Babywearing with Jess


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What carrier is best for me?

Often I get requests for recommendations about what would be the ‘best carrier’ for someone… This is like the hardest question to answer! Because it’s not a simple nor a static question…

 

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So there are firstly many, many factors you want to consider but if we stick to this concept that ‘the best carrier is the one that fits your needs’, then the first questions to answer is going to be, what are your needs?

 

How old is your baby? When are you thinking you would use your carrier? Do you have preferences over the type or style of carrier you are comfortable using?

 

For many of us who do use carriers as a tool with our children, our needs may change and that may mean something else might work better but this isn’t to say you need many options, although it is a great excuse for more carriers if you were looking for one! 😉

The other thing to consider is how being an item you are wearing, like if we make the comparison to jeans for example, the best option for you is going to depend on the shape of your body, your preferences and individual fit… So while the favourite jeans of your friend may potentially be the perfect jeans for you, chances are greater that there is probably something you prefer more for you…

The absolute best way to find out some better idea of what works best for you to see and try a few different options. There are volunteer sling meets and groups around the country which is a great place to start, Raising Ziggy has made an awesome list of the options around NZ which you can find on Facebook here. Consultants and paid workshops are another option as well, both providing an option to have some more hands on support and individual guidance through the massive range of options now available.

So if it wasn’t unclear already, there isn’t a simple one size fits all answer for this.

In demo’s I do in workshops I broadly categorize into a few different categories; slings (ring slings, pouches etc), wraps (both stretchy & woven), tie on (meh dai etc) and buckles (soft structured carriers).

 

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There is so, so much option that even within those different categories there are many different brand and style choice options. But as a first step, getting some idea of the range of various styles alone may help you to start to work out what is going to be best for you…

 

If at all possible though, it almost always pays to try before you buy! It is easy to waste lots of money on a big investment based off someone else’s recommendation alone if you haven’t tried it for yourself too…

 

If you are not able to get a sling meet and looking for a similar demo of the various types of carriers there are online, check out this video by Louise from The Sleep Store – https://www.facebook.com/SleepStore/videos/10155176699829316/

 

 

 


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Special Christmas Service and Offer!

Ok, so, firstly, I usually run workshops… Lots of people at once to balance the cost of the consultancy service….

BUT… I wanted to do something different for Christmas and we had a wee bit of an idea as the “Why Dads Babywear” team and I move through our project to get the concept to print….

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Normally when I do in home workshops I suggest to my clients to find a friend who is keen too so they can share the cost of the $90 consultation… But after recently doing a couples consult with some people who I have inadvertently recruited to our Why Dads Babywear project team and recently introduced you to, Dana and Andrew, we thought it could be a cool way to get more Dads who maybe a bit hesitant or unsure to work out whats best for them… And maybe with someone other than just their wives help… 😛

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Photo credit: Veronica-Jean Photography

So this is Dana and Andrew and their beautiful kids…

I had earlier the previous week had an in home workshop with both Dana and her friend Steph… here’s a picture of me holding both of their babies asleep while they practice wrapping techniques…

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Andrew was one of the first awesome dads to jump on board and help us out with the 100 reasons on the Facebook album (you can find him as number 5!) and I actually first meet Dana and Andrew a long time ago through some volunteer work both our families had been involved in. Dana had also come along to one of my workshops at MAMA Maternity which is where we again reconnected after a few years since West Auckland Parents Centre stuff…

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Follow along on Instagram @whydadsbabywear

She mentioned Andrew had a wrap and was keen to learn more stuff with it.. Dana has been such a huge help to me with this project already, I was like, “just tell me when to come over and we will play”…

So they did.. And I went over after all the kids were in bed and we all talked some shit and had a cider and then I showed Andrew some wrapping stuff…

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Dana was meant to be an observer hahaha she spent a while rummaging through the stash box I brought in too but as soon as we got to a woven wrap carry she hadn’t tried… she was keen to jump in on the action as well!

