It’s mid spring and beautiful outside. My newborn son sleeps in the arms of my husband as we roam around town. I have a Moby in the car but haven’t mastered it well enough to want to use it now. I befriend another mom who has two kids in tow, one on her back and one running around having a grand old time.
“What kind of carrier is that?” I inquire. It’s a Beco Gemini, and she explains why she likes it better than the Ergo I returned to the store after hating the way it fit me. She tells me there are tons of carrier options out there and they fit everyone differently. We chat for a few minutes and she brings up a local babywearing group that meets nearby and has a library of carriers you can try on and even borrow to use with your baby. A babywearing club? What kind of things would you do at such a meeting? Wear babies and stand around? Seems like a weird concept. I don’t imagine wanting to try on tons of different baby carriers.
Despite my confusion, I find the group on Facebook and show up at the next meeting with my Moby. That was nearly a year ago. My son’s first birthday is now approaching and I cannot fathom how I would have made it through this first year of parenthood without our babywearing chapter and lending library. I learned to use my Moby better, fell in love with wovens and mei tais, and met lovely like-minded parents. As my son has grown, our carrying preferences have changed. With help from our chapter’s educators I have learned new carries to accommodate virtually every situation. Super comfy front carries for wrap naps, quick ring sling or rebozo ups for errands, mei tai back carry for long hikes. How would I have done this without the chance to try and check out new carriers at our meetings? I’ve borrowed a different carrier nearly every month since my son was born, and I’ve learned something new with each.
Moms (and Dads!) deserve support and encouragement through their parenting journeys. Local lending libraries can be part of that support. With access to education, conversation, and carriers, young families can empower each other to keep their babies close and attend to their needs thoughtfully. Parents and babies gain immeasurable confidence and security through babywearing; just ask the next babywearing mom or dad you meet walking around town. Maybe if you’re lucky they’ll point you to the nearest group with a lending library.