Last year, during International Babywearing Month, I posted about babywearing in the military. That post covered the reasons to do so, the benefits to active duty moms and babies, types of carriers and ways to wear your baby safely. This month is National Military Appreciation Month, and in honor of all of our military moms out there I wanted to do a little something special and introduce you to a wonderful project that benefits active duty military families and sponsor a giveaway.
The Carrying On Project is the brainstorm of Kit and Rachel. Kit is an military veteran and spouse and Rachel is a graphic designer who found that wearing their babies made active duty service and deployments so much easier to handle. Their mission is to make the practice of babywearing a reality for military personnel and their families. They are doing that by providing carriers to active duty moms and the families of military personnel so that they can make secure attachments with their children, something that deployments, long working hours and injuries often interrupt. Kit and Rachel want to assist both the service members and the families left behind in “Carrying On” while both home and away, in the hopes of making something that is difficult for the whole family a little bit easier. As a former active duty service member and current military spouse, who used a sling to wear my baby both while in the service and during my husband’s many deployments, I can attest to the wonderful benefits that babywearing provides! As an IBCLC, I can say with confidence that babywearing greatly benefits and assists with breastfeeding, maintaining a milk supply and creating secure attachments as well.
With that said, I am excited to share the interview I did with Kit where she shares more about the Carrying On Project, the benefits of babywearing for AD moms, her babywearing journey, and extends her support to the BFinCB community!
BFinCB: Why did you start The Carrying On Project?
Kit: We started The Carrying On Project to help get quality carriers in the hands of military families that need them. Having both been in the military and now married to it, I understand that every dime makes a difference, but every tool to make getting through it easier for the families is vital. We wanted to help Active Duty parents facilitate strong bonds with their children, and to help and family members left behind during training or deployments get through it a little easier. The name of the organization, “The Carrying On Project” has two distinct meanings. Babywearing is a way of “carrying” our children and going on with life. “Carry On” is also a military order, one that means “keep doing what you’re doing,” It’s used service-wide, across all branches, through out all the ranks and jobs.
BFinCB: How you are helping military moms?
Kit: We are helping military moms by giving them things they need and may not have had access to or even known about, and teaching them how to use them. Having your hands free to cook dinner, load the washer, fold clothes, pack a diaper bag, walk a dog.. do whatever needs doing, but still be able to snuggle with your child, is an invaluable tool.
BFinCB: What are the benefits of babywearing for AD military moms?
Kit: The benefits of babywearing for anyone, ESPECIALLY AD moms, are vast. When you work full time, sometimes for days a time, and have to be gone for training, deployments, over nights, the list goes on.. the hours you get to spend snuggling and bonding with your baby are limited. Add in all of the other things that often need your attention, and sometimes you’re left with no time at all! Babywearing helps create strong, healthy bonds between mother and child, and releases some of the same hormones as nursing, such as oxytocin, also called “the feel good hormone”. It helps keep mom calm, and when baby is especially young helps with temperature and heart beat regulation. If an AD mom is able to breastfeed, having baby close also helps her milk supply, both because of the hormones created from the “constant snuggle” and also because it keeps baby close enough to smell it, want it, and access it easily. Being able to wear baby while you nurse and get other things done will help keep up your milk supply, making nursing less of a challenge. One of the big things that we remind active duty parents about with babywearing is that if you wear your baby, even if you have to go away for awhile, your baby remembers that. They remember the snuggle, the comfort, your smell, and the warmth. When you come home, it will help create a sense of safe space, comfort, and security. We also highly encourage babywearing as a way for combat veterans to bond with their children, because when baby is in a carrier there is no risk of dropping them, which is a common fear with some of the side effects PTSD.
BFinCB: How did you get started with babywearing?
Kit: A deployment is what really got me in to babywearing. I was interested beforehand, but when my husband left less than two weeks after our first daughter was born, I needed something to keep her close and still be able to get things done. I used babywearing to get through pretty much everything. Laundry, cooking, eating, traveling through the airport, grocery shopping, going for walks, and of course, making friends. The best thing that babywearing ever did for me was bring me to a new group of friends, which has grown and grown with every new duty station, as there are babywearers everywhere! The moms I met in my first babywearing group, several of whom were also military spouses, were my lifeline. I went to my first babywearing meeting when my daughter was six weeks old, and they helped guide me through sleeping habits, natural remedies for nursing issues, and through the maze that is food allergies. They helped me find carriers that worked for us by lending out their own at meetings and even to take home, and helped me get her on my back. We spent a lot of time traveling when my husband was gone, as we lived on the opposite side of the country from our families. Thanks to babywearing I was able to check my luggage, wear my daughter on my front, a diaper bag on my back, and navigate the airport hands free all while keeping her safe and close. We have moved twice with my oldest daughter, who is just under 3, and now have an almost 10 month old. My husband has been gone since right after Christmas, and if I thought babywearing saved my sanity last time, this time it has been even moreso.
BFinCB: What future plans does The Carrying On Project have?
Kit: With the help of several baby carrier companies as sponsors, The Carrying On Project has been able to donate many carriers to the families who are nominated, including some that stationed overseas. We also partner with Operation Homefront for Star Spangled Babies, which is a baby shower thrown for expecting active duty, as well wounded warrior and active duty spouses. Our next major event is in VA Beach, where we will be helping 200 families learn how to use donated carriers and talk to them about the benefits of babywearing, especially for military moms that work long hours, and for while a spouse is at training or deployed.
BFinCB: Thank you so much Kit for your support of our AD military moms and families!!
*****For every donation of $30, BFinCB will DONATE a copy of the book, Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to Breastfeding in the Military, to given away to a deserving AD, Reserve or Guard mother or mother-to-be along with a sling from The Carrying On Project*****
Click on the DONATE button to the right —> and put “Carrying On Project” in the comments.
BFinCB and The Carrying On Project are giving away one prize pack featuring:
1 copy of the book, “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to Breastfeding in the Military” – Retail Value $30.00 USD
1 sling of your choice – Retail value $45.00 USD
Total value: $75.00 USD
Good luck to everyone! Please use the widget below to be entered. The giveaway is for Active Duty and Reserve breastfeeding mothers and mothers-to-be from May 25, 2013 through May 31, 2013. A big thanks to Kit and Rachel and The Carrying Project for their support of BFinCB and all breastfeeding women serving in the military; please be sure to visit their Facebook page, follow The Carrying On Project on Twitter and thank them for their support of BFinCB and this giveaway opportunity.
BFinCB and The Carrying On Project will ship worldwide.
a Rafflecopter giveaway