Member Profiles: Mary

We’ve asked some of our local members to share what they love about babywearing and our local community.  Mary can often be found at the Midtown meetings.

 

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How many kids do you have and how old are they?

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      One daughter, 22 months old.

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How did you discover babywearing and BWI and how old was/were your child(ren) when you became active in the community?

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     A friend gave me a hand-me-down ring sling before my baby was born. Then my husband and I bought an Ergo with baby shower gift cards. I did not wear her a lot when she was a newborn. I didn’t really know anything about babywearing, and our Ergo sat in the box for a long time. But once we started taking her to sporting events, then I began to love the convenience of babywearing because you can’t really take a stroller inside a Royals or a Mizzou game. I think I found out about BWIKC and started coming to meetings when she was 8 months old maybe. I wish I had known about BWI long before that!

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Mary Mizzou

In what ways do you feel like babywearing has transformed your relationship with your immediate family?

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     No transformation really, it’s just part of our life.  I do enjoy trying to convert all of my pregnant friends and telling them all about the many types of carriers out there.

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What are your favorite things about babywearing and favorite parts of being a BWI member?

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      Babywearing is the best way to go outdoors without a stroller, and definitely makes traveling easier too. My daughter likes to walk a lot now, but with the Tula, it’s really easy to get her in and out of the carrier as needed. I just keep it on me until she’s ready. After she walks a while and gets tired, she’s usually pretty happy to go up and asks to “ride back” (ride my back). I also like to keep her on my back if we are shopping or walking anywhere crowded where I don’t want to be chasing her around. I like being a BWI member because I can try new carriers just for fun, meet new people, and learn from everyone!

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Who attends BWI meetings with you?

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      I’ve brought friends and babies along, but mostly just myself. I attend the Midtown meeting occasionally when my work schedule allows.

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Mary husband

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What is your favorite carrier type and what is on your babywearing bucket list?

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      I just got a toddler-sized Tula recently and it is my favorite. I think I have tried just about every type of carrier (wrap, mei tai, SSC, ring sling) and a SSC has worked best for me. I’d like to become a better wrapper and use my wrap more… maybe someday with a second baby?!?

 

 

If you would like more information about meetings, membership, or BWI of KC in general, join our Facebook page.  If you would like to have your “profile” featured on our blog to share the reasons you love babywearing and our community, please email us at kc@babywearinginternational.org

 

Carrie Agnew, VBE and Vice President of BWIKC

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Member Profiles: Christia

We’ve asked some of our local members to share what they love about babywearing and our local community.  When her schedule allows, Christia can be found at Lee’s Summit or Midtown meetings.

Christia family

How many kids do you have and how old are they?

  4 kids:  Julian is 8, Gabriel 6, Owen 3 and Emilia is 1!

How did you discover babywearing and BWI and how old was/were your child(ren) when you became active in the community?

     I started with a Baby Bjorn with my first and slowly evolved from there. My second had a Moby and Ergo. I learned about BWI when I moved to the kc area from Iowa. I’ve only been a member for less than a year now.

Christia Obi

In what ways do you feel like babywearing has transformed your relationship with your immediate family?

     Babywearing makes life possible here. My husband works a lot and super random hours. I truly never knew when he will or won’t be home. Without the ability to keep my baby happy, and say, clean the house or cook dinner or help with homework, everything would fall apart.

What are your favorite things about babywearing?

     Snuggles aside? I love that I can multitask.

What is your favorite thing about being a BWI member and coming to meetings?

     I love the meetings when I can attend. I was taught the ruck my first meeting which made my summer so much more bearable!! Having someone there to troubleshoot with me, and tell me exactly why it was or wasn’t working is invaluable.

Christia ergo

Who attends meetings with you?

     Usually just Emilia. Sometimes the whole crew. My visits are typically short when they all come.

What is your favorite carrier type and what is on your babywearing bucket list?

     Lately I’m loving my toddler Tula. So quick, easy and comfortable for everyone. I also love my ring sling. Bucket list…jeesh I don’t know! I would love to try a full wrap conversion Tula.

If you would like more information about meetings, membership, or BWI of KC in general, join our Facebook page.  If you would like to have your “profile” featured on our blog to share the reasons you love babywearing and our community, please email us at kc@babywearinginternational.org

Carrie Agnew, VBE and Vice President of BWIKC

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Member profiles: Amanda

We’ve asked some of our local members to share what they love about babywearing and our local community:  Amanda can often be found at our Overland Park meetings.

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How many kids do you have and how old are they?

     One child: Rocklan, 14 months

How did you discover babywearing and BWI and how old was/were your child(ren) when you became active in the community?

