by Tami Grosset
London is so cool! Isn’t it?
The BIG smoke. It is one of the largest cities in the world with the most impossible traffic. The congestion charge makes it prohibitive to drive anywhere, even if you could park without having to take out a second mortgage! The streets are often narrow and cobbled, quaint but not fun for a stroller! The pavements that are not cobbled are more often than not teaming with crowds of people. With buses, tubes, trains, escalators and stairs galore this city is the perfect city for babywearing.
Curiously, in the two weeks that we visited London, traveling almost daily into the city from Ealing at the western end of the district and central line we saw very few babywearers, and the few that we did see were predominantly Baby Bjorns and the like. Instead we saw many mums struggling up escalators and down stairs with heavy strollers (sometimes with tired cranky babes in their arms), waiting at bus stops in the rain because there were already 2 strollers on the bus that had just arrived and getting glares of contempt for a large stroller taking up so much space on a busy tube.
Why is it that babywearing is not more commonplace in London?
Well, as far as I could work out there are no shops, or few shops. specializing in good ergonomic baby carriers. You can purchase a Baby Bjorn and other similar narrow seated carriers in high street mum and baby stores like Mothercare but otherwise you pretty much need to know about babywearing to know that there is an alternative, which is a little chicken
and the egg-like.
Many parents the world over start out with a narrow seated carrier and once they start finding it uncomfortable they just stop wearing their baby. Many of us have heard other parents saying ‘Well I just couldn’t wear him after he turned 3 months he was just too heavy!‘ which seems a little ironic when we’re standing there listening to them, whilst wearing a 3 year old on our back! If there are apparently no other options of course you’re going to give up and use a stroller! I would, wouldn’t you?
The answer to that question is clear to me!
London needs a Milkface!
London needs an Extraordinary Baby Shoppe!
London needs a Belly Laughs!
London needs a class like OCEAs Bringing Baby Home class, which includes a babywearing workshop for soon to be newbie parents!
Babywearing has become commonplace in our city because of our stores. OBG most likely would not exist if it wasn’t for these stores and for the work they’ve done spreading the babywearing love over the years.
We’re in danger of causing these fabulous stores to close their doors. All brick and mortar stores are struggling to swim against a tide of showrooming customers.
‘Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item.’
This blog says so much about showrooming and how hurtful it can be to a brick and mortar store.
Maybe in time London will become cool like Ottawa.
Shop local, buy local and buy where you touch!