Monday, March 15, 2010

Just what does one DO at a Babywearing Meeting?

This is a question I hear often.  How do you meet about babywearing?  Well, let me give you an overview of what you might do at a meeting:

1. Learn about carrier types
Confused about what type of carrier would work best for you?  Not sure what makes a pouch or ring sling different from a mei tai or soft structured carrier.  Confused how wraps work?  Wonder which style will be best for spring hikes, or which will look nice at your cousin's June wedding?  We have examples and can help you choose a style that works with your needs.  You can also make use of our extensive library to try carriers and determine which one  (or two, or three, or ten - okay, some of MAY have a FEW too many carriers, but don't tell our husbands) is right for you.

2. Learn how to wear a newborn, infant, or toddler safely and comfortably
Babywearing is a skill, and like all skills, it requires instruction and practice.  Since it is a skill involving your baby, it really isn't one that should be left up to trial and error.  While pressing the wrong keys on your first computer might cause you to wipe the hard drive, incorrect babywearing could lead to injury for your little one.  Hands on help is the easiest way to learn how to use carriers correctly and safely.  There are at least two Certified Volunteer Babywearing Educators at each of our meetings ready to share their knowledge and skills. 

3. Learn new carries with carriers you already use
Ready to move on to hip or back carries?  Trying to master nursing in a sling?  Need to learn to wear 2?  Now is the chance!  Babywearing meetings are a great place to troubleshoot new carries or to find a solution to a wearing problem you are having.  For example, we often have people come into their first meeting stating that they LOVE their stretchy wrap at home and wish they could use it out of the house, but it is so hard to wrap in the parking lot.  The new mommy brain is clogged with so much information that the suggestion of, "wrap before you leave the house" is often met with a lightbulb moment and mama saying, "why didn't I think of that?"  We aren't going to teach you rocket science, but we can help you get through your daily tasks more easily.

4. Make friends for yourself AND your children
Babywearing meetings are also a place where parents can just hang out and chat, about the weather, about the newest infant development ideas, and about which store sells the best tomatoes.  For new parents, often the opportunity to have a conversation with other adults about ANYTHING is worth it's weight in gold.  For your children, they can grow to have good friends that they enjoy seeing and playing with at the meetings.  Some meetings we even go to a nearby playground and let the kids loose.

5. Discover the secrets of the mom who has it all together
I'll be honest, usually the secret is that she doesn't really have it all together. But sometimes a tip or trick picked up at a babywearing meeting is the thing that has everyone in your family admiring how cleverly you handle your little one, and the big family dinner.  And often, the best thing in the world as a new parent is to realize that the other parents don't know some magic formula that they forgot to tell you about at delivery.  But if we combine our collective knowledge, we can each become a better parent.

Hopefully this overview has enticed you to attend a meeting.  We have a lot of fun, learn a lot, and make some great friends.  The moms and dads I have met through Beltway Babywearers are kind, friendly, helpful, and are always willing to laugh at me, lest I get too impressed with myself.

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