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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Why Dads Babywear – Reasons from Dads…

When we had this conversation and brain storm about the best way to convince less than enthusiastic Dads to get on board with the idea of babywearing this time last week and I made a ‘sub-par’ attempt at a mind map for an infographic which James just blew off immediately, we had no idea this is where it would take us less than seven days later…

This time last week, Thursday morning is when I schedule my “office time” particularly for writing and certain other projects.. and I spent all day writing, but it was completely off topic from where I planned and all about what it means to be a “man”…

 

After exploring into research about PND and just how many Dads are also affected by perinatal mood disorders and it got me thinking in a somewhat random direction…

I wanted to try and find a way to get more Dads on board with this concept of being more hands on, or I guess specifically, carriers on, with their kids… There are so many benefits.. I wanted to find a way to get that message across more successfully.

 

The Why Dads Babywear – 100 Reasons from Dads project was NOT a result of all that effort I put in hahaha it was the result of my husband dismissing the stuff I had worked on because it “sounded like a mum trying to write from a Dads perspective” (yep that’s a certain limitation I am stuck with hahah) and it also “just sounded like YET another mum telling a Dad what to do”… hahah

 

So in a bit of debate and discussion I replied, “well, you’re a Dad, why the f&*k do you babywear then?!”

 

His response, quoted as reason number one, was “so they don’t run off and cause shit when I have stuff to do.”

 

Kinda typical with a toddler the age of ours in the house.

 

I snapped back, “Well what do you want me to do with that? Put it on a f&*king poster?!?!”

 

“You could… It might make a good poster..” he replied.

 

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He was being a bit facetious but it gave me an idea… so I made one, almost just to be a bit of a dick…

Then I asked a friend, and fellow consultant to get her husband to do the same (thanks Sandy & David & Aoife from SnugLove Babywearing and their friends Kenny & Karyn & Ezra who also helped us out x) and then posted the three of them on my Facebook page and shared it in a few babywearing related and educator groups I am in on Facebook asking if they would be happy to do the same.

 

I hoped in the best case scenario I could draw together maybe 30 or so of these and then to print them at a photo shop to use as a resource in workshops and consults with reluctant Dads there…

 

Well… Wow…

 

Less than seven days later and we have been so overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm we have seen others sharing for this message since then..

 

In less than 24 hours we had nearly 50 reasons from Dads and photos…

 

Blown out of the water but also entertaining and celebrating our eldest sons 4th birthday party at the tramp park local to us the same day, we were even more shocked to watch more and more people share it and submissions, photos, comments and quotes get flooded to us from all over the world in our absence!

 

Less than 48hs in & I said to James, “Shit babe I think this might go on forever! There are sooooo many I am getting sent right now…”

“The point was less words babe. We have to stop at some point or no one will read them” was his incredibly useful ‘dad’ insight at that point…

So we started to ‘get picky’ about our favourites for the last 50 or so because when we realised how much love this was getting, we had to put a finish number on it… An endless amount of me making posters of Dads babywearing and their reasons was not going to help our family buy groceries next week..

We ‘co-share’ child care roles, well James has less hours on his freelance projects at the moment so he is pretty much a stay at home Dad, we have a separate cottage/outhouse/sleep out at the bottom of our property that we take turns working out of among other things… but I, Jess, am the main bread winner right now, if I am not earning money, we don’t get luxuries the following week… so if I spend all day making posters and trying delete trawlers and hater trolls being dicks to the families featured, I am not making any money, so hopefully you get my point…

 

And we tried to include as many of you amazing Dads as we could and wait for as many people who we contacted hoping to feature and other who told us they wanted to be included but needed to dig up their favourite photo and we even did a collage at the end to try and capture more…

 

But do you know what, I have no idea how many we missed… And examples of amazing fathers and father figures and male role models wearing slings and carriers to care for their children just keep coming…

 

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We did receive this exact phrase and many variations of in in the last few days, countless numbers of them even! And as a carrier avid family who literally survive balance working from home and co-sharing care giver roles, we whole heartedly agree! Hence why I finished our Facebook 100 Reasons Dads Babywear on it 😉

 

 

And we love this celebration of fatherhood, of active and positive male role models, of involving our children in our lives instead of pausing it for them that we want to continue it… (but we also want to eat more than just the food we grow in the garden haha)

 

So we have thought of two ways to celebrate this project and concept and message more…

 

First is a print edition.

