BWI B'ham Leadership
Babywearing International of Birmingham strives to provide meetings at times and in places that are accessible to our communities. Right now, however, we do not have enough volunteers and educators to best serve caregivers at two monthly meetings. Because of this, we will be dropping our weekend Asbury meeting after December. Our last weekend meeting will be held there in December, and starting January 2018 we will continue to have one monthly meeting at The Dance Foundation the first Wednesday of every month. We hope that you will continue to join us there if you can, and we understand the frustration for those who are unable to come to weekday meetings. We remain hopeful that one day we can add a weekend meeting again if our volunteer base grows. Thank you for your support!
BWI B'ham Leadership
If you missed our Facebook announcement, we're excited that starting in November, we're going to be rolling out a new meeting structure at all of our meetings. Based on some feedback we've received and some chatting among our leadership team, we realized that the structured format that we introduced a while back may not be conducive to our current community... so we thought we'd switch it up and try something different! It's going to be a more laid back, come-and-go type atmosphere, which we hope will cater well to the caregivers who are working (so if they need to drop by and switch out carriers during a quick lunch break, they can).
We're also going to drop the topic presentation at our meetings. We'll still have a monthly topic, but it will be posted on our Facebook discussion group and in blogs.
Here's how the new meetings will flow...
10:00 (9:00 for weekend): Baby carrier check-in, guest and member meeting sign-in, and announcements
Immediately after announcements: Learning library open; small group work and one-on-one help starts, check outs for carriers start
10:30 (9:30 for weekend): Babywearing 101 session for new babywearers
11:40-12 (10:40-11 for weekend): Finish up one-on-one help, pack up carriers and finish checking out carriers
We'll try this out at our November meetings and see how it goes! Please let us know what you think!
It's time to announce the schedule for International Babywearing Week (Oct. 5-10)! We are really looking forward to these events this year and hope you will make plans to come to some of the events!
For more details about the events and to RSVP, click here to be taken to our Facebook Events. We ask that you please RSVP to each event you plan on attending so we can have a good idea of the headcount for each event!
Wednesday, Oct. 5th: Our monthly Homewood Meeting @ The Dance Foundation from 10 a.m.-noon
Thursday, Oct. 6th: Babywearing dance with Rock N' Wrap Dance Fitness @ 9:30 a.m. (2531 Rocky Ridge Rd Vestavia Hills, Alabama 35243)
Friday, Oct. 7th: Hike It Baby hiking event @ Ruffner Mountain from 9:30 a.m.-noon
Saturday, Oct. 8th: Annual IBW Picnic @ McCallum Park (Vestavia off Rocky Ridge Road) from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
We hope to see you for IBW '16!
Each year, our parent organization Babywearing International organizes and sponsors a week-long celebration and outreach event called International Babywearing Week (IBW for short). According to BWI, this week is "a[n] opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing."
BWI of B'ham will be participating as a registered Official Celebrating Organization! The theme chosen for IBW 2016 is "Best Seat in the House". We really do think that babywearing gives your little one the best seat in the house, allowing them to snuggle, interact with you and see things from your vantage point!
This year, due to the way that religious holidays fell on the calendar, we'll be celebrating from October 5-10. In years past, we've held a family picnic and some events throughout the week. We invite you to join us for some casual in-person events and online as well!
You can read more about IBW here. We'll make another post with details about our planned events. You can go ahead and join in on social media by tagging your babywearing photos with #bwibham and #ibw2016
FUN FACT: Did you know that Susie Spence, our former President and babywearer extraordinaire, was a founding director of Babywearing International and helped to create IBW?
On Saturday, August 13, volunteers from BWI Birmingham had the opportunity to participate in the Birmigham Babypalooza Baby and Maternity Expo. The event was held at the BJCC, hosted by Children's Hospital of Alabama, and included vendors and exhibitors from the healthcare industry as well as childcare services, maternity goods and so much more!
