Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Costumes, Carriers, and Cons, oh my!

Three years ago my brother and his girlfriend went to a sci-fi/fantasy/gaming/anime/all things nerd convention called Dragon*Con and came home with all sorts of stories about the fun that they had meeting authors and tv stars and artists and musicians and hanging out with thousand s of people who like the same things that they like.  My husband and I thought this sounded like a great idea and decided that we HAD to go next year.  Of course, we found out we were pregnant just a few weeks later but after a lot of waffling we decided that, seeing that he’d be 3 months old, he’d never be more portable.  It turned out to be a good choice.  We had a blast even if we did take it a bit easier than we would have if we weren’t parents.
At only a few months old, 1 Up baby enjoys his first Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con is a huge event with some 50,000+ geeks and nerds in attendance with events taking place in 5 different hotels in a 2 block radius in downtown Atlanta.  With that many people in so few hotels it is very crowded and pushing a stroller in those crowds would have been challenging and I guarantee I would have hit people and people would have tripped over the stroller.  The crowds could also have been frightening for a little baby in a low stroller where he can’t see anything but strangers.  But with baby F snuggled up on mom or dad’s chest he was in his happy place and nothing bothered him.  
Supernan needed a little nap

Dr. Who in the Tardis
F leans to see the Rainbow Brite gang
A stroller would also have made things hard because of the way all of the hotels are set up, with escalators to take you to the various ballroom levels where the events are held.  There ARE elevators but since those same elevators are the ones struggling to take so many people up to their rooms and the lines to get on an elevator are sometimes 40 or 50 minutes long.  We avoided the elevators entirely by asking for a room on a low floor so when we needed to go back to our room it was a simple matter of climbing a few flights of stairs.

It’s a 4 day event and baby F barely cried.  He nursed, napped, and snuggled through panels, lectures, book readings, shows, and concerts.  Because he was being worn it was easy to read his cues and meet his needs while participating in Con events.  I think it actually helped us hit a groove with baby F.

We have now been to Dragon*Con 3 times with F, who is now 2.  Wearing has made it, if not possible, then certainly more practical.  The second time, when he was 15 months he needed his happy place on Mommy or Daddy’s back even more than the first year to cope with the crowds and new situations because since he was older he noticed the different situations a lot more than he did at 3 months.  He’s pretty outgoing but anyone can get overwhelmed.  This year we were sadly unable to get a room in one of the main hotels (they sold out in the first 10 minutes) and had to stay in one that was several blocks away which would have made going back to the room for nap time hard and meant we had to miss things.  We would have done it if F had needed us to but since we had a carrier he just snuggled, sometimes nursed, to sleep in the carrier each day at about lunch time.  It was really cool to have him up on my back this year as we walked around and he could see all of the people in costumes.  It
Our mei tai saved the day at a mall with no highchairs
was really cool to be able to hear him pointing out pirates and girls dressed as My Little Pony characters and turtles (ninja turtles, but he just saw turtles) and the guy dressed as a lego minifigure, etc.  I wouldn’t have been able to hear him over the crowd if he had been in a stroller and he wouldn’t have been able to see anything of the people around him but knees, thighs, and behinds.  We don’t wear nearly as much as we used to but with the crowding at Dragon*Con we simply couldn’t let him walk by himself but with the right carrier we were able to wear him comfortably even though he is a seriously huge 40+ pound 2 year old.  We are planning to go again next year and while I’m sure we’ll let him walk occasionally, when we are in places with less crowding, we’ll still wear him in the really jammed crowds because I don’t think it’s very safe.  It’s much safer for him to be securely on my back where he can’t be trampled or wander off.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Babywearing at Home

While babywearing when traveling can yield spectacular photos -- "Baby's first trip to the Grand Canyon" -- and fervent devotion to carriers -- "I never would have gone there if I used a stroller" -- I find that the best place to wear my baby is at home.

Yes, at home.
Consider an average weekday in my family, with two kids to get out the door to school and one crawling, would-be-cruiser. If I carry the littlest one, she will not get stepped on by everyone hurriedly dashing about. I do not have to worry about her getting into the dishwasher. We avoid the choking hazards as the big sisters decide to dump the Legos or play a board game on the floor in the few minutes I take to scramble them up some eggs. Also, because the baby is attached to me, and at this stage she is on my back, she has a great view of all the action, freeing up my hands for buttons, zippers, shoelaces, and hairbrushing. Wearing-carrying her also allows me to grab all sorts of things as we head out the door -- "Oh wait, my phone/grocery list/library books/bills to mail/etc."

