For everyone who falls in love with babywearing, there is likely a special place in their heart for that first carrier they tried and the first time they wore their baby. For many of our members, those memories and first “ups” came in a library carrier. Our local community of babywearers was formed around trying out lending library carriers and learning from one another, and with each new babe worn in a library carrier, that community and connection grows. For the month of February, we are celebrating the journey our library of carriers has made over the years, and highlighting a few members who have allowed us to share how the BWI Seattle Lending Library has helped them find the babywearing love!
Image description: man with glasses and a hat sitting at a table in a cafe with a newspaper in front of him wearing an infant in a ring sling
Image description: close up of a sleeping infant held close to a woman’s chest in a ring sling with a light blueish-green zig zag pattern on white background, woman is kissing the top of the baby’s head
I was excited to start babywearing before I even considered having a baby. Having watched my cousin wear her two daughters in beautiful wovens over the past few years, wrapping a baby in a gorgeous wrap was one part of motherhood that actively appealed to me. (That and getting to read Harry Potter to a little one over and over again.) So when I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was to find and join the BWI of Seattle Facebook group. I expected it would be mostly social and a chance to get together to share advice about how to babywear safely. I was so amazed to “discover” the massive library of carriers that was available, as well as the wealth of knowledge, advice, and support shared on a daily basis through the Facebook group.
I wanted to be prepared when my baby was born to wear him or her in the first few weeks, so a couple weeks before my due date I attended my first meeting. Walking into that room for the first time is an experience. I’ve since heard other members also speak about their first meetings with fondness and humor. Kids flying around, seemingly hundreds of carriers strewn on tables, people trying different carriers on their own, people watching a demonstration for a wrap, people that seem to know each other really well, people off on their own, and babies! And yet, with so much happening in one room, there is this perfectly organized check-in table with someone to greet you, clearly identified VBE’s to help answer questions, and all the carriers are organized by type. I was so impressed and overwhelmed. I went from table to table and learned about SSCs, ring slings, and wraps. I had more questions answered than I even realized I had and learned so much.
I ended up checking-out the new XOXO carrier, excited that it seemed easy enough for any family member to use. But I also learned that a ring sling would be great for a newborn and set about searching online for one to buy. I ended up buying a wrap via the FSOT posts on the BWI Facebook group and then had it converted to a ring sling by someone recommended through the Facebook group. Shortly after my son’s birth I posted a photo of my husband wearing him and we received some great tips to get him better positioned. Utilizing the library and participating in the Facebook community is a super wonderful combination that fully set us up for babywearing success.
Next month I am visiting family in Mexico and flying with my son for the first time. I attended my second meeting two weeks ago to play around with some SSCs and figure out what would be good for travel. Amidst the gentle chaos in the room I again found ladies that were so happy to help and share their knowledge and experience with me. I look forward to attending many more meetings in the future and getting to know many more of you, as well as check-out more beautiful wraps and slings! I am continually impressed by the kindness, enthusiasm, and supportiveness of this diverse community! Thank you to the leaders for maintaining such a well-run and welcoming organization.
Image description: close up of a sleeping baby with a reindeer hat, red fabric with orange sunbursts is wrapped around the baby’s back
Image description: Selfie of a woman with glasses and hat wearing a baby on her back in a woven wrap that is black on one side and teal on the other with light pinstripes throughout
I recommend BWI Seattle and the lending library to every new mom I know and I know a lot as a doula and midwifery birth assistant!
Image description: woman in a black coat and scarf wearing a baby in a purple patterned meh dai on the front, baby is wearing a beanie looking away
Image description: woman wearing a sleeping baby in a blue and white woven wrap
Babywearing has been such a wonderful experience for our family. Thanks to BWI’s library we have been able to try out a variety of carriers. We have borrowed 2 wraps, a Meh Dai, and a ring sling. With each new carrier another facet of the world of babywearing has been revealed!
Our first library wrap was a beautiful blue and white Natibaby Flower in a size 6. This wrap was our first experience with a woven, and I loved how my little guy felt with us wrapped up together. We next borrowed a Tekhni Olympos Breeze, size 4, and it was wonderful! Soft and cushy, it was a dream to snuggle up in. The different length allowed us to experiment with new carries, which was a lot of fun.
Perhaps my favorite library experience so far has been with the Fidella Fly Tai Meh Dai. We needed a carrier that would be easy for me to use while traveling to the east coast without my husband. The FlyTai was perfect. Soft and moldable like a wrap, but easy to put on quickly like our Ergo. Our long trip was made much smoother by borrowing that carrier. My son really enjoyed it too, because for the month we had it he took many cozy naps in it.
Recently, we have acquired a Didymos Lisca Smeraldo ring sling from the library. Learning to use the ring sling has been a whole new adventure for us. Quick ups for trips to and from the car, or just for a cuddle, have been the hallmark of the ring sling.
My son and I have had a lot of fun borrowing carriers from the library, and my husband has been able to benefit from it as well! We have really enjoyed being able to learn these new babywearing skills that allow us to be closer to our child. I can’t wait to see what our next library adventure will be!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was first published on BWI of Seattle’s blog.