why don't more people babywear? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 08-11-2007, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i live in a fairly progressive place and see a reasonable amount of babywearing, depending on wear i'm hanging out--but never a ton, unless i am with my BWing friends

in the more mainstream places, like a shopping mall, i get lots of looks and interested comments. but i guess my question is, why is it not more popular? especially for grocery shopping or other errands where you need hands, it's so much easier than pushing a stroller. and i HATE having to open doors and push the stroller through. it's virtually impossible! so i was really happy once i healed from my c/s and could start getting DD used to being worn. it is literally 100x easier in most situations.

so why? is it the intimidating factor (looks hard), the crunchy/weird factor, or just a lack of info/knowledge that BW even exists?

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#2 of 27 Old 08-11-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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I think it's all those things, plus our culture that thinks that holding babies spoils them, but thinks letting them cry in plastic containers is just fine and dandy.
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#3 of 27 Old 08-11-2007, 09:11 PM
 
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Its not in brick and mortar stores and mentioned in mainstream baby books.When my oldest was a baby I read all the baby books my bookstore had.I found one that suggested the Bjorn would be a nice option.I told DH if we didn't get a stroller then I needed the Bjorn even though it was super expensive.(If its more than 20 it is expensive)We only got to use it til DS was 3 months because he grew too round for it.I looked at Walmart,Target and baby's R us and only saw even more expensive backpack style carriers so I used to use a sheet when I really got desperate.It wasn't until I had my second baby that I had greater access to the internet and found the out about slings and mei teis.I still don't see them sold on street corners and they are still kinda expensive.I have seen more and more mamas babywearing than I did 5 years ago which is really cool, it may become another option to use instead of a stroller or with one.

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#4 of 27 Old 08-11-2007, 09:18 PM
 
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why don't more people babywear?
I use a Didymos and am getting lots of comments and questions on it. People seem to love the idea, but have never seen or know where to get a good carrier

There is a baby boutique in Placerville that carries Maya's but thats the only place I have been to that carries anything decent to carry a baby with. I told her about Didys, she was going to look into them.

The nasty carriers that a person can get a most stores is enough to turn a person off baby wearing IMO Been there done that.
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#5 of 27 Old 08-11-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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I agree that most people just don't know about the good babywearing stuff and where to find them. I've had so many people ask me where to get the wraps and slings that I have and it makes me so happy when I see them later using one. I wish some main stream store would carry them. Doesn't target now have a good one? I think I remember a post about that.
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#6 of 27 Old 08-11-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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When I'm at the mall or wherever I have at least two people ask me where I got my sling from and another 5 who tell me that it is such a cute idea to carry my DS around on my hip. I guess there's more and more people getting into the babywearing, it just takes a while. I really thought that carrying around the carseat is such a good idea until my DS hit 16 lbs and I couldn't get the seat out of the car anymore. I needed something easier than that. I got the tip from another mom in another forum and I'm glad she actually told me about slings and wraps. I love my Hotsling more than anything.

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#7 of 27 Old 08-12-2007, 11:22 AM
 
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In my town, the only stores where you can buy a carrier are:
Wal-Mart - Snugli brand junk
The Circus Shop - that nasty nylon bag-shaped sling with all the buckles and grommets - you know, the one all the celebrities use and look so horribly uncomfortable in?
Bear Cub Kid Fitters - Baby Bjorn, Kelty

That's IT. I'm hoping that the babywearing workshop I'm holding on Thursday will bring in a few interested people, so I can show them how to carry their baby more comfortably than those high-tech buckly contraptions in just a length of muslin from the fabric store. It's certainly something I wish I had known about earlier!
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#8 of 27 Old 08-12-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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I go to a new moms group once a week and most of us head out to lunch afterwards. Now picture 10 or so moms, all with kids under 5 months, heading to a small resturaunt. Mammoth strollers, out of the way! And me, my babe in his sling. Funny, each week at least a couple of the moms comment on how much easier it is for me to grab ds and go, and yet they don't try it themselves. I just don't get it.