When it comes to chores, I find it much easier to sweep without a crawling baby chasing the broom and sitting in the pile of dirt and crumbs. The noise of vacuuming is somewhat tolerable when she is wrapped up snugly, cheek on my shoulder. I can carry laundry baskets around -- who wants to? but it is apparently a major part of my job description -- while wearing the baby. I also think more about what cleaning products I use, and would potentially be inhaling, when she is attached to me in a carrier, and that is better for everyone in the family!

Then, if she refuses to nap in the crib, no need to worry. Carried, rocked by my motion, she sleeps just as well. This option for napping was very important recently when nearby residential construction was constantly startling her awake. In the crib she would just cry, heavy head knocking her little fists, as she wanted sleep but could find no peace. Wrapped or Mei Tai'd to me, her little body would jump at the sawing or nail gunning, but snugged up in the carry, she had nowhere to flail off to, and so she quickly sagged back into slumber.

On any sunny day I can look out the window and see another mommy walking her dog and struggling to steer a stroller. Now jogging strollers definitely have their place for serious exercise, but for simply walking the dog, I would wear the baby, freeing up hands for the leash(es) and bagging of leavings.

One of the best parts of carrying my baby much of the day is that I know when she is hungry, and so I tend to take a break, sit down, and nurse her right away. There is no ignoring a holler in the ear, no "just a minute... after I finish this..." As inconvenient as this might seem, I know that forcing mom to sit down and take a nursing break is good for both of us -- keeping my nursing supply strong and making me rest. And play with her! Once she is full of milk and out of the wrap, she wants to explore and test her mobility, and when she is done, she starts pulling a carrier off the sofa, eager to be in it again. Many times she giggles when I swing her up on my back, a really wonderful sound.

Then when it comes to meal prep, babywearing really works for me. She is not climbing up my leg trying to see what I am doing. I am not trying to one-handedly balance her in my hip as I mix, chop, or open the oven. Carried on my back, she can watch, snooze, or play hair dresser. (This is the only drawback of carrying her; she gets her little fingers in my hair, yanks, creatively twists up tangles, and adds baby spit to my, ah, unwashed mommy tresses.) At the fussy end of a day as I oversee dinner and homework, carried she will often catch a catnap or just calm down. It makes the end of a day just a little bit saner.

And at the end of the day, as I fold up or pile up my carriers for tomorrow, I am thankful for the people who have lent me carriers and taught me how to wrap my baby. Wearing my baby lets me keep my household running, and carrying her reminds me why I do it. I'm not a maid, I'm a mom. There's love in that baby carrier.

Posted by Maria

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Babywearing on the National Mall

Festival crowds on the National Mall -- a perfect day for babywearing! My three children are 7 1/2 and 5 1/2 years old, and 6 months (referred to as Monkey1, 2, and 3), so keeping mobile and having a nursing cover handy are key to family outings. The National Book Festival was a perfect example of a day of wearing and wrapping my baby.
We arrived on the grassy Mall around noon, found shade, and unpacked our lunches. I folded and spread out my wrap as a blanket for the baby, but since she's mobile, this merely marked her starting point as she investigated first the grass and then turned her attention to capturing the various sandwich containers.  Once everyone had lunched, I wrapped her up in a front carry, 

to try to keep an eye on her sunhat and accommodate my water pack on my back.  We spread out to enjoy the activities and authors under the tents.  Monkey2 wanted to meet her favorite PBS characters, so we stood in line for pictures. Front-wrapped, Monkey3 has perfected a rotate-and-grab action, so she was flailing for the camera in my hand.  When we rejoined Dad and Monkey1, who had been listening to singer-songwriter and now children's author Jewel, we all tried to move into the tent and find seats to listen to Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House series.  There were no seats! We edged back out, ending up next to the outer perimeter tent poles, and while we could hear, we could not see well. Not that it was really important, except to children it is important to see their favorite author! So my husband hoisted the 7 1/2 year-old on his shoulders, after putting the 5 1/2 year-old on my shoulders.  And yes, I still had little Monkey3 in a front carry.  I really wish we had a picture of this carrying, one kid on my shoulders and one wrapped to my front!  After awhile Monkey3 decided she was hungry, so I dodged out, found a bit of tree shade, unwrapped Monkey3, and draped in my 6 yards of wrap material, calmly nursed her amid the throngs of the National Book Festival.  

Next we headed to the book signing line for Jewel with a copy of her book, and while waiting, a camera crew came along looking for comments on the Festival.  "I'll talk about it!" I said. Well, how could any producer resist the cute baby attached to me?  Monkey3 could not resist reaching for the microphone either.  Nor could she keep her hands off the book's shiny dust jacket.

We met Jewel! Where was Monkey3 looking?! 

