Water Carriers

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Mesh water ring sling

Benefits of Water Carriers

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that most babies love water! A water carrier can be a great option for cooling off with baby on a hot summer day. Water carriers help to keep baby close and safe in the water, if used propertly. Water carriers are especially helpful if you need your hands free to help older kiddos at the pool.

Water carriers can also be used in the shower. This can be great way for a caregiver to seize an opportunity to take a warm shower (while soothing a fussy baby at the same time!). I’ve also found that water carriers are a great tool for a baby that is afraid of water. My little guy was terrified of the water for a few months and wouldn’t take a bath. A quick shower in our water carrier was the only thing that kept him clean – and it also put him to sleep! 😉

Read on for more tips on using water carriers.

Water Carrier Safety

As always, safety is the main concern when carrying baby. All of the normal babywearing safety rules apply in a water carrier (support baby’s back at all times, make sure baby’s face is visible and close enough to kiss at all times, keep baby’s chin off of his/her chest, and ensure baby’s airways remain open) in addition to some extra rules specific to carrying in the water.

-Water carriers are slippery and meant to be used in the water. They are not meant for extensive use outside of the water. DO NOT use a water carrier for general everyday use.

-Front or hip carries only. DO NOT use a back carry in water. It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to monitor baby’s face (to ensure it stays out of the water) when carrying on the back.

-DO NOT cover baby’s face with the carrier (especially if wet).

-If necessary, ensure baby’s face is above the caregiver’s chest, where water may pool.

-Water carriers should never be used in deep water or in waves where baby’s face could be submerged.

-DO NOT expose baby to cold water.

-Some carriers have SPF protection. However, always remember to keep weather conditions in mind and apply sunscreen to baby if needed (or use a sunhat).

Water Carrier Options

Water carriers come in almost as many different types as normal carriers. Most of the BWI of Central Iowa lending libraries have a water carrier available to try on and/or check out. We recommend that you start your search here and try out a few different water carriers before buying one yourself. If you will only be using a water carrier for a short time (vacation, summer, etc.), it is super convenient (and budget-friendly) to have a BWI of Central Iowa membership. With a membership you can check out a carrier for the month you will be on vacation and return when finished!

Another budget friendly option is to make a DIY water carrier. Athletic mesh can be found at most fabric stores. You can use this mesh to make a water ring sling or wrap.

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Mesh water wrap

Mesh water ring slings and wraps can also be purchased through several retailers. One well-known retailer of mesh water ring slings and wraps is Beachfront Baby. There are also non-mesh water ring slings available. Zanytoes makes a great ring sling out of water-resistant fabric.

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Water soft structured carrier

Water carriers can also come in the form of a meh dai or soft structured carrier. Kokadi makes a beautiful water meh dai. Connecta Solar and BityBean are two different brands of soft structured carriers suitable for water use.

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Water meh dai

However you choose to wear your baby in the water – be sure to make it fun for baby! You can twirl, swing, and bounce to add a fun element to water carrying. Encourage baby to splash in the water. Gentle water aerobics are okay while wearing baby in the water, as well as helping older kiddos. Chances are your baby will be soothed by the water and easily fall asleep after lots of fun water play!

Happy babywearing!!!

 

Sources

Anne. (2013 May 31). A Beginner’s Guide to Woven Wraps – Everything You Need to Know and More. Retrieved from http://www.naturalmamas.co.uk/articles/a-beginners-guide-to-woven-wraps-everything-you-need-to-know-and-more/.

Babywearing International of Central Iowa. (2014). Safety. Retrieved from https://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/safety/.

Beachfront Baby LLC. (2016). Beachfront Baby Wraps. Retrieved from http://beachfrontbabywraps.com/.

Bitybean. (2017). Bitybean – Cleverly Compact. Retrieved from https://bitybean.com/.

Connecta Baby. (2017). Connecta Solar. Retrieved from http://connectababycarrier.com/product-category/connecta/solar-connecta/.

Hayes-Devlin, K. (2005 March 23). Showering, Swimming, and Babywearing: The Complete Guide. Retrieved from https://wrapsodybaby.com/showering-swimming-babywearing/.

Mother’s Milk Boutique (2015). Kokadi Water Carrier. Retrieved from https://www.momsmilkboutique.com/products/kokadi-water-tai-tai-wonderland?variant=18484556865.

