Black Babywearing Week, 17-24th June, was founded in 2018 in the USA, to celebrate the traditions and joys of black babywearers, carrier companies and educators in our communities. This movement highlights Black, African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino, Afro-Asian and African families.

This year saw the launch of the first Black Babywearing Week UK, the four founders, Mars from Abuela Doula, Dani from This Woman’s Word, Ilhan and Jozan worked tirelessly to get everything in place and create something amazing for black babywearing families here in the UK.

“The black babywearing population, online and in advertisements, are underrepresented and the team are seeking to end that. Some of the pain of being overlooked in the babywearing community at large comes from our knowledge that we have always been a babywearing culture. We descend from the original babywearers and look back to our ancestors and original lands with honour by carrying our babies close.”

I asked Ilhan if she would comment, as she’s one of my local babywearers and a much loved part of the Sheffield team.

Carrying multiples, carrying twins, carrying toddler and baby, babywearing
stretchy wrap twins, carrying multiples

I’m Ilhan, a mum of twin girls, paediatric doctor and a babywearing peer supporter at the Sheffield Sling Surgery.

I knew I wanted to carry my twins before they were even born, as I knew a little about the positive effects of keeping a child close. It was by chance that I heard someone talking about sling libraries that I discovered the existence of them in Sheffield!

So off we went to a sling library session at the amazing Rosie Knowles’ home (prior to the opening of the library in town). We turned up with our girls, just shy of 2 weeks old, sleep deprived and unsure what to expect. We were welcomed with open arms, shown how to carry our girls in a stretchy wrap and left feeling like we’d won the lottery!

black babywearing week carrying multiples, tandem babywearing

Slings have been an invaluable part of our parenting toolkit. It allowed us to keep both girls content and close and gave us freedom to multitask when needed. Now they are fiercely independent toddlers, the carries are few and far between but slings still come in handy when little legs get tired or when they are ill/need some extra comfort.

Black Babywearing Week is necessary. The reality is that society is not always inclusive. So if we are not being represented in the mainstream, we are doing this ourselves. It’s about creating space and celebrating the rich ancestral history of babywearing, showcasing where we are at now, sharing stories and looking forward to the changes we can make.