Then we joined the lines for Mary Pope Osborne to sign a book, and hot little Monkey3 wanted some variety. I tried, unsuccessfully, to front wrap her facing outwards (I had seen a YouTube video where the baby's feet are sticking out in front of her bundled body), and then resorted to a back carry. Except then she decided she'd rather eat. So again, nursing on the Mall, with her hidden under the wrap, waiting in line #10 of many more lines waiting to meet the Magic Tree House author.  My husband was amazed that I just stood there and fed her, not deserting the line.  Then I wrapped her in a back carry again.  Waiting in line is dull, but the people around us certainly had some entertainment watching me wrap up a wiggly six-month-old. Unfortunately the book signing did not go as well, as we heard from festival volunteers that the author was rubber stamping books, not actually pen signing them, and then, that the line was so long, more festival volunteers were dispatched with copies of her signature stamp. We abandoned the line.

Walking back to one of the children's activity tents, Monkey3 fell asleep on my back, and I pulled the wrap over the side of her head, supporting her limp sleepiness in a cozy pocket.  Family outing, several meals, and her afternoon nap -- now that's a good day of babywearing!  

Posted by Maria

Friday, October 12, 2012

Reflections of a Babywearing Dad

As we’re getting closer to the end of IBW 2012, I felt like I wanted to post something about Babywearing
in general. For those of you who don’t know me, I was a reluctant babywearer. Our first child had survived three years without needing more than a stroller that my wife for some reason hated. When Ann Marie decided to try babywearing, I was expecting it to last for about two weeks. Long enough for her to forget about it one day, and then have the carrier lay forgotten in a corner like so many baby bottle cleaning apparatuses.

The difference was that she didn’t just find a carrier. She didn’t just find something that helped our needy middle child feel safe and comfortable snuggling with mommy. She didn’t just figure out how to hold a fussy baby and do other productive things. She found a group of supportive, helpful, sympathetic people.

They were the first real “Mommy-Friends” my wife had. They were a group that took her in, unconditionally, and helped my wife down a path that has reaped innumerable rewards. She was able to do things; from playdates, to meetings, to group lunches where they descended upon whatever poor soul was working the counter and forced to clean up after 8 toddlers.

She started talking to me when I came home from work about things she was learning. I heard about things that happened between her and her friends. A steady stream of carriers came and went as she borrowed and tried them. She was only given constructive criticism like: “Try this adjustment,” “Maybe you want something slightly different like this carrier,” “Your child may be more comfortable if you do this”. What I saw was my wife learning the entire time. She wasn’t force fed anything; she was able to find her own way. As a result of this wonderful group of people, my wife is able to do things I don’t even comprehend. Because the group had the smarts to let her work through her problems, my wife will grab a wrap and be able to tie a  Half-Tibetan-full-ruck-Nyarlathotep-ian high-back-carry with a twist of lime.
Our nightly ritual with our second daughter
The BWI group had made my wife enthusiastic. She in turn made me, not exactly enthusiastic, but receptive to the idea of babywearing. I wore our second daughter occasionally when I was forced. I even watched as a carrier came to the house “for me”. Was I a babywearing dad? No. But I was a dad who wore my child occasionally with only a little bit of embarrassment. The fact that our second daughter would only decide to sleep after a brisk winter walk at night meant that I’d take the strange looks if it let me sleep. The embarrassment was worth the ability to rest.

The real turning point for me came when my wife told me we were going downtown to the National Mall for babywearing photos. My eldest daughter decided that while we were waiting for everyone to show, she’d run laps in new sandals. Funny enough, after a few minutes she had a blister that oozed whining. I broke out the Kozy “I” had purchased, and popped her on my back. Four hours of fifty small child pounds later, we had finished. Reflecting on the process I realize I was able to fix my daughter’s problem without any damage to the outing we had planned. I also didn’t have to lug a stroller all over God’s green creation just in case. That’s when babywearing went from something fluffy and ambiguous to something concrete with real value.

In the hospital with a 1 day old

The other big event that turned me into a Babywearing Dad was in the hospital with the birth of our third daughter. My wife was recovering from her third C-section and all she wanted in the world was a shower. The nurse had come into the room just as we were getting ready for the shower. I was in the middle of putting on the wrap so I could hold our day old daughter and help my wife to the shower. I’m halfway through tying the wrap on me and the nurse is staring at me like I’m about to jump out the window. Once I finish tying the stretchy wrap the only way I know, I plop our little daughter into it and watch the nurse as she’s taken aback. “Wow, you really do know what you’re doing” she said.

At that point I realized that I had a couple of things working both for and against me. I was a dad, and if TV commercials are to be believed, I have as much chance of taking care of a baby as I do de-arming a bomb. I also was doing something completely foreign to this nurse’s experiences. However, I had a great teacher and wasn’t worried about screwing up. I’d like to think that once the nurse saw what I was doing, and how much it helped me and my wife be independent in taking care of our child, she had a better understanding of how babywearing is beneficial.

