“Unfortunately, most information and marketing is geared towards middle class white women, often with selling points about this great “new” phenomenon and requiring expensive contraptions, while disregarding the communities of color in which babywearing has been the norm since the beginning of time.” – Aaminah Shakur
It makes me sad that so many families of color don’t understand that babywearing does NOT have to be expensive. I think some of it stems from the marketing to white, middle-class families. I’ve seen buckle carriers and woven wraps being sold for for $200 or $300 each. Eek! When Black and brown families are earning much less than white families, forking over hundreds of dollars to buy a contraption that “is some white folks shit” doesn’t really seem like a good idea.
I get that, but don’t let the marketing fool you, babywearing IS for us and it can cheap, really cheap.
I grabbed a piece of material from my sewing stash and used it to wear my newborn. My partner found a used Infantino Eco-Sash mei tei at a swap meet for $5 and we started using that around 3 months. We’ve traveled all over the world with it. A few months ago Babywearing While Black gave away some baby carriers and we won …. another mei tei! Since we have two babies now, this is perfect. There is also an organization, World on My Shoulders, that provides baby carriers (buckle carriers, wraps, slings, mei teis, etc.) for low-income parents. I’ve seen newborn stretchy wraps for $25. Many mei teis can be purchased for $30. Many buckle carriers can be purchased for around $70.
Sister Shakur says, “From the Quiche Maya of Guatemala to the Zulu of South Africa to the Hmong of the mountains of Asia, babywearing has always existed and been maintained by many women despite colonization and demands to assimilate to European/USian standards that subsume our traditional cultures.” So don’t ever feel like babywearing is “foreign” to you; it’s in your blood. Don’t feel like it’s too expensive, your community will help. Babywearing is good for you and your baby. If you want to do it, reach out and contact a local babywearing group. You might be surprised how much support you find that looks quite similar to you.