Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Support Us While Doing Your Regular Shopping! has designed a new charitable giving program. The new Smile program donates .5% of your purchase price back to the charity of your choice. As you are shopping this holiday season, consider designating our chapter as your charity of choice. You can find us through and search for Babywearing International in Vienna, VA. Or you can use our direct link:

Thank you for your support!

Happy Babywearing!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wrap Sale Fundraiser

It is our first official wrap fundraiser!!

We are happy to announce that we are working with Little Frog to get some beautiful wraps out to the babywearing community!

Check out some beautiful action shots on their Facebook Page.

And to kick things off, we are offering a special Black Friday (ONLY) code for $5 off EACH CARRIER you order. Code: BELTWAY BABYWEARING

The price listed on the order form is what you pay. Shipping from Poland, taxes, fees are all included!

All information is on the order form. Please post here if you have any other questions.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Wearing a Baby? - Marni's Story

This post was originally shared on Marni's blog InsomniMama

When I let the word out that I was pregnant, my friend Lori was the first person to ask me, "Do you plan to wear him?" I had no idea what she was talking about. I had never really heard of "Attachment Parenting" or "Babywearing;"  I remembered my mom carrying my youngest sister in a Snugli, and I knew what a Baby Bjorn was. But the idea of "wearing" your baby was foreign to me - it sounded like some kind of accessory fad.

I did some preliminary research and acquired a Moby and a Baby Bjorn from a friend. When my sister had her baby six months before my due date, they opted for an Ergo. I saw them using it with my newborn nephew when I flew out to visit them; it seemed like just the thing I needed, too! Turned out Lori had one I could borrow, complete with an infant insert, or "baby burrito blanket," as I liked to call it. I was all set for accessorizing myself with an infant, I thought.

When I brought my preemie Munchkin home, I knew of the importance of skin-to-skin contact, and learned how to wrap him to my chest in the Moby by studying the instruction pictures, watching YouTube videos, and practicing the various wrap options. He was so tiny, that even in the "baby burrito blanket," he was completely dwarfed by the Ergo, and I didn't even try to figure out the Baby Bjorn. The Moby served us well in the first couple of months.

My husband preferred the Ergo. He proudly wrapped our itty bitty burrito guy and wanted to wear him for all of our walks - I, however, was obsessed by checking his head to make sure his chin wasn't tucked too much so he could breathe. (I know I drove poor hubby crazy.) From the start, our 4 1/2-pounder hated walks in the stroller; he wanted to be close to us, so we wore him every time.

Then came the fateful day, when the Munchkin was about to turn three months old, that it stopped working. This magical closeness that we had found was broken - he shrieked and squirmed and cried whenever I tried to wrap him or put him in the Ergo. I was terrified that I was hurting him, and he was still too small for the Baby Bjorn (which I still couldn't figure out how to use). I carried him constantly. My husband could help me wrap the baby in the Moby if he was asleep, but when he woke, there was hell to pay. 

The worst was one day in a parking lot, when I tried, unsuccessfully, to put him in the Ergo for 20 minutes; I was nursing him to keep him from screaming bloody murder while I tried to get him in position, and pacing back-and-forth between my open car doors. I finally gave up, got back in the car and went home. I was frazzled and confused - I wanted to wear him because of the emotional bond we were forming, and the practicality of being able to use both my hands, but if it made him miserable, how could I?

My friend Karen saw my painful posts on FB and introduced me to her friend Nancy, who in turn directed me to Babywearing International's MD/DC/VA chapter. I never thought there would actually be a group devoted to teaching people something like babywearing - aren't we innately supposed to know how to do this? (ha!) I read their blog posts, and saw that there was a meeting at the library up the street from my house just 4 days away. Tears began streaming down my face. I couldn't believe my luck!

As with any new endeavor, I was a bit nervous to go - what if they laughed at my complete ineptitude with my baby accessorizing? But I grabbed my Moby, Ergo, and Baby Bjorn, and the Munchkin and I headed out for our library to see what this was all about.

I was early - the first to arrive - but when the moms and babies started showing up, I felt like I was home. (There happened to be no Dads at this meeting.) We all introduced ourselves, and before long, we had formed a nursing circle on the floor while older children played nearby. Each of us had our own reasons for being there, and questions we needed answered, and each need was addressed in turn, along with demonstrations of different wraps and carriers I had never seen before, and kind and gentle advice from all of the Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) present.

