First off, here is a brief synopsis of how Umi Sling came to be (read the full story at The Boho Mama’s blog.) Twin mama Megan loved wearing her little ones and her carriers of choice were one in a ring sling on front and one in the Boba on back. So, she decided to try her hand at making her own ring sling. And then her friends wanted them. Inspiration struck when she read the story of Baby Umi and she wanted to do something to help. Umi Sling was born out of this desire.
Project Baby Bilum came about when Adriel of The Mommyhood Memos decided she needed to do something to help the mama’s and babies in Bamio after a trip to this village in Papua New Guinea. You see, fabric is scarce there and the women are the providers. This means the babies stay home with their fathers and are only breastfed 2 to 3 times a day. When Adriel met baby Umi “she was eleven weeks old and weighed just under five pounds. At an age where babies are normally holding their heads up, beginning to roll over, smiling, and babbling, Umi had not yet reached my son’s birth weight and was barely able to grasp onto my finger.”
As a foreigner it’s easy for me to say, “That’s crazy, just send the husband out to work so the mother can look after and feed the baby.”
But it’s not that simple.
You can’t elbow your way into an age-old culture and demand change because you think you can see a better way. History shows that many well-meaning people have brought a lot of offense by ill-thought-out “improvements” and “change”.
And yet obviously change needs to come.
A three-month-old baby should not look like a frail, starving preemie.
Adriel had the idea of collecting ring slings to take on the next trip out to Bamio (this March). Why ring slings? Because, although the PNG people have a traditional carrier called a baby bilum, they aren’t using them because, as I mentioned above, fabric is scarce. If there is fabric, it won’t be used as a baby carrier. A ring sling would be more difficult to repurpose (as opposed to a woven wrap or a stretchy wrap) and it is adjustable to suit different sizes and shapes of moms and babies. And, although SSC’s are super easy to use and adjustable, they are bulky and take up a lot of precious storage space that could be used for medical supplies and food.
Do you want a ring sling — a beautiful, affordable, modern, 100% organic cotton ring sling? Umi Sling gives you the chance to have one AND send one to a sister in need in Bamio. Maybe you are passed the babywearing years and don’t have any pregnant friends or family currently. You can still help out a woman in Bamio and a baby like baby Umi. There is a listing in the shop just to send a ring sling out to a mama in Bamio. For $25, you will be covering the cost for materials for an Umi Sling, shipping to Australia to Adriel and passage on the ship to Papau New Guinea.
The shop has the awesome sling you see in my pictures which is 100% organic cotton with a funky chevron accent (available in green, orange, red, yellow and black) and comes in black or brown fabric with a gathered shoulder. There is also a handprinted cotton-linen blend that is gorgeous and 2 limited edition handwoven Guatemalan cotton ring slings that I love. And I love what Megan says about her slings:
Every ring sling I make is one that I would wear – I could easily become a sling hoarder – so when you purchase one of mine, you know I ship it to your home lovingly, and run my hands over the fabric a few times to say my own Farewell.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. I did receive a complimentary Umi Sling for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. I only review products that I either have purchased myself and love or products I have been given a chance to review by the company that I believe are products my readers would benefit from.