Name and BWI title/role: Mandy Welch, MBE
Name/ages of children: Brady, 15; Emily, 13; Barrett, 10; Ty, 7; Tanner, 5
When/with what did you start wearing?: I started wearing after Brady was a few weeks old. I used a Snugli because it's what I could purchase locally. Brady had severe reflux and needed to be upright; I needed to be able to do laundry and feed myself! After Emily was born, I tried closed tail slings but none fit well. We used the Snugli with her until she was about 5 months old and her thunder thighs were too big to fit through the leg holes! After Bear was born, TheBabywearer.com was around and I researched ring slings. I decided on a zolowear and then I began my journey down the proverbial rabbit hole of carriers!
How did you first hear about/what first brought you to BWI B’ham?: I learned about a babywearing group in our city after Ty was born. Back in 2007 it was called Magic City Slingers. I came to my first meeting to check out a silk sling to wear for a friend's wedding. I soon became a regular attendee.
Favorite part of volunteering with BWI?: My absolute favorite thing about volunteering with BWI is the "Aha!" face that our caregivers have after they get help with a carrier!
What’s one thing you wish you could tell all new babywearers?: Come to a meeting! It is so great to see all the different types of carriers and get one on one help. Sometimes a tiny tweak can mean the difference between owning your carrier and owning your carrier.
If you could only have one carrier what would it be?: Ring sling, hands down.
Most, in your opinion, underrated carrier in our library?: Pouches. Pouches fold so small and require very little fiddling once on. Once you have a properly fitted pouch, it takes no time to get baby settled.
Favorite thing to do while babywearing?: Grocery shop, or really any type of shopping that doesn't involve trying on clothes. The baby bucket seat takes up so much room in the buggy basket, and a stroller is just hard to fit down narrow isles.
Care to give a shout out to someone who inspired you or helped you find the babywearing love?: My friend Kathy Wiehl let me come to her house with a newborn Bear and try her zolowear sling. That was the first time I had seen one in person. She and I are still very good friends. And I am forever grateful to Susie Spence (former BWI president and Birmingham chapter co-founder) for giving me confidence to pursue a leadership role in our chapter. Because of her I have traveled to Rigby, Idaho; Washington DC; and Phoenix, Arizona for International Babywearing Conferences and have met some of the pioneers in the industry. I even got 2 of my Didymos wraps autographed by none other than Tina and Anna Hoffman of Didymos!
If you had to pick one food to eat every single day for the rest of your life what would it be?: My mom's eggplant parmesan!