In honour of her talk at UP Canadian Babywearing Conference (“Social Justice – what does babywearing have to do with it?”), Carry Me Close Babywearers asked local babywearing parent Ratsamy Pathammavong to write us a piece on a topic of her choice. We are fortunate to have her as a member of our babywearing community. Come out to a local Babywearing Event to meet some members of your babywearing community in person!
Top 10 Reasons to attend a Babywearing Event
By Ratsamy Pathammavong
After attending 3 babywearing conferences on two continents and lots of other babywearing meet-ups in the last year, I thought I’d share with you my top 10 list of why you should come out to a babywearing event. Perhaps this can entice you to consider coming to the upcoming Up! Babywearing Conference in Ottawa.
10. Get some selfie taking lessons. Yes, I’m that babywearing momma always trying to get better selfies with my toddler. But I’m a crappy photographer. I’ve learnt many great tips from others at these events. And bonus – no one is giving me strange looks when I’m taking my selfies. Even if you don’t take as many photos as I do – sometimes you are the only one able to take a picture of you and your little one(s).
9. Attachment parenting is normal at these events. I’m very uncomfortable when random parents ask me if Mr. Toddler sleeps through the night or why he breastfeeds at 2. I’m very proud of my parenting choices but it’s still exhausting to explain myself over and over. At these events, I am surrounded by parents who understand me and get me. No explanation needed. No justification.
8. Meet parents who share your hobby. Let’s be honest – babywearing isn’t part of mainstream parenting yet. It’s definitely picking up in popularity in North America with sales of carriers at Wal-Mart and Toys R Us but it is still fairly niche. So it’s really refreshing to be in a room where I don’t have to justify or explain my rationale for carrying my toddler.
7. Learn new carrying techniques. I’m a mediocre wrapper at best. I default to my usual carries almost always – mostly due to laziness but also due to my insecurity in my own ability to successfully pull off a carry in a safe and secure way. Coming to babywearing events gives you access to many experienced certified babywearing teachers and experts.
6. Meet your online friends. The most recent conference I went to was The Wrap Show in London England. When asked by the immigration officer why I was in the country, I told her “To see and meet my online friends”. These parents in my phone were and are my lifeline in many ways through some of the roughest hours of my new reality life. Although I had never met many of them in person, I spoke to them and confided in them more often any anyone else – even my best friend or spouse. Giving these parents a hug in person felt like I was coming home in many ways. But you don’t have to go all the way to England to find these lifelines – many of my closest friends are babywearing friends I’ve met locally.
And of course – for those with the time, funds and inclination to turn a wonderful parenting tool into a hobby….
5. Visit a new city. Going to babywearing conferences are a great event for me. I plan and save up for the event. As a new mom with a toddler I often feel guilty for doing things for me. But these events give me a great excuse to indulge in something I love with my child.
4. Purchase exclusive wraps and carriers. At all of the babywearing conferences, new exclusive wraps or carriers are released. This is your opportunity to purchase a wrap without worrying about getting online at the right time or if you are lucky enough to win the draw to buy.
3. Touch and try (new-to-you) fiber blends. Even though I have a long history and love of fiber arts – there are always new blends, weaves, colours etc. to touch, feel, caress and try. I’m still learning what I need or like in my woven wraps so this is a wonderful way to try wraps without the costs.
2. Indulge your inner Fan Girl. When I first saw Hedwig from Wrap you in Love fame in person, I was too star struck to say hi. I’ve watched hours of videos over and over trying to perfect my technique. It was so fun to watch other babywearers run up to her and squeal with joy upon meeting her. My goal for Up! is to meet Marley (Prairie Rebel). I LOVE her gorgeous photos. She is not only a very talented photographer with a great eye for mood and context but her personal style is envy worthy. I can’t wait to meet her in person. I feel as though I know here and her twins as I see them nearly every day.
1. Support women entrepreneurs – most (if not all) of the weavers, wrap companies, baby accessory makers etc. are small businesses started and run by women. These mothers and caregivers are hustling hard to support their families by pursing their talents. This is a great opportunity to support women who are working it!
Ratsamy Pathammavong is a West Toronto, cis, hetero, Lao woman and mother of a toddler. A long-time ‘social justice warrior’ baby-wearing and gentle parenting fit her personality and values. When she’s not chasing her toddler, she is a volunteer administrator for All Things Woven Wings, one of the larger Facebook woven wrap company fan groups, and knitter.