Zanytoes Boutique. (2017). Zanytoes Splash! Retrieved from http://zanytoes.net/category_29/Zanytoes-Splash.htm.

 

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own and do not reflect the views or positions of Babywearing International of Central Iowa or Babywearing International, Inc. Please consult your carrier’s manual for full instructions for use in and out of the water. If you have additional questions on carrier usage please consult with a professional. This post is informational and we do not assume any liability for carrier usage. 

 

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Q&A Session with BWI of Central Iowa President and VP

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Are you wondering how some other local mommas got started babywearing? Do you want to learn some interesting facts about BWI (Babywearing International) of Central Iowa’s current leaders? This month we interviewed the president, Marissa Jennings, and vice president, Cat Anderson, of BWI of Central Iowa on the thing they know best – babywearing. Read on to hear some of their heartfelt (and hilarious) answers!

When did you start babywearing? How old was your child?

Marissa: I started when my oldest was just a couple of days old. He is almost 5 now!
Cat: When my son Thor was about 6 weeks old. He’s 2 now and I still wear him most days.

Why did you start babywearing?

M: My cousin gifted me a Moby stretchy wrap for my baby shower, and she told me all about how my baby could sleep while I got things done. It turned out to be the only thing that comforted my son, who had severe colic as a result of food allergies, and it got us through teething as well.
C: I had read about the benefits and I wanted another tool in my parenting bag!

How did you start babywearing? What carrier did you first use?

M: I used a Moby until my son was about 5 months old. Once he got too heavy for that, I didn’t realize they made anything else so I quit wearing. At 11 months, he was diagnosed with severe food allergies*. We were struggling to take him places safely when a toddler Tula was suggested to me in a breastfeeding Facebook group. I ordered one, joined Tula Love, joined BWI of Central Iowa, and the rest is history! That was back in 2013 when my first child, Eli, was about 17 months old. Now my second baby, Makenna, is that age! Time flies.
C:  I bought a Moby stretchy wrap and learned how to use it with YouTube videos. Then I learned about BWI of Central Iowa and I attended a few meetings to learn more.

Was there someone that got you started or that has been influential along your babywearing journey?

M: My cousin Megan got me started babywearing, and many amazing people have been influential to me on this journey. The person that sticks out the most is Suzi Lang. She was President of BWI of Central Iowa when I joined and quickly became a mentor and friend. In 2014, I became a VBE (Volunteer Babywearing Educator) with the chapter and in 2015, I became an ABE (Advanced Babywearing Educator) right before my second baby was born. I’ve made countless friends along the way and just love being part of the babywearing community.
C: I learned about babywearing through attachment parenting.

What is your favorite thing about babywearing?

M: I love that it allowed my son Eli to participate in normal activities safely despite his food allergies: farmers markets, pumpkin patches, trick or treating, and grocery shopping to name a few. It took a HUGE weight off my shoulders as his parent, and allowed me to protect him and feel safe holding him close. As a mom to two now, my favorite thing about babywearing is that it allows me to give attention to my older child while keeping my younger one happy and safe.
C:  Being able to keep my child close and safe while being able to take care of myself. It helps me feel independent.

Where is the most unique place you have worn your child(ren)?

M: It’s tricky to think of just one place! I have been wearing my second baby, Makenna, nonstop since she was born, and she still loves to be worn several hours per day at 17 months old! I have worn in airports, on the beach in Destin, Florida, to all the awesome sessions at IBC (International Babywearing Conference) Atlanta, through all the historic monuments in Washington DC, to marches and political protests, trick or treating, cleaning my house, folding laundry, fixing dinner, shopping, doctor appointments, and everything in between. It’s definitely a way of life around here.
C: On the toilet. (Real life, ya’ll)

What is the most interesting thing you have done while wearing your child(ren)?

M: I am also a freelance Spanish legal translator, and when my daughter was tiny, I usually wore her while translating on my computer. Babywearing made working from home easy! I still admin BWI of Central Iowa as well as Tula Love, and I’m often babywearing while spreading the babywearing love online.
C: Played ping pong.

What are some of the benefits of babywearing for the child? For the caregiver?

M: Babywearing is really a style of parenting in many ways. It allows you to meet your child’s need for closeness and for safety while still fulfilling other roles you may have (employee, spouse, parent of other children, etc). It really can facilitate bonding between caregiver and child, reduce physical and emotional stress for both, and is of course fun too!
C: Babywearing helps the child bond and feel safe. For the caregiver, it helps with the same things. It also helps with sleep!

