Earlier this month, Colorado Springs babywearers had to say goodbye to one of its members Beth White; the military has sent her away from the mountains of Colorado and to the cold state of Alaska. Beth reflects on her babywearing journey, both as an individual and as a person who has helped the group develop into a close-knit community of babywearers:
Many wearers can pinpoint exactly how they came across the idea of babywearing, whether it was a chance encounter with someone wearing an Ergo, or coming across a picture of someone wrapping on an online forum. But not Beth; she is a second generation babywearer!
“I’m not sure when I learned about babywearing,” she says. “I think I always knew about it. My mom wore me and my sisters in a frame pack and some sort of ring sling.”
“I started researching carriers when I was pregnant and bought a Sleepy Wrap and used that when Faith was just two days old. I loved it and so did she! I went to my first babywearing meeting when she was two months old,” she says. “I really liked being around other moms that I had a lot in common with and I wanted to make sure I was wearing my baby correctly!”
Over the course of the next few years, since that first meeting, Beth has watched the group grow, as babywearing has slowly gained popularity.
“[When] I first joined the group there wasn't a meeting for over six months after I went to the park meet-up. We slowly started getting together more regularly and formed a group of solid ‘core’ members that came to everything,” she says.
The online move of the group from a Yahoo! Group to Facebook, she says, was also “really instrumental” in its growth. With Facebook’s popularity and ease of use, it allowed for more interested mothers to find and connect with the group more easily.
Despite being a member of the group for over three years, Beth (who now also has a one-year-old son, Titus) feels that she can’t take much credit for the successful group the Colorado Springs babywearing group has become:
“One of my favorite things about our group is that it’s a community effort…There has always been a wonderful group of mamas working to make any changes,” she says.
But fellow babywearer and friend Courtney Kempe knows that Beth’s contributions deserve to be acknowledged. In the past, she has organized events to teach people carriers, connected the group with other local organizations and ordered the group’s business cards for members to carry and pass out. Additionally, “she is really cool about showing people how to babywear without spending a ton,” says Courtney.
Fitting with babywearing (and the tenet of keeping a baby close as nature intended), Beth also has a fairly natural parenting style, one that includes something that, in theory, should come very “naturally,” but doesn’t always: Breastfeeding. She first started attending LLL meetings when she was pregnant with her daughter. For the last year and a half, she was a La Lache League leader in Colorado Springs, sharing her personal experiences as well as supporting and educating mothers on breastfeeding.
“I am very passionate about breastfeeding and I love being able to help others,” she says. Also, “babywearing inevitably comes up at nearly every meeting so I love how everything overlaps.”
The Colorado Springs group members are sad to see Beth go, but she will undoubtedly be a valuable member to whatever parenting-related groups she decides to join at her new base.
Q&A With Beth
What do you love about babywearing? Do you have a favorite carrier/carrier style and what makes it your favorite?
I love how much more productive I can be while still meeting the needs of my baby. Faith was very high needs and I wore her a lot at home. Titus hasn't been "high needs" but when he is teething or sick and I have a three year old to take care of too - I don't know how moms manage without babywearing! And it makes running errands a piece of cake, especially if Titus wants to nurse while we are out. I love woven wraps (right now my favorite is our Didymos Marigold) for all ages and soft-structured carriers (Kinderpack) for 6+ months for back carries when running errands.
What was your motivation for cloth diapering?
Saving money and avoiding the chemicals in disposables. We use flats with wool longies/shorties.
What are you going to miss about the group?
Awww :( everything! I am so very blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful support system for the last three years. Mostly I will miss getting together with other moms and chatting for hours while we get sunburned outside in the summer.
*Written by Paula R.