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Ubuntu Baba baby carriers – Shannon McLaughlin

I have recently read a few articles on the effect of women supporting women.  This simple, yet powerful, concept is at the heart of empowering communities and building a sustainable future for entrepreneurial women.  Shannon McLaughlin is an entrepreneur, mama and all round earth child.  She has taken her new found experience as a mother and transformed it into a business, Ubuntu Baba.  Her carriers are stylish, functional, local and organic. 

∇  Tell us about your family

My little family consists of my boyfriend Troy, a crazy cat called Po, and our 15 month old son, Leo. When I met Troy 7 years ago he was living in Durbanville (which he still lovingly refers to as the shire) and I was living in Muizenberg. We were both surfers so we decided to make our happy middle ground the West Coast of Cape Town. We’ve lived together in Big Bay for just over 6 years now and we both work from home so the house can get a little crazy and crowded at times, but nothing that a little sunset walk on the beach can’t fix!

∇  How would you describe yourself as a mama?

Shoo, well I think that there is so much pressure to be “the perfect mom” no matter which category of mom you fall under, but if I had to choose I’d say I’m a modern hippy mama. I try to do things as naturally as possible while still maintaining a good balance of “me time”. When I do things to nourish my soul it gives me renewed energy that I feel makes me a better Mom and happier person overall.

∇  What has been the best and hardest part of motherhood thus far?

The best part of motherhood has been learning how to completely let go and not care about anything else in the world but the moment that is right in front of me. There can be so much wrong with the day and then Leo will do something that is so hilarious that I just couldn’t care about how much of a mess the house is or how much food is stuck to the carpet and I just forget about it all and immerse myself in his little world. Becoming a mother teaches you so much about yourself and what’s really important in life.

Motherhood itself has been the hardest (and most awesome) thing I’ve ever experienced, but I would say the hardest part of it all for me was not making it past 4 weeks of breastfeeding. I thought it would come so naturally to me and that I’d be one of those Mom’s that people would look at funny with my toddler on my boob, but alas it wasn’t so. If there is a next time, I’m determined to get it right. I think you learn so much the first time round and that’s why everyone says the second one is so much easier. At least you know what you’re in for then!

∇  How did the idea of designing your own baby carrier come to be?

A friend gave me a stretchy wrap and I remember the packaging showing such beautiful photos of these Moms with their babies wrapped up all snuggly against them, sleeping peacefully. It wasn’t such an easy task to achieve that though and I landed up a big sweaty, crying mess at least 10 times before I got that right. But when I got it right it was bliss! Leo slept for around 3 hours at a time on me and I finally managed to leave the house with a little bit of confidence. He was a big baby, born 16 days overdue at 4,1kgs so by 2 months old that stretchy wrap just wasn’t holding his weight anymore and I needed an upgrade. I tried literally everything on the market and nothing came close to the comfort of the stretchy wrap so I made it my mission to design something that would allow me to wear my baby well into toddlerhood, drawing as much inspiration from the stretchy wrap as possible.

∇   What has been your biggest challenge starting this business?

I’ve been self-employed as a web designer for over 10 years but I’ve never created and sold my own physical product, so that was a whole new ball game for me. And trying to do it with an energetic little minion by my side proved very challenging in the beginning. Sleep was non-existent and to be honest I actually don’t know how I managed to do it. There were many tears and many “what the f**k am I actually doing here?” moments, but in the end it all somehow came together. I’m very lucky to have an amazing family who helped babysit Leo when I needed to be working closely with my design team (my design team also consists of my Dad – without him none of this would have been possible! Thanks Dad!) as well as some very special and objective mommy friends who proved invaluable during the testing phase.

 ∇   What has been the most rewarding?

Definitely seeing the pics posted of all the little baba’s sleeping peacefully in their carriers. I had a really tough time during those first few weeks and there were a few special women who helped make my life a little easier by just genuinely caring and being there for me, so I try to instil the same values into every aspect of my business. It really warms my heart to see their photos and know that our carriers are serving a purpose and hopefully making life a little easier for those moms.

 ∇   What are the benefits of baby wearing?

