Tag Archives: babywearing

Guest Post: The Stocking Cycle

Sometimes, a person fixates on something. They think about that something; they obsess over it. They MUST have that something. But one is NEVER enough. Often it’s cats.
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Sometimes….just sometimes…It’s a baby carrier- a type of woven wrap, perhaps…or a Tula.

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Special thanks to Yasmine Perkins for sharing her diary excerpts with us!

I don’t own many baby carriers really, just two Tulas, with another on the way. But that’s it, I swear I won’t buy any more, I don’t need any more. I have a two year old and a four year old, okay, they’re closer to three years old and five years old, they can walk perfectly well, walk for hours if they have to. And no plans for any more kids, so really, I don’t need any more carriers. I don’t need any more carriers. I….don’t….need….

Day 1: Feeling meh today. I didn’t score in yesterday’s wrap conversion stocking- where Tula upload all the pretty new Tulas for sale. Not too worried, I’m happy with the two I have. A nice canvas for everyday use, and a full wrap conversion for special occasions. Also have one on the way for the hubby, he needs his own so I don’t have to readjust the straps after he uses mine. I couldn’t possibly readjust the straps each time.

Day 2: Looking for accessories for hubby’s Tula. He can’t have a Tula without accessories. How will he reach the hood without deluxe, embellished reach straps? And suck pads- he can’t have a Tula without suck pads, the almost 3 year old has never tried to suck on the Tula, but how could you take the risk?

Day 3: Mamas in the US are sharing action shots of their newly acquired Tula wrap conversions from the stocking a few days ago. Some are happily parading their trophies, others trying to on-sell because ‘it isn’t love’. But I don’t need another carrier.

Day 4: One for the wishlist. Can I wear my sons in this? Too feminine? But I’m feminine! I can! I could! So pretty- but I hardly need another carrier.

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Day 5: Enter a Facebook competition to win a Tula. I technically own three Tulas and don’t need to buy another, but winning one doesn’t count, right? Like the page (shows up in all friends news feeds), comment on the post (shows up in all friends news feeds), share the post (shows up in all friends news feeds). Note I have 20 less friends than yesterday.
Day 6: Wishlist: Okinami Skye. I don’t go to the beach often but when I do- THIS would be the carrier to take! 

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Day 7: Bought dips to win a Tula. Really wanted to win so I bought lots. Didn’t win. Got angry and unjoined dips group, instantly regretted so re-joined and bought more dips.

Day 8: Checked to see if I won a Tula in the dip group. Thought I saw my name listed as the winner. Wasn’t me, was someone called Janice Perlman. She keeps banging on about how excited she is. It’s so annoying when people carry on like that. 

Day 9: Had a dream last night. I dreamed I bought a Tula and inside the box was a golden ticket. The golden ticket gave me access to Ula’s stash, where I would be allowed to choose any Tula ever made. The problem was Ula stored the canvases on the lower shelves and all the wrap conversions up high out of reach. I could see Okis, I could see Ernas, but ended up leaving with an Urbanista. I woke up screaming. I think it is a sign from Ula that I need to try at the next stocking.

Day 10: Sneak peeks are up. So many pretty Tulas. Chat with other mamas on Facebook about which ones we want to score, instantly dislike anyone who says they’re going to try for the ones I like.

Day 11: Keep checking on sneak peeks in case more are uploaded.

Day 12: I definitely need another Tula. I figure even if my kids don’t want to be carried anymore, I still do groceries- groceries need to be carried, right? And our old dog, she’s getting on a bit, she’d love to be able to go on walks more often, the Tula would be great for that. I have heaps of friends with kids, when they come to visit, I’ll wear them. Dolls, my boys have a few dolls around the house, the kids would get a kick out of seeing me wear their dolls. I definitely need another Tula.

Day 13: I have taken the opportunity on this beautiful Sunday morning to go knocking on my neighbours’ doors, asking if they would kindly refrain from using the internet tomorrow morning. I will need as much internet speed as possible in order to score and if they are to use the internet for their trivial things I won’t succeed.