 

I initially envisaged printing this as an educational resource, as one version for myself… Potentially I thought it could be used to help babywearing and sling educators, groups and organisations around the world conquer the hesitate some dads have to getting on board with using these tools… I imagined they might download a small Facebook album and print it as photos themselves…But the dad jokes are strong and the “mum porn” an obvious draw card haha so who knows where this will take us.. 😉

 

Our initial print run will be VERY small. We will need waivers & more details from everyone (please see this downloadable PDF form here waiver-form) and that probably means not all of our 100 dads featured on the Facebook album will be able to be signed off as one of our main featured 100…

We also want to include and feature as many babywearing dads from all over the world as we can for feature art even if we can’t fit you all in the 100 reasons so if you are keen to be involved in any aspect of that project, fill in the form and email it to us at whydadsbabywear@gmail.com

We are so f&*king excited about this! What an amazing ride guys, thank you for letting us be part of it!!

 

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OMFG this is sooooo exciting!!!! Do you know what we are looking at?! Printing samples!!!! For our OWN book run from the publishers!!! Holy heck 😱

Why Dads Babywear – 100 Reasons from Dads is going to be an actual book!!!!

 

The other element to this now ongoing project, is we don’t want to be exclusive about only celebrating a certain “top 100”, the Facebook album grew organically as we received them and we know we missed some of you amazing dads out there…

 

But Babywearing with Jess and the services and workshops I run in Auckland, New Zealand, is the way we earn money to buy what we need each week and cover our bills…If we continue to keep celebrating this there, our kids are going to complain and whinge to a degree that strapping them to us isn’t really going to help at some point haha

 

So we love that you are supporting and following along with us there but to free up business operations some, we need to move it on to continue the party…

 

 

Hello, Why Dads Babywear 🙂

 

Follow us along on Instagram if you are there, we will continue to share highlights and “most populars” with you on Babywearing with Jess (as well as the sometimes poor attempts at humor, general family life shit and hopefully sometimes helpful and useful content about slings and carriers) and would love to continue receiving your messages, quotes and pictures… Even more so, we are excited to get to have a print version celebrating awesome Dads all over the world, hopefully available for you guys in time for Christmas!!!!!!!!!

Any questions, feedback, suggestions, anything at all about this project, just shoot us an email at whydadsbabywear@gmail.com so at least I can share the load of the content creation stuff more with James hahah

 

 

For me, its now back to business, I have a workshop on Monday, I almost forgot haha 😉

https://www.facebook.com/babywearingwithjess/events/

 

 

 


 

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We didn’t really plan for this process or amazing outcome, we love how many of you jumped on board… When it comes to actually making a print version though we need to make sure we have a completed waiver and submission of the photo, quote and extra details..

 

On this form it asks for details of photographer, featured person and child guardian, in some causes the same person maybe all three. That is ok, just do it three times… we are just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s here guys… any issues or questions, feel free to shoot us an email us at whydadsbabywear@gmail.com

 

Also don’t forget to include a copy of your image when you send us your form!!

 

Thanks again for helping us celebrate both fatherhood and slings and carriers guys x


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Why Dads Babywear…

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We’re there! We hit 100 reasons…

 

Actually we have so many we could probably go forever!

 

But we were worried that then no one would read them 😉

 

Thanks for letting us share the message of carrying our children, including them in our lives and taking alternative approaches to parenting. All you Dads are awesome and we have been blown away by how many people got behind this idea… Thanks for helping us create awareness about the message of babywearing love with other families ❤

-Jess & James

 

Don’t stop sharing them though guys… there may be something else in the works 😉

 

 

 

REASON NUMBER 1
“So they don’t run off and cause shit when I have stuff to do.”
James & Jai (17 months) — with Williamson’s Exotics.

 

REASON NUMBER 2
“Because I love being close to my daughter, and I want her to know that she is safe and that her daddy loves her too. And it’s good for exercise..”
David & Aoife (6 months) — with SnugLove Babywearing.

 

REASON NUMBER 3
” #1 was so clingy with my wife, I wanted to work more on the bond with #2, for the relationship and to take a bit of the load off my wife”
Kenny & Ezra (4 weeks) — with KarynandKenny Jack.

 

REASON NUMBER 4
“I don’t want her to be upset with me for this” (6 week jabs)
William & Everlynn (6 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 5
“Because the pram is a pain in the arse”
Adrew & Maddi (16 months) — with Dana Chandler – mama bear and The Spinoff Parents.

