Are are new to baby wearing? Even the idea of baby wearing?
Where do you start?
There are so many brands, how do you choose?
Look no further- or do but read this first as your stepping stone.
I have had the pleasure of email interviewing Arie Brentnall-Compton.
Amy works at Tadpoles & Butterflies and offers baby wearing consulting through her company the Canadian Babywearing School which she co-owns with Kelly Laffin. Her extensive knowledge has helped to build public health initiatives in Canada, educates many people from healthcare backgrounds to consulting for other people that are in the baby wearing industry , and along with owner Nancy Blink has helped to build the successful and exclusive go to baby wearing business that Tadpoles & Butterflies is today.
So, grab some coffee, and take a moment to read this awesome email interview with Arie to help know a little bit more about the baby wearing world.
How did Tadpoles & Butterflies start?
8 years ago, the babywearing market was a VERY different place! Locally, only ring slings & front pack carriers were available; nothing that truly allowed you to be hands free. My best friend, Nancy Blink & I wanted to bring in some of the amazing 2 shouldered carriers that were starting to be made. After we each ordered & tried an Ergo, we heard angels singing (Our babies were on our backs!! We could unload the dishwasher! We could start a business!), we decided everyone needed access to these miraculous items locally & opened Tadpoles & Butterflies as an online store. In those early days, we did a lot of in person sales, showing these new types of carriers to mothers in playgrounds, playgroups & at trade shows.
What are the basics of the different types of carriers and their benefits?
We think there are primary 4 types; ring slings, buckle carriers, wraps & mei tais. Ring slings are a one shouldered carrier ideal for the newborn stage & are wonderful for short hip carries for as long as you continue to wear your child. Mei Tais are a a good all around option; they can be used from birth into the toddler years. They’re easy to learn to use, a favourite with men & have a great price point (under $100). Buckle carriers are fast & easy; although there are some that can work from newborn on up, most excel as back carriers for babies from 6mos-3 years. Wraps- there are subcategories within wraps. Stretch wraps are perfect for the newborn period but quickly lose steam around the 15lb mark. Purpose-woven wraps (this means the fabric was designed to carry babies) are amazing, they are an excellent choice from birth until you no longer carry your child. Hybrid wraps have features of both; they’re soft & stretchy but have specific features (one way stretch, hemming, wider width, etc) that allow them to be used the same way you might a woven.
Is there a basic carrier that you suggest for people new to baby?
Yes! A hybrid stretch or a mei tai is a great choice for almost all situations. They’re priced under $100 and are enough to last you from birth-toddler years if that’s the only carrier you ever decide to purchase.
What are some benefits to baby wearing?
There are none! Baby wearing is the biological norm; babies are born expecting to be carried from birth until they can walk on their own. There are many reasons to babywear, from simple practicality (Walk your dog! Get laundry done!) to important health interventions (normalised breastfeeding experiences, reduced postpartum depression & parental stress, etc).
What can people expect from the courses offered in regards to baby?
Tadpoles & Butterflies offers baby wearing 101 workshops monthly to parents new to baby wearing, or those looking to increase their skill set. We keep our group sizes small so there’s lots of time for questions & for individual attention. We’ll have a baby wearing educator there to talk with you about safety, choosing a carrier, reasons to babywearer as well as helping you with trying out the carriers that interest you! There will be demo carriers & demo dolls there for you to use.
Can you tell me a bit about the Canadian Babywearing School and what you offer through them?
I sure can! We offer public & private customised courses designed to train the trainer; our goal is to increase attendees skill sets around teaching baby wearing to others. Our focus is on baby wearing as a public health initiative as well as building baby wearing businesses. We get a mix of attendees from the baby wearing industry, those looking to join the industry & those in various health professional roles as well. We also offer consulting services to those already in the industry.
How has society come along/changed since you first opened?
So many things have shifted during these past 8 years! There have been 2 large shifts that have allowed the renewed interest in baby wearing we’re seeing now. The first is that baby carrier manufacturers began making & marketing carriers to be the parent’s accessory, rather than the babies. We used to see only unattractive prints & uncomfortable styles; parents like us who desired attached relationships tolerated them for the benefit of being with our babies! There are of course now patterns, colours & styles suited to every style, lifestyle & body type, which makes purchasing (& using) carriers much more attractive to all types of parent. The second change is very much the advent of social media. Parents are now easily exposed to the ideas of thousands of people instead of just the 8 mothers at your local playgroup. The odds of a new parent seeing baby wearing discussed have gone up exponentially, so they’re much more open to the idea. This of course corresponds with carriers being more widely available online, in boutique & even in big box stores.
Is there anything else that you want to share about your business or baby wearing?
Hmmmmm…..there are so many things! We’ve gotten to travel all across North America (& even the UK!) teaching & participating in the baby wearing industry, but I’m most proud of the work we’ve done with public health initiatives within Canada. Seeing the difference that implementing baby wearing can make in a community has made us feel that we’re really doing good work. We believe in changing the world one carrier at a time, one baby wearing educator at a time.
You can check out the Tadpoles & Butterflies online store here
Want to attend one of their baby wearing 101 work shops? Go here
Also to learn more about the Canadian Babywearing School you can check out their websitie here