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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to activate your membership. Memberships can also be purchased at the topic meeting on Saturday, June 15th.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
If you’ve ever wondered more about our Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs), about each of our babywearing journeys, this post is for you!
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.
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.
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!
Today kicks off International Babywearing Week, which continues until the 14th. We are so so excited to be celebrating this as an official BWI group this year. Last year at this time, we were a new group, just starting out, working to build our carrier library. We celebrated with a walk at the mall to raise awareness of babywearing.
We talked to one lady about carriers. She wasn’t interested. Ha!
We’ve come soooo far since then — over 150 blog posts, dozens of meetups, dozens of members, over 40 carriers and growing,
four VBEs. Here’s what we’re doing to celebrate:
We got the mayor of Peoria to issue a proclamation, declaring it officially International Babywearing Week in Peoria.
We have tons of events
Tuesday- Check back here to learn more about each of our VBEs and their babywearing journeys.
Also, you can participate in the blog contest Babywearing International is putting on.Write a blog post about your babywearing journey or why babywearing is important to you and submit a link to email@example.com be entered in the contest. A link to your blog post will be shared on babywearinginternational.org
Wednesday- Babywearing International is partnering with The Babywearer again this year and is going to giveaway some AWESOME prizes and have lots of fun. Twitter party 1pm Central Time on Wednesday October 10th and at 9pm EST Saturday October 13th. Use hashtag #IBW2012 and start gathering your pictures to share for a chance to win some awesome prizes! (Hints for pictures: Something old, something new, something awkward, and dads on the move!)
Thursday- Make and Take Sewing Event. Come flex your sewing muscles as we make a project in honor of International Babywearing Week! Two projects offered: drool pads (for carriers) or drool scarves. Don’t have a drooling baby? Make one as a gift! Don’t know how to sew? No problem, we’ll show you!
Bring a friend- this will be fun!
*Projects will take approximately 30 minutes to make; you do not need to stay the entire 2 hours.
*Please bring or plan to purchase fabric for your project- approx. 1/4 yard of a cute print/solid and a small, old towel (or 1/4 yard terrycloth). For the drool pads, you will also need about 6 inches of hook/loop.
*Prairie Points will offer a 10% discount on fabric you purchase that night.
*Please let me know if you have a machine to bring.
*Example of a drool pad: http://www.etsy.com/
*Example of the drool scarf: http://www.etsy.com/
Then, Saturday night at 8 pm, Babywearing International will be doing another Twitter party to win great prizes. Remember to use #ibw2012 and direct your comments @Thebabywearer and @BabywearingIntl in your tweets
Those of you who follow our Facebook page may have noticed my pic the other day of myself wearing 2 toddlers, my own and one I babysit. Several people posted to ask how I did it, so I banged out a quick tutorial at our recent park playdate. I am wearing an 18 month old and a 15 month old in my size 6 Hopp (I’d call it a long 6). We do have a Hoppediz in our lending library as well.
I start off with child 2 on my back. He is in a rucksack carry that is not yet tied off.
I use my arm to make space in the straps where I will put baby
Holding baby in a high burp position, I reach underneath and bring her leg through. She ends up with the X on her bottom. I spread the crosses so that baby is supported. (See the Front Cross Carry tutorial if you need more detailed instructions on that carry.)
Then, I tie a knot behind her back. I’ve also tied under her bottom and I’ve seen it tied in between baby and wearer.
The view from the front
I like this carry because I feel like each baby is well supported, but they aren’t pulling on each other as much as some other ways to wear two in one wrap.
The only drawback is that if the baby on the back wants off, you have to take down the front baby, too.
Tips and Tricks – Ring Position
We previously talked about theading and sizing your ring slings (http://bwiofpeoria.org/
As you can see, I am first sizing my ring sling by adjusting it to the distance between my shoulder and hips.
I like to carry on my left hip, so I put my left arm and head through the sling.
I want to end up with my rings in a high corsage position. To do this, I am actually going to line up the seam of the ring sling with the seam of my shirt. If you are new to ring slings, you may actually want to start with it a little behind the seam of your shirt.
Then you place your baby in the carrier. This is 14 month old T. As always, make sure you get a good seat.
To tighten the carrier, pull the top rail horizontal instead of down
If you need to tighten the bottom rail, you can pull it down.
Then spread the fabric wide over you back and over your shoulder as comfortable.
As you can see, my rings ended up in the high corsage position and my baby is secured nice, tight and close enough to kiss.