What Is Babywearing?
“Babywearing” simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a baby carrier. Holding a baby is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable.
Babywearing can help make daily life just a little bit easier. It can lessen a child's crying, improve bonding between a caregiver and child, and even reduce a caregiver's chance of PPD.
Who We Are
We are a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to helping caregivers discover the benefits of baby carriers. On a local level, our goal is to establish a community of caregivers who can come together for carrier help, babywearing fun, and sharing the joys of parenthood. Worldwide, we support babywearing education and outreach to make babywearing a universally-accepted practice.
The heart of our organization is our educators and volunteers. Each educator generously donates their time every month to teach at our meetings, answer questions on our Facebook page and in our private Facebook group, and perform administrator duties that keep our group running. Volunteers offer their assistance with teaching new visitors about our group, guiding new members through the membership process, and being champions of our cause.
An important part of making babywearing a universally accepted practice is ensuring that our meetings, events, and online spaces are welcoming for people of all backgrounds. Given our education mission, we are necessarily supportive of the basic tenets of social justice. Therefore, BWGR do not condone silencing, tone policing, or otherwise oppressing marginalized groups, nor does BWGR discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, size, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, national origin, or citizenship status.
Note: Babywearing Grand Rapids is committed to supporting marginalized people in the babywearing community and will support movements to correct and educate the community and companies on issues that affect marginalized cultures. We are working to update our resources in all areas. For corrected terminology, please see blog posts and the links there to the original content in regards to #notyourpodbutai and #takebacktherebozo.
Grand Rapids has had gatherings of babywearing caregivers since as early as 2006, though we don't know the original date. It began with a now-defunct online forum of friends and caregivers called Michigan Natural Parenting. This was a really lovely online community that saw the birth of many babywearing groups.
At some point the group became an ‘official’ meeting under the chain of groups named after Dr. Ashley Montagu's theory Nine In Nine Out, or Grand Rapids NINO. NINO groups were short lived as an international organization. Again the group returned to its less formal structure and continued to build up a library of about 10 carriers.
In June of 2013, Babywearing Grand Rapids affiliated with Babywearing International to become Babywearing International of Grand Rapids. Our first meetings had a handful of attendees and just one or two educators once a month. Since then, we have helped hundreds of caregivers learn the benefits of babywearing, added over 300 members, and have had 13 educators join the ranks. We've also added two more meetings a month, with an expanded geographical region.
In August of 2018 BWI filed for bankruptcy and disbanded. To continue to serve and advocate in West Michigan a new nonprofit was formed - Babywearing Grand Rapids. Under our independent organization we will be able to not only continue our babywearing education initiatives, but also begin expanded outreach programs throughout Grand Rapids and beyond.