Despite how it may sound, "babywearing" is not a bizarre new fashion fad.
It's part of a hands-on parenting movement that's found its way to the Fargo-Moorhead area, where over 560 moms and dads are now members of the new Babywearing International of Fargo-Moorhead (BWI FM), according to its Facebook profile.
And true to the spirit of the new organization, many attendees came with their little ones strapped to their backs in wraps or slings.
"When I'm with (my kids), the ability to wear them allows me to bond with them in a way I couldn't otherwise," Marilea Bramer told the Forum. "Plus, I get stuff done."
So, why wear your baby?
Beyond keeping a parent's hands free and assuring an infant is always attended to, research shows the practice of babywearing can have health benefits for both parent and child, according to Babywearing International.
The group says the practice promotes bonding between the two, and helps babies to "sleep, feed, and grow better."
It may help parents sleep better, too – BWI points to a study that shows 6-week-olds who are "worn" by their parents cry 43 percent less than other children.
Additionally, babywearing helps reduce postpartum depression, the organization says.
The trend is apparently catching on throughout the region – according to Wrap Your Baby, an online "baby wrap" store, there are babywearing groups in Duluth, Mankato, the Twin Cities and other areas around Minnesota.
The practice is part of a movement called "attachment parenting," based on a theory which holds that constant closeness helps infants form healthy attachments and avoid a number of potential behavioral problems later in life, WebMD says.
As the site points out, however, there are criticisms of the theory, including the fact that much of it is based on animal research going back decades; meanwhile, some argue attachment parenting creates "overdependent" children.