BWI Birmingham was included in the natural parenting section of the exhibit hall. Our volunteers enjoyed speaking with everyone that passed by our booth, answering questions, and getting the word out into our community about the wonderful ways baby wearing can be integrated into our everyday lives. We also hosted a raffle for a Lillebaby Carrier, generously donated by Birmingham Lactation.
At first glance, our array of carriers (from our learning library) was met with either looks of curiosity from those who hadn't heard of baby wearing, or with cheerful faces from those who were eager to see what we had on hand.
BWI volunteers participated in a babywearing fashion show! Several different styles of carriers and types of carries were showcased, while the basics of babywearing safety, positioning and benefits for both child and caregiver were presented to the audience.
Our educators spent the day demonstrating various carriers, helping people try on different styles of carriers and determining what seemed to be the best fit for each individual caregiver and child. The look of excitement on someone's face when they found something that worked for them made the long day completely worth the effort! It was a thrill to meet so many members of our community. We look forward to this event each year, and cannot wait for next year's Babypalooza. Check out some of the photos from our day in the slideshow below!
-Hannah Pruitt, VBE
Everyone has their own reason for why they wear their children. Same for volunteering - each person approaches the volunteer opportunity with a motivation unique to them. We asked our volunteers to tell us why they babywear and why they volunteer. Here is their WHY... what's yours?
I wear my daughter because it is practical, natural, and helpful. People throughout human history and in every culture throughout the globe have utilized slings or carriers to efficiently hold their children close. I volunteer with BWI because of the people - both the members I am able to help, and because of the other volunteers and their generosity of knowledge and wisdom. - VBE
We took a little break from our Featured Volunteer blog series, but now that we have a new group of awesome volunteers, we wanted you to get to know them a little better!
Name and BWI title/role
Amanda Ellis Rice, BWI Mentor
Name(s)/Age(s) of children
Maiz: 6 Eliott: 6 months
When/with what did you start wearing?
I started wearing when my 6 year old was just a few days old. We used a ring sling from the library!
How did you first hear about us or what first brought you to BWI B'ham?
A friend recommended BWI to me while I was pregnant with Maiz.
Favorite part of volunteering with BWI B'ham?
I love meeting members and finding out why and how they benefit or need to benefit from baby wearing.
What's one thing you wish you could tell all new babywearers?
Try carriers until you find something you love. Just because one style doesn't work for you doesn't mean that with a little help, you can't find something that you and baby love and benefit from.
If you could only use one carrier, what would it be?
Only one?!?! I guess it would be a light and airy mei tai that is versatile in carries and seasonal use!
Most, in your opinion, underrated carrier in our library?
The orange and flowery pod! I loved it as Maiz got a little bigger and will definitely use it as Eliott grows!
Favorite thing to do while babywearing?
I love to hike while baby wearing!
Care to give a shout out to someone who inspired or helped you to find the babywearing love?
Susie Spence and Mandy Welch! They were both volunteers when I first joined BWI years ago and helped me fall in love with wearing!
You have two weeks' vacation with the kids - where do you go?
We would travel Southeast Asia and India!
If a friend suddenly dropped by to watch the kids for the rest of the day, what would you end up doing?
Find an all day yoga class and dive in!
We get a lot of questions about whether you can continue to wear your babies and toddlers during your pregnancy, and the short answer is... Yes! Babywearing during pregnancy is often a necessity. You still need a way to cuddle your upset toddler or wrangle them during shopping or in a busy parking lot. But how can you comfortably and safely wear?
**Always make sure you check with your physician and let them know you want to continue to wear your child while pregnant. They can give you the go-ahead or may provide some directions on what's best for you.**
Two of our volunteers shared their experiences on babywearing while pregnant, including some tips and what worked for them. Check out what they have to say below!