There are too many to mention all of them here! We have a page on our website where you can find out more about the benefits of babywearing. My personal reasons for baby wearing would be number 1: no pram! You don’t have to worry about being stuck in a situation where you can’t get up a flight of stairs without help or trying to navigate a small shop and bashing something over or not fitting through a small gap. I remember times when I would be trying to do the shopping with a carseat in my one arm, trying to push the trolley with the other arm… it’s crazy and such a strain on your post baby body. Baby wearing just makes life so much simpler.

∇   Why hemp?

When I started researching what fabric I should use and playing with different offcuts, the hemp was just worlds above the other options in so many ways. It has a luxuriously soft feeling to it and  breathes beautifully so it keeps you and baby nice and cool, even during our hot South African summers. It’s also anti-microbial, UV resistant and is 3 times stronger than cotton making it a safe choice for babywearing, not to mention the impact that it has on our planet – hemp requires little water and no pesticides while its deep roots anchor and aerate the soil in which it’s grown.

∇   The toddler carrier allows you to carry your baby facing inwards on your front or on your back, but not facing outwards, which seems to be a popular choice these days. Why is this?

Yes, I get asked this question on a daily basis! For me personally, it also put a lot of extra strain on my lower back when I tried to carry Leo this way and it messed with my center of gravity, I felt unsteady on my feet and was worried that if I had to trip the first thing to hit the floor would be my baby’s face, so with all these factors at play I decided that it was not a position I would like to offer with our carriers. In my opinion it’s extremely important that baby wearing is 100% comfortable for mommy and baby.

When facing outwards, the baby generally hangs from the hip sockets, instead of being fully supported from hips to knees. According to The International Hip Dysplasia Institute; “The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.” This point is relevant whether you are wearing your baby facing outwards or inwards, which is why the Ubuntu Baba baby carriers have been ergonomically designed to support your baby from hip to knee from newborn through to toddlerhood. You can find more information about this on our website.

How to wear your baby.

∇   Tell us about the charity your business supports.

I chose charity: water as our charity because I did a birthday campaign with them a few years ago and I really loved the fact that you get to track your donation all the way and you get to see how your money has influenced the lives of others.

Find out more.

Ubuntu baba carrierheart – Grows with your baby – from newborn to 12kg’s

heartErgonomically designed with Mom & baby in mind

heartGentle on c-section healing

heartMade from Organic Hemp

organic hemp toddler carrier – heartGrows with your baby – from 8-20kgs

heartLeg out padding for extra toddler comfort


Wide ergonomic 38cm seat base for prolonged knee-to-knee support

heartFront carry (criss cross or rucksack straps) or back carry

heartWrap strap waistband (wear comfortably when pregnant & gentle on c-section healing)
heartMade from Organic Hemp


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  • Reply Lindy Pienaar November 22, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Toddler carrier

  • Reply Lindy Pienaar November 22, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Ubuntu baba toddler carrier

  • Reply Tanya Vos November 22, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Grey toddler carrier please! Looks amazing!

  • Reply mamaadmin November 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    This competition is closed. Good luck to those who entered!

  • Reply Samantha Boyce November 20, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I would choose the Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier as my baby boy is 10 kg’s and is getting very heavy to carry!

  • Reply tamryn November 20, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I would love the stage two toddler carrier:)

  • Reply Michelle von Schlicht November 20, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Looks like a very comfy carrier! would loooove the Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier. Have twins! 🙂

  • Reply Sumien de Villiers November 20, 2015 at 9:55 am

    This is stunning and since we live in the Northern Cape where it gets soooo hot the hemp sounds ideal! Would really love the Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier 🙂

  • Reply Adele November 20, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I would love the toddler carrier, my baby is only 4 months but quite a big baby so think that one would last us longer!! Love these!!

  • Reply Matt Futcher November 19, 2015 at 11:59 pm


  • Reply Wilanie Schoonbee November 19, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I would love the Ubuntu Baba Toddler carrier as our little girl is getting quite heavy nowadays. I think it’s a great feature to be able to use it when pregnant.

  • Reply Faith Swanevelder November 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    My little guy is getting big now so we’d love the Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier. I’m a ballet teacher for tots and every other carrier wrecks my back which is counter productive.

