Natalie Short - volunteer babywearing educator
Name/ages of children:
Jacob - nearly two
Hannah - three months
When/with what did you start wearing?
I started wearing Jacob when he was a week old in an older Maya Wrap ring sling. We ended up trying several different types of carriers thanks to BWI Bham and have pretty well settled on wraps and ring slings as our go-to carriers. When my daughter was born I actually was cuddling her in our ring sling before she was even 24hrs old. Believe it or not the only time my son really got upset about having a new sibling was the first time he saw her in a ring sling. Now I wear her and him and sometimes both at the same time, and everyone gets along.
How did you first hear about/what first brought you to BWI B’ham?
I heard about babywearing through my friends Jennifer Pickering and Lisa Yeager. I had worn Jennifer's youngest a time or two while babysitting, and I used to see Lisa wearing her son at church. I came to a meeting and got hooked.
Favorite part of volunteering with BWI?
I feel that a lot of moms have their babies and are kind of stuck asking "What do I do now?" As a VBE I'm not over at a new mom's house making her a pot of tea and folding her laundry, but I can help her find a carrier that lets her snuggle her baby or soothe her toddler or just get through Target without having an epic meltdown. I love feeling connected to other moms and being able to help them the way I've been helped. Of course it's not just moms who babywear - we've had some amazing babywearing dads and grandmothers and all sorts of folks, but for me a lot of the drive and satisfaction definitely comes from being part of and giving back to an amazing circle of women.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell all new babywearers?
I have to stop at one? You can totally do this parenting/kid wrangling thing, and babywearing can help you. That's why we're here. If you've got a babywearing/parenting challenge then chances are someone else had dealt with it too and would be more than happy to help you figure out as well.
If you could only have one carrier what would it be?
Once upon a time I probably would have said a shorty wrap because they are portable and versatile, but I'm leaning towards long wraps now simply because I can tie both of my kids to me in a pinch. (This can be important in Target!)
Most, in your opinion, underrated carrier in our library?
Our library is in heavy rotation right now, but maybe the Storchenweige shorty (size 2) wrap? It's a great beater wrap and the perfect size to keep in your car or diaper bag when you aren't sure you need a carrier but don't want to leave without one. Every wrap lover needs to try a shorty at some point.
Favorite thing to do while babywearing?
My son was born in the Fall, so I developed a real love of taking long walks with my baby snuggled on me.
Care to give a shout out to someone (doesn’t have to be part of our group) who inspired you or helped you find the babywearing love?
Jennifer Pickering and Lisa Yeager :) They are just inspiring moms anyway.
You have two weeks vacation with the kids - where do you go?
Right now? Probably the Georgia coast. When they're older though I have this dream of taking the whole family to hike the John Muir Trail that runs from Yosemite valley to Sequoia/King's Canyon National Park.
If you had to teach one subject in school what would it be and why?
English! But I wouldn't be a good English teacher because I'd be wanting to grade them on whether they got the jokes in Austen and Shakespeare. It drives me nuts when people take "literature" so seriously.