How should a caregiver who is new to babywearing wear their child?

M: There’s no one “right” way to do it. Babywearing may look different from culture to culture and person to person. We usually just suggest that new wearers try out a variety of styles to see what is most comfortable for them, best meets their needs, and is most compatible with their lifestyle.
C:  I recommend using a carrier that they feel comfortable with. I also recommend getting hands on help if you have questions.

What are some great resources for someone interested in babywearing (new and/or experienced wearer)?

M: Babywearing International of Central Iowa** is of course a great resource if you’re local. The national BWI page (https://babywearinginternational.org/) has great safety information and video tutorials as well. If you’re interested in learning how to use a woven wrap, Babywearing Faith on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/BabywearingFaith) has a great collection of videos online.
C: BWI meetings** are the best place to learn about carriers and babywearing! I also appreciate the online babywearing community.

*You can learn more about how babywearing has helped Marissa and her family through severe food allergies here

**You can learn more about BWI of Central Iowa and find out about the local meeting schedule on the Babywearing International of Central Iowa Facebook page

Sources

Jennings, Marissa, and Cat Anderson. “Q&A Session with BWI of Central Iowa President and VP.” E-mail interview. 7 Feb. 2017.

Title image from: Keenan. Can You Pass the Question Test? Digital image. A Sales Guy. N.p., 28 Aug. 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2017. <http://www.asalesguy.com/can-you-pass-the-question-test/&gt;.

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Winter Babywearing

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Getting outside in the winter can be intimidating with a baby or toddler, but keeping an energetic little one inside all winter can be exhausting. In our family, it is essential to get out of the house once a day (or at least a few times per week), even during the winter when low temperatures are threatening our mobility. There are so many fun things to do in the winter months while babywearing and the littles are usually more willing to snuggle in the cooler weather! Having the right gear can make all the difference, especially when babywearing!

The key to winter babywearing is layering. Try to make sure you’ve got three layers – a thin base layer made of wicking material, a warm mid layer, and a windproof and waterproof outer layer.

The thin base layer will help to retain heat and keep the skin warm and dry. This layer should be tight-fitting and it is best to avoid cotton, as cotton does not wick moisture well. Synthetic fabrics or wool work great for this layer. Multiple layers of socks are essential in cooler climates. Since pants tend to ride up while babywearing leg warmers can also be helpful for keeping lower legs covered.

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Base Layer

After the base layer think about another sweater or fleece. If wearing baby close to your body, you may not need a second layer. A full body option is great for smaller kiddos (like fleece PJs) and as kiddos get older two pieces may work better. If using footie PJs, make sure they are not too tight. Since these ride up when babywearing it helps to size up to avoid cutting off circulation in the feet.

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Mid Layer

If baby is exposed, the outer layer should be windproof and waterproof. Keep in mind that extremities can get cold fast so also make sure to keep baby’s head, arms/hands, and legs/feet warm, dry, and covered. One-piece suits that zip at the diaper or have built in hoods, boots, or mittens are really handy! But, these can be worn separately as well. A hat with a chinstrap is great for a baby that likes to pull their hat off (especially when wearing on the back). Soft-soled down or synthetic booties work great for non-walkers or young walkers. Avoid heavy boots or shoes, as they can cut off circulation on dangling legs. Adult wool socks that reach up to baby’s armpits are a great alternative to gloves or mittens and tend to stay on better.

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Outer Layer

 

Babywearing jackets, jacket extenders, and carrier covers (or blankets) are other great options for the wearer! These can be expensive, but are well worth the money if you are able to shell out the cash. However, if you can’t (or don’t want to) splurge on a babywearing jacket, there are lots of DIY options. A large maternity coat or a large men’s jacket can also work well if wearing baby in the front.

All of this gear can be expensive and really adds up over time (especially when kiddos grow so quickly). Be sure to research different brands, but also check online, in secondhand consignment shops, or in swap groups to save on costs.