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So I showed them a Poppins hip carry, we also covered a Ruck back carry and Kangaroo front carry (featured above)- Andrew had already mastered a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) in his dragon themed wrap 😉

And then two things happened… Firstly, Andrew put us to shame with his wrapping technique! I just explained the basic mechanics, the fabric works like this, to tighten we have to do this, to be secure we need to fill these criteria, to be safe we need to make sure of this… Next thing you know, this guy is just running with it and making up shit as he goes, carries I have never seen before, knots I didn’t even mention…

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Then I get sent photos like this! Check out how f*cken tight that poppins is man?! What a bloody pro! 😛

And even cooler, I see this on Dana’s fb page in the following few days…

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Well hello there “husband and wife poppins masters” 😛

Hahaha so we together thought it would be cool… For me to spend a wee bit of time, before workshops get busy again after Christmas period and before we are in full go mode for this book launch early in the new year, to share some of that “parent team workshop fun” and to make it more affordable I have added a big f#ck off discount on a service I don’t even normally offer…

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I am happy to present these “gift vouchers” to suit who you want to buy them for with pretty pictures and digital art and shit… just tell me how you are trying to justify buying one! Hahaha

Seriously limited numbers guys so get in quick if you are keen, email me babywearingwithjess@gmail.com


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Practising while still pregnant…

Slings & Carriers can be an incredibly useful parenting tool. When your baby is in the “fourth trimester” period as a newborn, it is common for them to settle best close to you.

 

Human babies are born with a biological need to be kept close to their caregivers. As a species, our young are born dependent on us. Carrying them close to us allows them to continue developing critically in that first transition from the womb to the world. Carrying them and using slings and carriers has actually made us develop to be smarter as a species, a long time before now.

 

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This can also be very draining and your arms do get sore… Even a little baby gets heavy when you are holding them for long periods of time! Wraps, slings and carriers can help with this transition from womb to world.

Slings and carriers can help make your newborn cry less, help you to bond with your baby and let Dads be more involved. They can be used in many ways to support breastfeeding. They are convenient and help provide a sense of freedom while also helping you meet your baby’s needs and desire to be close.

 

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More and more pregnant women are joining me for my workshops, like this morning, lovely to meet you Chloe 🙂 I love that more people are becoming aware this is actually a great time to learn and play, yes you have a pregnant belly, but newborns are little and curled up and options like a ring sling or a stretchy wrap are awesome to try above your pregnant puku with a doll.

 

I am also really keen to get some workshops set up on the weekends sometime in the near future as I would love to have some Dad’s and other support people to come along and be the “guardians of the carrier of knowledge” for their families..

 

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Having a newborn is overwhelming for everyone but Mum is probably trying to sort latch with breastfeeding, dealing with postpartum body, hormone and mind changes, struggling with lack of sleep and everything else. Babywearing is such an awesome way for support people to have a really active role and job for caring for tiny newborns. It would be very cool to share the use of this tool and the information around it as a way for support people and Dad’s to help bond and care for both mother and baby.

 

Slings can actually be used to help you “take a load off” while you are still pregnant! They are also useful for supporting hips both during and post pregnancy. While you are pregnant is also a great time to learn about safety and positioning and see a range of options that might help you to work out what could best suit you.

 

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Feeling empowered to use this parenting tool, before you are even holding your precious new bundle will help you to use slings and carriers to your advantage as soon as possible in your parenting journey. Also having the chance to see a range of options could help you to save money by choosing something you are comfortable using and like before investing in one yourself.