Day 14: It’s here! It’s here! Stocking day is finally here! Since I worked night shift last night I have had the past 10 hours to mentally prepare. I have discussed at length how I am going to ‘win’ a Tula today with any colleague who happens to make eye contact with me, I can tell they are interested because they keep smiling and nodding as they back out of the room. Race home to the computer to set up with half an hour to spare. The children wake to meet me in their pyjamas, their sweet faces fresh from sleep, but there is no time to stop and greet them, there are Tulas at stake!
When the page links are up, I login to my account on the Tula page. I zoom my screen to 50%, so that when the Tulas go onto the page, I can see them all at once. I copy my credit card number, so that when I have that sweet baby in my cart, I can quickly paste the number in for a speedy checkout. I study the layout of the pages to determine where to put my pointer so when the links are up I should be hovering directly over the purchase button. If the children are talking to me, I tell them that daddy is sleeping on a bag of lollies, and the more he tells them he isn’t, the harder they should look for them.
Time check 08:58hr, time to start refreshing. F5…F5…F5…this starts slowly then increases in speed as it gets closer to 9am. F5F5F5F5F5F5F5. Refreshing over and over again, in a frenzy, the adrenaline is pumping now, butterflies in my stomach, rapid breathing, and then it happens. I suddenly have a screen full of pretties. No time to look, I click blindly ADD TO CART..ADD TO CART!! It all comes down to this moment. I don’t know what I have chosen, I don’t care what I have chosen I just have to have it. I can almost feel the buttery softness of my mystery wrap conversion. Imagine myself running through a flower filled meadow wearing it, dancing and twirling in the sunlight, just me and my Tula. But my dream is fleeting, because I suddenly see what I have come to know too well. The screen that says there has been a problem, that I can’t have my Tula, because someone else has it. I try to go back, I pick another, then another, but it’s the same thing.

Quickly all of the beautiful Tulas disappear from my screen and I am left with an empty cart, and an empty heart.

But it’s okay. I didn’t really need another Tula anyway. I don’t need any more carriers.

GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate International Babywearing Week, I recently attended an event and scored a brand new Ergo Baby Carrier! (Sorry Yasmine- not a Tula!) I have a decent stash of carriers so I want to pass on the babywearing love. To win this Ergo, see the rafflecopter widget below and good luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up with With Some Grace for #FYBF

Linking up with Have a Laugh on Me for Laugh Link

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Babywearing- Hollywood Style

If you look at how Babywearing is portrayed on tv and in movies- it’s no wonder people choose the least ergonomic carriers to start with!  So often they are narrow based, outward facing and just look damn uncomfy to anyone who wears an older baby or toddler with any regularity.

First up, we have The Guys who love the least ergonomic carriers, in the least comfy position:

The Hangover

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Probably the most iconic Hollywood babywearing stint ever to hit the big screen, this has been replicated on tee shirts, baby suits and more. Such a shame they didn’t show it being done in a comfortable and ergonomic way! Still- it’s very cute!

Bad Neighbours

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Channeling Zac Galifianakis, we have another example of the narrow based carrier facing outward. I do admit, putting a baby on Seth Rogan was probably the only thing you could do to make him cuter! 

Guys With Kids

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From What I can tell- this promo shot for an American comedy TV show is indeed an homage to The Hangover.

The Pacifier

Props to Vin Diesel for the tandem wear! I’m not sure how comfy he was but the back carried kid looks super cosy. The little guy dangling on the front? He is adorable and looks happy in this shot but I don’t know how long that grin lasted- note how stiffly his arms appear to be held, for example.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

I know what to expect after wearing a bub in a front pack, facing out, while also pushing a pram. A sore back! Actually, looking at these images so far, you’d be forgiven for thinking guys have no idea about carriers- c’mon Hollywood- give our men a bit more credit!

Next up we have Animated but Still Looks Uncomfortable:

Family Guy

This has given me a great idea! I’m going to sew a pair of undies onto a vest and stick my kid into the undies- DIY baby carrier! *facepalm*

The Simpsons

This looks like Homer Wearing Maggie in a Mei Tai! Great carrier choice, Homey! But it looks like her foot is sticking out of the waistband? Still- pretty close!!

Another from The Simpsons

The seat is far too narrow for Homer- that isn’t even close to knee-to-knee support and Rainier seems to need to support his leg! Fail! 

Dora the Explorer

Goodness, Swiper- if the carrier can swing like that it is FAR too loose! Geez! 

Next up: Just…No.

Grey’s Anatomy.

Why is this a Just No? because it depicts dangerous baby wearing. That baby needs an infant insert- their head should not be **inside** the carrier! Also, the back strap (which is a chest strap when back carrying with this type of carrier) was apparently left undone, risking the baby being dropped. Why set such a bad example on such a popular show?

LiTTLEMAN

The premise of this movie is that a small person who is a crim on the run is mistaken for someone’s newly adopted son and, um, goes along with it?? 

Austin Powers: Goldmember

If I have to explain what’s *wrong* about this…well, nothing. It’s hilarious. And scary- I hope my Mini-Me doesn’t actually resemble Mini-Me!