Below are some additional winter wearing tips:

  1. Never use hot water bottles or heating pads to keep young kids warm. These can be dangerous to infants as their bodies do not disburse heat as well as adults.
  2. ALWAYS make sure baby’s airway is free and DO NOT cover baby’s face.
  3. Use your best judgment and watch for signs of overheating. Babies worn close to the body can soak up body heat and overheat if bundled too warmly.
  4. If baby is in a stroller or is being worn away from the body in a frame carrier you will need to add an additional layer (or blanket).
  5. Keep in mind that winter wear can add lots of bulk and restricts your range of motion. You may need to loosen a ring sling or the straps on a buckler carrier to accommodate the added bulk.
  6. Always make sure that your carrier is tightened properly, check baby’s position frequently, and use a spotter or mirror when practicing getting baby on your back while wearing a thick winter coat.
  7. And, since it gets dark much earlier in the winter months, make sure you are easily seen if out and about after dark. Older kids may have fun with glow sticks, flashlights, and headlamps. Reflective clothing works great as well.

Many of these tips apply to older children as well! Once you’ve got all of your gear ready, take a test walk around the block to make sure everything works for you and baby. Don’t forget, if you need help with anything babywearing related, please join us at a BWI of Central Iowa meeting. You can find meeting dates and locations on our Facebook page. Our educators can give lots of good advice and provide hands-on help! Happy winter babywearing!

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Ignore the sleeping baby on my back – he must have been warm and cozy! 🙂

Sources:

Peters, Christel. “Winter Hiking – How To Layer For Infants.” Hike It Baby, 15 Dec. 2015, https://hikeitbaby.com/winter-hiking-how-to-layer-for-infants/. Accessed 27 Dec. 2016.

Peters, Christel. “HIB Hacks For Winter Weather Fun.” Hike It Baby, 22 Jan. 2016, https://hikeitbaby.com/hib-hacks-for-winter-weather-fun/. Accessed 27 Dec. 2016.

Augustine, Melissa. “Cold Weather Babywearing.” Babywearing International of North Central Illinois, 24 Oct. 2014, http://bwiofncil.blogspot.com/2014/10/cold-weather-babywearing.html?m=1. Accessed 27 Dec. 2016.

Babywearing International, Inc. “Winter Wearing – Be Aware of the Bulk.” Babywearing International, 2016, http://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/resources-for-educators/winter-wearing-bulk/. Accessed 27 Dec. 2016.

Title image from:

Brentnall-Compton, Arie. “We Know Cold – And We Still Love to Babywear All Winter!” Canadian Babywearing School, February 2012, https://canadianbabywearingschool.wordpress.com/tag/babywearing-coat/. Accessed 27 Dec. 2016.

 

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Babywearing Terms & Acronyms

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Have you ever looked at a babywearing post online and thought to yourself, “What language are they speaking?” Trust me, we have all been there. With all the abbreviations and special terms used in babywearing, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Here is a list of some commonly used babywearing terms and abbreviations. This is by no means an all-encompassing list! However, after reading through this you will be well on your way to understanding the language of babywearing!

Carriers

Stretchy wrap: A length of stretchy knit fabric that is tied similar to a woven wrap. Great for newborns, but sometimes uncomfortable for older and heavier babies. Some common brands of stretchy wraps are Moby, Baby K’Tan, and Solly.

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Woven wrap: A length of fabric made from handwoven fibers, which is tied into place. Made in several different sizes and is suitable for many different carries (front, back, and side) and all sizes of babies.

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MT – Mei Tai: Asian-style carrier with body panel, waist straps, and wrap-style shoulder straps

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RS – Ring Sling: Sling style carrier with rings used for adjusting at shoulder

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SSC – Soft Structured Carrier: A carrier with a structured body panel, arm straps, and a waist strap (usually fastened with a buckle). Some common SSC brands are Tula and Ergo.

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PFA – Perfect Fit Adjusters: These cinch down the straps of a SSC more than the regular buckle straps to further customize the fit of the carrier.

Onbu (Onbuhimo): A carrier with a body panel and arm straps. The body panel curves up and under the child to form a wrap-style seat.

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ABC – Asian-Style Baby Carrier: Includes mei tais, onbus, podaegis, etc.

TC – Table Cloth: A woven tablecloth used as a wrap (commonly referred to as TCMT, TCRS, or TC Shorty).

Pouch sling: A sling carrier without rings. Most come in multiple sizes.

WC – Wrap Conversion: A wrap converted to another type of carrier.

WCMT – Wrap Conversion Mei Tai: a Mei Tai converted from a wrap

WCRS Wrap Conversion Ring Sling: a Ring Sling converted from a wrap

WCHB – Wrap Conversion Half Buckle: a SSC style carrier converted from a wrap with a structured body panel, arm straps, and waist straps. A half buckle only has one set of buckles and the other set of straps are wrap-style straps.

