Monday, June 14, 2010

3rd International Babywearing Conference - Idaho 2010

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd International Babywearing Conference. I'm going to try to cover the conference in detail, so it may take a few posts. :)

Day 1
The first day of the conference consisted of going to Yellowstone National Park.    It is amazing and gorgeous.  It definitely merits the hype.  And it's the perfect place to babywear.  There are signs warning about not wandering onto the thermal plain, and there is uneven ground to navigate.  Keeping a baby or toddler out of the dangerous parts is important!  That pool of water is stunning, but hot, definitely not a place for a loose baby or toddler.  I even caught Old Faithful erupting!  I went back on the last day, but I'll get to that later. 

 Day 2
The first day of actual conference classes!  My first class was Wrapping 3 with Kristi!  In this class, Kristi Hayes-Devlin of Wrapsody Baby taught a class that focused on the 3 basic styles of carries: rucksack, rebozo, and torso.  Then each named "wrap style" that we talk about is just a variation of those.  She pointed out that once you learn basic wrap carry safety, you can adjust carries in any way you want to suit your needs and comfort.  This class was a lot of fun, and it was very interesting to see an approach to wrapping that didn't obsess on when the wrap goes over or under baby's legs and instead focused on the flexibility of wrapping.  I also discovered a super cool way of tying off that I need to play with.  Kelly demoed tying each end into a slip knot on her ruck shoulders.  Another wearer demoed a pretty way of twisting the wrap across your chest to tie at the opposite shoulder. 

That afternoon I took another class with Kristi and Sam Tower of the Rigby Police Department.  We discussed the value of being able to use non-carrier items as carriers in emergency situations.  Those emergencies can be both real emergencies like floods, fires, or injuries; but they could also be minor emergencies like being a mile from the car when your toddler runs out of steam on the beach and you need to use a beach towel to torso carry him back.  We discussed using found items like blankets, towels, scarves, or clothing to carry baby in an emergency.  Then Officer Tower demonstrated the uses of a carrier in an emergency that aren't carrying a baby. As he pointed out, some of us often have a few carriers with us and they can be used for a variety of things.  Carrying an injured adult - while not the intended use, most good carriers could probably do it.  Making a tourniquet, making a splint, making an arm sling (like a triangle bandage), tying a child in place if needed (flood situations), creating a grip line to cross water, lowering child from a window in a fire situation, the uses go on!  This was a really great class.  I encourage everyone to master a torso carry and a shawl carry for use in emergencies.

That afternoon there was the keynote address by Kelley Davis Mason of Kozy.  Kelley talked about her journey into natural parenting choices.  She talked about how she always expected that she would parent like she was parented.  She expected she would spank, use time outs, diaper, stroller, use swings, exersaucers, etc.  Then after the birth of her oldest she found she slowly started to change based on his needs.  She told of the amazing story when she needed to get wood for the wood stove and kept trying to put her baby in the car seat on the porch.  But the baby kept crying, she didn't want to leave him cry, but she needed to get wood or the whole family would be cold.  She went searching online, saw some pictures of a traditional Asian style carrier and went to her fabric pile and made her first mei tai.  Kelley said at the time she didn't even know the term mei tai.  She made a few more, making changes along the way, until she decided it was perfect.  Thus the birth of the Kozy Mei Tai.

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