My family has become very vocal advocates. We see how wonderful and useful babywearing is, no matter the form it takes. We spend a good amount of our free time trying to positively help and encourage families to babywear. And frankly, I’ve seen it do a world of good. If I can be convinced, I’m sure anyone can.

So, to the babywearing community at large: Let’s keep it up. Let’s keep improving people’s lives. Let’s keep solving problems. Let’s keep being kind, inclusive, caring, helpful, fun, positive people.

Posted by Corey

IBW Day 5: Tackling Two Under 2

  It's the last day to enter our ErgoBaby blog giveaway!  Enter now!  We also hope to see you at our Fashion Show at Abby's Lane tomorrow (Saturday 10/13/12) at Noon!

When my third baby was born, I already had a 3.5-year-old and a nineteen-month-old. I was already an avid babywearer, which made our transition to three children a lot easier. In order to be able to take care of my two toddlers and my newborn, I had to be able to care for my newborns needs while on the move. My new baby is one of those who never wants to be put down and has to stay in motion so he has lived the first month of his life in some sort of sling or wrap.

I also have to make sure that my middle child still has time to be a baby so I make sure that I wear her some, too, especially while the baby is still asleep in the morning. We often have to wear a baby while changing diapers.

My 3.5 year old’s favorite thing about this time of year is all the pumpkin patches that pop up in the community. I didn’t want him to have to miss out on the pumpkin patch just because we had a new baby.

One of our first outings was going to a birthday party. Unfortunately, my middle baby was not in the mood to play so I had to wear two babies.

Babywearing has helped my whole family transition to being a family of five. We look forward to all of the adventures that the next couple of years bring us.

Posted by Raagen

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IBW Day 3: Cruising Stroller Free

International Babywearing Week Day 3:  Don't forget to enter our drawing for an Ergo carrier.  Also, if you want to purchase raffle tickets, they will be available at the Tysons meeting today, at the Abby's Lane Fashion Show on Saturday or you can email

Before our son was even born, my father-in-law started planning a family cruise, which sounded like a blast. We boldly committed not even knowing what life as first-time parents would be like, let alone anything about cruising with a baby. As the cruise got nearer and nearer we started to wonder if we should bring a stroller or commit to only babywearing during our week-long adventure. We decided to go stroller free and loved it! Here are some of our favorite things about our stroller-free adventure with ten-month old baby boy, V.

1. Nursing on-the-go in public is a breeze. We discreetly nursed at dinner, during craft time, on excursions, and more. On hot blazing-hot port days, easy access to hydration helped keep him healthy and happy. Here, V unlatches to check out an ice sculpture. In the background is my hubby with V’s 7-month old cousin whose parents also elected to go stroller-free for the trip.

2. Baby can nap wherever. V had pretty much given up napping in a carrier, but he picked it right back up on
the cruise which was great because it meant that we could be as active as we wanted, stay out of that tiny
stateroom, and spend plenty of time with the extended family while still meeting his needs. He loved going to
the shows with us at night and bouncing to the music before drifting off. During long dinners in the dining room, which our family adores, V drifted off we used a wrap as an impromptu floor cover and blanket.

1. Protection from curious hands. Lots of people love babies, and we are so glad that V can bring others joy, but multiple people took it further than we were comfortable with and tried to kiss or caress him when he was in- arms or in a highchair. We wondered why people were so baby-touchy on the cruise and came up with a couple of theories: crew members see relatively few babies and may be dearly missing their own children, elderly people do not always see many babies, people from different cultures have different boundaries when it comes to touch. Cruises bring people from all three of those categories together. Because people in each of those categories still tend to respect adult space boundaries, having him in the carrier kept him shielded.

2. Guard from overstimulation. Cruises are busy with lots of noises, sights, people, and stimulation in a relatively small space. Wearing V kept him physically connected to the comfort and safety of a parent. When he’d had enough, he could nuzzle his head into my chest or neck (depending if he was on my front or back). Strollers and front-facing carriers don’t allow this.

3. Enjoy more versatile excursions In San Juan alone, we encountered outrageously bumpy cobblestone streets with no sidewalks, other streets had sidewalks but didn’t have curb cuts, we visited tiny shops that a stroller couldn’t fit into, we encountered several sidewalks that ended in of stairs, etc. In other ports, we encountered wobbly tender boats, sand, lack of security (meaning no safe place to stash a stroller to go into a small space), rough trails, open air busses, etc. With V strapped on, each one of these things was a breeze.

