Babywearing International of Hampton Roads

Keeping caregivers and children close since 2013

IBW 2014: The Military Family Adventures

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Military families make up a huge portion of the Hampton Roads community. This is reflected by the members and volunteers in our local Babywearing International chapter. It is no surprise that babywearing is seen as a crucial part of parenting in these families that are often separated from active duty spouses and sometimes lack a local support network of friends and family. Babywearing not only helps caregivers who are temporarily solo-parenting, it also helps the active duty service members, who often miss milestones in their children’s lives, reconnect with their children.

Holli S – Whether it is after a 17 hour midnight shift or return from a year long deployment, babywearing has helped us. It has helped Steve bond with 2 babies that he has missed their births and has also helped Steve navigate the stresses of coming home after long periods of time. Plus, it is fun to shop for a welcome home carrier!
Nancy A – My husband swore off babywearing when Josh was 3 months old after losing the fight with a ring sling. He deployed for 7 months with the Navy 6 months later. When he returned he wanted to bond again with Josh, so he picked up the kinderpack and within 3 days, I couldn’t wear Josh out in public. It HAD to be Daddy. It’s been a year since Mike picked up that kinderpack and his bond with Josh has strengthened greatly. I give credit to babywearing. He has become such an advocate for it now, he has soon to be dads popping in his shop asking about babywearing at work. He also steals my BWI shirts and I’ve had to start ordering his own shirts when I buy myself one.

Caitlyn S – I felt pretty lost and alone without my spouse when he left for boot camp about 3 years ago. I was really struggling to juggle simple errands with a giant stroller and an 8 month old. Something reminded me I had a Moby from when she was a tiny newborn and I tried it even though I knew it wouldn’t hold her weight. The bonding we had in the Moby was instantaneous. I was finally able to move on with my life as a solo parent AND create this amazing bond with my daughter. It became such an important part of my life that when we got to our first duty station (here in Hampton Roads,) I couldn’t wait to share it with others.
Chris B – My submarine had to go underway for an extended period of time a mere 36 hours after my first son was born. I spent the next seven months away from my family as the boat had changed homeports. Returning home after a long absence can be difficult to navigate in the best of circumstances; coming home to a new family that has grown without you can feel impossible. Dana had worn our son from the moment they got home and encouraged me to do the same. Being able to hold our son close and comfort him helped me find my place as a new dad.

The Carrying On Project (TCOP) is a non-profit organization that works exclusively with military families to help ensure that every military family has a quality baby carrier that works for them and helps make their lives even just a little bit easier. It was started in early 2013 and since then has helped over 1800 families stationed both domestically and overseas. The small TCOP staff is completely volunteer-based, and they spend a lot of time working hard to acquire carriers that are donated either by companies or individuals and then not only shipping the carriers or hand delivering them when possible, but also connecting the recipients with resources to make sure the carriers are a perfect fit.

If you would like to help The Carrying On Project, a monetary or carrier donation are often the biggest needs, but if you have a crafted item or skill to donate, items can be listed in their shop to raise money for shipping and carrier purchase, or find ways to put you to work! Soft Structured Carriers and Mei Tais are their most requested carrier style, but all are appreciated. If you would like to apply to be a carrier recipient, please see the application on their website, www.carryingonproject.org, where you can also find more information on how to make a donation!”

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