As soon as I told them what had been happening with Munchkin, each of the VBEs said, "Oh, he probably wants his feet out," as I had been wrapping him with his feet pressed to me in a kind of frog-style scrunch. They showed me a Mei Tai (pronounced "may tie" - a square of fabric with four long straps attached at the corners) from their lending library of carriers, helped me put the Munchkin in it, and he promptly fell asleep. It was a miracle. I didn't want to give this magic carrier back - I became a member on the spot so I could "check out" this Mei Tai for a month (a privilege afforded to members), and see if the magic could be repeated at home.

After the meeting, all the Moms went to lunch together, and they coached me through nursing him discreetly in the carrier while at the table so I could actually eat my meal - a whole new world was unfolding before me. We were out that day from 10am to almost 4pm - my longest outing with the Munchkin at that time - and I was giddy with excitement when I got home and showed my husband the magical carrier and relayed the day's events.

The Mei Tai worked. Munchkin happily went on walks with us again, feet out, experiencing the world, nursing in the carrier, and continuing to build our close-knit bond. Each month I went back to the meetings and tried new carriers - other Mei Tai brands, ring slings, woven wraps. I'll keep going back, because there are more carriers I want to try as Munchkin grows and changes, but also because I've come to adore the strong, loving mothers I've met there. (Again, Daddies do attend - I just haven't met any yet!) I learn so much from each of these amazing women about my own parenting choices
every time I go, and both Munchkin and I have a blast in their company.

I have since sold the Baby Bjorn, nearly retired the Moby, realized the Ergo fits my husband but not me, and purchased my own Mei Tai and ring sling, both of which I use almost every day (the Mei Tai for walks, and the ring sling for errands or around the house). I am also the proud owner of a babywearing coat, thanks to my in-laws' generous Christmas gift, that fits over both Munchkin and I when the weather requires it. My husband keeps asking me, when we go on walks, if I want to put the boy in the stroller or wear him. It's a ridiculous question, I think. When he's in the carrier, I can see him, talk to him, point things out to him, know if he sees what I'm seeing, nurse him if he needs it, and he can fall asleep on my chest. Very soon, sooner than I care to think about, he's going to want to get down and run around on his own. These moments are fleeting. I love the bond that babywearing gives us, and I'll wear him as long as I'm able.
Posted by Marni

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mamas Helping Mamas (and Papas) - Veterans Day Edition

Our VBEs are always finding new ways to spread the babywearing love, whether it’s at meetings, events, or even the grocery store parking lot! There’s nothing quite like seeing a parent’s eyes light up during that magic moment when the carrier has clicked with the wearer and the wearee and everyone is happy!   In honor of Veterans Day, we wanted to share a special project started by local VBEs that is benefiting military families around the country.  As some of you know, two of our local leaders, Kit and Rachel, run an organization called The Carrying On Project that provides baby carriers to military families that couldn't otherwise afford them.
Rachel Helps a Mom with her New Carrier at
Star Spangled Baby Shower in Springfield, VA
A lesser known project for their organization is partnering with Operation Homefront for a series of events called “Star Spangled Baby Showers” where new and expecting moms are “showered” with gear and gifts for their little ones. The Carrying On Project goes to these events to give every attendee a carrier, but also help the new moms by fitting them for their carriers and helping them learn to use them, nurse in them, or answer any other questions and concerns the recipients may have.
Kit and her girls are all set up for a Star Spangled Baby Shower

Kit and Bonnie give a Babywearing 101 talk
while Kit nurses at a Star Spangled Baby Shower in NC
So far, The Carrying On Project has attended  four of these events, with a few more coming up this season. They have done three in the MD and VA and have started moving in to NC, with SC coming soon.  They worked one such event in Springfield in October for moms local to our area, and last week Kit and her kids drove to Fayetteville, NC and worked with a VBE from BWI of Charlotte to help some new and expecting moms enjoy those new baby snuggles.
The Carrying On Project table always has the longest line!
 If you are currently serving our country or have ever served, thank you for your service today and every day. We are very lucky to live in an area where we meet many military families and we love to have them join our group and share their adventures that babywearing has helped them with! If you are a military family, what has babywearing helped you with?
The Participants of a Star Spangled Shower in Oxen Hill, MD
If you want to help The Carrying On Project in their efforts to provide carriers for military families who can't otherwise afford them, donations can be made at their website or by clicking this link.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October is Fundraising Month!