4. Share experiences fully with baby. In a carrier, baby sees things at adult-height which means we are seeing the same things. Also, because he is on me, it is intuitive for both hubby and I to include him in as we talk about all we are seeing. He got to be brushed by the same low tree branches that brushed my face; I knew that he could see the ocean and other sights over protective barriers, etc.

5. Avoiding Cruise Elevators - Cruise elevators make me crazy. They take forever and they are crammed with people. Embarkation and disembarkation days are the worst because everyone is in the common areas at the same time and many people have luggage with them. With a baby in a stroller, it is elevate or seriously struggle with stairs. With a baby in a carrier, it is very easy to traverse the stairs without delay. Plus, it is good exercise which means I feel all the better about enjoying the delicious, abundant food.

6. Maintain balance Ships can be rocky. With a baby in-arms, you cannot use your arms for balance or to hold on to railing. With a baby in a carrier, baby’s weight is centered on your body (unless you are doing a hip carry) and your arms are free. In addition to greater stability on the ship, the benefit of balance also came up on an excursion. In the Dominican Republic, we did a light hike to a waterfall. The final part of the walk involved traversing a small river via large rocks and bags of sand. Hubby is very sure-footed so he wore V on this one; he and V crossed the river easily with no assistance. I crossed only with the assistance of a trail helper. The woman behind us, however, had her toddler in-arms. Even with a trail helper at her side, she was not able to maintain balance with baby in her arms nor was she able to use her arms to protect herself as she fell. The pair fell into the water. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but mom and baby were both shaken up. People skeptical of babywearing sometimes ask if falls are more likely or more dangerous. The benefit of balance and free arms to brace a fall is the reason that I can always give a full-hearted, “no” to this question.

7. Conscious packing It is no secret that staterooms are small. A wrap (or three) takes up very little space, even less than the most compact umbrella stroller. Babywearing leads to lighter packing both for the whole trip as well as for day packs. When you commit to wearing baby for the whole day of excursions, you think about the gear you are loading into a day pack very carefully. When you commit to no stroller for a week or more, you do the samething. I find that when a stroller is an option, I think of every last thing that I might need and load myself down with it. Suddenly I go from baby gear minimalist to hoarder. I like that babywearing helps me keep things simple. It boosts my confidence in terms of resourcefulness, fits in with our general values of simple living, and helps our kiddo remain flexible. After all, if I’d loaded three of his favorite toys and a bag full of snacks into our day pack, would V have liked touching an iguana as much? Sure, another handful of O-cereal is fine. But, isn’t the experience eating a freshly-picked orange so much more what travel and adventure is all about?

8. Formal Babywearing - How cute is a baby in a tuxedo on the back of his mommy or daddy who are also dressed to the nines? Ok, so maybe it isn’t a REAL benefit, but it is cute!

Posted by Pamm

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Travel made possible by Babywearing

I'm writing this from an airplane somewhere over West Virginia while my 3 month old nurses and my 2 year old colors with her Dad. This is the girls' and my second trip this week, the first was without my husband. I took the girls to New York City, relying solely on public transportation into and around the city after parking at the bottom part of Brooklyn. Weeks like this, babywearing is my best friend. I wore my youngest pretty much all day every day as we conquered parks, museums, Times Square, and the subway. I even tandem wore them once when we were late for the train! This morning, catching the early flight out of BWI, my husband had my oldest on his back in an Ergo and was pulling our suitcase while I wrapped the youngest on my front, had the diaper bag on my back, and we each carried carseat. We saw it "click" for more than a few families in line as they struggled with bulky strollers through the lines and security or with kids who wanted to be carried. My kids even had breakfast while we were waiting to board, Devon eating a fruit pouch and a granola bar on my husband's back and Piper nursing in the wrap.

  They say that travel is the only thing you can buy that's guaranteed to make you richer. It's something that my husband and both love, and in an effort to pass that love to our children, we do a lot of it. My husband was deployed the first 7 months of my first daughters life, and since she flew for free we did a ton of traveling. While he was gone, we lived in Colorado and flew to Richmond, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, and Dallas. We took the train to Washington, DC, drove to VA Beach and to Charlotte. When he came back, we flew out to San Francisco and drove to Sacramento, and also to DC and drove from Richmond to the eastern shore of MD, through Ocean City, up to NYC, and back down to Baltimore. This was all under a year old. I also took her to MI by myself at 15 months to sort through my grandmother's things after she passed away, and then when my younger daughter was born we immediately when to Richmond for two weeks with my husband for a work trip, and even engaged in some of the "mandatory fun" required for his work with a brand new baby. We are also taking them to Europe next summer when he returns from his next deployment.  Without babywearing, none of this would have been possible.

