Babywearing Groups in New Zealand – Spotlight on Babywearing Wellington

Babywearing WellingtonIn the lead up to New Zealand Babywearing Week (Oct 10 – 16, 2011) we will be featuring the babywearing groups that run meetings in New Zealand. Last week we featured Slingbabies – this week we learn about Babywearing Wellington!

Babywearing Wellington Sling Walk 2010

Image taken at the 2010 Babywearing Wellington Sling Walk

When did Babywearing Wellington get started and why? Babywearing Wellington was started in February 2010 by committee member Sarah Rogers. She sent an invite out on Facebook inviting Wellington babywearers to meet up for coffee, chat and sharing advice, not expecting to get so many responses! After a few informal meetups at cafes, we started holding more formal monthly ‘slingmeets’ in a community room in Petone before moving to our current venue in central Wellington at the start of 2011.

When and where are your meetings? Our slingmeets are held on the first Friday of every month in the Guest Room of the Southern Cross bar on the corner of Abel Smith and Cuba Streets in central Wellington.

What happens at a typical meeting? Our slingmeets start at 10am and finish at midday. We begin with a 15 minute presentation on a babywearing-related topic (for example breastfeeding and babywearing, stretchy vs woven wraps, soft-structured carriers). After the presentation, we provide one-on-one advice to anyone who needs it, and attendees are welcome to try out and/or hire any of our library carriers. For seasoned babywearers, the slingmeets are a great chance to catch up with like-minded people over a coffee.

I’m pregnant but interested in Babywearing, can I still attend meetings? Absolutely! We’ve had several pregnant women attend our slingmeets and it’s been great to then see them come back after their baby is born and find out how they’re getting on. Although it’s definitely easier trying out carriers with a real life baby, the slingmeets are an excellent opportunity to find out about the many different options out there and also pick up some useful tips for when your baby arrives.

Are baby carriers available to hire from a lending library? If so, how does the lending library work? Yes. We have an ever expanding collection of carriers in our library, with examples of each different type of carrier (woven and stretchy wraps, pouches, SSCs, mei tais, and ring slings). Details of what carriers are available are on our blog http://babywearingwellington.blogspot.com/p/carrier-library.html. To hire one of our carriers, people need to become a member of Babywearing Wellington (a one-off fee of $10), then it’s $5 a week for up to 3 weeks hire plus a refundable $50 bond. People can either see our librarian Emma Worden at one of our slingmeets, or email her anytime to arrange a hire at babywearingwellington@gmail.com. Membership and hire fees are used to improve and maintain the library and ensure the ongoing functioning of the group.

Who organises and hosts the Babywearing Wellington meetings? Babywearing Wellington has a committee of volunteers who organise and host the slingmeets. On our committee currently we have Emma Worden, Sarah Cronan, Sarah Rogers, Hester Hamilton, Isa Pike, Rebecca Erlewein and Stefanie Dixon.

If each of you could share just one Babywearing tip, what would it be?

Register with www.thebabywearer.com for heaps of instruction videos and tips. Just be wary of developing a sling addiction! – Emma

Enlist help of a babywearing expert and make sure your baby is close enough to kiss – Sarah C

Second-hand carriers are a great way to save money AND increase your sling collection without too much guilt! – Sarah R

Practice with new carriers or carries before you need them. Try them a few times in peace, with a fed and rested baby and a mirror before you try in a rainy car park with a fussy baby – Hester

If you or your baby just can’t seem to get along with that sling, try another carrier, another carry, and ask for help trying them out! – Isa

When you try new ways of carrying your baby (e.g. on the back, or trying a new carrier), have someone spot you who is LESS nervous about this than you are – Rebecca

Try before you buy; beg, borrow or hire before spending what can be a lot of money. As each baby is different, so is each carrier – Stefanie

How can people get in touch with the group? People can contact us anytime for information or advice by emailing us at babywearingwellington@gmail.com or calling Emma on 027 623 7069. We’d also love people to ‘like’ our group on Facebook www.facebook.com/babywearingwellington as this is a good way to keep up to date with slingmeets and other events. In addition, please check out our blog http://babywearingwellington.blogspot.com/ which has posts on various aspects of babywearing as well as details of our slingmeets and carrier library.

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