A New Direction

A Shift in Purpose

As the founders of Australia and New Zealand Babywearing Week (ANZBW), Babes in Arms is excited to announce a new fully charitable focus for the national celebration, sponsored by award-winning carrier brand Ergobaby.

Originally conceived and designed to raise the profile of babywearing in a pram dominated culture, ANZBW is now celebrating its sixth year. Since its inaugural celebration, the practice of ‘babywearing’ has become more mainstream across Australia and New Zealand as parents appreciate that with the help of a baby carrier or sling, babies need not become handbrakes on life.

Parallel with raised community awareness is the advent and proliferation of local babywearing communities. Now formalised and with extensive memberships, babywearing groups were only in their infancy when ANZBW first kicked off. Since new parents are now effectively reached by local babywearing groups, the original role of Babes in Arms and ANZBW’s function as community catalysts – joining the dots between babywearing advocates and the greater parenting population – are approaching redundancy.

This redundancy is a win for babywearing and marks a positive shift in parenting practices. It also heralds a natural cross-roads for Babes in Arms as the founder of the celebration.

A New Chapter of Giving – Babywearing Community Drive

Since the message of babywearing now has community-driven momentum, Babes in Arms can now reset the purpose of ANZBW. At the recent Australian Babywearing Conference in Adelaide, I was inspired to reframe the benefits of babywearing within the context of greater public health – to imagine what an powerful difference a simple baby carrier could make in the daily lives of those in great need. This idea challenged me to redefine ANZBW’s missional heart – to stretch beyond our ‘target market’ – to reach parents and support oragnisations with limited resources so that more babies could enjoy the best start to life, safe within the arms that love them most.

New Channels of Gifting

Since the first ANZBW was celebrated, Babes in Arms and has enjoyed donating over $20,000 to family-focused charities and given away hundreds of baby carriers to both individuals and local communmities. While giving back to community has always been a central focus for previous ANZBW events, this year’s event will be marked by a gear-shift in generosity.

Following on from our 2015 ANZBW celebrations, Babes in Arms will no longer define or facilitate babywearing events or award categories, since this capacity and momentum already exists amongst babywearing groups themselves. ANZBW 2016 will rather focus its efforts on touching lives marked by great need. It will identify both individuals and family-focused groups with minimal resources and distribute baby carriers where babywearing will make powerful daily impact.