 


 

To see my event listings for workshops please see my Facebook page here or otherwise you can view my details of my Workshops and other Services here – https://babywearingwithjess.wordpress.com/my-services/


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Breastfeeding in a sling or carrier

So I knew this was coming, I have to eat some of my own words from previous posts after the Slingababy training and here is the one of the first big ones for you…

Breastfeeding in a sling or carrier.. I am not saying that I haven’t said it can be done, nor have you all probably seen plenty of my photos with my boobs in them because my children have proudly showed them off as their own for four years now…

 

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Grocery shopping with Jai as a newborn

 

But when I read my previous post, Feeding on the go, and I read the following I cringe a little…

 

Once you feel confident about latch and breastfeeding in general, and you also feel confident about wearing your baby in which ever version of wrap or carrier of your choice, let me invite you to try something that will actually change your world as a breastfeeding mum; feeding on the go.

 

So why? What’s wrong with what I said there??

Well, as was so earth shatteringly brought to my attention when I spouted that “line” that I have heard many, many times in the world of babywearing support before, I had a few hard questions asked of me.

 

Why do you have to be confident about your latch to feed in a carrier? When did you (Jess) feel confident with your latch feeding your boys? Did you feed them in a carrier before then?

 

Well, I don’t know why you ‘have to feel confident with latch’… its just what people say I guess. I’m not sure when or if I ever felt “confident about my latch” in the two years I breastfeed Josh.

Feeding Jai has been different, he didn’t have a bad tongue tie like Josh did, my boobs remembered the job from last time, I didn’t have the same self doubt and Jai has feed like a champ from as soon as he was born.

Josh was a completely different story and I for sure feed him in a carrier before I felt confident about my latch. I just popped a boob out left, right and centre for the first two years of that kids life. He may have had issues breastfeeding but a boob fixed that all that baby’s problems so I didn’t hesitate for a second to whip it out if I could.

And I just rolled with it, I made it up. I didn’t follow any rules, I didn’t know there were any I was “meant” to be following… He was strapped to my front and nuzzling at my boobs starting to grizzle cause he wanted a feed and so I jiggled and wiggled a bit and hiked my boob up with my hand so he could latch on.

And that’s pretty much it.

 

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            Feed ALL the babies!! 😉 Breasting Jai as a newborn while also bottle feeding a lamb..    

And check out the adorable look on Josh’s face!!

 

 

So I eat my own words here. I am not going to delete that from my previous post because it is a common myth about some of the guidelines that have become like “golden rules” in the babywearing community in an attempt to be helpful. Instead though, it doesn’t really achieve that…

 

So, if you want to try breastfeeding in a carrier, here is some extra tips about carrier safety for you.

 

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To see more about general babywearing and sling and carrier safety guidelines more generally, please check out this post – An’So Child-Carrying Safety Guidelines

 

Please feel free to share, print or otherwise freely distribute this infographic with attribution to Babywearing with Jess as the source 🙂

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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“Accelerated Bonding” and Josh the velcro baby

 

My first born, the beautiful, life changing little Velcro baby that he was, was my reason for discovering the “world of babywearing” in the first place because he just wouldn’t let me put him bloody down! Hahah

If it wasn’t for the fact he wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on me for the first almost eighteen months of his life until he got his first set of grommets then I would never have gone to a Slingbabies meet three and a half years ago to find something more than the uncomfortable “front pack” we bought when he was born.

The first sling meet I ever went to blew my mind… I didn’t even really realise there was many other options besides a “front pack” and the steel framed hiking backpack we were given by a kind friend (Thanks Kat x). All these slings and carriers and all these awe inspiring women who were wrapping and slinging and carrying their children in all different positions on their body with all these foreign looking things to me was literally mind blowing…

 

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Me and Josh at Slingbabies meet three years ago, I am literally scratching my head at the prospect of getting him onto my back in this wrap hahha ❤

 

There is a saying in the “babywearing world” about going down the rabbit hole… That was my rabbit hole. I borrowed a Kozy Carrier, I loved it, my world opened up. I didn’t have to sit in a rocking chair anymore for hours on end, I just strapped josh to me and did stuff while he watched or slept or feed…

But it was my Mum wearing it that was probably the one that was the most poignantly eye opening moments for me about what “babywearing” could do for families…

Josh hadn’t had much opportunity to bond with my Mum and as I said he was a Velcro baby. And I was an over protective first time mum. I hadn’t left him out of my sight, unless it was with James. To say I was overbearingly protective was probably an understatement. Mum lived (and still does) overseas and it was on a visit to see us when my Mum, her sister (my Aunty Donna) and I were all browsing in a shop down in the Viaduct in Auckland.