And now for a yes!

This leads to one of the better representations I’ve seen. It’s not exactly babywearing… But it is wearing another being.

It’s a nice high back carry with a structured carrier that has a support belt at the waist, the wearer could probably use cushier shoulder straps but the little guy being worn looks comfy, he can look around and can interact with his wearer.

I’d say that’s a win!

Star Wars: The Emperor Strikes Back

Today’s giveaway is this GORGEOUS pair of wrap scrap earrings made by My Squishy Monkey- enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday, because this post is mainly about the pictures, right??
My Little Drummer Boys
and


and also
Agent Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday

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Babywearing: Hacks, Simplicity and For Cheaps

Sometimes, the world of babywearing can seem kinda intimidating. I felt like there was SO MUCH I didn’t know and that at any given moment I would say the wrong thing within a Babywearing group and have a ton of people tell me off.

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I couldn’t have been more wrong about the response. Generally, I have found the online babywearing community to be really supportive and eager to share knowledge because so many who wear their babies are so passionate about why they do it- not just about their pretty carriers and wraps!

I highly suggest you have a look at the links at the bottom of this post for a Babywearing Group near you- even if you never get to a sling meet, there is still a wealth of knowledge and experience to be gained from other wearers.

Now, on to some simplicity, savings and hacks.

Many people start out with a narrow based structured carrier like the Baby Bjorn or similar more generic carriers from chain stores. For some of us, these are like a “gateway drug” into the world of carriers. There are many, though, who find these so uncomfortable that they abandon them and never go back. They often have the ability to forward face your baby, which is not considered optimal. It puts their back into an uncomfy position, the narrow base can put pressure on their tailbone and it’s not great for the wearer’s back, either. This article is a great summary on forward facing. Basically, while it’s not going to kill you, there are way more comfy ways to wear. But what if money is tight and you don’t have the cash for another carrier? No worries! Enter the Scarf Hack:

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A simple scarf, tied correctly, can provide a much wider, more ergonomic, knee-to-knee seat for your bub when carried facing mum or dad- which allows them to look around comfortably or to snuggle in when the world gets a bit too much. Click the image to read a how-to.

Also:

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Image source (and well worth a read)

While I love pretty carriers and wraps and I can rattle off a list of affordable brands, sometimes even the most affordable wraps and carriers are out of reach. That doesn’t mean you can’t babywear and babywear safely. This video teaches you how to wrap with a bedsheet, for example.

Here is an example of torso-carrying, which suits older babies and toddlers, using a beach towel.

This video by Chelsea from Keep Calm and Carry Them which is another great resource.

Another thing to remember is that you can sew your own carriers with a bit of know-how. I can’t. Because I can’t sew. But my cousin can. She fabulous at it. She makes her living upcycling old clothing and stuff into fabulous bags- you should check her stuff out because she’s truly amazing! Anyway, she made one of my ring slings from a beautiful linen I found. We researched which thread and fabric to use and bought proper, weight tested sling rings.

The result:image

Babywearing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. My cheapest carrier is my selendang, which I still use even thought Miss B is 2. It’s still great for a quick rebozo carry.

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This carrier cost me around $15 on eBay. Here’s how to tie a rebozo.

It’s also good to know that many local groups have sling libraries to allow you to borrow a carrier to try. You can also hire carriers, often in test packs, to see what works for your family before you invest. Frangipani Baby offers very affordable trial packs- check them out here.

Don’t forget- I’m giving away prizes all this week on my facebook page. Today’s giveaway is a key fob made from Pollora Naledi Twilight Wrap scrap- click here to see the pic on facebook and follow the instruction to enter!

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The Babywearing Bug

During my last pregnancy, I caught a virus. It came on slowly. The first symptom was a vague interest in a passing stranger wearing a Baby Bjorn. I thought it looked interesting but I wasn’t sold on how comfortable it might be. Before I knew it, I found myself looking up baby slings on eBay.

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There were so many! I couldn’t make a purchase- I didn’t know enough. What to do? I thought I’d just forget about it- too hard to figure out, right? But that’s not how this bug works. I found myself idly reading blogs and forum threads about which carriers were best, which were safest, which were easiest to use.

Somehow, I found myself standing at the front door of a stranger, ready to hand over $80 for a second hand Ergobaby carrier. Soon after, the postman delivered a red cotton ring sling and a pouch sling. I felt I was all set.