I do agree that part of it might be mainstream availability. I prefer to buy things that I can touch and try, rather than online. Sometimes though, just break down and order from a store with a good return policy!
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#9 of 27 Old 08-12-2007, 02:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PatchChild View Post
I go to a new moms group once a week and most of us head out to lunch afterwards. Now picture 10 or so moms, all with kids under 5 months, heading to a small resturaunt. Mammoth strollers, out of the way! And me, my babe in his sling. Funny, each week at least a couple of the moms comment on how much easier it is for me to grab ds and go, and yet they don't try it themselves. I just don't get it.

I do agree that part of it might be mainstream availability. I prefer to buy things that I can touch and try, rather than online. Sometimes though, just break down and order from a store with a good return policy!

Yep, I'm always getting comments on how cute DS and me look with him in the sling having a good time. I hear the "Oh, I have a carrier too but my DS/DD doesn't like it" or they don't want to spend the 50 bucks on a sling/pouch etc.

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#10 of 27 Old 08-12-2007, 06:17 PM
 
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These are the same people who look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that it was actually easier to co-sleep and breastfeed...

I agree about the availability thing--I think this is why you see so many moms with infants in Bjorns or Snuglis (shout out to Target for carrying Hotslings!). The first carrier I bought was a Maya Wrap because I could see it in person and compare it to the one other sling they had in the store. And I never would've bought my Mei Tai if I hadn't tried one on at a babywearer's club.

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#11 of 27 Old 08-12-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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I think a lot of it has to do with unfamiliarity. I honestly don't know anyone around me who has anything other than a snugli/bjorn/kelty/etc. I would love to try a mei tai or Ergo, but I don't want to spend the money without knowing what I'm getting into.

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#12 of 27 Old 08-12-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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i think a lot more people are! i saw hotslings at target last week! we have a pretty big babywearing community here in dallas.
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#13 of 27 Old 08-13-2007, 01:17 AM
 
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Alot of people don't know anything about it. Here in WY I've never seen anybody else babywearing. I always get questions about my carriers and most people say they've never seen anything like it, just the walmart type ones. Up in Fargo where we were and are going back too, I saw one person with a hotsling at the mall once.
I wish more people knew about it. I think it's sooo much easier.
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#14 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 02:09 AM
 
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I often wonder about this too. I have mainstream friends with two kids. How do they get stuff done? I wouldn't get anything done (cooking dinner, tidying the house) if I didn't wear my DD. I just don't know. I still have my 2 year old ride in the cart at the grocery store and I put my DD in my MT - how do they do that with two kids without babywearing? I don't know.

I lent a friend a sling and she swore that her DS hated it. I didn't believe that she was using it correctly. She said her DS kept trying to stand up in it. I still haven't gotten it back though. I should get it back.

I let another friend try my MT with her 8 month old DD at my house. She had it on for like 5 minutes tops. Her DD started wiggling and so she said that her DD didn't like it... But she wouldn't take my suggestion to walk around.

Maybe its because they aren't babywearing from birth? I didn't sling DS until he was about 6 weeks old, but used a snugli from 2-6 weeks I think.

Maybe its because they don't know about all of the options of carriers. Maybe the one type they tried isn't the right carrier for them. Right now, I'm in love with my MT. I have a really hard time with a sling with my DD, but my DS loved it. I also didn't really dig the pouch. I like wraps at home, but I think I would be overwhelmed in public. So I can easily see how someone who doesn't know the options would be totally turned off. If I would have tried to put DD in a sling and that was my only babywearing experience - I would have been turned off too.

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#15 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah, i hear a lot of the "my baby hates being worn" comments, too. i always tell them all babies hate it when they're not used to it. my DD hated the hotsling when i first got one at around 6 weeks. now she loves it; i can even wear her in it sitting down. just takes perseverance!! we're working on the MT now

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#16 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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i had a sling for my first 3 (the padded sides and adjustable ring type) that i used but never felt 100% comfortable with it and then a couple of weeks ago i bought a moby wrap for my 4th baby (who is close to 4 months old) and i LOVE it!! it is really easy to use and there are so many options for wrapping it. i wish i had a wrap for the other kids!!

maybe some people try to wear their little ones but just don't end up with the right carrier and they quit.
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#17 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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When my brother-in-law saw DH wearing a Moby, he laughed and laughed...until he saw how calm DS became as soon as placed inside! I think we're slowly making believers out of the in-laws.

