Our Story: how Onya Baby was born

Out to lunch with 3-week-old katie

In 2006 my daughter Katie was born and I became a mother. She wanted to be held and she wanted to nurse. Attached at the nip, she was, my perma-latch girl. If deprived of either of these, she’d erupt into heartbreaking wails. I had a pouch sling, and it saw a lot of use. Without it, I’d have been permanently parked, with her in my arms nursing happily, unable to get anything done. She also wouldn’t nap on her own for a long time. If not for those babywearing naps, she and I would have been even more exhausted. And forget the cleaning, the laundry, the meals, any of those menial but necessary chores that keep domestic life ticking along.

What a chunker!

Evan was born in 2009. He cried intensely. A lot. So regularly we could set our clocks to it. The sling settled him. If I had not carried him (in a self-made silk ring sling after my trusty pouch was stolen), he would have cried more, Katie would have spent a lot more time alone and my arms would have been much more tired. Wearing him also helped me give him the one-on-one attention that he deserved, that Katie got in spades as the first-born. It can be very hard balancing the needs of more than one child. Babywearing made it possible to give love, touch and attention to both children.

There is no question in our minds that good baby carrier is an essential parenting tool. I still keep one in my bag. From the moment I welcomed my first baby into this world, I’ve never been without one. I started with the pouch. But my daughter grew heavier, as babies do, and it became less comfortable carrying her on one shoulder. I received an Onbuhimbo (a Japanese-style baby carrier) made for me by a talented friend. It was lovely, but I wanted buckles. Off to my sewing machine I went, and converted the Onbu into a buckle carrier. It was a Frankenstein mash-up; it’s what started this whole Onya Baby journey.

Katie in one of the early Onya prototypes on a chair

In 2007, I came up with the first Onya. It included a seat-sling because I’d been caught out without a seat for Katie many times and had to eat (messily), or drink (hot coffee – oy!) while holding her on my lap or passing her around the table amongst family. More than once. Not easy. The idea of a two-for-one carrier was appealing. The less stuff I had to lug around, the better.

Katie in one of the early Onya prototypes on my back

After four years of testing, trying, tweaking, and finally teaming up with family, we’re so incredibly excited to be where we are and to be able to offer what we think is a great carrier with an added bonus of back-up seating.