  Some tips for traveling while babywearing:
*  Vacation is not the time to test out a new carrier if you have to pack minimally. Take what you know you love and what your kids love.
* Always bring a back up plan- while in NYC we had a bedbug
 incident, and because my wrap (my beloved diorite stars! *tear*) was out of the bag, we had it dry-cleaned. Thankfully I also had an Olives and Applesauce (soft structured carrier) in my diaper bag or else Times Square would have ROUGH that first day!
* if you are driving, have something quick available.  I am a wrapper, but to take the toddler potty on the turnpike the buckle carrier was faster.
* If flying, give yourself time to go through security. Some airports will make you take the child out of the carrier. Some won't. BWI did not.
*Also with flying, know that most airlines will make you take the carrier off for takeoff and landing.
* do not be surprised if a child who is not worn often wants to be worn. My daughter who is generally "too busy" wanted up a lot because it was new and overwhelming.

Babywearing for us, especially with traveling, has become the difference between "That would be too much work" and "Yeah, we can do that!" Being a parent doesn't have to mean giving up the things you love, it just means making the kids a part of it, and babywearing makes it possible for them to be involved and engaged while keeping them safe and keeping them comfortable.

Don't forget to enter our drawing for an ErgoBaby carrier.  Also if you would like to purchase tickets for our raffle but won't be at the IBW events, email us
Post by Kit

Monday, October 8, 2012

International Babywearing Week ErgoBaby Giveaway!

This year, Babywearing International of DC-MD-VA is excited to offer a giveaway in conjunction with ErgoBaby Carriers.  ErgoBaby is sponsoring a giveaway of one ErgoBaby carrier to our blog readers!  (This is completely separate from our International Babywearing Week raffle which will be drawn at our fashion show at Abby's Lane on Saturday).

If you are the winner of our giveaway, you may CHOOSE one of the following ErgoBaby carriers.  ErgoBaby Carriers are a versatile and comfortable carrier for parents and babies.

Decide which might be right for you by watching this video from ErgoBaby:

Then tell us which carrier you would want to win in our comments. You can earn an additional entry by liking our Facebook page.  Our giveaway starts at 12:01am on Oct 8th and will be drawn at midnight Oct 12th.  Good luck to you all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mark Your Calendars! International Babywearing Week 2012

International Babywearing Week 2012 is coming up fast!  This year IBW is Oct 8-14, 2012.  This year's theme is "Carrying On Traditions."

This year we are planning slightly more laid back events after the huge conference we did this summer, but low key doesn't mean low fun!

Our first event is the Silver Spring meeting which will be held from 9:30am-11:30am on Monday Oct 8th.  LOCATION CHANGE!!!  - This meeting will be held at Kemp Mill Park at the corner of Arcola Ave and Lamberton Dr. in Silver Spring, MD.

Our second event is the Tysons-Pimmit meeting which will be held from 10am-12noon on Wednesday, Oct. 10th.  This meeting is held in the meeting room at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library in Falls Church, VA.  This meeting is often followed by a social lunch together at a nearby restaurant.

Our main event will be a fashion show event held at Abby's Lane store in Manassas, VA.  The fashion show will be held at 12noon on Saturday, October 13th.  The store is located directly across the tracks from the train station in Manassas.  We are so grateful that they are willing to host our special event!

At each event you will have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for our drawings.  We have a few smaller prizes, plus we will have an Original Ergo carrier, 2 Beco Butterfly carriers, Ergo will be donating another Ergo for giveaway, a Boba Wrap, and Abby's Lane has donated a Petunia Picklebottom Ergo in the Holland print to our drawing!  The drawing will take place directly following the fashion show on Saturday.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact us