It seems to me like babywearing is slowly gaining interest in my neck of the woods. Two of my friends are trying it out, and slings are selling like hotcakes at our local boutique.

I have three different slings, and have found that it is really important to encourage people to just take the first step and give it a try. I started out with a peanut shell, and was given a Moby as a gift. The Moby looked too confusing, so I didn't bother with it for weeks until DS was a screaming, colicy mess and I tried it out as a last resort. Now, it's my favorite sling!

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#18 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 10:15 AM
 
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I don't know if it's availability - every one I know has a Snugli, and they use them, but only for the first few months and that's it, even though Snugli holds up to 35 lb. I think mainstream people just don't believe in holding their babies past a certain age. Playtex makes the Hip Hammock for older babes, but I never see anyone using those.I think by that age they expect the kid to just walk everywhere, or sit in a stroller, but in any case not be held by the parent. I mean, even if you didn't have internet, there are carriers available, even if they aren't the absolute BEST option. But I think the majority of people won't use them because it's not the mainstream parenting philosophy to hold your baby.

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#19 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 06:17 PM
 
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I think one reason is (as crittersmom mentioned) that you don't see a lot of options in mainstream stores.

Second reason is todays life style. The fact that most moms have their children spend so much time in strollers, exersaucers, highchairs, car seats & baby swings, is the me lifestyle. Sure these are all useful devices, but many are over used. In addition to this, the stroller & car seats are part of our vehicle lifestyle, think about the number of three person families you see driving minivans. I have always wondered why such a family would need such a large vehicle or want to spend that much on gas if they didn't need to. Also think of all the people who drive to a store that they could walk to in 20 minutes or less. I think excessive stroller use is an extension of this lifestyle.

Strollers look easier (put baby in & push rather then carrier the weight of baby). But if you've used both you know what is easier. How many people try new things unless it looks like less work?
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#20 of 27 Old 08-14-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
yeah, i hear a lot of the "my baby hates being worn" comments, too. i always tell them all babies hate it when they're not used to it. my DD hated the hotsling when i first got one at around 6 weeks. now she loves it; i can even wear her in it sitting down. just takes perseverance!! we're working on the MT now
Yep, I got one just today..." I have one of those carriers (ref. to my hotsling) but my son hated it"...I don't know what it is about my DS but he hated the Baby Bjorn we have and he loved the sling as soon as I sat him in it. He never complained ONCE and I can even still carry him in the cradle position although his legs are hanging out of it by now.

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#21 of 27 Old 08-15-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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I agree with the previous comments -- in part, it's lack of knowledge/availability. When I ws pg with DS, I read on another forum about the Bjorn, so I got one of those. Some other moms were making their own slings, but I don't sew, so that didn't seem to apply to me...Anyway, I did use the Bjorn but DS was 20 lbs by 6 mos and he hurt my back so I didn't wear it much after that. I just carried him around LOL

I've since learned more and plan on trying a pouch and a mei tai, hopefully I will get more use out of those. And when my sister-in-law asked about the Bjorn, I told her there were other carriers, and recommended an Ergo or BECO as probably better options for her. Otherwise, like me, she wouldn't have been aware there was anything else, as I've only ever seen the Bjorn or Snugli in stores here. A few people I know have backpack carriers, but only those who have travelled with their babies.

I think it also has a lot to do with the over-emphasis on early independence in our culture: so many people think you can spoil a baby by holding it too much. People want babies but they want them to sleep alone, not nurse so much, go to anyone, sleep all night, get off the breast or bottle or soother, hurry up and use the toilet...

