Babywearing on the Cheap: Saturday August 17th 2013 Meeting Topic

Our group meets the first Monday and the third Saturday of every month. The Monday meetings are open help times to try on carriers and get help with carriers you may already own. The Saturday meetings usually have a topic presented by one of our VBE’s or a guest speaker for the first 30 minutes of the meeting. Our latest topic was “Babywearing on the Cheap”. Once the topic is presented the meeting opens up to open help. There is a VBE at each “carrier station” to help you try on carriers.

Our VBE Courtney started us off this past Saturday’s meeting talking about how you can babywear within a budget you are comfortable with. The comparison of cars was presented as in some people drive porches and others drive a more affordable car. Baby carriers are the same way, there are offerings at just about any price point. At the bottom is the handout that was given out at the meeting. Carriers with an asterisk are available in our lending library.

If you are in the market for a soft structure carrier (SSC) on a budget The Boba Air which is one of lending library’s most recent carriers is of the most affordable SSC on the market, available new for under $75. For under $100 the Action Baby Carrier, Pognae, Moby Go and Connecta are available. Most of these are available in our lending library. Our lending library also offers the Boba 3G, Ergo, Onya, Scootababy, and Tula all for under $150. Other carriers available for that under $150 are the Beco, Catbird Baby Pikkolo, Angelpack and BabyHawk.

Mei Tais are another option you can find at affordable prices. For under $100 Kozy and Catbird Baby are avaiable to try in our library and the BabyHawk is another option. For under $150 our lending library hosts a Chimparoo Mei Tai.

Ring Slings are available for under $75 such as a Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) or the Maya Wrap Ring Sling. Our library has an SBP carrier. For under $100 there are ring slings offered by Sakura Bloom, Snuggly Baby, Comfy Joey, BBSling all available in our library. Chimparoo also offers a ring sling fo under $100.

Woven Wraps are avaiable at many different price points, there are many that are available on a budget. For under $75 there is Walter’s Organic and The Wrap Nap Fairy. Our Library has a Wrapsody Bali Breeze, Colimacon et Cie (C & C) and a Chimparoo woven wrap all available new for under $100. Also available under $100 are Amazonas. Under $150 offers many more options. Our library has a Doncino, Hoppediz, Girasol, BBSleen and Didymos that could all be found for $150. Also available for $150 would be Storchenwiege, Easy Care and Little Frog.

All of the above are available for new at the prices mentioned but you might be able to find many of them at a similar or even lower price second hand. Although you should keep in mind that babycarriers do hold their market value. For buying used carriers some great resources include the “Babywearing Swap” group on Facebook as well as the “Babywearing on a Budget” another Facebook Group. Thebabywearer.com has forums for buying, selling and trading as well.

Many people often wonder if they could just make something or Do-it-Yourself (DIY). There are many DIY options that our VBE Kirsteen discussed at the meeting. A stretchy wrap is an easy DIY project as no sewing skills are required, as they can be made from Stretchy Jersey fabric that does not fray. A DIY wrap can also be made but does require sewing as it would need to be made from medium or bottom weight Linen, Cotton or Osenburg are the most commonly used. These fabric would need to be hemmed. Another DIY project that requires just a big more skill is the DIY Ring Sling. The same fabrics that can used for a woven wrap could also be used to make a ringsling. The key to making a DIY ringsling is quality materials like the use of gutermann thread. The rings for a DIY ring sling should be purchased from slingrings.com, which are tested for babywearing the rings should NOT be welded rings. Mei Tais and SSC could also be a DIY project but would need to only be attempted by someone with a relatively good experience with sewing. DIY Mei Tai’s can even be constructed from a table cloth as long as their is only a diagonal stretch not a horizontal or vertical stretch tot he fabric. http://www.sleepingbaby.net/ is a great resource for more in-depth DIY infomation and patterns.

Our VBE’s are avaiable at the meetings to answer or offer suggestions for any questions you may have. Attending a meeting is really best way to find out what carrier works for you. As our VBE Beth likes to say, Carriers are like jeans, what might fit me will probably not fit you. Babywearing can be an expensive hobby but there are many ways in which you can keep your baby close and still stay within your personal budget.

