Parenting / 20 June, 2022 / Christina Walter
Black Babywearing Week was created in the USA by six black women: Diamond Redden, Nikki Potter, Shaylene Costa, Nashira Bennett and Julianna Bradford, who wanted to celebrate black folks in the babywearing community. According to the founders, Black Babywearing Week is “here to uplift and inspire black baby wearers and to unify our community of black educators, bloggers and black-owned babywearing companies. We are here to make babywearing carriers, options, and education available and accessible to all black caregivers. We are here to bring light to our history and embrace the future of black babywearing.”
Black Babywearing Week then travelled across the pond a few years ago thanks to the hard work of Mars Lord, Ilhan Omar, Danielle Watson and Jozan, and this year we are celebrating from the 20th – 26th June. Ergobaby UK is proud to share the stories of some of its recent partners this Black Babywearing Week.
Babywearing has been in our families for generations, a warm part of our culture. I hold on to pleasant memories of my mother and aunties in Malawi placing me on their backs, wrapping their beautifully printed scarves around me tightly and taking me everywhere with them. I got to be a part of so many adventures, all while sticking close to the people I loved the most. We love being able to give our little ones the same experience and our Ergobaby Omni Dream makes that possible. With two under two, it is amazing to be able to carry our baby and toddler in the same carrier. They both adore being able to see the world in full view.
I have always loved the idea of a soft fabric sling but have always felt overwhelmed by the wrapping and long fabric. Ergobaby has created what for me is the perfect solution! Meet the Ergobaby Embrace Soft Air Mesh!
This has been a staple over the last three months. The perfect sling for both indoors (Velcro baby over here!) and outdoors! I’m a massive advocate for baby-wearing and feel it makes life so much easier!
I have been babywearing since Zion was a few weeks old and it’s an experience that I will forever hold close to my heart. Babywearing was undoubtably an essential part of bonding between me and my son. Being able to have my son close to me whilst doing daily chores, or on walks was of course pretty convenient, but in a way it also made us both feel secure. I could talk and sing to him whenever I want and always knew that he was okay.
On a practical note, there were two benefits to babywearing. First, I have scoliosis (a curved spine) which means I cannot put too much pressure on it. Babywearing has been great for ensuring that the babies’ weight is spread evenly. Second, I was able to breastfeed in public so easily!
As a young boy, growing up in Nigeria, I saw a lot of women carrying their children on their backs; my mum carried my brothers and me on her back. They used cloth materials big enough to wrap around themselves and the baby. Once the wrap is on securely, it was time to go. It gave the Mothers and Aunties so much freedom and joy. It allowed them to interact, play, soothe and comfort their baby. Everywhere they went, we went. Everything they did, the babies were there, safe, and close.
Moving to the UK and having a child of my own, I knew I wanted to carry on the tradition; I wanted to have my baby as close to me as possible, to create that bond, a safe environment that provides a sense of comfort and allows me to show her the world from much earlier on, exploring our surroundings together. Babywearing also gave me the freedom to multitask when it’s needed, help out my partner and get to places we wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. For me, the most important thing is the bond that it’s allowed me to create with my daughter. I cherish the verbal and non-verbal interaction that me and Zendaya share and being able to carry on the culture and traditions is also a blessing.
Ergobaby recognise that the importance of diversity in our imagery and storytelling positively impacts how we see the world. They embrace differences in age, colour, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make people unique. Ergobaby’s vision is a global community that is resilient, empathetic, anti-racist, inclusive and welcoming, so our children can live openly in a secure world without fear.
For more information on this year’s Black Babywearing Week head to OBS Black Baby Wearing Week UK on Facebook and Instagram.