Baby carriers made in Edmonton: Babuebaby Carriers
Edmonton baby carrier designer and occupational therapist Busi of Babuebaby Carriers understands the benefits of babywearing, both for baby and caregiver. So do Tina, an Edmonton mother, and her baby Finley.
I spent a fun morning with all three of them and quickly saw how happy Finley was. According to Tina, it wasn’t just a lucky day for us as this happiness is a daily occurrence! Could that be a sign of one of the babywearing benefits?
The new Baby Babue carrier
Tina has tried different types of baby carriers, wraps and slings since Finley was born. She was happy to try the Baby Babue introduced by Busi. After a few hours, she had many great things to say about it:
The Baby Babue carrier felt secure and sturdy. After walking with it for a while, I didn’t have any lower back pain like I occasionally do when I wear Finley in other carriers or wraps. The fabric feels nice and looks beautiful. The design draws the line between fashion and function—I could easily wear it over a black dress! Overall, it felt more like wearing than carrying and Finley felt closer to me than with other carriers I’ve tried.
As you might already know, Africa holds a special place in my heart. I lived on and off in Cameroon for almost two years and that continent has always captivated me.
Babuebaby carriers are not only designed by an Edmonton woman of African descent, they’re also made with ethically-sourced fabrics crafted by women in Africa. When I first saw Babue’s products and learned about their story, I was hooked.
Interview with Busi, creator of Edmonton-made baby carriers
Tell me about your story and your business. What do you do and why?
I grew up in Africa, surrounded by a family network and culture that is difficult to understand in an individualistic, modern western context. Babywearing, or using a carrier to hold a baby, was a very basic activity you were tasked with at an early age. As a child, I carried my little sisters, nieces and nephews. There was so much support and ritual surrounding the many stages of family life. When I had my children while living in Canada, I found myself straddling the culture I grew up in and the culture around me. I tried various carriers, but none of them were exactly what I wanted. Instead of completely accepting one culture and rejecting another, I set to work to design a hybrid carrier that would be a positive intersection of the two.
I drew on both my professional background as an occupational therapist and the rich heritage of babywearing found in Africa. I wanted a carrier that had aspects familiar to modern parents, but a design that would be kind to the bodies of parents and caregivers, especially those not used to carrying bigger children. Again, coming from a cultural context where you are constantly surrounded by family and community, I believe strongly in the notion of a village. Everyone belongs in the village, and everyone both receives support and is a valued member of the community.
As an occupational therapist working with special needs families, it really broke my heart to realize there were certain disabilities and conditions that mainstream carrier styles just couldn’t support. So wherever possible, I made sure to incorporate design features with these families in mind. In that way, our flagship carrier, the Big Kid Babue, embodied the value of inclusion in our village. Instead of sending special needs families off to their own carrier, I had the privilege of celebrating their strength and bravery while supporting them in a way that also encourages other families. We also have our Big Kid Babue carriers named after little warriors which I believe will help spread awareness about their diagnosis.
So what do I do? I have the immense privilege of building bridges and empowering others. My baby carriers provide families with a way to all pursue daily life and adventures together, without short-term or long-term pain. I get to share a bold African aesthetic with the world in a way that empowers skilled workers in Africa! I even get to employ other women and draw on their talents as we construct our unique carriers and work to spread the word about them! Babue has been a labour of love, and God will take it exactly where families need it most.
What differentiates you from other companies that offer similar products?
The biggest difference in our carriers is that we focus on three points of support. We not only have a firm buckle waistband and shoulder straps, but also our patented torso support strap. The torso support strap offloads your child’s weight so that instead of dragging down across your shoulders, the carry is largely supported on your hips and torso. This way, our Mbereko-style straps (similar to Meh Dai straps) are open-ended and intuitive pieces that provide stability. Caregivers find themselves automatically customizing these straps to their own body types and needs without even realizing it! Our third point of support not only creates a more comfortable carry all around but also supports children with low muscle tone. It also makes learning to back carry for the first time much faster and easier. This design is the basis for all our Big Kid Babues and our upcoming Baby Babue too.
Besides design, we really dig into empowering others TODAY. This has meant growing at a slower rate and rising to every new challenge to make sure that Babue is building cultural and economic connections that we can be proud exist. The journey has been absolutely worth it, because, as we say at Babue all the time, when we empower one, we empower all. Knowing that the production of my carriers has empowered many to have a dignified and fair source of income, and knowing that those carriers are in turn used by families to foster stronger bonds gives me great peace that whatever the future holds for Babue, we have already positively impacted many.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to expecting, new or seasoned parents?
Always parent as a team. This means respecting and valuing what your partner is thinking, even when you may not fully understand it. When I was struggling with feeling caught between parenting cultures, it was my amazing husband who spoke up and pushed that we embrace our own African parenting style. When I doubted myself due to unhelpful external pushback, he stood firm and reminded me that what we came from had value and was worth giving to our children. He listened to my concerns and anxieties, and feeling heard gave me the freedom to really think about his approach. It spoke deeply to my intuition and the more I considered the differences in the values being lived out, the more I could separate my confusion of being a cultural fish out of the water from what I really believed to be good things for our whole family.
And now, years later… what do you know? Things like babywearing, cosleeping, etc. are on the rise! Now I sound way more “normal” to younger parents than I ever did to parents my own age!
And of course, don’t feel like you need to take a blood oath and commit to ONE method or style. In this interconnected and globalized day and age, you can choose which aspects work best for specific seasons of your family’s life. As long as you are thoughtful in matching your outward parenting to your shared values, you will do great.
More about the Edmonton-made baby carriers and where to find them
Baby Babue carriers are good for babies 8 to 45 lbs.
Big Kid Babue carriers are good for kids 18 to 65 lbs.
Both carriers are easy to store and carry around. They become a stylish pouch when folded!
You can purchase Babuebaby carriers and other fun products like tote bags, plush toys and swaddle + bib sets at babuebabycarriers.com.
It can sometimes be hard to pronounce words originating from other languages, so here’s a little pronunciation guide for you.
Pronounced like “baboon” without the n sound (baboo) . It means “up” in Zimbabwe. Children often say “babue” to their parents when they want to be carried.
Rhymes with Lucy.
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I'm Marie-Pierre, an easygoing mother of two and a documentary family photographer. I believe we can all learn and grow from other people's experiences. Real life stories help us relate to each other, open our minds and feel better about ourselves.
this blog is a collection of featured client stories, tips, and articles on various family related topics. I hope you will find some inspiration!