By Katie de Lima
In the babywearing world, the phrase “We all have to start somewhere” really bothers me. It implies that one carrier is superior to another. That wherever you start babywearing is not enough and you must continue to advance up the hierarchy of carriers and carries. “We all have to start somewhere” is all fine and dandy when you’re talking about sports in which you are continually expected to challenge yourself and improve but in babywearing it really just gives off the wrong idea. Let me clarify.
Wrapping is not the pinnacle you reach when you become a “REAL” babywearer. Wearing your baby makes you a REAL babywearer. I may have 100 Pamir’s in my closet (I don’t. But stay with me on this one.) but that doesn’t make me any better than you with your
DIY pouch carrier/ringsling/ssc/wrap/mei tai. Just because someone chooses to spend thousands of dollars to have the stash of her/his (Hey! Daddies babywear too!) dreams doesn’t mean that person is now babywearing royalty. They have not “arrived on the scene” so to speak. The carrier you use doesn’t make you special or not special, a real babywearer or a novice/pretend babywearer. The carrier you use has nothing to do with your standing in the babywearing world. Why? Because there are no standings in the babywearing world! We, as Babywearing International (BWI) VBEs (Volunteer Babywearing Educators), chose to become educators to share the knowledge we have with you – to serve our community. That doesn’t make us babywearing royalty either. We are all just parents trying to do our best for our children.
The choices we make about parenting are our individual decisions. If you are safely wearing your baby, congratulations! You made a good decision that works for your child and family. If you are pushing your child in a stroller, congratulations! You too, have made a good decision that works for your child and family. The parent-to-parent battle of who did it better and mommy/daddy shaming needs to end. For us at BWI of Kitsap Peninsula, we applaud you for getting out of bed today and keeping your child alive and loved as best you could. (We also applaud those of you who were able to stay in bed and keep your child loved and alive as best you could and ask you to email us with your secret so that we can do likewise tomorrow.)
Sadly in our community there are those that would seek to put you down intentionally or not. We want to speak out so everyone is clear on our stance. We applaud all of you no matter what carrier you choose to use or not to use. Hooray for the mamas/daddies rocking their front packs! Hooray for the mamas/daddies rocking their soft-structured carrier! Hooray for the mamas/daddies rocking their pouch sling/ring sling/mei tai/wrap/wrap conversion/stretchy wrap! We are so glad you chose to wear your baby and couldn’t be happier to have you as a part of our community. There is no need to “start somewhere” and grow. Just start! Do what works for you and your family. Thank you for being a part of our community and helping it to be a supportive and friendly environment for all baby wearers. No matter your budget, we would love to help you find the carrier that will help you wear your baby. Keep calm and carry on!