 

REASON NUMBER 6
“For making the most of my paternity leave to finish making a valve amplifier”
Mike & Penelope (4 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 7
“Lets you go places that might be too much for little legs on their own”
James & Josh (4 years) — with Williamson’s Exotics.

 

REASON NUMBER 8
“Because hands free sleepy cuddles are the best cuddles”
Shane & Jameson (14 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 9
“Because – ice cream”
Dan & Scarlett (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 10
“Keeping our big girl close during a busy market keeps our stress levels down and means i get cuddles too – win win”
Gordon & Bella (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 11
“Cause it’s hard to hold a beer and a baby”
Jared & Sabine (6 weeks) — with Jared Sail.

 

REASON NUMBER 12
“Because it’s the only way I get to game without random keys being hit and cords pulled”
Jason & Magnus (7 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 13
“With 3 children we share the carrying – it’s great to go on long walks and still have hands free when he gets tired”
Paul & Charlie (3.5 years) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 14
“So I don’t lose her in the festival crowds”
Dan & Lucy (6 years)

REASON NUMBER 15
“Love being able to explore the world with her experiencing it through her eyes”
Paul & Mia (2 years) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 16
“Because he’ll hopefully be a dad one day”
Charlie (3 years) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 17
“1. When I’m home from work and only have a few hours before bed time, I like to be able to be close to her without having to forsake the shopping and house work.
2. Since I don’t get much time with her during the week and the weekends are hectic, I don’t want to have to choose between spending time with her and being productive.
3. Sometimes when she’s really cracking it, I can calm her down, make sure she feels safe and can relax.
To sum it all really, baby wearing let’s me be an involved parent without sacrificing the ability to be be a productive adult”
Sheyon & Zara (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 18
“Makes going to weddings super easy! Bubs slept peacefully through reception snuggled up. Everyone comments how happy he is.”
James & Louie (6 months). — with Milka von Essen-Vilovski and Stephen McDowell.

 

REASON NUMBER 19
“Why carry one when you can carry two!”
Paul & Charlie (3 years) & Jude (7 months) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 20
“So she doesn’t trip and hurt herself while we go on adventures”
Damien & Tameka ( 18 months )

 

REASON NUMBER 21
“89 steps, 2 ladders and tight spaces we got this!”
Paul & Charlie (3.5 years) — with The Sling Consultancy

 

REASON NUMBER 22
“I babywear because our family adventures can take us anywhere without the hassle of a pram!”
Gareth & Bailey (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 23
“Oxytocin – the happy hormone is great for dads too”
Paul & Jude (5 months) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 24
“Because we are cool together”
Hugo & Valentina (7 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 25
“I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with her throughout the week and when I’m home on the weekend there are too many things to do. Why choose one or the other when you can do both?”
Sheyon & Zara (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 26
“To give her the cuddles she needs while her big sisters play”
Chris & Penelope (3 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 27
“Because it’s easy”
Jake & Alaska (12 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 28
“Because the ladies always love it”
Nathan & Harry (7 months) & Jacob (5 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 29
“Because he is a cranky shit when he doesn’t sleep.”
Jye & Erasmus (16 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 30
“So mummy can go down the street without any of the 5 kids”
Scott & Eben (11 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 31
“Because twins”
Guy & Jake & Aurora (21 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 32
“I love being this close to my children. I can keep them safe from the hectic lives of others and am always on hand to offer comfort when needed….and of course, they are always close enough to kiss xxx”
Brim & Raven (6 months) — with Brim Sorci and Samantha Sorci.

 

REASON NUMBER 33
“Because sometimes the kids don’t want to shop. They just want to be a dragon.”
Simon & Thomas (3 years) — with Mid Kent Babywearing and Zebadee’s Carriers.

 

REASON NUMBER 34
“Because I love to hear her chatter in my ear as we walk”
Neil & Abbie (2 years) — with CLOSER – babywearing consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 35
“So he can’t turn the TV off while we’re watching the V8s” #raisingziggy
AJ & Ziggy (11 months) — with The Urban Good Life, Raising Ziggy and Soul.

 

REASON NUMBER 36
“Because the scenic route to nursery isn’t buggy friendly…”
Simon & Thomas (3 years) — with Mid Kent Babywearing.

