Baby wearing International of South Jersey

This is part two of our “Awesome Women” series. Any of you who know Amanda and I know that we love babywearing. Not sure what that means ? Well then meet Aimee Lyden, founder and current president of Babywearing International (BWI) of South Jersey.

How long has BWI of South Jersey been helping parents and babies? Babywearers of South Jersey was founded in November 2010. We became a chapter of Babywearing International in September 2012.

Tell us a little about what baby wearing is and why it is a great choice for families? Babywearing is the practice of using a sling or carrier to hold and carry babies and toddlers. Babywearing has many proven benefits including: less crying in infants, regulation of breathing and heartrate in young babies, mental and emotional well-being for the child and caregiver, and much more! It is also a very convenient tool and practice for parents and caregivers, as it allows for the baby’s needs to be met, while leaving the adult with the free hands he or she needs to take care of other responsibiltiies. Babywearing is a wonderful option for all families no matter what their overall parenting philosophy may be. Some families choose to wear baby in a carrier the majority of the time whether at home or out in the world, whereas other families may only use it as a tool while out and about in places where a stroller may be inconvenient. Any family can find a way to incorporate babywearing into their lifestyle. It’s a fabulous tool for everyone!

What was your first experience with Babywearing? I remember shopping with my mom for a babyshower gift for my sister-in-law when I was just 12 and really being struck by the idea of babywearing when I saw a Snuggli carrier in the store. I was sure that I would love to have my baby close to me rather than pushed away from me in a stroller when I was grown and had children of my own. A few months before we got married, my husband and I visited friends who had just had their first baby, and the mom wore her baby in a mei tai the whole time during our visit. They just both seemed so calm and happy. When I was expecting my first child, this same friend sent me a mei tai as a gift. I also had purchased a ring sling for myself. I fumbled along with help and advice from the forums . It was a bit challenging to get the hang of how to use my carriers, but I was very determined! When my son was about 3 weeks old, we were shopping in the mall and he wanted to eat. I wasn’t sure how to go about it since we were on the move, but I pulled out the mei tai and got him on and even managed to breastfeed him in it! That was a huge moment for me. To realize that I could still do all the things I enjoyed doing without having to stop everything to attend to my baby’s needs.

What areas do you hold meetings? We currently have two instructional meetings monthly: the first Saturday morning at the library in Mullica Hill, and the first Monday evening at the Collingswood Library. In the next few months, we are planning to add meetings in Burlington County, eastern Gloucester County, and Atlantic County. We also have several social meetups monthly. All of our current events and meetings can be found on our website, meetup page, and Facebook group.

What is one of your favorite parts of what you do? I absolutely love that moment when I help a parent into a carrier and get the adjustment just right to where it’s perfectly comfortable and the baby just snuggles in against the parent’s body and totally relaxes or falls asleep. The look of relief and joy on the parent’s face and the contentment of that baby is the reason I started this group and the reason I’m passionate about helping parents discover the joy of babywearing. It can be absolutely lifechanging to a parent who has been struggling with a demanding infant. It’s my honor to be able to help families in this way.

What words of wisdom would you have for new parents interested in Babywearing? Seek out help and community. Attend a meeting if you can because then you can see, feel, and try all the different carrier types that are available on the market, and you can also get help from trained Volunteer Babywearing Educators. BWI of South Jersey even has a lending library available to members who join Babywearing International as paid members. Remember that babywearing is a learned skill, so if you’re frustrated in the beginning as you’re learning to use the carrier, don’t give up!! Seek help and keep trying!! The benefits are so worth it!!

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