Our series on our Volunteer Babywearing Educators continues...
Name/Age of Child/ren: I have two boys. V is three and E is 19 months.
What jobs, activities, hobbies, volunteer work, etc. did you do before kids? Do you still do that thing?
I have been the Director of Children’s Worship at Fairfax Community Church since 2007. I direct three creative teaching & musical worship environments as part of a team that mobilizes 150 volunteers to serve nearly 600 kids each weekend. Before my call to vocational ministry, I worked in corporate writing and editing. I channel those skills into helping our BWI chapter and blogging at More Green for Less Green. I also am an accredited Attached at the Heart Parent Educator.
When did you start babywearing?
I practiced wrapping while pregnant and I started wearing my oldest a day after he was born. Although I had a woven wrap, I brought a Moby to the hospital and used that.
Did you know you were going to wear before you had kids, or what prompted you to try it?
Based on raves in the blog of an Australian woman I met in an online forum, I decided that I wanted to use woven wraps well before I was even pregnant with V. I’d never seen anything so beautiful as a Girasol rainbow wrapped around a baby. Before V was born I received a Neobulle cotton wrap in Simon (blue and brown stripes). I registered for it because of the gender-neutral look and lower price point, but I lucked into something amazing. It was soft right out of the package and had contrasting rails which are great for learning with.
Who was the person who most influenced your babywearing and what did they do that was so influential?
Can I have two?
#1 Ann Marie Rodgerson – I showed up to my first BWI meeting with 5 week old V who wanted to nurse and snuggle 24/7. Because of extreme pelvic instability, I couldn’t hold baby in my arms and walk without excruciating pain. I also couldn’t push a stroller. It was wear him or nothing, but the Moby wasn’t cutting it for comfort. I wasn’t able to eat, drink, or use the bathroom without my little snuggle bug losing it, which meant I was losing it. Ann Marie showed me how to use my woven wrap and how to nurse in it. I left the meeting, went home, and ate food while my baby ate (again). I cried tears of joy and came to as many meetings as I could from them on.
#2 Lindsay Killick who worked with me over and over again on a symmetrical-starting double hammock (DH) as my first back carry. DH is a tricky first back carry, let alone having a different way to start it, but it was a must for my special support needs. DH revolutionized my life! I was able to do so much more with baby a back carry. Since my kids regularly come to work with me, mobility is key.
If someone took away all of your carriers and said they were handing you a newborn and you could only choose ONE carrier from birth until the end of wearing, what would you choose? A woven wrap, for sure. More specifically, I’ll go with Didymos Fire Fish, size 5. I have a buttery size 6 one now that I love, but it is a tad long.
Which carrier do you find you return to time and again, whether it be for each newborn, or just a consistent workhorse?
Girasol Amitola yellow weft, size 5. It is such a cheerful rainbow that it perks up any day, and the cotton does well year-round. It’s my deserted island wrap: breathable, beautiful, hides dirt, would make a lovely hammock, is comfortable from newborn to toddler.
Tell me a story of a time that babywearing made a huge difference in the outcome of a family outing.
Cruising while babywearing has been great. Read about it here and here.
What is your favorite thing to do while wearing?
Working and/or nursing! I love that I get to bring my kids to work with some of the time. Babywearing makes productivity and nursing while on-the-go possible.
What is your least favorite thing to do while wearing?
Bending over. Even in a back carry and bending with my knees, my little guy just hates it. He always has. I recently got a grabber to help me pick things up from the floor.
Why did you decide to become a VBE?
I love babywearing; I love connecting people to resources; I love teaching in large group settings. I think it is important to do volunteer work at every stage of life, and this fits the kid-friendly bill. I suppose the better question is how could I NOT be a VBE?
What is your favorite thing about being a VBE for BWI of DC-MD-VA?
I love those moments when caregiver and child click with the right carrier for them. I can look at them and tell it just clicks. If baby falls asleep out of the perfection of the moment—great! Sometimes these magic moments happen with a carrier the family brought with them that just needed some tweaks and other times it is connecting with an eye-opening library carrier.