 

REASON NUMBER 37
“Carrying because we can do everything together this way!”
André & Aurora (16 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 38
“Carrying because toilet aim is better with two hands free and a calm baby than one hand and a hyper baby”
Steveland & Nala (9 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 39
“Because you can make your daughter this happy while playing video games.”
Josh & Emma (2 years) — with Shelley Vanderbyl.

 

REASON NUMBER 40
“Because London is not buggy friendly! And you need your hands free for pokehunting”
Simon & Thomas (3 years) — with Mid Kent Babywearing.

 

 

REASON NUMBER 41
“It’s like walking round with a hot water bottle strapped to you”
Ryan & Jacob (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 42
Because our sons are watching and learning.
Ethan (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 43
“Because it’s the only way the baby will sleep.”
Josh & Wyatt (one week)

 

REASON NUMBER 44
“So that I can hide my beer belly”
Vel & Ains (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 45
“Because it is like having him in one giant hug.”
Jake & Robbie (5 months) — with East Surrey Slings.

 

REASON NUMBER 46
“Because you don’t want them to get lost in the motoGP crowd and the walk from general parking is too far for their little legs.”
Josh & Ethan (2.5 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 47
“Because one child can sleep safely at the park whilst I play with the other”
Simon & Thomas (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 48
“Because it is amazing to snuggle your newborn and builds a special bond.”
Jake & Wilbur (1 day old)

 

REASON NUMBER 49
“Practising for when he’s older”
AJ & Ziggy (12 months) — with The Urban Good Life and Raising Ziggy.

 

REASON NUMBER 50
“Because I like bonding with our daughter”
Jullian & Narra (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 51
“Because if it was good enough for Luke Skywalker and Yoda it’s good enough for us”
Jason & Quin (22 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 52
“Any excuse for cuddles xx”
Brad & Emily (12months)

 

REASON NUMBER 53
“Helps me bond with Xavier and I know it is one of the only places he feels safe!”
Jay & Xavier (8 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 54
“A million times easier than faffing around with a buggy, fighting crowds, plus could never have made it up this hill otherwise! Plus, always in reach of a high five!”
Dominic & Kresten (2 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 55
“Because the grocery shopping needs to get done.”
Josh & Emma (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 56
“So mommy can study for her exams.”
Dombey & Skyla (10 months)

In a traditional Hmong baby carrier

 

REASON NUMBER 57
“Dad’s babywear because we want and need to be close to our children. We need this bond. We want to be present in their lives like any parent wants to. Being close is what counts and nobody can take this from us.”
Danny & Luna (2 years) & Semilla (8 months) — with Danny the Babywearing Dad.

 

REASON NUMBER 58
“Freedom to explore and share experiences (& cuddles)”
Mark & Edison (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 59

“Because it’s easier than having to lug around the stroller on a holiday!”
Saravanan & Shrina (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 60
“Because you can’t get in here with a pram!”
Victor & Blythe (14 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 61

“Because it’s faster than letting them walk. And it gives mama a break”

David & Theo (3 years) & Amy (9 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 62

“Because taking them on adventure is what life’s about!”

Caleb & Silvia Grace (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 63

“Because I don’t have enough hands if I don’t!”

Sam & Jasper (2.5 years) & Cyrus (8 years) & Quinn (4 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 64

“So that baby feels safe when we’re in crowded and noisy places and our hands are free to carry groceries.”

Zi Hao & Xin Ci (2 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 65

“Because prams don’t do beaches, forest walks, crowds, escalators… You get the point”

Joe & Griff (2 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 66

“Because I can hold my wife’s hand and the shopping”

James & Genevieve (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 67

“Because he has little legs and gets tired easily. It’s great to have a back-up plan.”

Andy & Rory (3years)

 

REASON NUMBER 68

“Because there’s no way I’m using a double buggy!”

Martin & Kiriana & Zach (20 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 69

“To keep my daughter close.”

Franklin & Felicity-Rose (2 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 70

“Babywearing means I can try to make him love me more than he loves his mummy”

Steve & Archie (15 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 71

“When Madi gets overwhelmed she refuses to walk – times like this only the carrier and daddy will do”

Jon & Madi (6 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 72

“So I can get a Starbucks Frap and won’t have to share, because He won’t see it. Out of sight – out of mind.”

Rob & Landon (15 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 73

“So I can nurture his love for trees without his hatred of walking winning, and catching pokemon is difficult with one hand”

Jake & Frankie (2.5 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 74

“To pick up chicks while your missus is in the bathroom”

#raisingziggy

AJ & Ziggy (10 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 75

“Because he won’t be small enough to carry forever.”