WCFB Wrap Conversion Full Buckle: a SSC style carrier converted from a wrap with both sets of straps (waist and shoulder straps) fastened with buckles

SPOC – Simple Piece Of Cloth: Similar to a woven wrap, but not made specifically for babywearing. Could have safety issues.

Wrap Carries and Finishes

Descriptions for the wrap carries will not go into great detail, as it is much easier to learn a carry in person (through a video tutorial or from a VBE). Attend a meeting and we can help you learn any of these carries!

FWCC/PWCC Front Wrap Cross Carry/Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (Moby)

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RRR – Rear Reinforced Ruck

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DH – Double Hammock

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FCC – Front Cross Carry

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RTIF – Ruck Tied In Front

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RTUB – Ruck Tied Under Bum

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TAS – Tied At Shoulder

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TT – Tied Tibetan: a knotless type of finish

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CB Chest Belt: a finish with one or both wrap tails running across the wrapper’s chest

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CCCB Candy Cane Chest Belt: a finish with the wrap tails twisted (like a candy cane) across the wearer’s chest

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Wrap Passes

Ruck pass: Goes over baby and then over both of the wrapper’s shoulders.

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Cross pass: Crosses over the baby diagonally, with one end going under the baby’s leg and the other end going over the baby’s shoulder and usually over the wrapper’s shoulder.

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Torso pass: Goes over the baby and then under both of the wrapper’s arms. Frequently used in a FWCC.

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Reinforcing pass: A reinforcing pass comes under the wrapper’s arm and across the baby horizontally or diagonally.

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Bunched pass: For a bunched pass, the wrap is gathered or bunched together and then passed under/over the baby. Frequently used as safety crosses.

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Wrap Qualities

Airy: Term used to describe a wrap of looser weave (opposite of dense).

Bounce: Term used to describe a wrap with some give in the fabric.

Cush: An attribute given to describe the cushiness a wrap has or how padded it feels on the wrapper’s shoulders.

Dense: An attribute given to a wrap of tighter weave.

Felting: Damage caused to a wool wrap from improper washing. Results in a wrap shrinking in width and getting very fuzzy. A felted wool wrap is not safe to use.

Grippy: An attribute given to a wrap to describe how easily it slides when wrapping.

Moldable: An attribute given to a wrap to describe the way it forms to yours and baby’s body when wrapped.

Natty: A natural or un-dyed wrap

Saggy: An attribute given to a wrap to describe a wrap that does not hold it’s shape when wrapping and baby changes positions. A saggy wrap can become uncomfortable quickly.

Slippery: An attribute given to a wrap that slides very easily when wrapping (opposite of grippy).

Shorty: A short woven wrap, usually your base size minus 2 or 3.

Pull: A loop of yarn that has been pulled up in the fabric as a result of snagging. Cosmetic flaw that can be easily fixed.

Nub: A lump or thick piece of yarn in the weave. Common cosmetic flaw, especially with handwoven wraps and certain wrap blends.

Slub: Similar to a nub

Supportive: An attribute used to describe a wrap that carries the weight of the baby very well without becoming uncomfortable (opposite is saggy).

Thread Shifting: A flaw where parts of the weave shift, causing the wrap to become very thin in places. Can cause safety issues if it turns into a hole.

Permastash: A term used to describe a wrap that will be staying in your permanent collection.

Unicorn: Used to refer to a person’s ultimate dream carrier

Brand Abbreviations

Didy: Didymos

Gira: Girasol

Nati: Natibaby

C&C: Colimecon et Cie

Buy, Sell, Trade Terms

Buy, Sell, Trade groups have LOTS of acronyms and terms. We will just go over the basics here. Watch for a future post with more BSTing details.

BST – Buy, Sell, Trade

BNIB – Brand New In Box

BNIP – Brand New In Package

DISO – Desperately In Search Of, (VDISO = Very Desperately In Search Of)

EUC – Excellent Used Condition

FS – For Sale

FSO – For Sale Only

FSOT – For Sale or Trade

FTO – For Trade Only

GUC – Good Used Condition (VGUC = Very Good Used Condition)

ISO – In Search Of

NWT – New With Tags

NWOT – New Without Tags

PPD – Pay Pal Domestic

MMARO – Message Me A Reasonable Offer

TV – Trade Value

Other

BWI – Babywearing International: An organization with locally-run branches that promotes babywearing and assesses educators for teaching others.

