So, we went to the Babywearing Conference at Reed College this past weekend and worked as volunteers. I was SO happy to be a part of this effort! A lot of people I know looked at me like I had grown another head when I talked about the conference and even invited them to attend. I don't understand why anyone who *knows* me would think this is such a strange thing, it's not like it was a Gun & Knife Show or a Hobby Plane Convention... I've already written about why I am such an advocate for babywearing, even though I hate the label as much as I hate the labels Attachment Parenting and Elimination Communication.
Babywearing falls in line with my gentle parenting philosophy, which is basically to attend to my child's needs in a loving way so that he can grow up knowing he is loved and respected. Is that so fruity or out there? There's also a huge element of practicality and convenience, as I can easily get stuff done with my kid strapped onto my body and I can keep him safe & comfortable at the same time. I find strollers to be very inconvenient for many activities -- like taking the bus in an urban setting or going to feed the livestock when you live on a farm (like I used to). Even going to the Zoo is a PITA with a stroller because you have to get the kid out of the thing and lift him up in arms to show him the animals, over and over and over again... And with all the current debate about nursing in public (insert rolling eyes here), some mothers find it easier to breastfeed discreetly while their child is in a carrier -- I admit I haven't mastered this yet -- and they can also get things done while their child is nursing! The arguments in favor of babywearing are really too many for me to continue to list here, mostly because I just want to go ahead and share what an awesome time I had for the past few days. If you want to know more, read here, here and here, plus I encourage you to do your own research. I always prefer to do my own search for information. If I have one more of my friends tell me that they don't wear their baby anymore because it makes their back hurt, I'll scream. Would you stop wearing shoes just because the ones you've tried make your feet hurt? Or would you find a pair that works? (I have more analogies, like to jeans for example, if you're interested) Maybe the carrier you have doesn't work for you but another one will, if you try.
Actually, the other thing I want to say on this subject is that, from a Feminist standpoint, I also find that most all of the small businesses that have sprouted up to support the babywearing community are managed by women... creative, gentle, strong, amazing women who support (wholly or in part) their families by designing and sewing carriers or products that go on to help other women enjoy their children and their life. By buying their products, I support other women and their children and that makes me feel really, really good.
More about the actual conference in a bit...