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wearing a Newborn

When T and I went to our Bradley classes for Devon, as soon as we heard about babywearing, we knew we wanted to do it. Especially when about half way through our classes, we found out he’d be leaving soon after birth. Our instructor loved the moby, but also insisted that there was something for everyone and to look up a local babywearing group. I found one on google, and started stalking their yahoo group and watching the meeting schedule. I hadn’t picked a carrier yet, but was given a pouch and one of the old infantino SSCs from a friend who tried them and didn’t like them. When Devon was born, T and my mom were able to wear her immediately, in the pouch, and while neither were huge fans of it, it worked for the time. It was too big for me, and we didn’t go to a local meeting until she was almost 6 weeks old, just because the first one was two weeks after she was born, and right after T and my mom left, so we just stayed home. Luckily for me, no one judged me that I brought my sleeping baby inside in a carseat, and one of the women there owns a shop, so she had a whole variety of things for me to try. I tried Devon in a RingSling, which was awesome, but really fell in love with a wrap. The first time I wrapped Devon by myself was right before our flight home, and she was 7 weeks old.
Which, while she was still tiny at that point (less than 10 lbs, probably 8-9?), was NOTHING like wrapping this:
Piper was 5’12 at birth, 18 inches long, and Devon was 6’11, 20.25 inches long. When we brought Piper home the first day, she was just barely over 5 lbs. Wrapping an itty bitty for the first time was a little intimidating, but awesome. I have worn Piper EVERY DAY since she was born. I’ve almost had to just to keep up with her big sister, but knowing what I do now I probably would have anyway. I’ve been amazed at how much wearing a newborn has improved our lives, and allowed for me to bond with Piper without having to sacrifice as much time with Devon. (To be honest, I think Dad is getting a little jealous :) I keep telling him he could wrap her, but he’s “not in to that”, and since she won’t fit in his ergo, he just holds and carries her a lot.) Devon has even learned to share some of her wraps!
Being able to wear Piper has helped a lot with more than just bonding, though. It was great for keeping her warm while in the hospital and giving her skin-to-skin time, which was a huge priority because she was so small and just barely past preemie status at 37+3. It has also helped with nursing, especially because newborns nurse a LOT, so being able to keep her close for easy and discreet access has been a life saver. I wore for her big sister’s birthday party the day we came home, and out for lunch at a restaurant the next day. It kept her warm, close to my heartbeat, and sheltered from the outside world while still letting me be up and in it.
At four days old I wore Piper to an interview and she slept through the whole thing. She stretched a few times though, and the physical therapist granting the interview was in absolute awe of her neck strength and head control. Wearing stimulates the vestibular system, helping the baby develop balance and trunk and head control. Because Piper was a little early, we’ve also had a little trouble with GI issues. Most have been cleared up by recognizing food allergies (which run in our family) but the leftover issues both during the transition and as a result of her being a little early are greatly improved by her being vertical during and after eating, and babywearing has made that possible.
The other bonus of babywearing a newborn that I wish I’d known about with my first daughter is water slings. I can wear Piper in the shower in a water proof wrap and help her younger sister shower, shower myself, and shower Piper without having to use a tub, a separate sink, or worry about her slipping or getting dropped. She is slowly moving from legs in to legs out, but I leave it up to her at this point.They can also be used for pools, the ocean, etc, but I didn’t get one for Devon until she was much bigger.
  It was definitely an adjustment after getting used to wearing two year old (ahh!) all the time, but we have loved every minute of it. Devon has even begged me to let her wear her sister, but we’ve had to tell her not yet. Maybe when they’re both bigger, or maybe the next one 
Posted by Kit

Friday, September 7, 2012

Babywearing While Pregnant: Part 2

To get ready for International Babywearing Week 2012 in October, and to raise funds to pay for the bills from the International Babywearing Conference 2012 from this past summer, we are doing a membership drive!! 

This is open for ANYONE who meets any of the following criteria: 1) becomes a NEW member during the month of Sept; 2) RENEWS their expired membership during this month; or 3) EXTENDS their membership in the group.

To help you make the final decision as to whether you want to become a member of BWI of DC-MD-VA, we will be doing a raffle during IBW 2012 for at least two carriers---a BRAND NEW Ergo and a BRAND NEW Beco . Upon becoming a member during the month of September, you automatically be given 5 tickets to the raffle. Of course, during IBW 2012, you will have the opportunity to purchase more tickets if you wish.

This offer is only valid during the month of September. VBEs are eligible for this membership drive. Any membership applications received after the 30th will not be eligible for the raffle tickets.
On to Babywearing While Pregnant part 2
Ever since I discovered the full world of babywearing with my second baby, I have been an equal opportunity babywearer.  I use ring slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers (SSCs), and woven wraps.  Just after I had my second baby, I discovered woven wraps, which I thought were awesome since you could even wear them when pregnant.
 I thought that wovens were my only option because I had failed at babywearing while pregnant with #2.  I only had an ergo, and it pressed against my belly in an uncomfortable way once I got pregnant.  
With pregnancy #3, I got help from Babywearing International of DC-MD-VA and discovered that I could continue to wear my young toddler in other carriers as well.  I found that SSCs with dual adjust waists worked really well for us since I could put the buckle under my belly.  My kinderpack (my current favorite SSC for back carries) became my go-to carrier for shopping trips and playgrounds where my young toddler tired out more quickly than her three-year-old brother. 
Some women really like ring slings while pregnant since they don’t have to wrap anything around the belly.  I tried to use ring slings with this pregnancy, but I found that I personally couldn’t use them with my toddler much because of my bad back. 
I also started using wrap conversion mei tais a lot.  For me, mei tais offered some of the versatility of a woven wrap, but required less time and fuss.  This was important since pregnant mamas can get uncomfortable fast, and young toddlers are notoriously fickle about wanting “up” and “down.”  I only used mei tai front carries when my baby absolutely insisted since back carries were more comfortable.  Early in my pregnancy when I would go to evening bible study, my then 15 month old would want to nurse and go to sleep since it was past her bed time.  The mei tai was perfect for these occasions.  I couldn’t walk around with her on my front with the extra baby weight from being five months pregnant, but it was perfect for the nursing and the gentle swaying that she needed to soothe her to sleep.  By the end of pregnancy, she was no longer nursing, but she was very clingy before breakfast every day, and I found it impossible to cook breakfast with her hanging on my legs.  We started using our beanslings wrap conversion mei tai in a back carry, and our problem was solved.  Depending on my various pregnancy aches (I have some pre-existing health conditions that get worse during pregnancy), I would tie the mei tai different ways.
I am so glad that I was able to learn how to wear my toddler while pregnant.  Because I will have carried her during the whole pregnancy, it won’t be hard for me to transition to tandem wearing when I need to with the new baby, especially since I will have a newborn, a busy nineteen-month-old, and a curious three year old all at the same time.