VBE – Volunteer Babywearing Educator: A volunteer who is assessed in writing and with a practical demonstration of their knowledge in all areas of babywearing by Babywearing International representatives. Want to learn more about VBEs?

ABE – Advanced Babywearing Educator: An educator who is trained in advanced babywearing studies.

CSV – Chapter Support Volunteer: A volunteer who assists with the administrative tasks of running a BWI branch. Want to volunteer? Contact us for more information or click here!

BW Babywear

BF Breastfeed

Leg straightener: Used to describe a child who frequently locks or straightens their legs when wrapped. This makes it difficult to wrap well.

Seat popper: Desribes a child who likes to straighten legs and “pop” their seat in the wrap (when bottom rail comes out from underneath baby’s bottom).

LL – Lending library: A library of baby carriers used for lending out to members (could also be used for Lenny Lamb – a brand of carrier)

LOLittle One: Refers to child.

Squish: Used to refer to brand new, newborn babies.

ASTMAmerican Society for Testing and Materials: Organization that sets standards for testing carriers.

BCIABaby Carriers Industry Alliance: An organization that helps maufacturers meet standards.

Resources

http://babywearing102.tumbl.com/post/56693717507/the-babywearing-glossary

http://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/babywearing-resources/glossary-of-babywearing-terms/

Photo Credits

Jessica Duffy

Cat Anderson

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What to Expect at Your First BWI Meeting

It can be nerve-wracking to go a new place, meet new people, and try new things. But I promise it is so much fun going to a Babywearing International meeting! My mission is to answer all of your questions about a typical meeting so you know what to expect.13211025_10103254102484500_585954447_o

Where do I go? Check out the pinned post in our Facebook group. In it you will find a link to the ‘Events’ tab, which will show you the date, time, and location of upcoming meetings. In the same post, there is a link to subscribe to the events and meetings so you never miss one. BWI of Central Iowa chapter has 4 meetings per month: the Ankeny meeting, West Des Moines morning meeting, West Des Moines evening meeting, and an Indianola (South side) meeting.

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How much does it cost? Attending meetings is FREE! If you’d like to join the group, it is $30/year. This gives you the ability to check out 1 carrier/month.

What do I need to bring? Bring yourself. Bring your baby. The VBEs offer hands-on help with or without your baby present (we love to help expectant parents too)! Bring your family members. Bring your spouse, older children, parents, daycare provider, or anyone else that might be wearing your child. We can help anyone and everyone babywear. Bring your carrier if you have one you would like help with, or come try out some of the lending library’s many options.

What should I NOT bring? Please, no food or drinks at the meetings. Water, breastmilk, and formula are fine. We have several kiddos with severe food allergies, and we want our meetings to be as safe as possible. Germs–if you or your loved ones have been ill recently, please do not come to the meeting. We want to do our best to provide a healthy environment, especially for the brand new babies and kids with compromised immune systems.13170040_10103254103138190_1462215954_o

What happens at a meeting? As you walk in, you will be greeted by our lovely volunteers and asked to sign in. The sign in sheet asks your name, email, if you’re a member, and if it’s okay to take your photo. There will be tables set up with different types of carriers around the room. One of the VBEs will welcome everyone, introduce the volunteers, and explain how the carriers are organized. Then you can browse carriers, try them on, and get help from a VBE. This time doubles as a playdate for your child, and you might just make some friends in the process! At any point in the meeting, you can sign up to become a member. We usually have about 60 minutes for testing the carriers and asking questions. Then check out time will be announced by a VBE. 13112582_10103254102639190_313457898_o

How does the checkout work? At checkout time, everyone goes to the table of the carrier they want. If more than one person wants to borrow the same carrier, one of the volunteers will flip a coin to see who gets it. Then you take the carrier you want to the checkout table. The CSV will check the carrier number, log it on the checkout sheet and have you initial. The carrier will go in an orange bag with our policy and terms conveniently attached. You may be asked to show an ID at the time of checkout.

