Black Voices in Babywearing: Doula Kaytee
Our guest blog from Doula Kaytee is part of Baby Tula’s Black Voices in US Babywearing series. Our goal is to provide a platform for Black babywearing educators to share their thoughts and experiences on babywearing as a modern practice rooted in ancestral knowledge as it relates to their postpartum mentorship and care for birthers. We enjoyed reading Kaytee's insight and we hope you do too.
Before I became pregnant with my first child, I never thought I would carry them in a carrier. I always thought it was strollers or holding a carseat. When I became pregnant and started doing registries, I found a stretchy wrap and registered for that. We got it as a gift for our first and I did end up wearing him in it. I watched videos and was able to figure out how to get him into it safely and securely. He loved it, I loved it, but that was about as far as my first journey with babywearing went. With my second, we used the stretchy wrap again, but then were introduced to a buckle carrier. My curiosity was growing, but I still just kept to myself and used what I knew. By the time my third came around, I wanted to do more babywearing. One of my best friends was the president of our local babywearing organization, so I was always seeing her carry her babies and I wanted in. With my third, I wore him constantly. We were introduced to ring slings and woven wraps. It was a rabbit hole I was so happy to go down. It led me to becoming an educator. I started teaching the following year after my third was born (2017) via our local babywearing organization. That and joining various groups on Facebook as well as attending a few babywearing fairs led me to want to learn more about the history of wearing.
Joining babywearing Facebook groups that were specifically for Black people was so amazing. I was seeing more people who looked like me and I was learning more about our history with wearing our babies as well as others’ babies. I had done a DNA test and found out where my heritage lied in Africa and it was awesome to learn about how my ancestors carried their babies which were in similar fashions to how I was wearing my babies. This led to me learning about my favorite carry which is the torso carry. Whenever I do that carry, it always helps me to connect with my heritage.
Not only is babywearing important to me in learning and connecting with my heritage, it also helps me to connect with my Black clients when helping them to wear their babies. I always try to remind them that their ancestors wore their babies first, so they shouldn’t feel like this isn’t a part of their current journey. They can wear their babies. It’s important to wear them. I remind them that they can’t spoil their babies. The phrase was used back when our babies were being sold to other slave owners. We couldn’t spoil our babies because we didn’t know if we’d ever see them again. But, our babies are ours now and we get to love them forever.
Meet Kaytee Crawford:
Kaytee is a certified birth and postpartum doula trained through Commensense Childbirth Institute; a lactation and childbirth educator; a trained and certified perinatal educator; and babywearing educator.
In addition to birth work, Kaytee is an artist and mother of 4 boys. She and her husband have been married since 2010 and we live and raise our family in the Saint Paul Minnesota area. Doula Kaytee is inspiring people all over social media to wear their babies. You can find her on Instagram as @doulakaytee, and you and join her 55k followers on TikTok