For the month of October, our parent organization is increasing our funds kept in chapter for all fundraising efforts.  Funds raised go towards filling the library, as the chapter grows we are now supporting SIX libraries!  On one hand, it's awesome that we are reaching so many families, but it increases substantially our library needs.  Only 2yrs ago we only had ONE library, so that is a substantial increase in carrier needs. (For the record, we're also happy to take carrier donations)  We also want to do a better job getting the word out about our chapter.  We need to invest in more literature to get into the hands of pregnant women and new mothers in the area.

The chapter leadership did a lot of discussion of various ways to raise funds, and at the end of the day, most of them involve trying to convince all of you to buy things you don't need to clutter space you don't have to get us a return of a couple bucks per person. 

SO, we were thinking, what if, instead of begging you to buy stuff you don't need, we instead said, "we'd love a donation.  Whatever the amount."  This way, if you were willing to buy $10 of random items, or $20, or $50, then instead of the chapter getting a couple bucks, we'd get the whole amount.  We also thought, what if it was like PBS.  You donate because you want to support the mission, BUT, there's a thank you gift (as long as supplies last) for certain amounts.

With that in mind, I bring you the, "We're Straight Up Asking for Donations, Fundraiser!"

You may donate any amount that is comfortable for you.  More, less, whatever.

However, if you donate

$10 - You will receive a BWI sticker.  This is NOT a car sticker, it's a for fun sticker.
$15 - You will receive a set of the Babywearing People Stickers.
$25 - You will receive a reusable grocery tote from International Babywearing Week 2013
And the FIRST donation of $50 will receive a $25 gift certificate to Comfy Joey.
Use the donate button below, or you can bring a cash or check to the meetings left in the month.  If you need to mail a check, please email us:  Please indicate how we should get your thank you gift to you in the comments (ie at Burke, or will contact to make arrangements).

We appreciate ALL of your support.  You are helping us to help more families with this donation.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We won 2nd place!

We won second place in the video contest!  Our library will have a size 7 Oscha Night Stars joining it as our prize for the contest.  We also received a box with a MobyGo and an Earthy Bliss Mei Tai for the library. Rumor has it another box might arrive too, so we'll update you if that appears. Thank you so much to Babywearing International for hosting this wonderful week, and to Moby, Oscha, and Earthy Bliss for sponsoring the week's festivities. 

Despite a few of our activities getting cancelled due to govt and rain, it was great to see so many of you this week at meetings and playdates.  Next year we'll have to try to plan a bigger activity, some other chapters are making us look lazy. 

Now, on to our prize-winning video!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IBW2013: Sisterwearing!

This summer our household went from babywearing to sisterwearing! My three daughters, ages eight, six, and one, all got in on the action, leaving mom not only hands-free but sometimes carrier free.

My oldest wore her baby sister a few times and was not particularly gratified by the experience beyond the fact that she could sisterwear and the middle sister could not for awhile. Once this was no longer the case, she lost interest. However, my second absolutely adored wearing the third.

It started like this...

And then moved to this...

Funny, I used to pace the length of the house with the second child in a baby carrier while reading books too.

Then, the two sisters went on adventures, like cricket catching.

And hula hooping.

I'm not really sure how safe that was, but the next action item caused me to add to the safety rules, "No horseback riding."

Just as her sisters have done, the youngest will ask to be worn, pulling out the Mei Tai or wrap and dragging it over to someone, somehow winding herself up in it on the way, but now Mom or Dad or Sisters can and will carry her.

Editor's note: always use your best judgment on when your children are old enough, strong enough, and mature enough to safely wear siblings.

Posted by Maria

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

IBW2013: Workout Wednesday!

When you are a busy mom but want to fit in exercise, babywearing can help! Just doing some basic chores around your house can turn in to even more of a workout when wearing your baby. There are also some basic exercises you can do while wearing. When it comes down to it, just having that extra weight attached to you is going to amplify the fitness level of everyday activities.
Here are some things to keep in mind: As with any babywearing scenario, you should make sure your carrier is properly supportive for you and baby and that baby always has proper positioning. Avoid stretchy wraps when focusing on exercise as they may not provide enough support while you are doing some more strenuous activities. Baby can be on front or back for many of the activities.
One great way to get moving is to turn on some music and have a babywearing dance party! This is especially fun when you invite the whole family and other babywearing caregivers to the party! Most of the commercial in-home DVD dance workouts can be done with a baby in a sling. Or go for a hike or a brisk walk with baby in tow!

