Tell us a little about yourself and what you do!
I have two children ages,almost 3 years and almost 3 months, and am a social worker by trade. I’ve always been drawn to helping people, therefore it was only natural for me to become involved in our local babywearing group Kalamazoo Babywearing Love, which was a newer group at the time, and in need of some help spreading the babywearing love. Last year our group, renamed Kalamazoo Babywearers, finally took the plunge and launched a lending library. It was initially quite small and consisted of carriers donated by the community, fabulous manufacturers such as Lillebaby, and volunteer loans. It has continued to steadily grow from there. We offer meetups twice a month during which the lending library serves as a free to play with demo library. We also try to regularly host social events.
How did you discover your love for babywearing?
I had been interested in babywearing for a long time due to a childhood friend who was an avid babywearer before it became mainstream. When I found out I was pregnant with my first I immediately had 10,000 questions for her about babywearing carriers. Shortly after my daughter was born she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and baby carriers became a lifeline. My daughter was placed in a Pavlik Harness at 6 weeks, and outside of when she would agree to lay on her back, I was limited in my options to keep her occupied and maintain my sanity during the day outside of wearing her. My love for babywearing was also intensified by our amazing local babywearing community who welcomed me with open arms as a first time mom.
What is your best advice for new parents and baby wearers?
I always encourage new parents, caregivers, and babywearers to put themselves out there and form a local support network. Connect with other caregivers and parents, no matter if it’s through babywearing meetups or playdates or through fabulous organizations such as Hike it Baby. Going that first time can be scary and intimidating, but it’s worth it! We’ve virtually all been first time parents or the new caregiver on the block at some point and can relate.
What is your favorite part of your work?
Getting to play with amazing baby carriers aside, one of my favorite things about being a babywearing educator and helping to operate the Kalamazoo Babywearers group is connecting caregivers and parents while helping them gain confidence both in wearing and as a caregiver. Our group is steadily growing and as a volunteer it can be an overwhelming amount of responsibility at times, but we seek to be an inclusive group that draws from a diverse community and the group itself is it's own reward. This includes making it clear that while our group is breastfeeding friendly, and for many a babywearing meetup may be the first place they breastfeed in public, there is no shame in bottle feeding as fed is best. The fact that our group is a safe space for so many due to our amazing community means a great deal to us.
"One of our babywearing group members rocking the tandem in her LÍLLÉbaby carriers!"
What is your favorite feature of the LILLEbaby carriers?
I’ve long been a fan of Lillebaby carriers due to their versatility. I love that there is no insert needed for small babies and how it adjusts to grow with children making it still a great fit on my almost 3 year old. When people come to me looking for a one stop shop carrier, Lillebaby is often one of the first carriers that rolls of my tongue!