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When do I have to return the carrier? Carriers must be returned the following month. Because our chapter has four meetings each month, we keep separate libraries for each meeting. So if you check a carrier out from the Ankeny meeting, you must return it to the next Ankeny meeting. Please make sure to return the carrier within the first 15 minutes of the meeting to avoid a $15 late fee. This is to ensure that everyone has sufficient time to try all of the carriers during the meeting. If you cannot make it to a meeting and you need to return a carrier, just go on to our Facebook page and message one of the admins. We will arrange for return of the carrier outside of the meeting. Communication is key–we understand that life happens!13230673_10103254103252960_1615662530_o

How do I care for the carrier? Treat your lending library carrier as if it were your own. Use it as much as you want! There is no need to wash a lending library carrier if it is used for normal, everyday use. If baby has a blow-out or something else that warrants a washing, message one of the admins on the Facebook group for proper cleaning instructions. Please do not smoke near the baby carriers. Please keep your pets off of the baby carriers. If couple stray hairs from your pet make it onto a carrier that is not a big deal. But if there is significant pet hair on the carrier, please message us for washing instructions. Again, we need to be sensitive to our members with allergies. If a carrier is returned dirty, we will charge you a $5 laundering fee.

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How do I join? You can fill out the paperwork, pay for the membership, and check out a carrier all at the same meeting!

 

What type of payment is accepted? We accept cash, check and PayPal. We can also send a PayPal invoice to your email that you can pay with your credit card.

What else should I know? We love babywearing! Share your photos on our Facebook page. The VBEs will do a fit check and give helpful tips if needed. We often play games, geek out, and share our love of babywearing through social media.

A final note – We love all babywearing. Whether you have a hand-me-down carrier or the newest wrap on the market, or no carrier at all, we love all babywearers. Our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and educated about how to wear safely.

Happy Babywearing!
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Written by Cat Anderson and Emily Shafer

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TwinGo Baby Carrier Review

Review of one of our New Additions: The TwinGo Baby Carrier!

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My first thought when I opened the box and checked out this new carrier made specifically for tandem wearing was “wow it has everything!” And it really does: Nice large hoods that can be rolled away and secured with elastic, zippered pockets for storage, adjustable waist band for fit and comfort, and a multitude of ways that it can be worn! Out of all the carriers I’ve tried over the years, I’ve truly never seen anything quite like the TwinGo.
The TwinGo baby carrier is made up of two separate buckle carriers that can be attached to one another for wearing two children at once, also known as tandem wearing. The orange carrier is called the Attachment carrier and the blue one is called the Base carrier. Both carriers can be worn on their own in a regular front or back carry. All you have to do is make sure the Attachment carrier has its shoulder straps buckled in place and secured with the safety elastic. Then you’re set for each parent to wear a child! The Attachment carrier can also be worn in a hip carry much like an Ergo can. The Base carrier cannot because its straps do not detach.
The first thing I tried was a back carry with my six month old in the Base carrier, and it was quite comfortable! The shoulder straps are nicely padded and the fit is great. The only downside was the feeling that the chest strap and webbing are a little thinner than I’m used to, and they felt slightly more delicate. But overall, I was impressed! And I was excited to move on to trying a tandem carry with both of my kids.
Each separate carrier can hold a maximum of 40-45 lbs on its own but when the carriers are attached to one another, they hold a max weight of 70 lbs. This is more than enough in my opinion. I tried the carrier with my four year old and six month old and was wearing a total of 60 lbs (my kids are not small! :). This is a carrier that would work extremely well not only for parents of twins but for parents of two children of different ages, even with a large age gap like mine have! As for minimum weight, the company recommends that baby is at least 10 pounds for a front carry. With their infant insert, a front carry can be done from 7 pounds, with baby’s legs either in newborn or froggy position. Back carries aren’t recommended by the company until at least 4 months when baby has good head control. This recommendation is different than what we usually see with buckle carriers, which is 6 months and sitting unassisted.
When the carriers are connected together, there is a safety strap that can be used in the Attachment (front) carrier to further secure the child. This feature isn’t possible to use when the carrier is used on its own since the buckles are needed for the shoulder straps. It’s a nice little extra to have though when tandem wearing!
Before putting on the carriers to do a tandem carry, the waist bands need adjusted. The instructions include guidelines for getting the best fit, but basically, you can fold and unfold part of the waist band on each carrier to custom fit your waist size. If you fold both parts in on both carriers, it will be smaller and if you unfold them all, it will be larger. I found the best fit for me was with one carrier folded and one unfolded. This is a feature that allows both carriers to be flush against your body while connected. The waist bands then buckle to one another. Make sure to use the safety elastic after you have buckled and tightened! The next step is to loosen the shoulder straps of the blue Base Carrier and detach the shoulder straps of the orange Attachment carrier. Please note that the Base carrier should always go on back and the Attachment on front when doing a tandem carry.
Once that is done, you are ready to position the carriers with one on each hip so you can load your back baby on. Using the hip scoot method, I put my toddler on my back. I tightened the straps and got him adjusted as I normally would in a single back carry, including fastening the chest belt. At this point, the orange carrier was just hanging down my front, ready for my six month old. I loaded my six month old in and secured the safety strap on the inside. I then made sure to lift her up while buckling the orange carrier to the blue carrier to make sure I wouldn’t over tighten the back carrier. I then tightened and secured the safety elastic. And voila! They were up! I have to admit, it felt pretty darn good for 60 pounds of kid!
So now the moment of truth. I will share what I deem to be the positive and negative attributes of this carrier.
The downfalls:
1. While I didn’t measure the panel size, it was obvious to me that it is pretty small compared to other carriers I’ve tried
2. The chestbelt and webbing feel somewhat thin and delicate so I was cautious while adjusting the carrier
3. There are a lot of buckles. This carrier is more complicated and has more of a learning curve than most buckle carriers do simply because of the number of steps involved. But hey! You get two kids in one carrier essentially, so what did I expect?
The positives:
1. This carrier has anything and everything you could want in a buckle carrier these days: a chest belt, well-padded shoulder straps, pocket storage, nice hoods, and a well-designed infant insert
2. The TwinGo has SO MANY OPTIONS for wearing! A single back carry, front carry, or hip carry along with its signature tandem option. You can’t ask for much more than that!
3. Overall, and most importantly, this carrier is really very comfortable to wear!
4. Another important point to make is that for the retail price of about $215, you are essentially getting two carriers, so it’s a pretty great deal too.
All in all, the TwinGo has a lot to offer, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat to any and every twin parent I know. While it was somewhat challenging the first time I used it, that is to be expected with any new carrier. All the wearing options it allows makes all the steps and buckles worth it in my opinion. And as you can see from my picture, my kids loved it as well! What a cool product!
To see a video tutorial I made for using the TwinGo, please follow this link:  http://youtu.be/VRqFUQSJr3w
Happy Babywearing!