Josh was more than happy being on me in the Kozy but I needed to move my car as the parking had run out and he screamed bloody murder every-time I put him in the carseat… Mum said “Could you strap him to me and we can walk back and meet you there?”

And so I did. And I freaked out he would be screaming without me, he also had separation anxiety at the time too and I rushed and rushed to my car, moving my car, parking my car, almost running to the apartment entrance way… and I turned up to this…

 

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It is such a beautiful photo. I bought a Kozy Carrier as soon as I got home and only a few days into having my loan one from Slingbabies which is pictured above. I still have my Woodstock Kozy Carrier and wear both the boys in it… It is dear to my heart…

 

And I still make a habit of strapping my babies to my family members! We don’t live close to each other so when we are together this “accelerated bonding” that happens for both my babies but the person wearing them is so valuable for everyone I believe… And it gives me a break 😉

 

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(Pictures of my niece, Bella (7), my sister Kate and my cousin Cy wearing Jai in the Bitybean – Christmas 2015)

 

And to my beautiful second born, who really, really made me committed, not only to being a “babywearer”, but also in this idea and concept and actually doing something about my long brewing thoughts and opinions about “babywearing” among the mainstream and medical professionals perspectives..

Jai has been worn in a carrier since he was hours old… My first Ring Sling, Girasol Saltillo…

 

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This was the same day Jai was born, you can see the tears in my eyes, it makes me well up thinking about it… Being able to manage the same routine we did every night before Jai arrived and be there for my kid, while also feeling close to the baby I had already carried around with me for the nine months prior.. It was like a heart explosion moment…

 

Jai was worn every-day of his life until he was 8 months old, it was such a huge deal for me to go a whole day without wearing him at the time that I made a blog post about it (I didn’t babywear today… )…

Many parents will tell you about how even if they wore their first child, it wasn’t until they had their second that they had an even greater appreciation and love for their carriers! The opportunity to be hands free tending to your older child while also keeping your youngest happy is invaluable… (of course, I have blog posted about this too 😛 – Five reasons why I wear my baby ).

And then when Josh had his big operation and was in pain and recovery for like a month, it did indeed render him like a helpless newborn again as the ENT told us to expect… (there were lots of blogs about this one… That “just get it out” stageAn update on my big boys progress post opOn the home stretch… Almost! )

 

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And this process really, really gave all of us yet another level of appreciation for slings, wraps and carriers… I don’t know what we would have done as a family without that tool in our “parenting toolbox” and it inspired and drew me in more to the opportunities to use carriers to support big kids, not just babies and how many families maybe out there with a bigger kid going through trauma, grief, loss, other kinds of life changing and unsettling processes might be able to benefit from the use of slings and carriers, and also kids or families with special needs.

 

When Josh was screaming and trying to run away from the pain as his pain meds wore off and it was still another hour until we could give him more, the other thing that I felt I could do was to strap him to me, walk and cry together until he fell asleep…

My vision of spreading this concept more broadly really took hold…

 

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So what I want to know from you guys is stories of when babywearing has helped your family, especially if you have a story about how awesome it is for helping with “accelerated bonding”…

Feel free to comment here, share them on my Facebook page or if you would like to tell me a story anonymously, that’s also cool, send me an email babywearingwithjess@gmail.com

I would love to hear from you! 🙂


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New Zealand Babywearing Businesses & Related Industries

New Zealand Babywearing Week 2016!!

What a week! Well, I gave away sooo many things and had many competitions and events this year and for lots of my prizes, I had some very generous help from a variety of “Babywearing” and related businesses…

 

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From my perspective, I wanted their help to show you that there are many other businesses, groups and individuals out there that also want to spread the message of babywearing far and wide.

