European Babywearing week has always been about bringing people together, and sharing the importance of closeness and connection in building happy healthy families. This year we have chosen the theme “the fourth trimester and beyond”.
The fourth trimester is a concept used to describe the first few months of a new family’s life after baby’s birth. Babies are born in great need of continuing physical closeness, to complete their development into social human beings. After the intimate connection of the first three trimesters on the inside, the fourth trimester is the intimate connection a child enjoys with their primary caregivers on the outside, being held and nurtured intensively in the first few months after birth. This precious stage is where relationships begin to develop and babies learn how to communicate; it is also where parents/caregivers begin to get to know their baby and how to meet their needs and respond appropriately. It can be an intense and challenging time for everyone; but building these bonds are worth it for future health and happiness. Babywearing is one very useful tool to keep families in this close contact while still being able to get on with daily life.
This need for loving nurture within the family does not end in a few months, however, it continues long beyond the “fourth trimester”. Older children continue to thrive on cuddles and holding; as do their parents/carers. Many families carry toddlers and preschoolers for convenience as well as emotional regulation; there are so many benefits to babywearing beyond the early weeks and months.
In these times of physical distancing with the Coronavirus pandemic; we human beings need the love and closeness of our families more than ever; and the emotional closeness of our wider family and friends. We hope this week will encourage everyone across Europe and beyond to feel connected to the wider world with a shared interest and a shared commitment to family wellbeing. The design of our wrap incorporates the three trimesters of pregnancy on the inside, followed by the cuddling of a child on the outside. We chose a rainbow warp to recognise the hope and courage shown by so many.