When I was pregnant I remember watching a woman at Sheffield train station put her baby on her back with a long length of fabric.  I realise now that I must have been staring.  I was impressed by her technique but just assumed that I wouldn’t ever carry my baby in this way.  I didn’t even give it a second thought, in spite of seeing what a good idea it was.
I’m a new mum to Robin who is now eleven weeks old and I never knew there was such a thing as ‘babywearing’ until after he was born.  Like most things with this journey into parenthood, I have picked up knowledge along the way.  

Whilst pregnant, I liked the idea of carrying my baby in a sling and had read that it might be useful to have one as well as a buggy or pram.  I bought a Caboo Close carrier (a hybrid stretchy carrier) from ebay for a bargain £25.  I’m not sure what made me choose this one over one of the mass produced type slings but I read some good reviews and thought I’d go with this one.  My husband and I spent hours practising with a doll but we never got around to actually using it until Robin was about two weeks old. 

Whilst going through the images taken during the photoshoot Sheffield Babywearers organised as part of their celebrations for International Babywearing Week, I find myself contemplating this year's theme: Carrying on Traditions.

It strikes me, as I sit here perusing the gallery of images, trying to decide which images I like the best (there isn’t just one, there are many) that babywearing is hugely diverse - as diverse as the babies we carry. On the day babies, toddlers and preschoolers were carried in ringslings, mei tais, pods, buckles, and wraps; on their mums' fronts, hips and backs. In fact, a few preschoolers even did some carrying of their own - an oversized Tigger in a shorty wrap for an impromptu back carry, and a more appropriately sized scarf to carry a doll. 

So I then find myself pondering the question: how can such diversity link all babywearers? And it struck me, babywearing traditions are not just about returning to traditional ways of carrying. 

Eleven lucky babywearers had a fabulous time last Thursday with a babywearing photoshoot! The aim of the shoot was to get some lovely photos for the mums who took part, and also for use on our website and publicity, and it was a complete success.

We had a range of ages of children, from three weeks to three years, and used every type of sling, from a stretchy wrap for the newborn to a ring sling for the biggest boy.

We are very grateful to Source Photography for donating this photoshoot to Sheffield Babywearers, and for offering a discount on any family or baby photoshoot booked through our website! Visit our Links page for more details (see under Other Links).

The theme of International Babywearing Week this year is Carrying on Traditions. As babywearers, we know that parents have carried their babies since the dawn of modern man, first in arms and then in slings. We love the fact that we are getting back to a way of interacting with our children that pre-dates car seats, prams and bouncy chairs (useful though all these things are). But this year's theme made us wonder, what are the babywearing traditions we are creating nowadays?

Sling Meets
Our favourite babywearing innovation! We at Sheffield Babywearers are very proud of our Sheffield sling meets - friendly, accessible, regular and helpful. We're having a special weekend sling meet this Saturday 13 October, 2-4pm in room 5 of the Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (many thanks to the Showroom for donating use of the room). We hope that babywearers new and old who can't attend our usual weekday meets (we're thinking particularly of dads) will be able to come along.

Two Sheffield Babywearers did the Three Dams Walk on Sunday to raise money for Sheffield Children's Hospital - here they are posing proudly with their certificates and their toddlers!
Katherine on the left carries her daughter in a Lenny Lamb woven wrap, while Natasha (of Sheffield Sling Library) is using an Oscha wrap. To find out more about slings, come to one of our sling meets - the next one is this Saturday in the Showroom - or get down to Sheffield Sling Library!
Logo of International Babywearing Week
Next week is International Babywearing Week 2012!

Organised by Babywearing International, International Babywearing Week is a chance to celebrate, promote, and advocate the many benefits of babywearing, and Sheffield Babywearers is pleased to be an official celebrating organisation.