This was just to signify that I am not alone.. I am not sure all of them realise what I was going to signify with their freebies 😛 I am joking.. In some part they believe enough in my message of getting the concept out there, making babywearing mainstream and talking and empowering midwives, related industries, medical professionals and other practitioners. Well I am assuming they do, otherwise what are you guys doing going around handing out free stuff?! (Again a joke I pestered them!)

This new world of “industry” within the babywearing community in New Zealand is still forming itself. An industry body was just established earlier in the year (head on over NZBWE and give the page a like!). Sling Consultants and paid Babywearing Educators have been a “thing” all over the world for many years before now…

Before this recent training in Christchurch, there were 6 consultants in New Zealand.

18 of us, including myself, completed the Consultant training through Slingababy and more completed the Peer to Peer one day training session. This is the first kind of training of this manner held on New Zealand soil. Things are just beginning to unfold and I think collectively, the babywearing community, maybe able to drive change through to medicine and literature.

New Zealand is used for a “test market” in many different industries and areas of business, businesses literally use our market as a sample to test out their ideas, and if they work, they then take the concept off shore. We could use that to our advantage… If we can get some kind of training program through to midwives facilitated by the DHB, this model could go to other countries…

There is the potential that not only midwives in New Zealand would be confident and capable to teach about using carriers and slings but those across the world… Now I know, right now that seem like a ridiculous goal, but together, maybe we could make some difference… (I feel like I should add “babywearers unite” or some other equally “power rangers like” sentence here hahaha)

 

So here is a list of awesome businesses that helped me pull off this week, if you haven’t heard of them, check them out and make sure to share the love by giving their Facebook pages a “like” 🙂

 

Lilypie Bags – https://www.facebook.com/lilypiebags/

MummaBubba Jewellery NZ – https://www.facebook.com/MummabubbaJewelleryNz/

MAMA Maternity – https://www.facebook.com/MAMAMATERNITY/

The Sleep Storehttps://www.facebook.com/SleepStore/

TreasureU Limited – https://www.facebook.com/treasureulimited/

Woven – https://www.facebook.com/wovenslings/

Sabonete – https://www.facebook.com/sabonetesoapnz/

Carried with Care – https://www.facebook.com/carriedwithcare/

Natures Sway Baby Hammocks – https://www.facebook.com/naturessway/

Island Custom – https://www.facebook.com/islandcustomnz/

Night Owl Creations – https://www.facebook.com/NightowlcreationsNZ/

Kangatraining New Zealand – https://www.facebook.com/kangatrainingnz/

My Natural Baby – https://www.facebook.com/MyNaturalBaby/

Aroha – https://www.facebook.com/arohatextiles/

Veronica-Jean Photography – https://www.facebook.com/Veronicajeanphotography/

 

(The order here is based off the competition schedule, there maybe some giveaways that don’t have a business listed here, this is because I purchased these items to give them away to you guys. Like the Constance Hall book, man I wish I was cool enough to talk to her haha I just screwed up my pre-order after a few wines so have a couple spare! And the Bitybean which is still up for grabs on my page until tomorrow night. It is my advertising budget being used here guys, so please make sure you like and share my page so I can prove the benefits to my business advisors & accountant :P)

 

 

 

So again, thank you to all of you, and thank you to those of you who helped me bring this together! (if I didn’t get to you “babywearing industry person potentially reading this” and you wanted to give me something to give aware to help draw awareness, I am pretty sure these guys reading won’t mind yet another giveaway… email me if you like 😉 babywearingwithjess@gmail.com )


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“Wrap Parties” and “Doll Play”

Before really embarking on this Sling and Carrier Consultant process, I like many babywearers, had a decent stash I liked to share with my friends. Babywearers sharing the carrier love is one of the most common ways one might “go down the rabbit hole” and build up a stash of their own.

