From the 6th of October to the 14th, babywearing was celebrated internationally to help spread the word about its benefits for children and caregivers. Growing every year since 2009, New Zealand families and volunteers helped to make New Zealand Babywearing Week 2012 a success.
Although I did not attend any of the planned events, it sounds like there was a lot of support from families involved in babywearing and sling walks across the North and South Island. Sponsors always play an important role so I would like to acknowledge My Natural Baby, Moby, Scarecrow Farm, EcoMoon, Adventure Kids, Little Love, Banz, The Natural Parent Magazine, and Snuggle Bug. Besides organizing and participating in events, volunteers were also busy with their Facebook pages, the New Zealand Babywearing blog, and competitions. I can imagine how busy all of you must have been!
What are some benefits of babywearing?
-Happy and healthy babies
-Confident and loving caregivers
-Discrete or hands-free breastfeeding
-No limitation on where you can go
I love how New Zealand Babywearing Week was extended across the month with Babywearing Photo a Day. It was awesome to see how many people carry their baby and all of the different ways as well. Plus, there was a range of some very cool wraps and slings, many of which I had never seen. Think you have seen all of the cloth nappies and babywearing carriers available? After your baby is born, you will most likely continue to come across numerous sites that you had never come across before. There are also some very clever Kiwis out there who are adding to the range and providing New Zealanders with local products. You might even decide that you want to make your own.
So which babywearing carrier should you buy?
Like cloth nappies, it is entirely up to you. I know this might not seem helpful, but what works for some might not work for others. One thing to remember is to NOT buy a bag style sling. These are very dangerous and are not the same as ring slings. Some factors to consider when choosing the right one:
-Who will be using the carrier?
-What is your main purpose for the carrier?
-What is your price range?
-What material is used?
-Is it adjustable?
-Is it suitable for all ages?
We were grateful for receiving a Nature’s Sway sling at Zaedyn’s baby shower, and later on decided to order a Maya Wrap Ring Sling as well. Both of these have been useful at different times and having a few types of carriers can sometimes be helpful. I will admit to being a bit confused in the beginning on how to get Zaedyn in the Nature’s Sway. As he grew, we tried again and found this sling to be very useful. The reason I looked into a Maya Wrap Sling was because I loved the colours, and with traveling around and being new to breastfeeding, this sling appealed to me. However, I wanted to make sure that this sling was long enough and possibly should have bought one with a shorter tail. I have recently been wrapping it around my waist, and funny enough, I never use it to cover myself when breastfeeding anyways. At the same time, it has been useful for blocking the sun or wind, and it has a great storage pouch to hold my keys or cards so that I do not have to carry a bag. I also made sure to ask David if he liked the colours. If anyone else might be using your carrier, it is important to find out if they would be comfortable with your pattern or colour choice. I suppose both have been trial and error when adjusting and trying out new carry positions. I was not very confident in using our slings at the start, but all that has changed.
We shared a mix of old and new photos for Babywearing Photo a Day as you can see in the slideshow. We often carry Zaedyn without a sling, but a sling has also been very beneficial on many occasions. Flying overseas three times with Zaedyn, I do not know how I would have managed carrying my luggage as well as standing for long periods of time at Customs. I have also found the sling supportive through long days of sightseeing and adventures such as walking up Mount Maunganui. We love exploring different bush walks and beaches where taking a pram would not be possible. Plus, he loves seeing everything from our eye level and telling us all about what he is seeing in his own way of communication. From other’s posts, I was inspired to make Zaedyn a sling to carry his crocodile. He was not quite sure about it at first, but then he thought it was pretty cool. What a great way to inspire your little ones to love babywearing, too. Although Zaedyn is not very heavy, at 18 months, our slings are still suitable to carry Zaedyn. Carriers are not a huge cost when you think about the amount and length of time that they can be used.
Please participate in the poll below. I would love to know your preference of carrier, and feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page with any brand recommendations. Thanks! Oh, and the SnuggleBug designer wrap is still up for grabs until they reach 1700 likes so please check out New Zealand Babywearing Week and like their page to show your support.