Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Zealand Babywearing Week

This post contains all the information you need to be a part of the Dunedin event during New Zealand Babywearing Week. The details of what is happening, who can be a part of it, when, where and WHY! Please pass this onto everyone! Cheers, and see you there!

This is the first time Dunedin has participated in New Zealand (and International) Babywearing Week. We will all meet in the Gardens carpark (accessed off the one way going South) at 11.30.
We plan to walk along the path parallel but in the opposite direction to the One Way system going South. Reaching the main walking entrance to the Gardens at the intersection and start of North East Valley, we'll turn and walk towards and up the hill. At the gravel path we'll walk back down and cross the bridge to the cafe, then past the duck pond to the Bandstand.

We'll have a BYO picnic on the lawn or in the Bandstand if the weather is bad. This event is rain or shine so please bring an umbrella or jacket for the walk. During the picnic a number of parents will demonstrate the use of the baby carrier of their choice, so if you're interested in babywearing devices this is definitely the part for you. Everyone is welcome to all parts of the event.

There are many sponsors for this years babywearing week who have kindly donated $210 worth of spot prizes to giveaway on the day. Thanks to all these sponsors! Anyone who walks and stays for the picnic is eligible for a prize. Here's what you're into win:

  • A manduca front pouch valued at $39.95 courtesy of Wickelkinder GmbH
  • A one year subscription to The Natural Parent Magazine valued at $32.00 courtesy of The Natural Parent Magazine
  • A pair of manduca fumbee shoulder strap protectors suitable for baby carriers, carseats and push chairs, valued at $29.95 courtesy of Wickelkinder GmbH
  • An OURS DVD valued at $25.00 courtesy of OURS DVD
  • A bag of Rockin’ Green eco laundry detergent valued at $22.80 courtesy of Rockin’ Green NZ
  • A pair of Huggalugs leg & arm warmers valued at $19.95 courtesy of Huggalugs
  • A Tummy2Tummy Babywearing Instructional DVD valued at $19.95 courtesy of My Natural Baby Ltd
  • Two copies of the latest issue of The Natural Parent Magazine valued at $9.90 each courtesy of The Natural Parent Magazine

WHY are we doing this?

Babywearing is something that parents (particularly Mothers) have done for hundreds of thousands of years. Only in the last couple of thousand in our Western culture has this practice largely died out, until recently. A couple of thousand years can not change the evolutionary expectation of a human infant to be held close to an adult. It is a survival instinct built into our DNA. When this expectation is not meet it can cause fear and distress for an infant who feels vulnerable to attack or fear they will not be provided the necessities of life. Many, many cultures in Asia, Africa, South America and the Pacific Islands continue to wear their babies.

In New Zealand parents are increasingly wearing their babies once again and many feel very passionate about the benefits for themselves and their babies. This week and our Dunedin event is about connecting with other babywearing families and promoting the technique to those who have yet to discover the joy of babywearing.

Here are some of the reasons I wear (or have worn) both of my children:

- It meets their innate expectation to be held close to an adult. Both of my children have found obvious calm and peace in the sling against my husband and I, their grandparents and aunties. They go from unsettled to serene when put in the sling.

- Both my children were windy, spiller-uppers and benefited from the upright position in the sling. It was fantastic for us at the end of the day when their little digestive systems were uncomfortable and they were scratchy and unsettled. The sling remedied this almost every time.

- We practiced Elimination Communication with both of our children and wearing them in the sling helped us to easily pick up on their need to go! We very rarely got weed on as they knew the sling was their nest not to be soiled.

- Carrying our children in an ergonomic position helped their legs, hips and spine to strengthen from being jiggled along with our movement while being well supported.

- They were a physical part of our lives, watching what we were doing, learning about life from our perspective, socialising, being a part of conversations, exercise, parties and everyday chores.

- We all benefited from the close contact. Skin to skin was especially important for our first child who needed some medical attention when he was born. My husband found babywearing to be a particularly good way of connecting with his young children.

- The practicality of being able to get on with things was great. We could still get the washing done, dinner cooked (care was needed here around hot things!) and had a mobile bed for our baby so we continued to get out and about connecting with friends.

There are many, many more reasons why families chose to wear their babies. Come along on Saturday 15th October, 2011 and chat with other families about why they do it. See you there!