I was also just reading a gov't issued child safety pamphlet today (Canadian) and noticed they had recos for carriers -- and suggested babies could fall out of carriers with rings and knots, and that deaths had occured from using unsafe carriers. Not sure how well known these recos are, but that would deter lots of people I think.
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#22 of 27 Old 08-15-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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i agree with some of the other postings, that our culture here in america is very ME centered, as well as people are so poisoned with the "your baby will be spoiled if you carry him/her all the time" mentality. i have six children, the first two whom i did not sling/wrap, just because I did not know about it. I educated myself by the time my third was born, nursed and carried him until he was three, and he is the most independent of the three oldest. my fourth still rides in the sling when she needs to, but that takes a bit of shuffling, as the twins, #'s 5 & 6, also want to be carried, but i manage to keep everyone happy most of the time. last week we went the the National Zoo, and i was surprised at all the comments from people shocked that I could carrry two at a time....i just smiled and tried to educate them the best i could...even had one lady tell me that she had a sling for her babe but it was too hot to sling...i told her it was too hot for crying babies. my second husband husband, father of the last four, is from nigeria, where baby carrying is the only way to do things. somehow or other though, even his friends and relatives who have come to live in "western" culture, have quickly forgotten the importance of babywearing. everytime we get together they can't believe i still carry my kids when they are past infancy. have to run, had to add my two cents, hope it is coherent, twins want to nurse and can't believe i am taking time to actually sit without them on my lap.

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#23 of 27 Old 08-20-2007, 11:23 AM
 
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I believe the biggest reason is availability. I had a Snugli with my boys and we both hated it. I used it a little more with my youngest but only because I couldn't afford to buy a double stroller (they are only 14 months apart)! But the way they hung seemed like it was putting pressure on their crotch area, which seemed so uncomfy. If I had them in for "too long" (longer than about 30 minutes) their feet would turn blue! I didn't learn about other wraps until pretty recently. Now I'm researching what wrap to buy for this baby and am completely torn between a Mei Tai Baby and an Ergo. Both seem comfy for the baby, definitely much better than the Snugli in terms of support also. The Snugli just tugged at my shoulders even on the tightest setting, plus there was fabric between the baby and myself preventing me from breastfeeding in it. It was just such a hassle. So, the hassle of the brands you can get in the stores and the fact that the only brands you can get in b&m stores are the ones that have the hassle means that people try to babywear and give up.

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#24 of 27 Old 08-20-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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Pain could be a factor for some. I started babywearing with a Maya Wrap sling when my now almost-6-year old was 6 months old. The Maya Wrap has ALWAYS hurt me (shoulder pain, mostly). I've used a homemade wrap a little bit, but haven't yet ventured out into the world of mei-tais or other 2-shoulder carriers. I never admitted to anyone that my Maya Wrap hurt, because I was so committed to babywearing, but for someone who wasn't 100% committed, it would've been very easy to give up.
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#25 of 27 Old 08-20-2007, 02:26 PM
 
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People just don't know their options. Up until last year I didn't even think that there was other options to the snuggli/bjorn carriers. : And look at me now, I just ordered my first sling yesterday and can't wait to try it out.

I have a snuggli I got when I was pregnant with ds#2 and I HATED wearing it. It hurt my shoulders and wasn't at all comfortable. Ds#2 really liked it though so I suffered until he just got too heavy.

I started looking into slings mostly out of necessity because I only have 2 hands and soon to be 3 kids but after reading about baby wearing I'm really excited about becoming one.

I've only seen 2 babywearers here. One was in Walmart and I really wanted to tell her I loved her sling but I'm a chicken. The other was at the hospital when I had a OB appointment. Dh stopped and asked me "Is that what you have been talking about?". The woman smiled when she heard that.

I may be late in the game but I'm really ready to go now.
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#26 of 27 Old 08-20-2007, 02:50 PM
 
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I do think a lot of people don't know anything about carriers other than the Bjorn-type. I can't count the number of well-meaning friends and relatives who have expressed concern that I was going to injure my back by wearing DS in the Ergo "too much." And these are people who are all for lots of contact with the baby, they meant "too much" in the sense of too much for my back, not spoiling the baby or anything like that.
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#27 of 27 Old 08-20-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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It's definitely primarily availability and lack of familiarity. I think those two go hand in hand -- if they were more commonly available in mainstream stores, then people would be more familiar with them. And if people were more familiar with them and wanted them, then mainstream stores would carry them.