Mike & Colin (2 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 76

“Because of the views. Baby wearing takes you places people think babies can’t.”

Peter & Alyce (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 77

“Because Ninja Turtles!”

James & Rosie (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 78

“Because then she’s easy to carry. And it’s hipster”

Aaron & Elyse (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 79

“Slowing down once we had kids wasn’t an option for us. Babywearing helps us stay active and adventurous, even with a little one. It also helps keep him close. I wouldn’t want him anywhere else.”

Dee & Brody (8 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 80

“Because it’s a big world out there and we’ve got adventures to have”
Jorge & Georgia (16 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 81

“Because it is way too cold in the Blue Mountains in July”

Jiri & Tereza (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 82

“Because I always wanted a backpack that kicks tickles and babbles”

James & Genevieve (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 83

“Because I love hearing her wee snores and knowing she is sleeping soundly. I love keeping them close”

David & Amy (9 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 84

“So I can be as close to them as I can while on vacation from working months on a cruise ship and to help my wife from her back ache”

Alfie & Sean Paul (4 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 85

“Because of 40 hour work weeks, and this is a way to bond and cuddle her when we’re on the move.”

Tom & Emily (2 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 86

“It helps a baby bond to a man who isn’t their biological dad, but who is their daddy in every way”

Jed & Ezra (8 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 87

“Making climbing castles easier.”

Jason & Eliza (10 Months)

 

REASON NUMBER 88

“To create an everlasting bond.”

R.C. & Avery (12 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 89

“Because I like them. And because it’s useful, it keeps them calm… And so hopefully they like me when they’re older.”
Tim & Oliver (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 90

“Because hiking with a pram just isn’t the same”

Simon & Hunter (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 91

“Because I don’t have boobs.”

Damian & Benji (9 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 92

“To get off the beaten track and explore together – and snuggle while doing it!”

Carl & Ingmar (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 93

“Because I’m her dad not her baby sitter”

Nick & Bernadette (9months)

 

REASON NUMBER 94

“Because it means going places is never a hassle and he catches my food when I drop it”

Andy & Milo (8 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 95

“I’m a dada, I’m a dada”

Jai (17 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 96

 

“For connection, cuddles and to keep up with her big sisters!”

AJ & Savannah (10 months) & Alejandra (6 years) & Lucille (4 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 97

“To bond with baby after deployment.”

Francis & Roman (5 months) & Kai (3 years)

(For extra “aww factor” of these guys, check out – https://www.facebook.com/macatol/videos/10157574288545104/)

 

REASON NUMBER 98

“It ups my chances of getting some.” #parentforeplay

AJ & Ziggy (10 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 99

“Need to get some shit done, and a second set of hands to hold tools makes things easier.”

Tim & Nadia (3.5 years)

 

REASON 100

“Because why the f&*k not?!”

Dads from all over the world & here in little old NZ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Sling Meets vs Sling & Carrier Consultants

Navigating the differences between volunteer and paid roles in the Babywearing Community

 

 

Sling meets provide a great introduction to the world of babywearing which would suit lots of people looking to find out more. They are a free service, run by dedicated volunteers who give generously back to the community by sharing the babywearing love.

Sling and carrier consultants are another option. They are a paid service which just like any other business has overheads and operating costs to cover. That’s not to say that a sling meet doesn’t have those things but they generally use fundraising, donations, volunteer hours and sometimes membership fees to cover their costs of operation.

 

Before I look at the differences between the two though, I would like to first give an outline of some of the similarities and how these people and groups both act as a great resource of all kinds of information babywearing related.

Both will be able to provide you information about safety and positioning in a carrier. Both could be able to help you troubleshoot or work with you to find optimum comfort using your carrier. Both would be able to provide you some guidance about the pro’s and con’s of various styles and brands. And among both groups you will also find a lot of variety in the approach used and the specific service provided.

As a collective from both respective groups sat down and discussed the differences between the services offered, we came to the conclusion that the main differences boil down to just two; time and price.

Time at a sling meet is a very precious commodity. The time frame limitations is one of the main restrictions to the level and kind of support that is offered in this setting. These generous volunteers often have large groups of people wanting assistance and support. The time available to cover something in particular depth or in the case of a special circumstance is limited and therefore the information must be too.