Baby B arrived and I soon mastered the ring sling. I tried the pouch a few times but couldn’t work it out. Google lead me to the TICKS guidelines:

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So the pouch went by the wayside and virus really took root. I had worked out the Ergo but it was….well… black and…plain. Which is totally fine and was not an issue at all…Until the virus had really taken hold! You see, the Babywearing Bug likes pretties. It’s not very often that the Babywearing Bug strikes in it’s mildest form, limiting the host to one or two simple carriers.

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It escalates. Quickly.

One thing to watch out for if you do become infected is that it can be very contagious. Your family aren’t safe. Before you know it, your partner will be using your slings and carriers.

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If you have older children, they aren’t immune.

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Even the child you’re usually wearing might start displaying signs of infection.

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Then there are your friends. They aren’t around you nearly as much as your family, right? So they should be pretty safe, right? Wrong. Even if they chuckle at you while you hang out your new your selendang to dry after washing and call you a crazy hippy, they can still catch the bug.  Even if they never really used a carrier before except a brief foray with a Bjorn- once the infection hits, there is nothing you can do but ride it out. Even if they were one of the lucky ones, who only had a mild case before and was perfectly satisfied with the one or two carriers they had- be warned- exposure can reignite the dormant bug. Here’s the story of how I unwittingly infected 3 friends.

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Excuse the grainy shot!

Take the first friend I mentioned. We’ll call her Friend 1. Mum of a primary school kiddo, a toddler and now a newborn. Also now the proud owner of a woven ring sling, woven wrap, mei tai and an Ergo who has a wrap conversion structured carrier on the way.

The next one mentioned? Let’s call her Friend 2. She never really got into the idea. One day she mentioned how frustrating it was having to carry her petite little miss when dropping off her older child at school. I gave her a ring sling and a 5 minute tutorial. She has a mei tai now as well.

The third one, Friend 3, was pretty happy with her Ergo for a long time. Then she tried on my Tula Carrier

Really, it’s been the Tula that did it. Seems this virus can force the host to fixate on a certain type of carrier, wrap or sling and even that fixation can be caught.

Case in point being myself and the three lovely ladies I’ve been telling you about. Take lovely Friend 3, for example. She tried on my Tula and saw immediately how much more comfortable it was for a bigger child and ordered her own…with custom accessories of course. Before too long she was avidly figuring out how the stockings work and scored herself a beautiful full wrap conversion of which I am insanely jealous. So now she has two!

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Tandem Tula-ing!

Except, here’s the thing. This other one she really wanted came up in a stocking…so Tula #3 is it’s on the way from the U.S of A!.

In the same week, I decided I really needed this Tula, because unicorns!!! …am I right?

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Also in that same week, the other two friends I mentioned? Friend 1 ordered this Tula– called ‘Float Away’ and Friend 2? She had ordered the beautiful ‘Oasis’ Tula. So all of us. Independently. In the same week.

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This is how insidious and contagious the Babywearing Bug can be. You, your family, your friends… no one is safe! 

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Don’t forget to check out my facebook page each day this week- there is a giveaway every day!

Linking up to confess my infection-spreading!

I Must Confess
Have a laugh on me
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International Babywearing Week Giveaways!

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Bennie is wrapped here in a Girasol Fiesta woven

If you haven’t already, now is the time to “like” Handbag Mafia on Facebook because this week is International Babywearing Week and I have a weeks worth of giveaways!

Prizes include:

  • Wrap Scrap Jewellery by My Squishy Monkey
  • Wrap Scrap/Babywearing Key fobs
  • Suck Pads for your SSC (Soft structured carriers- like the Ergo, Manduca, Tula, Beco etc) custom made for this giveaway by While Baby Sleeps
  • A dolly carrier for the mini-baby wearer in your life!image Be sure to check the Facebook page each morning for that day’s chance to win, and tag your Babywearing friends to share the love ❤ 

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Wraps, Carriers and Slings- Oh my!

Baby wearing. It’s not using your baby as a hat or sweater, as my husband initially may have thought!

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The term “Babywearing” refers to using a carrier to hold your baby- either out and about or at home. And I love it! Why? Using a carrier, rather than your arms- has a number of benefits.

  • It frees up your hands for other tasks while still meeting the need or desire of your little one to be held close.
  • It’s a means of transport- prams aren’t always practical and are sometimes a hindrance (though they certainly have their place!).
  • It is also often a more comfortable way to carry your baby or child than in your arms- especially for longer periods of time as good carriers and woven wraps distribute weight evenly meaning less strain on your shoulders.
  • It offers reassurance and feelings of security to your child- less over stimulation leads to less melt-downs, in my experience.
  • Slings are handy for breastfeeding. I can (and quite often do) wander my local grocery store while breastfeeding in a sling- multi-tasking win!

