Babywearing support for parents and caregivers
Carrying your baby in a baby carrier – safely, comfortably and with your two hands free – is a really useful parenting tool. With so many options on the market, working out which carrier is for best for you and your baby can be hard.
Through our network of Carry Australia sling groups our volunteer peer educators can help you find a babywearing solution that works. They’ll provide tips on comfort and safety, and look at different options as your baby grows from a newborn to a toddler.
Our sling groups meet in different locations across eastern Australia. Everyone is welcome to attend, and it is a great way to connect with local parents.
The Carry Australia story
CarryAus is an incorporated, not-for-profit, volunteer-led organisation made up of parents, caregivers and professionals. It was originally founded – on 9 May 2012 – as Babywearing Victoria Inc (BVI), when members of the babywearing community recognized the need for support and structure for sling groups across Victoria. In the same year BVI hosted Australia’s first babywearing conference in Melbourne.
The organisation has since grown from strength to strength with sling groups across the eastern states of Australia. In 2017 BVI members voted to change the name of the organisation to Carry Australia Inc to better reflect the organisation’s mission to bring babywearing to the wider community.
We advocate for a community-based approach to babywearing education; ensuring that every baby and every caregiver across all socio-economic backgrounds, cultures and abilities has access to this essential parenting tool.
What we do
We support, guide and coordinate a network of Sling Groups and Peer Educators in Victoria and across eastern Australia. These groups work together to provide free, unbiased, advice and assistance to mothers, fathers and other caregivers about safely carrying their baby or small child in a sling or carrier.
We advocate for babywearing to early childhood services and the broader community. By encouraging services to provide up-to-date information about babywearing and by advocating for babywearing through the media we can reach even more families.
Our peer education approach
We believe that the majority of parents and caregivers are best supported by peers from within their communities. As such, CarryAus uses a participatory peer education approach – where community members are empowered to educate and inform others who may share similar social backgrounds or life experiences.
Our peer education approach draws on the positive strength of the community. CarryAus Peer Educators are required to either
a) demonstrate a number of basic babywearing competencies and be able to effectively teach these at sling meets to members of the community, or
b) show that they have completed training with a babywearing training provider recognized by CarryAus.
Each CarryAus Peer Educator is assessed and supported by our experienced Senior Peer Educators. More about peer educators here.
Our core babywearing beliefs
- Community-based babywearing education ensures babywearing is accessible to all.
- Babywearing refers to any carry that allows the caregiver to hold a baby hands free.
- All babies can and should be worn in a carrier or sling
- Visible, kissable, upright and supported.
- Back carries should wait until baby can sit independently
- Breastfeeding in a carrier only after four months (corrected). We encourage everyone to master the two separate skills of babywearing and breastfeeding before attempting to combine the two.
- Any carrier that can be used in a way that meets the requirements of #3 is an acceptable carrier. This includes most front packs, traditional carriers, soft structured carriers, purpose made carriers and pieces of cloth.
- The manufacturer is the expert on the carrier and their instructions should be followed where possible.
For more information see our Code of Conduct
CarryAus committee of management: Our management committee is made up of volunteers who are involved with the planning, management and decision-making of the organisation. The committee meets every 4-6 weeks. Committee members also contribute a number of hours each week to ensure the smooth running of CarryAus.
Working groups: Convened by our committee of management, working groups are a great way for CarryAus members to get involved in driving the work of CarryAus . Please contact us if you would like to get involved.
Peer Educators and Senior Peer Educators: These are the people who are providing support to caregivers at local meets, market stalls and CarryAus events. Peer Educators also help to manage the social media for their own groups.
Group support Officers: Volunteers who work with Peer Educators to support and help caregivers both online and at meets. Most groups will be facilitated by a mix of admin and educators.
Volunteers: Members who volunteer to help promote babywearing and work on fundraising and promotional events.
Members: Individuals who support the organisation and are involved in online groups and/or attend meetings and/or promote babywearing in their local communities.
Sling groups and sling meets: CarryAus is made up of a number of local Sling Groups across Victoria and eastern Australia. Our groups run regular Sling Meets and are supported by volunteers, at least one of whom is a Peer Educator. Peer Educators are able to support new wearers with choosing and using carriers, discuss the pros and cons of specific carriers and help to fit the carriers to the wearer. At a meet there will always be at least one of each of the main styles of carrier available to try, touch and compare. Find a sling group near you.