I recently had a chance to sit down, put my feet up (ahhh) and watch some of “Tummy 2 Tummy: THE Babywearing Instructional DVD.” If you’ve ever had a question about babywearing, I have to say this is THE place to look for answers.
The DVD is broken down into four sections based on four different types of baby carriers: Ring Slings, Pouches, Asian Back Carriers and Simple Pieces of Cloth, with experts in each carrier type providing the instruction. Each of those sections is then broken down into an introduction, techniques – including safety and comfort, demonstrations of positions – beginner and advanced – including nursing in various positions and wearing two babies, and troubleshooting.
If you are like most moms you probably don’t have time to sit down and watch a 2 1/2 hour DVD in one sitting, which is why I love that the DVD allows you to skip around to the sections that you want to watch. So if you are interested in learning how to use a pouch for the hip carry position for a baby or toddler, you can jump right to that section. Want to find out how to nurse in the front wrap cross cradle position? Skip to that section. It’s very easy and user-friendly.
Now that I’ve seen all of the different positions you can wear a baby in and the various carrier types available, Jody is going to have to seriously restrain me from buying more! I’d love to have a pouch for use around the house, a pretty mei tai for more formal occasions (wait, when do I have a formal occasion? hmm, it could happen), as well as some nice pieces of cloth just because I was blown away at how easy it is to MacGyver a simple piece of cloth into a great baby carrier!
I think Tummy 2 Tummy would make a wonderful gift for a mom-to-be or a new mom or any mom for that matter! I wish I would’ve had this when Ava was a baby and I was having so much trouble figuring out my ring sling (which I have since donated). I spent a lot of time holding her in arms when I really just needed to find the right carrier for me.
I also recently had the opportunity and privilege to interview Sharon Pickersgill, the creator of Tummy 2 Tummy. It was wonderful to learn more about her (we have more in common than I originally thought!) and the process of making the DVD. What a labor of love!
Amy: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your family?
Sharon: I am a stay at home mom with two small children. Ashley is 4 years old and Trinity is 17 months. I love to cook & bake, workout at the gym, take Yoga and read books. Iâ€™m currently reading Wayne Dyerâ€™s newest â€œChange Your Thoughts, Change Your Lifeâ€. My husband and I met in college and have been married for 12 years. So we waited quite a while to have children. I worked full time before having Ashley as an accountant for Coca-Cola and planned on going back to work, but everything changed the moment she was in my arms. I didnâ€™t know anything about breastfeeding or Attachment Parenting but all I did know was I wanted to be there for her and I didnâ€™t want her to â€œcry it out.” I soon discovered Dr. Sears and knew that this was for me. I applied to be an Attachment Parenting Leader for North Phoenix and started the first ever group in Phoenix, AZ. After getting to know many natural parenting mothers through API, I found the courage to have a beautiful home birth with Trinity. (Ashley, my first, was born in the hospital with an epidural and many complications.) The biggest thing Iâ€™ve learned over the last year is to take care of myself. Having two instead of just one has been a lot harder and I consistently take small breaks just for me, like working out at the gym, Yoga, going out on dates with my husband and doing meditation at night after the kids are asleep.
Amy: What was your inspiration for creating the DVD?
Sharon: In 2003, I had my first baby and like most parents went out and bought a Baby Bjorn. After just 6 months, I thought my back would break and saw someone else use a sling. I went to a local breastfeeding store where they sold slings and asked someone who worked there to please show me how to use it. After spending almost an hour with me, I quickly fell in love with babywearing and wanted to learn everything I could about it. I did a lot of research on the Internet and found a few small video clips with a home camcorder but the quality wasnâ€™t that good. At the time, there were only 1 or 2 big name baby carriers that had their own DVD to accompany it, but it was specific to that particular carrier. My husband is a videographer and I said to him that we need to make a DVD on how to wear your baby that is non-product specific and can be used with any carrier. I contacted four babywearing experts throughout the country and flew them to our home, one by one, to videotape the DVD.
Amy: How many months did it take from when you first began working on the DVD to it’s completion?