  • Reply Sofia puente November 19, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I would love a baba carrier. I’m 38 weeks preggy and also have a 2.5 year old and a 7 yr old so this would be a beautiful thing to teach my girls. I carried both my girls in carriers till 2.5 yrs and loved having them so protected and close to me ?

  • Reply Lisa Dribbin November 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier – we have been fortunate to be able to announce our pregnancy and this will assist us with all the items we need to get for our first little bundle of joy!

  • Reply Staci Brits November 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I would love a Stage 1 for my little girl – she’s only due in March 2016 but I know she will be super happy in the Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier! Pretty please…

  • Reply Ronel Prinsloo November 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I love carrying my babies, I believe babies who grow well are carried well. My breastfed baby has really bad reflux and has to be krpt upright all the time. The sling I used for my daughter a year ago is worn out and I need to replace it. I have been asking around and many Mommies have commented on how comfortable the baby carrier is for Mom and baby…

  • Reply Desiree-Anne Martin November 19, 2015 at 11:54 am

    My little Splodge is due in April 2016 so I would love the Ubuntu Baby Carrier please. My friends have them for their infants and have nothing but high praise for it. Thank you!

  • Reply Esti Swanepoel November 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I would love to win the stage 2 carrier. I have the stage 1 and it’s awesome although baby will soon be ready for the stage 2 🙂

  • Reply Marike du Plessis November 19, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I woul love the toddler carrier. I have been using the baby carrier and love it,

  • Reply Nicolene Olckers November 19, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Ah this is such a stunner idea and awesome carrier. Would love the toddler carrier to cary my sweetpea Jana with me, xxx

  • Reply Roxy Garvey November 19, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I would love the toddler carrier as I have been using the baby carrier and it’s awesome

  • Reply Tanja Booysen November 19, 2015 at 10:55 am

    The Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier would be awesome to have! I am 20 weeks pregnant with a little boy..

  • Reply Anonymous November 19, 2015 at 10:54 am

    The Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier would be awesome to have! I am 20 weeks pregnant with a little boy…

  • Reply Karin Steenkamp November 19, 2015 at 10:40 am

    We would love the toddler carrier – our baby girl has just crossed the 8kg mark and is now getting too big for the stretchy wrap. Baby wearing is awesome!

  • Reply Casey Quinton November 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I already own the lovely baby carrier but would love the toddler carrier.

  • Reply Simone Hiebner November 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    We LOVE our Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier {She’s asleep in hers right now – she just loves it, and we love having her so close!) – and winning the Toddler one for our growing girl would be amazing!

  • Reply Tanya Lochner November 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Definitely the toddler carrier – looks awesome!

  • Reply Julie Kynaston November 19, 2015 at 8:40 am

    This looks amazing! I would choose the Ubuntu Baba toddler carrier for my chunky 12kg Judah.

  • Reply Victoria Landey November 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier

  • Reply Sarah Jeggle November 19, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier ?

  • Reply Samantha Futcher November 19, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Ubuntu baba toddler carrier…. Because it’s awesome and has front carry option x

  • Reply Chanel Nothling November 19, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier

  • Reply sheetal bhoola November 18, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Ubuntu baba toddler carrier for me and my angel

  • Reply Dominique November 18, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Ubuntu baba toddler carrier (looks incredible!)

  • Reply Candice Lewis-Radloff November 18, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Ubunta baba toddler carrier

  • Reply Colleen newman November 18, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Ubuntu baba toddler Cartier please

  • Reply Tracy-lee Reid November 18, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Ubuntu toddler carrier

  • Reply Chrizanne de Beer November 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier

  • Reply Anel du Preez November 18, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    The Baby Carrier

  • Reply Simonne Smith November 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Ubuntu Baba toddler carrier

  • Reply Fatimah Patel November 18, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Toddler carrier

  • Reply Cindy Downing November 18, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Toddler carrier

  • Reply Mariske Deirdre Wimpey November 18, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Toddler carrier

  • Reply Susan Brand November 18, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Sorry! The toddler carrier 😛

  • Reply Susan Brand November 18, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Oh I would love to win the Ubuntu Baby Carrier. My little girl of 9 months is already 12 kilos, so I’ve already given up on front carriers as it kills my back! Being able to carry her on my back would be awesome!

