by Beth Secrist

October 4-10 is International Babywearing Week.
Babywearers of Jacksonville, Ill., is an informal club of parents and caregivers who enjoy using carriers so that they are holding their babies close, or “babywearing.” The group was formed just over a year ago when several friends who used carriers decided to gather in order to learn more and share their knowledge. It has grown steadily and now has over 175 members on its Facebook page and an average attendance of 15-20 people at each of two monthly meetings. At each meeting, experienced babywearers are available to help attendees learn about safe and comfortable positioning for babies, and to provide hands-on help in trying on different types of slings, wraps and carriers. Attendees can bring their own carriers, and the group also has a “lending library” that provides attendees the opportunity to rent carriers to “try before they buy” to see what will fit them and their babies best.

Meetings, which are free, are held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in the morning, and the 4th Tuesday of the month in the evening. All parents, grandparents and caregivers, as well as siblings, are welcome to attend. For more information about upcoming meetings and other events, please email or visit the group’s Facebook page at

To learn more about Babywearing International, visit

Why babywear? There are benefits for everyone!


  • Research has shown that babies who are worn cry less.
  • Wearing can help newborns and sick babies with regulating breathing and temperature.
  • Holding “preemie” babies close can promote weight gain.
  • Wearing can boost production of milk-making and milk-releasing hormones in mothers.
  • Wearing promotes bonding by teaching baby that the parent is present and responsive.
  • Wearing helps babies study their parents or other caregivers and learn about their environment.


  • Wearing promotes bonding and the parents’ ability to learn and respond to babies’ cues.
  • Holding the baby close can promote a cycle of positive interaction which benefits parent-child attachment as well as parent confidence.
  • Wearing may benefit parents who experience postpartum depression.

The whole family:

  • Wearing allows parents to care for older children or complete household tasks or other work while caring for baby.
  • Wearing helps reduce interruptions from the baby, which can help reduce sibling rivalry.
  • Wearing allows families to go where strollers can’t. Hiking trails, large fields, crowded areas, and climbing stairs which may prove difficult or overwhelming for toddlers or preschoolers, are made easier with wearing.
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