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International Babywearing Conference Comes to Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  An old tradition is becoming more popular when it comes to carrying kids around town or even the house. People from around the world are coming to Des Moines to celebrate babywearing.

It has become routine for the Anderson family. Mom Cat wraps her three-year-old to her back and buckles her baby to her front.

"A lot of times they fall asleep in the wrap or the carriers, which is really nice because I'm a busy person," she said.

It’s called babywearing.

Marissa Jennings said, “You can wear anywhere from a newborn to all the way you're up to a child you're comfortable holding."

She and her husband often wear their six-year-old.

"I like to wear Eli on my back for certain situations. He has severe food allergies, so it was lifesaver for us when he was little,” said Patrick Jennings.

Babywearing International of Central Iowa has grown to a large group online. Members meet in person four times a month.

Anderson said, “Our mission is to make babywearing accessible and safe for everyone, so we will teach them how to wear their baby safely,"

This year, the group is hosting the International Babywearing Conference in Des Moines. It takes place every other year to celebrate babywearing.

Jennings said, “We have babywearers coming from all over the country and world to join us here.”

The conference includes a vendor hall in which people can walk around for free, checking out the wraps and carriers. Tickets are also still available for the conference, which includes sessions tackling a variety of topics.

"There's a lot of research going on right now about babywearing as an intervention for child abuse in low-income populations and populations with young children. So that is a really exciting thing in the world of research that there's going to be several people here talking about," said Suzi Lang, planning chair of the International Babywearing Conference.

About 400 people are expected for the conference.

Anderson said, "People are learning about it and having access to it, which is great, and that's what we want to celebrate and spread that babywearing love."

The International Babywearing Conference 2018 runs through Sunday at Hy-Vee Hall. Ticket information and a schedule can be found at www.internationalbabywearingconference.com.