Ann Moore, an inventor who did a lot to improve American parents' bonding with their young children.
Moore, who grew up in Amish country in Ohio, and her husband Mike
worked as Peace Corps volunteers in the African nation of Togo in the
early 1960s. Moore saw local women taking their babies with them
everywhere -- with infants wrapped in shawls around the mothers' bodies
so the women could carry them hands-free. Not only did the arrangement
enable the mothers to get around, but both the women and their children
seemed calm and content. "I was more intrigued at the result of the
emotional well-being of those babies," she explains in a CBS News report.
After the Moores returned to the U.S. and had their first child,
Mandy, in 1964, Ann Moore tried to replicate what she had seen women in
Togo doing. To the doctors' and nurses' shock, she left the hospital
with her baby on her back, wrapped in a shawl she had brought back from
But Moore had trouble getting used to using the shawl as a baby
carrier. "It always seemed to slip down my back," she tells the Lemelson
Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in an interview. She and her mother decided to try improving upon the concept. The result was the first hand-sewn versions of what became the Snugli, which debuted commercially in 1969 and has become standard equipment for American parents.
Initially, however, other Americans who saw Moore wearing her baby on
her back as she rode her bicycle, cooked and ran errands were sometimes
dismayed. "Some people warned us that we would spoil our baby," she
recalls in the Lemelson interview. "But I thought that the more you
satisfy a baby's needs in the first year of life, the more the baby will
grow up to feel secure and loved."
It was a contrarian approach to the one forced upon previous
generations of mothers. ("There is such a thing as too much contact and
familiarity between mothers and children, and this is often observable
even in infants," an 1893 women's magazine article admonished.)
But Moore's intuition dovetailed with the new concept of attachment parenting
championed by pediatrician William Sears, who advised parents to have
plenty of contact with their young children and promoted the
psychological and developmental benefits of emotional bonding.
After marketing the Snugli, Moore went on create other valuble
innovations, such as a backpack for carrying portable oxygen tanks and
an ergonomically updated version of her original child-carrier, the Weego.