Sharon: I came up with the idea in Aug of 2004 and got all 4 babywearing experts to agree to do the project within a month. Our first filming took place in Oct 2004. Each expert had to fly out separately for a weekend and we filmed non-stop except to eat and sleep. It was exhausting! A couple of the experts had to come out twice because the first time around didnâ€™t turn out the way we wanted. Babies are tough to work with. They didnâ€™t like the bright lights and heat from the cameras and there was a lot of screaming and stopping because they needed to nurse or sleep or just werenâ€™t happy. It was challenging. As we got further into it, we realized â€œThis is why no one has done this before.” We completed filming at the end of January 2005. Slowly over the next 7 months, my husband edited the movie. He had to go through hundreds of hours of tape and many, many takes to find the best one available. In August/September 2005 we had members of NINO (Nine In Nine Outâ€¦a babywearing organization) review the DVD to make sure we were on the right track. They did have a few comments but overall were very impressed with the DVD. By the end of September 2005, after watching the DVD literally hundreds of times, we finally sent the final proof to our DVD manufacturer in California. Because the DVD is so long (over 2.5 hours), we had to make it a duel-layer disc, which is more expensive and can hold more data at a higher quality. Duel-layer discs are what all the Hollywood movies are made on. The DVDs took four weeks to make and ship to us and on Nov. 1, 2005 we started selling them on our website, www.tummy2tummy.com. After the first year, we made the decision to only make the DVD available through our distributors so that it would place more importance on them instead of us. Our DVD was made to be sold with a baby carrier and not really on itâ€™s own.
Amy: I imagine that filming a DVD with several small children could present some unique or possibly challenging situations. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share from the filming?
Sharon: I donâ€™t know about funny. Those poor babies. Some of them were totally fine and happy when they were not in front of the camera and then when we started filming they just froze and started screaming. Having a screaming baby isnâ€™t going to help people to learn â€œhow to wearâ€ their baby. Some babies were amazing and loved the camera and we worked with them as long as possible. But even the best babies could only do it for an hour or so at a time and we filmed for like 12 hours a day while the experts were here. So I learned to have many back-up babies available so we can switch them out quickly. It was a lot of starting and stopping and having a lot of patience and knowing that it would all be worth it at the end.
Amy: How many baby carriers do you personally own? What are your favorites?
Sharon: I used to really be quite a babywearing addict. I had around 12 carriers but some of my favorites are Silk Zolowear sling, Kozy Carrier, Ergo, Hug-A-Bub Wrap & the Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch.
Amy: If you had to choose one type of carrier (from the four on the DVD) as your only carrier, which would it be and why?
Sharon: Humâ€¦thatâ€™s not really a fair question. Seriously, I have one of each in my car right now and use them all frequently. As long as people are wearing their baby with any type of carrier, Iâ€™m happy to see it!
Amy: Lastly, do you have any plans for future babywearing DVDs or other projects in the works?
Sharon: We have talked about possibly doing an updated version of the DVD but it would be several years away. Iâ€™m seriously not sure if I would do it or not. It was so much work making this DVD and so very worth it but I wouldnâ€™t want to go through the process again. My husband is working on all sorts of other video projects but mostly his aspirations are to make movies full time. This fall, he is going to do just that. He is filming his first full-length feature independent movie. Iâ€™m hoping that someday I will accompany him to the Oscars for a movie that he made!
For me, I will continue to stay at home with my two girls, become a better cook, read, exercise and work on Tummy 2 Tummy. Someday, I would love to see my DVD selling at Babies R Us, next to more and more slings as babywearing becomes more mainstream.
Amy: Thank you so much for your time, Sharon, and for sharing a bit about yourself and your wonderful DVD. Best of luck to you, your husband with his film, and your whole family. :) We’ll be watching for you at the Oscars!
If you’d like to win your own copy of “Tummy 2 Tummy: THE Babywearing Instructional DVD”:
- Sign Mr. Linky below
- Link to this contest on your blog. (Don’t have a blog? That’s OK. Just be sure to tell a friend or two about the contest.)
- Leave a comment saying why you’d like the DVD (is it for yourself/for a friend/for an AP or babywearing group?)
You must do all three things to be eligible to win the DVD. The deadline to enter is 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12. The winner will be chosen at random on Sept. 13 and announced later that day. Good luck!