Posted by Raagen

Monday, August 20, 2012

Babywearing During Pregnancy Part 1: A Wrapper's Perspective

I was in Taco Bell a couple of weeks ago—hey, I embrace my pregnancy cravings—and put my

18-month old son up on my back to ease his temper tantrum when I noticed the eyes of every person in the place on me. Awkward! I was trying really hard to make us not a spectacle, but apparently failed miserably. It was only later that I realized that maybe a 9-month pregnant lady strapping a toddler to her back actually might be spectacle-worthy. I suppose that it isn’t something people see very often in our culture.  After all, at 37 weeks of pregnancy most women are feeling big, moving is hard, and aches are abundant. Why and how would a very pregnant mom even do such a thing?

As a mom about to enter the world of two-under-two parenting, the reality is that I am a mom of two babies. Yes, my son walks. But, he still needs lots of cuddles, holding, comforting, etc. My lap is pretty full of belly these days and playing on the floor isn’t the most comfortable thing. So, if we can get in snuggles while I am standing—great! And, all the better if I can do that while on-the go, since I have a busy toddler who wants to go, go, go while being close to mama. Babywearing allows my son to still be the baby that he is while allowing me to do the things I need to do even with a big belly (and soon with a newborn).

Wearing throughout the pregnancy has allowed me to build my strength gradually which means I can wear both now in the late third trimester and will have the strength to tandem wear both kids when after new baby is born. It’s like how when you lift weights, you start small and then get stronger and stronger. Nature and time have increased the poundage of my two precious “weights” over the past nine months allowing me to grow stronger.

Walking is one of my favorite ways to stay in shape, is well suited to pregnancy, and is the perfect babywearing activity. As with all exercise during pregnancy—heed what your body says and expect to only do about 80% for what you could pre-pregnancy, at most. I wear my son much less than I could two months ago. He weighs more each passing week and my body is working harder each passing week.
Rucksack in the Early Third Trimester

Now let’s move on to the how of wearing with a belly. I only wear using woven wraps—pregnant or not— and what I’ve learned about which carries work during pregnancy is that heeding the cues of my body is better than any particular rules. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. Your body will tell you when a front carries are no longer a fit and it is time for just back carries. That might be four months in for some women, seven months for others, and sooner or later for still others.

Here are some of my preferences for back wrapping:  a rucksack carry works well because it means there is no fabric across my belly, save for the knot, which I like to tie above my bump. I don’t find tying tietbetan comfortable, but other moms find that a great way to avoid uncomfortable pressure across the belly and to keep the knot away from the belly. I go with trying in the back or on the side to keep the knot from irritating me. Jordan’s Back Carry is another one that has ruck straps and avoids any pressure on the belly. My feelings on the double-hammock (DH) have varied. When I was nauseous, I couldn’t stand the pass that comes across the front and I stopped using the DH. At other times, I loved the supportiveness of the DH for my back, but loathed the way it felt across my belly, so I would place the front pass just across my chest versus over my whole torso. Very late in pregnancy, some days I really like for that front pass to go spread from top of my chest to bottom of my belly because it gives the belly a bit of snug support.

Each day, each wear, I go into wrapping ready to listen to my body—that goes for both picking a way to carry plus how long I will keep my son wrapped. Now that I am mere days from 40 weeks of pregnancy, I can only manage wearing my son for a few minutes at a time. But, I love that my months of “endurance training” have rendered me strong enough to respond when he asks to get on mommy’s back.  He may not be the youngest baby anymore, but he is still my baby. Through these moments, I can keep relating to my son in a way that has been treasured by us both since he was born.

Posted by Pamm