Due to the paid nature of consultancy, often things could have more opportunity to be taken at an individual’s preferred pace or in their preferred manner. With more time and a tailored and specialized service, there is a depth of assistance and support that consultants could offer that can be outside of that possible in the time available in a sling meet setting.

Another aspect to the consideration of time is the time and place of the service offered. Sling meets are usually at a fixed time and place and commonly will have “holiday breaks” like other support groups do. In the situations where someone is maybe not able to make the time and date of the sling meet or would prefer to choose those factors, a consultant would be a better fit.

The aspect of price is obviously a big difference between the two. Sling meets run by volunteers are a free service in the community. Sling and Carrier Consultants all chose a different approach and focus for their business and services offered and many will have a different “specialty” in an area or approach that they are particularly passionate or experienced in, but all will provide this service at a charge. Training costs, ongoing upskilling, teaching resources and our time, both with you and in preparation of meeting, are all aspects of this charge.

As we discussed this relationship and dynamic, it was a Slingbabies leader, Natalie, who made an incredibly valuable comparison in my opinion. The La Leche League provide a breastfeeding support service run by dedicated volunteers around the world. Lactation Consultants also provide a support service for breastfeeding mothers.*

Together they help to boost the rates of breastfeeding in New Zealand by offering support, guidance and assistance in the area of breastfeeding. But the manner, approach and service offered by each is incredibly different but complimentary and more powerful combined.

Just like that of the babywearing world.

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Josh and I at a West Auckland Slingbabies meet on 13th September, 2013. 

 

To find an up to date list of Sling Meets and Consultants around the country here –  http://babywearingeducators.co.nz/babywearingeducators/

Another list can be found here – http://nzbwingmarketplace.weebly.com/nz-babywearing-groups-and-consultants.html

 

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As you can see, I was still screwing up my face at understanding wraps at the Slingababy Consultant Training in Christchurch just under three years later! While I have improved and learnt a whole lot, the learning never stops!

 

(Thanks to Sandy, Kelsey, Natalie, Sherylee and Amy for help with this article x)

 


 

*I have simplified the comparison to LLL and also the various tiers and levels of support and services within both the volunteer and paid sectors of the support available here. Within both LLL and sling meets there are various kinds and levels of support, group leaders and peer to peer educators are another differing level of support and guidance again. With the intention of being all inclusive and the limitations of my own lack of knowledge and experience within both sling meets and LLL, I am not able to do justice to the various roles or kinds of support. If you have any insight or feedback, I would love to hear from you – babywearingwithjess@gmail.com


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What’s up with the babywearing dolls??

 

So this is one aspect of this ‘babywearing consultancy’ gig that I guess I didn’t personally have a total grasp on before going through the training process myself. I mean I have noticed the emphasis on “babywearing dolls” among educators but I guess I just wasn’t really sure what it was about… or maybe I assumed that they may not have a child of the same age bracket as what they were trying to demonstrate…

But many of you know, I have a nearly four year old and a sixteen month old who I both regularly wear… You may also have noticed that I have been demonstrating more and more stuff using a doll lately…

Or maybe you noticed the reference to my “wee army of dolls” or have seen pictures I may have posted of them..? Or maybe you have no idea at all what I am even on about…

 

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So anyway, what’s up with the dolls?

So firstly, what are these dolls? Babywearing dolls are specifically design to be weighed in a similar proportion to the way your baby is. The smaller of these dudes, “Moritz” weights 3.5 kgs and is an infant doll, so approximately five months old say… The bigger one is David, he is a toddler doll, weighing 7kgs and is approximately in size two pants…

So David is pretty darn close to Jai’s size (though Jai weighs a heck of a lot more, David is a “dead weight” so feels pretty similar…) Yet I have posted videos and photos of me wearing David as opposed to Jai… So my thinking that babywearing educators didn’t have the “right” size model was totally flawed obviously…

NONONO tie using a ring sling from Babywearing with Jess on Vimeo.

 

There are plenty of reasons a babywearing doll might be used in the place of a child or baby to demonstrate, play or teach about slings or carriers, here is just a couple…

 

The wearer’s confidence;

When you are trying something new it can feel difficult to get your head around for any of us. Our kids are like little ‘energy’ sponges, they pick up very well on how we feel or perceive something.. That means if we aren’t confident about what we are doing, they sense that. If you feel more confident and in control, they also sense that.

I so commonly hear people say, “my child doesn’t like being in my sling or carrier”, the first question I would ask is, “how do you feel about it?”

