Babywearing International, Inc. (BWI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote babywearing as a universally accepted practice, with benefits for both child and caregiver, through education and support. The heart of BWI is our network of local chapters which provide free educational meetings and support within their own communities. All BWI chapters are led by Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) with extensive knowledge of different types of baby carriers and babywearing safety, and Chapter Support Volunteers (CSVs) that aid the chapter in non-educational tasks. While Babywearing International chapters do not sell or endorse specific brands of baby carriers, most chapters maintain lending libraries so that members and attendees can try a variety of carriers to determine what meets their individual needs.
BWI was founded in 2008 by four babywearing groups located in Chicago, Central New York, Birmingham, and the Bay Area. Within three years the organization had doubled in size to eight chapters and BWI has experienced steady growth ever since. Currently there are more than 85 chapters throughout the United States and international chapters are anticipated in the future.
International Babywearing Week, held each October, has been a BWI outreach event since 2008. During IBW, babywearing chapters and educators (both BWI and unaffiliated) work together to build community and to increase media and public awareness of babywearing.
Our other major event is the biannual International Babywearing Conference, which has been sponsored by BWI since 2010 and brings together babywearing enthusiasts and educators from around the globe for educational workshops and fellowship.
BWI members share a core set of beliefs and guiding principles:
- that baby carriers are powerful tools for parents and caregivers, enabling them to hold their babies more comfortably, more securely, and longer than they would otherwise;
- that the practice of babywearing is beneficial for both children and caregivers;
- that babywearing promotes bonding between children and caregivers;
- that all types of baby carriers have value, and caregivers benefit from having a wide range of available options;
- that baby carriers should be comfortable for both children and caregivers and can be used for as long as is mutually desirable;
- that babywearing is compatible with any parenting style or philosophy
- that through education and support children and caregivers can benefit from the ease, comfort, and utility of baby carriers.
As an organization BWI seeks to:
- provide information about the benefits of babywearing for both children and caregivers;
- foster the creation of a global network of peer educators to support and encourage those interested in babywearing;
- provide high quality educational information about the types of carriers and their proper usage;
- provide ongoing support for babywearing educators;
- develop a positive image for those who practice and promote babywearing;
- enlist members of the medical community, birth professionals, and child care providers as babywearing facilitators;
- to further advancements in research about the benefits of babywearing and babywearing techniques
- be a resource for researchers and other professionals who are looking for evidence-based information about babywearing.
An important part of making babywearing a universally accepted practice is ensuring that BWI meetings, events, and online spaces are welcoming for people of all backgrounds.
Given our education mission, BWI is necessarily supportive of the basic tenets of social justice. Therefore, BWI does not condone silencing, tone policing, or otherwise oppressing marginalized groups, nor does BWI discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of age, citizenship status, class, color, disability, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.