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Poppin’s Hip Carry Video Tutorial

The first carry that I was able to successfully nurse in, using a woven wrap was the Poppin’s Hip Carry. I also think it’s a very pretty carry and has therefore become a favorite of mine. The classic Poppin’s Hip Carry is tied under the baby’s bum but for aesthetic reasons and because I feel I can get it just a bit more secure, I prefer to tie it in the back, as in behind my back. A Poppin’s Hip Carry can really be done with any size woven wrap depending on the size of mom and the size of baby. I learned this carry using my base size of a 5 and I found it easier to learn to do with a larger wrap. Once I got the hang of it, I have done it in a longer size 2 and in a size 3 comfortably. The baby still needs seat support from knee to knee in this carry as with any carry so when making your seat please keep the gentle M position in mind. Also keep in mind for nursing you may want to keep baby just a bit lower than “close enough to kiss” once baby has finished nursing you can undo the 2nd knot in your double knot and tighten up a bit to raise baby back up. I tend to just wear baby a tad low just enough to nurse in this carry. Nursing in any carry, especially a woven wrap takes a lot of practice, I still do not feel as tho I have completely mastered it. Below is my video tutorial for Poppin’s Hip Carry tied in back.

http://youtu.be/UIqX1toMdD0

Poppin’s Hip Carry Video Tutorial

Lydia

We’re back with some tutorial videos!!!

If you are local to Peoria, IL, you know that, though our blog has been languishing, our group has been growing. Babywearing International of Peoria still has meeting twice a month. Check out our Facebook page and Facebook chat group for more info on our events. With our growing membership, we’ve found some new volunteers and hope to get back to at least semi-regular blogging. I’m very excited to introduce a new volunteer who will be doing some tutorial videos! She isn’t a VBE yet, but she’s very enthusiastic and is learning fast.

Bio
Hi, I’m Lydia a mom to a 5 year old daughter and a 7 month old daughter. I am relatively new to babywearing but have dove in head first. I did not really know anything about babywearng with my first daughter– using a hot sling fitted pouch and a bjorn style carrier. When I had my second daughter along with two dogs I knew that there had to be a better way to keep my baby close and still be able to accomplish my daily responsibilities. I started out with a Moby, but when we moved into the an apartment, completely new to Peoria with warm weather approaching, I needed better options to use when taking my dogs on walks. I went to the local Target and bought an Ergo, which to me was my gateway to babywearing. I found our local group through a google search and connected with them on Facebook. I soon discovered so many more options existed and I wanted to try them all. A ring sling was next, followed by a woven wrap (or a few). Between video tutorials and hands on help at the local BWI Peoria meetings I became pretty obsessed with babywearing. I cannot go a single day without babywearing multiple times a day. I babywear for dog walks, cleaning, grocery shopping, breastfeeding, snuggling and just to walk from my front door to the car!
When I really started learning about woven wraps and wrapping the name of the carry that I heard tossed around so often was “The Double Hammock”, abbreviated DH. After much practice with front carries, I was feeling very comfortable with my woven wrap. I moved on to back carries. My first truly successful back carry was a double hammock; it felt so secure with my barely 6 month old baby girl. Below are a few video tutorials that are all about the double hammock. All three videos are done using our lending library’s Ellevill Zara Blossom size 6. A double hammock is not a beginning carry but can be accomplished with practice. This carry can be done with any woven wrap size 4 to 7 depending on the size of wearer and baby.  This first video will walk you through the steps of a double hammock. This video uses a hip scoot with the seat made on my hip. Remember to start off center of the middle marker as mentioned in the video.
This next video is a variation on a double hammock. This video uses 2 sling rings to secure the tails of the double hammock at the chest pass versus tying off. This is a double hammock double rings or abbreviated DHDR. Only rings from slingrings.com should be used for babywearing as they are weight tested. Never use welded rings for babywearing! This variation is my all time favorite. Since the carry is secured right at the chest belt there is no need to tie off. Therefore, this carry can me done with a woven wrap of pretty much any size 2  and up, depending on the size of wearer and baby as well as how much tail you don’t mind having left over. This variation also starts off center
This final double hammock video I always think of as “oops I wanted to do a double hammock”. This varaition starts at the middle marker and ties at the shoulder or can be tied with a candy cane chest belt. Tied at the should is abbreviated DHTAS and the candy cane chest belt variation is abbreviated DH w/ CCCB. This, like the orginal double hammock, can be done with a woven wrap size 4 to 7. I like to do this variation when I already have baby on my back with the middle marker at baby’s back and realize… oh wait I wanted to do a double hammock, now what? A double hammock can still be done with this variation.
Please remember that all back carries must be done with a  woven wrap, not a stretchy wrap. It is also a good idea to have a spotter or to attempt this over a soft surface if you are not experienced with back wrapping. Hopefully these videos help you find the love for the double hammock.

