Babywearers and their families and those curious about babywearing came together from all over the country arriving at the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth last Sunday (9th October) for the fifth annual Babywearing Ireland (BWI) fundraising Wear a Hug Fair.
For the second year I volunteered to take the photos to capture some of this very special day. What an amazing day it was! with over 1000 attendees. Through my camera lenses I captured face after smiling face, with many members of the growing babywearing community relishing the chance to chat and catching up, babies and toddlers carried close in slings and carriers.
This year was extra special as Babywearing Ireland is celebrating its 10th birthday. From the passion of a small group of parents, BWI has grown and now has 28 Sling Libraries, all which hold meetups across the country were parents and carers can go try different slings and rent them if they wish and, sling meets are also a great opportunity to meet others and learn about safe babywearing.
Babywearing meets are run by volunteers and any funds go back into the library to fund new slings and once each local library is at full capacity funds then go to setting up new libraries.
The Wear a Hug Fair really had something for everyone with loads to do for all ages. There was shopping galore with over 40 stands, with many small and unique Irish businessman showing their wares. There was also a sling fashion show and talks. I particularly enjoyed the Meet the Weaver demo.
Throughout the day sling librarians demonstrated different types of slings, wraps and carriers. There was also a woven wrap meet and perhaps the biggest draw the BWI sling library where you could go and get advice on different types of slings; mei tai, soft structured carriers, stretchies, woven wraps and ring slings.
It was great to see so many dads babywearing this year as well as the mums. Babywearing enables the whole family to be close to their little one and also I find day to day life is made a little bit easier if your little one needs extra attention – leaving your hands free to do whatever needs doing while still keeping your little one close and content.
So here’s to Wear a Hug 2017 and all the fun and enjoyment it may bring us all. I am proud to be a part of this day and volunteer like over 40 others on the day all giving their time to make this community what it is today.
Donna Moynihan is a keen amateur photographer.
She volunteers with Wexford sling library and the BWI admin team.
She discovered babywearing when her son Calam was 5 months old.