It's getting more popular and eventually I think the balance will tip far enough that mainstream stores WILL start carrying them. They already carry the Bjorns and Snuglis, which we all know are generally awful, but it's a 'first step'. And like someone mentioned, Target is starting to carry Hotslings. Again, it's a small step, but at least it's in the right direction. There will eventually be a 'critical mass' point reached.

Here in Canada, all the 'baby info' stuff I got from the hospital and ministry of health and even flyers from baby companies, all mentioned things like "babies worn in slings cry less", and "wearing your baby in a sling is a great way to bond with him and also get things done". It was everywhere in the handouts. So I really am surprised it's not more commonly seen around here.

I *do* get a lot of comments. The 'must be independent as early as possibly' attitude is not as prevalent here as it seems to be 'down south'. There are people like that, of course, but I think that family closeness and stuff is more valued. We get longer parental leaves, breastfeeding (and NIP) is more accepted/encouraged/etc. Even co-sleeping, while not the 'norm' and while not condoned by health canada, if you mention it to your neighbours most will say "oh yes, we did that too for awhile, it was the only way we could get any sleep".

I get lots of comments on my slings when I'm out and about, and it's always positive. I've had people stop me and ask where they could get one. I have checkout clerks asking things like "are those things really as great as I've heard? How hard are they to learn to use? Do you find them to be better than the snugli carriers?"

I've had little old ladies in line behind me say "That's the best place for a baby to sleep isn't it, where they can hear mother's heartbeat. And they do grow up more secure, don't they?"

Everyone says "Oh, she looks so happy snuggled up in there, doesn't she?"

And yet I feel the same as the original poster... if everyone is so happy and enthusiastic and complimentary when they see me, then why aren't more moms using them??? I really do think it's familiarity. I try to make it a point, when I'm at the mall, to go up and down the escalators a few times. To show off that unlike with strollers, I'm FREE! Or when walking outside, I hop up and down off curbs, over low walls, etc. I walk with both hands in my pockets to show off that they're free... Anything to make people notice, and hopefully plant the seed in their minds.

I don't know how much of an impact the 'hippie' aspect has. I know when I had DS 9 years ago, I was familiar with slings only from Dr Sears' Baby Book. I loved the idea of babywearing, but I thought the slings looked weird. I was getting 'crunchier', but those still looked far too new-agey for me. The handful of times I saw a mom using a sling, only reinforced this idea. They were waaaaay out-there types, the one that always comes most readily to mind was a flakey-looking woman with a crystal glued (or something) to her forehead. The baby also had something sparkley on her forehead. I don't know what belief system does that, it might be something perfectly beautiful, but you can see how that would only justify my opinion that slings were for the cultists and the way-out-there hippies.

I don't think that view would be as prevalent today as it was 10 years ago. Times change quickly, and being 'green' and 'natural' is a lot more commonplace and more respected than it was.

A neighbour of ours has a baby just a couple months younger than mine. She knew of slings but wasn't able to find a good one. I lent her one of my pouches and gave her some of my favourite websites. I found out last week that since then, not only has she acquired her own slings, she's founded a sling-selling business! They had a booth set up at a local community festival this weekend.

And yet, get this... Their booth was very conveniently set up right next to the square where a baby competition was taking place. Yes, we entered, but the fix was in and we didn't win anything lol... Anyway, the area was literally crammed with parents and babies and STROLLERS STROLLERS EVERYWHERE. And of course, most of the strollers were EMPTY with babies being carried in-arms.

How many of the parents strolled over to the sling booth? C'mon, guess.

If you guess a low number, you'd be right. Even right there in a situation where strollers are obviously an encumbrance, where something to help their sore arms hold their babies more comfortably and free them up... even then, it was like they had blinders on and just couldn't notice.

I think I saw 3 slings being worn that morning. One was mine, one was a lady with a ring sling, and one was a friend of my neighbour... *sigh*

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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