June Membership Drive!


Are you new to BWI and wondering what it’s all about? Or maybe you’ve been a part of the group for a while and want to know how you can help and reap the benefits for less than one cup of coffee a month?
BWI of Peoria is a chapter of Babywearing International that is operated by Volunteer Babywearing Educators. They are certified through the organization so you are guaranteed expert help when you come to a meeting. Yearly memberships are always available for $30/year and normally half of each membership goes back to BWI with the other half staying within our own chapter.
But for the month of June, the entire $30 membership, which breaks down to only $2.50/month, stays with the Peoria chapter. This is great for everyone involved as it allows more carriers to be added to the lending library, which means more of a selection to see what you really love. Even then, it’s always great to see what else is available, which is possible with a membership. After you’ve been to two events, you have the option to checkout any of the carriers until the next event (roughly two weeks). You can then check out a new carrier. In essence, you can continually have one of nearly 50 of the lending library’s carriers!
You may have a carrier, or 10, but still need/want something different for an event you have coming up. Going to the waterpark and want to use a water sling? Or maybe you have a wedding and want to keep your shy little one close in a silk sling that goes with your attire. It’s vacation time and maybe you’re heading to Disney and know your big preschooler won’t be able to walk the whole day and want to check out a sturdy tote. With a membership, you have access to all the carriers for all of life’s events.
So if you’ve been wondering about the group, have been contemplating a membership, or need to renew, now is the time! Feel free to contact a VBE at info@bwiofpeoria.org for more information or to activate your membership. Memberships can also be purchased at the topic meeting on Saturday, June 15th.

What Can You Do While Babywearing? Be on the News!

By B

Last week, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a local news show, Living Well, about our group and International Babywearing Week. I wore my daughter during the interview. Despite being in a strange new environment, with bright lights, strange machines and plenty of strangers, she was content, thanks to babywearing.

Here’s a clip of the interview.

 

Ergo Reviews and Comparison

By HD

Interested in an Ergo but confused about which one you want to buy?  I had the opportunity to try out 3 different Ergo styles to find out just what the differences are.

Ergo carriers are soft structured buckle carriers that are great long haul carriers (infant through toddler).  All three have sleeping hoods and the Performance and Organic both have a zipper closed pocket for carrying small items on the body of the carrier.  They come in a variety of colors (depending on the model) and are easily adjustable between multiple wearers.

Ergo carriers are easy to find, you can buy them online and through local retailers like Target and Babies R Us.  These carriers are a popular choice among both moms and dads!


Performance

The Performance is the sturdiest carrier of the three.  The shoulder straps, waist strap and body are more contoured and fit a little differently that the Sport or the Organic.  The inside of the carrier has a mesh water resistant liner that is breathable and helps pull moisture away from baby in hot weather or on long walks or hikes where the parent may become hot.

I used this carrier a few times during my older son’s soccer practice (when the temperature was in the 90’s) and did not feel as hot as I would in other soft structured carriers.

Sport

The Sport is surprising light weight and takes up less space than the other two types.  The hood on this carrier is also easily removable with buttons snaps.  It folds up a little smaller and would be great for throwing in a diaper bag.  My son also felt much lighter in this carrier than in the other two.  This carrier was great for doing things like housework and yard work because of the weight.  There is also a vent in the body of the carrier that is supposed to keep baby cooler.


Organic

The Organic is the most comfy of the three.  The fabric is a little softer and it has a bit more fabric in the body than the others.

This is just a great for anytime carrier, although not as cool as the Performance or as compact as the Sport, this was my favorite (and my son’s favorite) of the three.  This carrier just works for everything from snuggling to hiking.  I also love the vibrant prints.

If you would like to try the different Ergo styles for yourself, join us at a monthly meeting or open help hours!

*Credits on the babywearing pictures to my four-year old son.

Babywearing Journeys

If you’ve ever wondered more about our Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs), about each of our babywearing journeys, this post is for you!