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A side-benefit of babywearing is that children who are used to being worn want to “dollywear”- the main benefit being the “Awwwww” factor!

There is research that shows that wearing babies is beneficial for them, and guidelines to follow to be sure you are doing it safely and correctly and there  is a WHOLE OTHER WORLD out there of carriers that you probably never knew existed- from your basic carrier found at a chain store, to much more ergonomic structured carriers, to stretchy wraps, to wovens, to wrap conversions and to culturally traditional carriers like the rebozo, the selendang or the khanga. You can buy a selendang for $15 or spend hundreds on a high-end hand woven wrap- the choice is yours and the result is the same- a happy, secure baby or toddler that has a good view of the world as well as a parent or carer to snuggle into when the world gets a little bit too much.

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Not just for mum and dad- Babywearing is a valuable skill to pass on to older kids.

Babywearing is practiced in many cultures- Slingbabies has a great summary here with some awesome pictures from many cultures showing how they wear their babies. It’s been around a very long time and fits into my parenting philosophy (something I like to call Attachment Parenting by Default– it’s not exactly been a conscious choice but rather somewhere I’ve just kind of found myself!) It’s recommended by AP godfather Dr Sears  and also by major breastfeeding support groups like the Australian Breastfeeding Association and La Leche League. Those endorsements along with the other benefits I mentioned were enough for me. My friend Kate Crawford was introduced to babywearing when she sought help for her Post Natal Depression- here is her story which she has kindly offered to share here.

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“For the first four weeks, life with a newborn was blissful. She did nothing but eat, sleep, pee and poo. ‘This is easy!’ I thought. I was happy, in love with my bub, but even then there were warning signs. The anxiety was atrocious. When she was sleeping, I felt like someone had slipped me some speed. I couldn’t keep my feet still and I was chewing my nails like there was no tomorrow. I put it down to normal new mum nerves. I noticed I felt a little better if I could see her, so I took to keeping her bassinet on the floor in the lounge and watching over her. Impractical!

By six weeks I was a mess. Bub didn’t sleep so well in the daytime any more and was colicky and crying for a few hours every evening. I fell apart. Thoughts of failure dogged me at all times. I had ruined my life. Other mums will know the feeling you get when looking over a newborn and wondering if she’s still breathing. They lie so still! I imagine for most people it’s a sense of momentary panic and perhaps a quick test with a finger under the nose to feel the breath. For me, the intrusive thought was ‘If she’s dead, it’s fixed. I won’t have to look after her any more and I can go back to my old life.’ I know, awful.

I went to a psychologist, and she asked me if I had thought about what parenting technique I was going to use. I had no idea what she was talking about – you just keep them alive, right? She mentioned attachment parenting as helpful for the post-natal depression I was clearly suffering from. I had visions of breastfeeding a four year old (the only thing I knew about the practice) and I must have made a face, because then she got all scientific on me. She explained that the evidence showed that responding quickly to your baby’s cries with comfort and wearing your child led to happier, more secure children and significantly better outcomes for mothers with PND like me. She told me to wear my baby ALL THE TIME.

Anyone who knows me would describe me as practical, logical, perhaps the anti-hippy. Psych lady had played right into my weakness for evidence. I took her advice as a prescription and wore bub constantly, except at night when she still slept soundly in her own bed despite my fears that she would get ‘spoiled’ and refuse. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say babywearing saved my relationship with my child, and probably my husband. I fell in love with bub all over again, and it’s hard to be anxious about a baby when you can see her sleeping soundly on your chest at all times!

Now, at nearly six months, I don’t babywear constantly any more, but only because she won’t stand for it! She wants to explore and is learning to crawl (oh dear!). If we’re out though, it’s super practical and if she’s fussy for some reason it’s still a great place for her to sleep.

Oh, and if she wants to breastfeed when she’s four then whatever!”

Have a look at the gallery I put together of some gorgeous babywearing pics shared by my baby/toddler/pre-schooler wearing friends. 

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You can find more info on your local babywearing facebook page- here are a few to start you off:

Sydney Babywearers

Perth Babywearers

Brisbane Babywearing Community

Canberra Babywearers

Darwin Babywearers Inc.

Victorian Babywearers

Tasmanian Babywearers

If you can’t find your nearest group, try asking on the Baby Wearing Buy, Sell & Swap Group – I’ve always found it to be a very helpful community!

Happy Babywearing!


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