So far not one of those people have said replied to me, “I love it, it’s perfect and comfortable and I feel so confident getting my baby into it”… I have no evidence that your feelings or potentially uncertainty about your carrier is a direct cause of negative associations for babies and children but my experience suggests there might be at least some correlation between the two…

 

Safety;

When I am giving people new carriers or techniques to try, obviously there is the aspect of safety which is another reason for using dolls. Particularly at my workshops or events where I ‘open my library’ up for playing with… I am not always able to be individually supporting people in a group setting when they are trying something new. If they use my dolls, we can all have like a “show and tell” kind of experience just playing with lots of different options.

 

Transitions;

So this is a big one when it comes to demonstrating several types of carriers in a short succession for me. As well as in a “library sampling” setting where people may have a limited time to try a range of options. Each time we pick up and put down our child, they are experiencing a period of transition. Same thing if I lay them down to change a nappy and pick them back up again, that’s two periods of transition they are experiencing.

Same thing for getting in and out of the car, pram or carrier. Each period of time we are moving them or changing their environment or experience, they are going through a ‘transition period’ which we often need to help them settle with, particularly as newborns.

If I am using a carrier for a child or baby, my process of going through each of the steps or stages is much slower than if I am using a demo doll. At each step I would take some time to sway and bounce and talk to the baby to settle them as I got them into the carrier. With a doll, I can just get them in position and move on to the next step..

 

Helping Learning;

When we are learning something new being able to go at our own pace often helps most of us. Also not having a moving and wiggling model definitely helps learning in my opinion! Plus my dolls ALWAYS smile and never complain or moan, so that’s also nice 😉

This also means that for people who don’t have a child of their own, maybe they are expecting a child, they could work with parents using carriers but not use them personally, in these cases I still think there is lots of benefits to learning about carriers and slings and the dolls help me to facilitate that in a hands on setting.

Children also have this thing about ‘own mind’ which my dolls don’t, meaning they don’t have a choice about if they “want up” in that particular moment or not! In a workshop setting, seeing someone using a doll instead of a child helps me to more quickly help troubleshoot or explain a new process or approach.

The only time in a workshop setting I would encourage someone to use their own child instead of a doll would be if we were trying to better fit a carrier they have already been using or that we have had enough of an opportunity to practise with something that they were sure they felt confident.

When I am trying to show someone a particular thing with a carrier, I also often find using a demo doll can make it clearer to them the steps I am taking, as the distraction from my model moving and doing their own thing is minimised.

 

 

So that is just a few reasons I am using babywearing dolls for work and teaching more and more, as well as carrying my actual real life children!

 

Just a note about handling… These dolls are bloody expensive, they have rotatable hips, arms and heads.. The are weighted and hand painted. If you are using a consultants doll, treat them like you would a real baby! Or at the very least grab them by their clothes no an arm or leg or you could rip it off! And my kids would certainly not be happy if anything happened to our “spare children” hahaha

 

 


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New Zealand Babywearing Week Celebrations 2016

Saturday 1st of October marks the start of NZ Babywearing Week for 2016!

 

I will be giving away daily prizes on my Facebook page to celebrate – https://www.facebook.com/babywearingwithjess/

There are events and giveaways being hosted all around the country as well as online! Some idea of the celebrations being held can be found here – https://newzealandbabywearingweek.wordpress.com/new-zealand-babywearing-week-events  or check out the New Zealand Babywearing Week Facebook page

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In Auckland alone there are a number of events being held to celebrate…

 

Sunday 2nd October, 10am, West Wave Recreation Centre 

Kangatraining West Auckland Charity Fundraiser Class

Come join Kangatraining West Auckland at West Wave Pool, Henderson, for a dance or two. Gold coin donation for entry with all money going to Mother’s Helper. There will be guest instructors and also be spot prizes and raffle tickets for sale (raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20).

For more information, visit Kangacharityevents on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/events/327522757582568/

Event Organiser: Sherylee Teoh

Contact Details: 021 772136

 


 

Tuesday 4th October,  10am, Arataki Visitors Centre

Sling Bushwalk – Hosted by Slingbabies

Meet us at Arataki visitor centre on Tuesday morning for a gentle babywearing/family bush walk, followed by a picnic morning tea [if you wish].

We’ll meet at 10am and aim to start walking at 10:30, then you’re free to join us for a picnic snack, check out the school holiday activities in the visitor centre, or explore another bush track if you’re game!