My son and daughter are twenty months apart, so I definitely needed to wear while pregnant. For the most part I kept using my woven wraps and doing back carries like I’d done before, but I also ended up going back to my ring sling a lot more than I ever thought I would. It was great for those situations where he could walk or run around, but I still wanted an easy way to navigate parking lots or just deal with pre-nap meltdowns. I would wear him in a hip carry, and the extra support made getting through ticket lines so much easier. Ring slings are also pretty portable, so I could toss one in my bag when we were heading to church or a family event and not be carrying tons of stuff around with me. I could actually comfortably wear my son in a ring sling just as long or longer than I could with a woven wrap. Around 38 weeks back carries just got to be too much for me. - Natalie Short, VBE
If you're pregnant and would like to learn how to comfortably and safely wear your child while pregnant, our volunteer babywearing educators are available at each of our three monthly meetings and would be happy to help you! And if you are pregnant and just want to learn more about how to wear once your little one is born, we have weighted demo dolls that you can use to get a feel for what wearing your little one will be like. We can also show you how to wrap your belly for support!
Please join us for the annual Great Cloth Diaper Change! Click here to RSVP online! Share with your friends.
We will have a cloth/craft swap for a $5 fee. Proceeds will go to the Real Diaper Association and BWI of Birmingham.
There will be swag bags for the first 20 people who register, so get there early to guarantee one!
There will also be snacks and refreshments and DOOR PRIZES.
9:00 Registration and set up begins.
9:30-10:30 Craft/Cloth Swap (please keep it to the size of a hamper/laundry basket for the sake of space. NO tables for this)
10:30-11 Clean up, Draw names for prizes, set up for the change off.
11:00 Great Change Off
We must have everything clean and be off the premises by 11:30-11:45, as there is another event at 12!
There will have a resource table set up for cloth demonstrations and have some diapers available to purchase.
If you do not cloth diaper, but are interested in learning, this is a great opportunity to get to know other cloth moms and learn a lot!
The Crunchy Bean
Babywearing International of Birmingham
If you're a new caregiver, chances are that you've probably seen those websites or coupons offering free baby accessories like pouch slings. We often see caregivers ask about these slings. "Should I get one?" "Is this a good deal?"
So what's the appeal?
Pouches are a simple loop of fabric designed to hold baby on your chest or hip. Therein lies the appeal and simplicity of the pouch. It's small and easy to fold up and stash in your diaper bag! With all of the stuff you have to tote around for a baby, having a small carrier to stash away like that is a plus.
What's the downside?
If you're familiar with a ring sling, you'll notice that the way the baby sits in a pouch sling is similar. Tummy to tummy carries or hip carries for babies with head and trunk control are the two carrying positions in a pouch. But unlike ring slings, pouch slings are not adjustable. That can be a problem if you don't know what size pouch to get or you're stuck with a pouch that's too small or too big. Another problem with a pouch not being adjustable is that a size that may work for you and your baby in the early months might not work for you as baby grows. If you know someone who has a pouch or has purchased one of the free ones, see if you can try theirs on or get tips about sizing from them.
How do you use a pouch?
When using a pouch with a newborn, it's very important to make sure the pouch is fitted properly so that your newborn is high on your chest, close enough to kiss, and their back is fully supported. You'll pull the fabric on the outside of the pouch high enough to support your newborn's back while leaving enough fabric between baby and your body. If there's some slack in the pouch, you can take the top of the fabric that goes over your shoulder and pull it down to cap your shoulder (see the video below).
If you have a pouch sling and it's not sized correctly, did you know that we have a Pouch Exchange Program? Come to one of our monthly meetings and we'll help you find a pouch that fits you and your little one. Turn in your old pouch and exchange it for a new one that fits!
Lauren Moore, VBE
All content here is written or reviewed by our volunteer babywearing educators
Blog content copyright 2007-2015 Babywearing International of Birmingham (Magic City Slingers)
Any tutorials or advice given on this blog by Babywearing International of Birmingham or representatives of BWI B'ham are to be used at your own risk. Please use caution when attempting any of the carries highlighted on this blog and using any of the carriers discussed on this blog.
Some of the information or advice may put some users of this site at risk due to health issues, physical limitations, or misuse. If you or your child have health issues or physical limitations, please discuss the appropriateness of the carry or carrier with your health care practitioner.