B’s story

Before my son was born in early 2008, I did a little reading and knew I wanted to wear him. I bought a padded sling and got a front pack from a friend. I thought we were all set! When he was born, we tried the carriers out. They really didn’t work like I expected them to. They were uncomfortable, hard to adjust, and I wasn’t always sure he was positioned correctly. Sometimes, they even felt unsafe. I did a little research online and decided to buy a pouch. We watched the videos, read the instructions. We were all set this time! No, he hated it. We could not find a comfortable position for him. I did more research, found TheBabyWearer.com, a community of passionate babywearing parents from around the world. I decided to try a wrap. Finally, babywearing clicked for us! Soon, I bought a mei tai, too. Since then, I’ve come to love every style of carrier for its own unique purpose. I’ve tried dozens and dozens of brands and researched many others. I wore my son nearly daily for the first 2.5 years of his life, well into my pregnancy with his sister. When she was born, I really was all set. I got more practice tandem wearing and perfected nursing a newborn in many styles of carriers. At 1 year old, she is worn daily and sometimes tandem worn with her brother or a friend.

I started doing babywearing education, informally, when my son was 1.5. I knew the value of trying carriers on with hands on help and how hard to find it was in our area. I did presentations to private groups, small and large, in homes, playgroups and  childbirth classes and staffed booths at women’s and parenting festivals. I met our other VBEs along the way and they became involved in educating, one by one. In 2011, we decide to form a BWI group. I’m at nearly every meeting, demonstrating different carriers with my now 1 year old daughter and sometimes with her 4.5 year old brother.  I love how easy babywearing has made the transition to two children and I love helping others to enjoy the closeness and ease the babywearing provides.

KSC is on babymoon with new baby girl, A. She started doing babywearing education with B in 2010 and is a founding VBE and co-leader for BWI of Peoria.

By CS

My Babywearing Journey

Before I ever had my kids, I was downtown at a Farmer’s Market and I saw a mom wearing a child.  I believe it was the first time I had ever seen anyone babywearing and I remember thinking it was so cool.  She was using a green woven wrap in a front carry and busily doing her shopping.  She didn’t have a stroller slowing her down, she look so confident, at ease and her child looked so content.  That is how I want to be a mother and I knew that I was going to have to research babywearing.  

Fast forward till I am pregnant with my daughter and taking Bradley Classes in preparation for her birth.  The Bradley Method is taught in a series of 12 classes.  I can’t tell you how many of the classes featured the instructor or her husband wearing their youngest daughter.  They used ring slings primarily and further cemented the idea of babywearing in my mind.

I started researching the topic and came across a article recommending the New Native Pouch.  I ended up purchasing this carrier to try with my daughter.  In retrospect, this was not the right carrier for me and I wish that I had tried other carriers before purchasing.    Luckily shortly after, I did have an opportunity to see many carriers.  My birth class had a reunion and our Bradley Instructor had arranged for a presentation by our very own Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE) B.  This was the first time that I had met B and she walked our class through the different types of carriers and then gave some one-on-one help.  After some email help from B as well, I ended up purchasing my first woven wrap – a storchenwiege.

I have added another child as well as many more carriers to my collection.  I advocate babywearing to all of the pregnant people I know.  Just recently I was certified as a VBE myself.  I look forward to increasing my knowledge and to helping to spread babywearing to other parents as well. 

HD’s story

I have been babywearing for over 4 years.  I have two boys, ages 4 and 18 months.  Before I was even pregnant with my first child, I knew that I wanted to babywear.  Once I started researching babywearing and the benefits, I was completely sold.  My first carrier was an Ergobaby SSC with an infant insert and I started wearing my son right away.  I loved being so close to him, with all the conveniences, like having my hands free and nursing coverage.  At that point in time, I knew zero people who were babywearers and I rarely saw anyone in my community wearing their child.  When my son was a few months old, I met a small group of like minded mamas and my babywearing interest grew as I discovered other types of carriers such as ring slings, pouches and wraps.  Soon I had a carrier for several occasions and to match my clothes!  I continued to wear my older son throughout most of the pregnancy with my second son and even still occasionally wear him.  By the time my second child was born, I was fully immersed in the local babywearing community and even helping promote awareness of a small local group.  A few of us decided to bring our group to the next level and become part of Babywearing International.  At first, I helped with paperwork and promotional things, but have since become a Volunteer Babywearing Educator.  I love introducing and helping new moms and dads find a new lifestyle in babywearing.  I am sad that my “baby”wearing journey had ended, but happy that I still have a few more years of “toddler”wearing to enjoy!