason, don’t want to attend a sling meet, or, would prefer more intimate or personal guidance.

This is a relatively new concept to New Zealand, and aside from sling meets (ie Slingbabies; which are amazing and a great resource), there is no where for parents to learn about babywearing. Most big name baby stores sell largely limited ranges, often those notorious within the babywearing community for being either uncomfortable or not at all ergonomic, or both. The few “good” retail stockists still sell a limited range and the world of babywearing is often something many parents struggle to enter. Solutions that work for people are often very much a personal preference and fit kind of situation and most people benefit from trying before they buy.

I have always been the go-to for babywearing advice in my circle of mum friends and with a bit of encouragement from these ladies I set up a Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/babywearingwithjess/) and “opened up” my babywearing collection/library to friends and extended networks of new mums. I have already enrolled in training to become a certified consultant in September of this year and after then, I imagine I will be able to give you a much more through answer about the exact role of a consultant…

But for now, what I do know for sure, is that I wasted heaps of money buying slings and carriers that didn’t work for us and for some reason, stuck at it and found places like Slingbabies that helped me find my babywearing “sweet spot” and one of my favourite parenting tools for this age and stage of my life as a mum..

I think if I was explained more about different coping mechanisms and tools like babywearing much, much earlier – like in my antenatal class even, I might have been more aware of how to best cope with some situations that struck me personally as the hardest to cope with, particularly in that “fourth trimester” period…

That whole ‘my baby cries bloody murder if I try to put him down asleep’, ‘baby just wants to be held’, ‘baby wants to sleep only on me’ phase… Babywearing is such an amazingly invaluable tool for coping with that in my opinion and if someone could have told me, not only “it’s not uncommon for your baby to want to be held and sleep on you just generally, for at least the first three months of life”, but then also followed that up with “a stretchy wrap or ring sling is a great tool for such times”… I might have felt less generally overwhelmed and daunted by the process and maybe have felt like I had more potential “tools” in my parenting tool kit to call on in those times that first time around as a new mum… Instead I just spent a large portion of time, sitting in a rocking chair with a baby on me, for close to the first five months of Josh’s life!

The initial purchases and attempts we made into the world of babywearing where not comfortable or ergonomic but they were enough to encourage me to keep exploring my options… And I think so many people try one kind of ‘sling’ or ‘front pack’ and get put off the whole concept of babywearing which is unfortunate…

But for right now, the world of babywearing is a bit of a hard one for people to enter and embrace, the knowledge about carrying our babies and children, while shared far and wide spread many generations ago, has now in some ways become a bit of an exclusive club that you have to have “ins” with to even learn or know much at all.

I’m not by any means trying to suggest to people I am an “expert” or know everything about babywearing, far from it… I am just enthusiastic and passionate and keen to share with others who are interested, just how cool it is to utilise a pretty awesome parenting tool, used for thousands of generations of parents in history before ours, that makes some aspects of parenting and life with kids that little bit easier to juggle sometimes…

And let’s face it, parenting, particularly with little kids and babies can be bloody hard work, so I don’t know about everyone else, but for us anything that might make it that little bit easier has probably been tried if we thought it might help… And for my family, and lots of my friends, babywearing was a big help a lot of the time…

So while I write a lot of crap on this blog, sometimes babywearing related sometimes just general happenings about my life with my tamariki, and while I have a Facebook page and have plans for a business within babywearing consultcy once I have finalised my certification, insurance obligations and other factors… I just wanted to reiterate, right now, I am simply “Babywearing with Jess”, babywearing enthusiast 😍

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