At children’s birthday parties, BBQs and social gatherings, at Playcentre and SPACE, I just kept bringing along my ever growing stash to share with others. These ladies, my friends, where the ones that encouraged me to find a way to make this passion my work. They were the ones who lead me to discover the concept of a consultant even existed, long before I had set up my business or done subsequent training.

At a Tupperware party earlier in the year (“Wrap parties of my dreams…”) I again had my stash along with me and was pulling out a variety of options that I knew friends of mine had asked me about trying… Someone commented, “now it’s like a wrap party”!

I love that term. Old friends of mine snicker when I am talking to them about my work now and I mention “wrapping”. It’s a funny play on words. I know in part the main blame for the humour here is my youthful consideration of myself as a bit of a “gangsta” in the least authentic sense of the term! My first car had no band expander and my sister and I developed a strong love for the 88.6 Mai FM playlists as we drove to our private school in the Eastern suburbs of Auckland.. Real “gangsta” 😛

And the “doll play”… Well that’s a pretty fun aspect to if I am honest! I didn’t play that much with dolls as a kid, we tended to dress and push around our poor family dog in a pram haha. A certain Miss Four said to me the other day as I had my case out again at her birthday party playing with options with her mum, “you play with dolls a lot more now Jess! I like it!” 😉

The overheads and costs of a consultant service can be high, by offering workshops, it is an attempt on my behalf to make a more expensive service more affordable. One way I have done this is by offering “Babywearing workshops & Library sampling events” at Mama Maternity which I posted about earlier in the week.

Another option is for me to come to you. I can offer small in home workshops with between 2-4 people at $45 per head. Another option is a “coffee group” setting, where I can come with my library and dolls and do a workshop where you are. This option allows for slightly higher numbers but the depth of learning might not be quite as detailed as in a smaller setting.

Parent’s group workshops are $30 per head (plus travel) and appropriate for between 4-10 learners. Consider it a cross between a detailed, more intimate in home session and the more introductory/overview, quick tips and tricks workshops I am holding at MAMA Maternity (these events are held monthly for $25 per head in Sandringham, Auckland).

I will still give you a brief overview about baby physiology and some of the history and benefits of using a carrier with our children and babies. I will talk about safety and positioning in a carrier and answer any questions you guys might have about that. At the start of any of my workshops, the first part will us all doing a bit of talking and me giving my take on any points of confusion or answer any particular questions people might have.

Then I jump into a bit of a quick series of demo’s just designed to give you some kind of taster of the various styles and options available to you. I fear too many people buy an option that doesn’t work for them and rule out the concept of using a carrier all together…

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After demonstrations we can open the library for playing and exploring with the dolls. Using the dolls to try options and practise new techniques means we can get through more in the time we have together. Being that I am in your setting, children are of course welcome to be part of the experience. There is some rules about them not biting my dolls (which I can’t yet work out how to stop my youngest doing without them locked up in a plastic container!) and unless you are wanting fit assistance with a carrier you are already confident using, I would ask that you use a doll rather than your child to play with my library.

I am currently building up my “mini case” of children’s size carriers and demo dolls so I hope to have that completed to bring along to let your children also be part of the experience in a different way. Also, we are a Playcentre family so I know full well what it is like to be on session, if you would like me to come along to a session or group that is going to have children present and messy play, I hope you realise I won’t be bringing all of my “pretties” along with me 😉

 

 

Just like the MAMA Maternity workshops, the beauty of these learning settings and indeed the nature of consultancy in the babywearing world, is the focus on tailoring the content and focus on what the people within the workshop want to do… The more information your group can give me before we actually do the workshop, the more helpful and selective I can be about the content, information and resources I bring along for you.

If you would like to talk to me about seeing if a Parent’s group workshop would suit your needs or to discuss scheduling or content, please contact me, by email – babywearingwithjess@gmail.com, phone – 0226714060 or through my Facebook page – www.fb.com/babywearingwithjess/