The nice thing about wearing your child is it puts you in a great position to squat. You and baby should always stay upright when squatting. When you squat to empty the dishwasher or pick things up off the floor, for example, you are getting a great lower body workout. You just want to be sure that you keep your hips back as you squat and don’t let your knees go over your toes. (When you squat, think of sitting back in a chair) Vacuuming and sweeping/moping the floor can allow you time to snuggle your babe while you get moving.
I think that bouncing my kids to sleep in a mini squat position really helped tone and shed the baby weight. We bounced all over, all hours. That was the preferred methods for getting my second child to sleep-to bounce him until he started to doze off and then transfer him to his bed. And the great thing for us was that anyone could easily put my little guy to sleep with the help of a sling!
Now if you really want to focus on some exercises while wearing, you can try the following exercises:
Squats (as seen above)
Leg lifts: front, side or back

So, get out there and enjoy a weight bearing workout with baby!
Editor's note:  Reminder that all activities should be low/no impact.  Baby heads are fragile and impact activities like running could result in shaken baby syndrome.  Always use good judgment when engaging in activities with baby. 
Posted by: Gwen
Photos by: Gwen and Kit

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Celebrate IBW 2013 - Babywearing through the Seasons

This week we celebrate International Babywearing Week 2013.  This year's theme is "Get Carried Away!"  In today's post, Pamm tells us how you can Get Carried Away no matter the season.
Babywearing makes loads of sense in the mild climates of fall and spring, but some parents ask if it is too hot to wear baby during the summer, and the answer is no! Babywearing can actually help you stay in more tune with baby’s temperature and hydration needs than other methods.
This past summer, babywearing helped us brave the crowds during a busy 4th of July Parade, and made a cozy nap spot in the midst of a lot of stimulation.
Babywearing kept us hands-free everywhere from the public bus in Virginia Beach to flying kites on the Jockey Ridge dunes in North Carolina.
On the beach, the Wrapsody Water Carrier (borrowed from the BWI library) helped me get baby fed and napped without leaving the fun of the shore.
We wrapped up our summer adventures with a morning harvesting potatoes at Great Country Farm where, once again, the ability to get one or the other (or both) of the kids up saved the day and kept the fun going.
Now that fall is in full swing, we love wearing our boys on evening walks, to pumpkin patches, and during yard work.
When winter hits, there is no need to stop babywearing. Wearing is a great way to keep baby warm and cozy and to closely monitor baby's temperature and needs. 
When baby is in a front carry, a large winter coat or maternity coat can fit over both wearer and child.
In a back carry, each person can wear their own coat or you can share a special babywearing coat. (We have a Suse’s Kindecoat.) Such coats are even great for spring showers, when the seasons change yet again.

Posted by Pamm











Tuesday, October 1, 2013

IBW is Coming!

The start of school really cut into our focus on blogging.  Sorry about that!  We're ready to get back to it and we're going to kick it off with our events for International Babywearing Week!  Next week will be the celebration of the 6th International Babywearing Week.  This year's theme is "Get Carried Away!"  Join us for one of our celebratory events.  We have events planned almost every day!  Reminder to check our Facebook page for possible venue change thanks to the Govt. Shutdown.
Check in here next week for blog posts on a variety of topics!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Just when you think it's over...

I haven't worn my youngest, other than to demo briefly at babywearing meetings, for months.  She's 3.5yrs old and is very interested in keeping up with her big sisters.  She doesn't have time for being worn, she has places to GO!  This past week we went on vacation to the beach.  For the first time in years, my water sling didn't come with us, it wasn't going to be needed.

However, on the night we headed to the boardwalk to take in the Ferris Wheel and other rides, I grabbed my carrier as we were leaving, JUST in case someone got tired (my 5yr old still occasionally gets worn out).  When we got there, both the 3 and 5yr olds had fallen asleep in the car.  I put the carrier around my waist figuring it would just stay there.  The youngest immediately said, "I want you to carry me on your back."  You betcha kiddo.  As long as you want.  We had a nice walk, I only had to make sure I wasn't losing 2 kids in the crowd instead of 3, and she could remember that mommy is there when she needs me.  Of course, after the rides she walked all the way back to the car, exhausted and whiny, but she "didn't need to be carried."  You can't win them all.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why wear instead of carry?