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Lenny Lamb Ergonomic Carrier Review

My 6 month old has recently begun sitting up unassisted. Of course, with my love for babywearing this milestone could only mean one thing: He’s finally old enough to back carry in a soft structured carrier! I’ve used several SSCs but recently purchased a 2nd generation Lenny Lamb Ergonomic Carrier. When my first son was an infant I used a 1st generation so I was excited to compare the two versions.

My favorite thing about the Lenny Lamb is that is was soft and floppy right out of the box. I love that all of their SSCs are wrap conversions. I consider myself to be mostly a wrapper and am usually not impressed with the stiffness of canvas carriers. It’s nice to find a full wrap conversion for less than the cost of other popular brands. There are so many design options as well, which made choosing one difficult. I ended up picking Forest Meadow, but it was hard to resist some of the beautiful jacquard options. I also found the waist and shoulder straps to be very comfortable. I don’t like a lot of bulk on my shoulders and found the light padding to be perfect for me.

Lenny Lamb’s carrier boasts a few more unique features. A change was made for the 2nd generation carrier, instead of seat darts the seat is pleated which creates a deep seat. This makes the panel seem a little bit bigger than its predecessor. For me, this is a huge plus because my 2 year old still fits decently in the baby size. His legs were uncomfortable in the 1st generation about a year ago. This width also means that infants will probably need an insert a bit longer than other carriers. My 6 month old is of average height and he just barely fits. It also features three way adjustable shoulder straps including PFAs (Perfect fit adjusters). I usually keep the PFAs cinched all the way up and loosen them to nurse. They are nice and long and make it simple to adjust him to reach my breasts. The waist and the shoulder strap buckles have a 3 point safety feature. I actually consider this to be a pro and a con. I love redundancy features on SSCs and it’s great to know that I can really trust the buckle to hold, but I need both hands to undo the clip. I either need to fumble with the buckle with a baby on my hip or set him down which isn’t always an option when we are running errands.

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Ultimately, I am impressed with the overall quality and aesthetics. It’s comfortable, gorgeous, and easy to use. With a weight limit of 44 pounds I’m sure that I will be using this carrier for a long time!

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