  • Reply nadia beaumont November 18, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    i would love the ubuntu baba baby carrier as my daughter is 3 months old

  • Reply Peppa-Rae Aston Jewell November 18, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier 🙂

  • Reply Avashni Pillay November 18, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier please. I too am wearing my 8kg 6 month old in a stretchy wrap, and I can feel her weight now on my back and shoulders. Would love to continue wearing her, in a comfier way. Thanks.

  • Reply Kimberley O'Sullivan November 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Ubuntu baby carrier. I’m really picturing this for number two so we can start from the beginning again 🙂 love the idea of hemp and sulk and really admire Shannon for what she’s achieved.

  • Reply Chantelle Coombes November 18, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Ubuntu baba toddler carrier, absolutely love baby carrying but baba is getting too big for wrap

  • Reply Lizelle November 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier vir baba Daniel wat oppad is!! So mooi! En hy gan so lekker loop saam met my 🙂

  • Reply Pascale Cunningham November 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I would love to win the toddler carrier. I absolutely LOVE my Ubuntu baby carrier and still use it now, but being able to carry my 14 month old daughter on my back would be awesome.

  • Reply Aniqah von Waltsleben November 18, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I would love to win the Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier.

  • Reply Aneeqa Said November 18, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I would greatly appreciate the Stage 1 Baby Carrier for my newborn son 🙂

  • Reply Daleen Thornton November 18, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Would LOVE to win the toddler carrier for my little Olivia turning 1 on the 17th of Dec. 🙂 What a beautiful comfortable carrier. Holding thumbs. x

  • Reply Roxanne Punt November 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I would absolutely love to win the toddler carrier. My guy is going to be a year on the 30th November and would never go in the uncomfortable carriers in the shops. The carrier she designed looks amazing, and super comfy! Crossing fingers.

  • Reply Kate Posthumus November 18, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Ooh…what a tough call! I’d love the toddler carrier for my precious but heavy 14-month-old, and the newborn carrier would be amazing for the next little one that arrives next May. But pregnant and carrying a toddler swings it to the TODDLER CARRIER. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Natasha Allan November 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier 🙂

  • Reply Rozanne Morkel-Mong November 18, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Ububtu baba todler carrier

  • Reply Carol Groenewald November 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm


  • Reply melissa November 18, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Ubuntu baba baby carrier !

  • Reply Melanie Verlinde November 18, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Ubuntu Toddler Carrier 🙂 ♡

  • Reply Lizelle wait November 18, 2015 at 11:44 am

    The Ubuntu baba,baby carrier because it grows with your baby – from newborn to 12kg’s… Pregnant with twin boys would be amazing to win

    • Reply Carol Groenewald November 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      New born

  • Reply HANRIE FOURIE November 18, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier please!

  • Reply Marizanne Vletter November 18, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier 🙂

  • Reply Kiara Havenga November 18, 2015 at 9:23 am

    I would absolutely love the Ubuntu Baba Toddler Carrier please! 🙂

  • Reply Ina-Mari November 18, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I would love love love the toddler carrier! I love wearing our little girl, but she’s getting too active and heavy for the baby wrap.

  • Reply Lize Blom November 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier!

  • Reply Elri Pollard November 18, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Would love an Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier for our little person due May 2016!

  • Reply Cecilia Strydom November 18, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Ubuntu baba baby carrier. This wil be perfect for my 10 weeks old boy.

  • Reply Lucille November 18, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Ubuntu Baby Carrier

  • Reply Danya Potgieter November 18, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Ubuntu Baba baby carrier!

  • Reply Karen Marais November 18, 2015 at 8:56 am

    The Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier. Perfect to snuggly my little baba when she arrives.

  • Reply Lana Kruger November 18, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Ubuntu Baba baby carrier!!! It would be perfect for my 3 month old baby!!!

  • Reply Danica van Zyl November 18, 2015 at 8:46 am

    The Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier

  • Reply benita zive November 18, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I’m 39 weeks preggie and would love to snuggle my little love into an UBUNTU BABA BABY CARIER x

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