I'll often hear from a concerned mom that her husband won't try using their carriers and that he would prefer to just carry the baby.  Well, the goal of babywearing is to promote in-arms parenting, so the question then comes, does it matter if he carries instead of wears?  Well, no, not really, except for those times when he wants or needs his hands free.  Let's take a look at some of the things dads can do while wearing that might be a challenge or impossible while holding.

Chores/ Homemaking/ Honey-Do List

This baby's mama mentioned to her husband that wearing skin to skin could help a
sick baby with temperature regulation.  She went out and came home to daddy having
put a feverish baby on his back while he washed dishes.

A man can cook breakfast with a baby on his back, it's difficult and potentially
dangerous to use the stove with a baby in your arms.

This man right here is mommy-porn.  He's feeding the baby AND vacuuming!  A hero among men.
You can change a toddler while wearing your newborn.
You can also repair the air purifier that the kids broke
 (that's a good strategy, blaming it on the kids, I'm pretty sure my kids have
learned from this dad).

Or you can get some yard work done.  A little sunshine and raking.
Or even a little mowing (we highly recommend ear protection for
 baby if you are using power tools near him, and always exercise good judgment about the likelihood of something kicking back and injuring your child)
But maybe you're thinking to yourself, "but if I'm holding the baby, I CAN'T do chores, this is genius!  I won't have to do any of those boring tasks!" (my husband would give his right arm to avoid yard work)  But maybe there are a few things you would LIKE to do, but can't because of your habit of holding the baby in your arms.

Work from Home; or you know, Play Video Games
Some of these dads are working, and some are playing.  I'll let you decide.




Sightseeing/ Exploring

A short jaunt out with baby can be done carrying baby in arms, but an adventure out of the house for hours can quickly exhaust even the strongest arm muscles.  With baby in a carrier, you can:

Explore Russian cathedrals.
Climb Dunes on a beach hike (I spot 2 babywearing dads here)
Take all of the kids for a hike on Mt. Olympia
Or head out for a more local hike with other babywearing parents
Take photographs from the famous observatory in LA

You can also get to those places for exploring by public transportation more easily when a baby is worn.  Strollers are cumbersome and difficult to navigate on most public transportation, and a baby in arms makes holding the handrails difficult for you.

You can hang on and show baby the fun sights you pass on the train.
 Until you go underground, then baby might steal your iPhone.
 But you'll be able to get all of the kids up the escalator safely and have
your hands free to operate the card reader at the exit.
Play Time

You can take the kids to the playground, and swing with the baby,
or just push the preschooler on the swings while you wear the baby.
You can teach your big boy how to ride a bike while you keep the little one safe and cozy.
Okay, shopping might not be every guy's favorite "guy" activity, but sometimes it is necessary.  It goes a lot faster if you have your hands free to collect your merchandise or carry bags.
 Grocery (and wine) shopping is much easier with baby in a carrier.  Placing the car seat on the cart is dangerous, and carrying a baby in arms makes it difficult to get items from shelves, and we won't even consider the ridiculous proposition of pushing a stroller AND a cart.

Your wife will adore you for wearing the sleepy baby while she tries on clothing. 
You have no idea how difficult it is to buy clothing after you have a baby.
And then of course, there is always the male bonding trip to the home improvement store.

Party time
And once you've finished all of your must-do tasks, it might be time to relax and enjoy time with family, friends, or on your own.  You could
Watch a game or Dr. Who on TV (and have hands free for the clicker, and maybe a snack).
Get all of the kids in to the game in time for the opening pitch. 
Have a hand to hold your beer at the family barbeque
Have 2 hands for getting beer for yourself AND your wife at Octoberfest.
Take a look at the map to find the best place to find a beer in Germany
(seriously, that's what his wife says is going on here).

 Or, you could just make your own beer!
  Hmm, that's a lot of beer.  Reminder, always drink responsibly when caring for children. 
Especially if wearing them.  A beer is fine, getting sloshed is not.

So, as we can see, while there are lots of things you can do with a baby in arms, sometimes a carrier really allows for activities and outings you couldn't do with baby otherwise.  Give it a try, you might like it!
Thanks to all of the BWI of DC-MD-VA families who provided pictures for this post.