To celebrate New Zealand Babywearing Week, we’ll have a few prizes on the day as well…

Back up date will be Thursday 6 October in case of rain, updates will be posted on the Slingbabies Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1657507477893876/

 


 

Wednesday 5th October, 1030am – 12pm, MAMA Maternity, 13 Coyle St, Sandringham 

 

MAMA Maternity & Babywearing with Jess are hosting a “giving day” for Little Sprouts and an event to celebrate New Zealand Babywearing Week!!

Wednesday the 5th of October from 10.30am-12pm, Jess will be at MAMA Maternity with some of her library and the range of carriers in the MAMA shop.

Jess is happy to help with any fit questions with a carrier you are struggling to get comfortable or for you to try some of her carriers or the ones from the MAMA shop, just bring along a donation for one of the amazing baby boxes that Little Sprouts bring together for families in need.

 

See more about Little Sprouts here – http://littlesproutsnz.org/donate-baby-items/

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1786370038301104/

 

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Wednesday 5th October, 10am – 1pm, Snakes & Ladders Park, 38 Bramley Dr, Farm Cove

 

South-East Slingbabies Babywearing Week Coffee Group

It’s our favourite time of year again – New Zealand Babywearing Week! So we’re gonna switch up our regular coffee group!

Let’s meet at Snakes and Ladders Park in Farm Cove at 10am. Kangatraining East Auckland will be holding a free Kanga class, then we will wander along the Rotary Walkway strutting our babywearing stuff! Then we’ll finish off at The Burbs Cafe for lunch/coffee/deliciousness. Invite your friends – let’s have a great time connecting our community.

If you don’t have a carrier, or have a friend who doesn’t have one, don’t worry! Our library will be available for use on the day completely free of charge. Great opportunity to try something different too!

There will be some cool prizes to give away, and some exclusive discount offers too, in case you needed extra incentive!

Event details are also here on Facebook.

 


Friday 7th October, 10am-1130am, Sturges West Community House, 58 Summerland Drive, Henderson

West Auckland Slingbabies Meet (with Prizes!)

October is upon us already, and that means New Zealand Babywearing Week!!

Join us on Friday 07 October for our monthly meeting, we’ll do a demo of each of the different carrier types and you’ll be able to try on and hire from our extensive library.

Because it’s Babywearing Week, we’ll also have some fabulous prizes to give away thanks to some of the fabulous local vendors.

All welcome, partners, grandparents, mamas-to-be, support people.
There is a fenced playground and some toys, older children also welcome.

We’d appreciate a gold coin donation to help us with the cost of venue hire and maintaining our library 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/events/1164231053599695/

 


Saturday 8th October, 11am, Britomart 

Auckland Sling Walk, presented by My Natural Baby

Join us at the eighth annual Auckland Sling Walk, proudly presented by My Natural Baby, celebrating New Zealand and International Babywearing Week.
Meet us at Britomart (look for the My Natural Baby and New Zealand Babywearing Week banners, or failing that, the large gaggle of people with children in carriers…;) ).

11am Register and get your lucky number for the prize draws at the end.

11:20am You’ll want to be there to see, or join in with Kangatraining West and Central Auckland, as they kick of the Auckland Sling Walk with a couple of fabulous numbers.

Then: We’ll walk the Viaduct finishing in Wynyard Quarter by the play area, where the kids can play and the adults can catch the prize draws and pat the pretty carriers around the place (my favourite part!).

Event Organiser: Helen MacMillan

For more information visit the Auckland Sling Walk Facebook page.

 

 


 

Friday 14th October,

 

Babywearing North Shore Workshop Meeting

Our workshop falls outside Babywearing Week this year, for a change, but our October workshop, on the 14th, is still our 5th Birthday Celebration, and we will be celebrating with cake and giveaways as well…. Making Babywearing Week last that much longer!

Event Organiser: Sandy McGivern-Butler

Contact Details: See our Facebook event for more details.

 


 

For other events being held nation wide see https://newzealandbabywearingweek.wordpress.com/new-zealand-babywearing-week-events/ or http://babywearingeducators.co.nz/2016/09/27/new-zealand-babywearing-week/
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbabywearingwithjess%2Fposts%2F774449712698005&width=500

 

 

Having an event to celebrate in Auckland that I haven’t mentioned?

 

Please let me know so I can add it to the list 😉