     When I was pregnant, I remember seeing carriers (although they were mostly Baby Bjorns and Ergos and a couple other SSCs since those are what seem to be so mainstream) and I was incredibly interested in it. I received a Baby K’Tan from a friend at my baby shower and I eventually picked up a Bjorn and a pouch carrier from a consignment sale. At that consignment sale I had seen a mama put her baby up on her back and started to wrap her on there but I had no idea what she was doing. I was debating between it being really cool or that mom was crazy. Well I ran into her inside and asked her about it and that’s how I met Michelle (one of the VBEs) and she told me all about BWI and I came to the next meeting that I could;  I’ve come every month since Rocklan was about 4-5 months old.

Who attends BWI meetings with you?

     My fiance comes to meetings with me whenever he can! He enjoys them just as much as I do!

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In what ways do you feel like babywearing has transformed your relationship with your immediate family?

     Babywearing brings us all closer (as daddy is a wearer too!) and it helps us get so much more done. I think it helps us work better as a team, especially when it comes to things like cleaning and shopping; one of us can wrap the baby up and we can get what needs to be done without having to stress about the baby getting into things or making messes or running off. It also helps that the baby is a cuddler and loves his “ups”.

What are your favorite things about babywearing?

     My favorite parts of babywearing (besides all the pretty wraps) are that I can hold my baby and be close to him without being stranded on the couch if he falls asleep. I love that I can keep him close to me without having to surrender to every thing else in life.

What is your favorite thing about being a BWI member and coming to meetings?

     My favorite part about coming to the meetings is getting to know all the other mamas who share a common interest with me. I also love learning from them; I still feel relatively new to wrapping and don’t know very many carries. I love how experienced and helpful everyone is.

What is your favorite carrier type and what is on your babywearing bucket list?

     I love love love wraps but lately I’ve found myself reaching for our Baby SaBye mei tai, which is the hubby’s. It’s much faster and easier to tighten since our little guy just started walking and wants to explore everything.  As for the bucket list, I WILL MASTER THE DOUBLE HAMMOCK!

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If you would like more information about meetings, membership, or BWI of KC in general, join our Facebook page.  If you would like to have your “profile” featured on our blog to share the reasons you love babywearing and our community, please email us at kc@babywearinginternational.org

Carrie Agnew, VBE and Vice President of BWIKC

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Member profiles: Ashley

We’ve asked some of our local members to share what they love about babywearing and being a part of our local community. Featured first is Ashley, who frequents Midtown meetings and occasionally attends Overland Park.

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How many kids do you have and how old are they?

     I have one son who is eight months old.

How did you discover babywearing and BWI and how old was/were your child(ren) when you became active in the community?

     I heard about BWIKC through a woman in my birthing class. I was pregnant when I came to my first meeting and brought my son for the first time when he was 3 weeks old.

Who attends BWI meetings with you?

     I have attended with my husband multiple times, my mother and sister have both come to a meeting and my in-laws came when they were visiting town. I also have had a friend and her son attend with me as well.

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In what ways do you feel like babywearing has transformed your relationship with your immediate family?

     I love that babywearing has allowed my son to be an active participant in family activities instead of just an observer and given me tools that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. For example, on days when he is feeling more emotional or needing more “Mommy Time” I can be there for him through babywearing. Additionally, my husband enjoys wearing on the weekends and my mom has enjoyed wearing him for walks when the weather is nice. Babywearing allows them to enjoy time together.

What are your favorite things about babywearing and favorite parts of being a BWI member?

     I’d say my favorite thing about babywearing is how much my son loves it. For the first few months of his life he had a major meltdown anytime he was in his car seat. Babywearing was a lifesaver since I couldn’t leave him in his car seat after we reached our destination. I was able to wear him whenever we reached our destination and he calmed down immediately. Now that he’s older he loves the back carries. I think he feels like he’s participating in my activities from that vantage point. My favorite part of being a member is being able use the lending library to try out a carrier type for a month to see if it works for our lifestyle and carrying needs.

What is your favorite thing about coming to meetings?

     I love coming to meetings to learn new carries as my son gets older, troubleshooting any problems I might be having, and seeing other moms and babies that I know.

What is your favorite carrier type and what is on your babywearing bucket list?

     My favorite carrier type is a woven wrap. Right now I would love to get a size 3 or 4 DIDYMOS Indio In Monti if I can find it!

Ashley Pic 3

If you would like more information about meetings, membership, or BWI of KC in general, join our Facebook   page.  If you are a member and would like to have your “profile” featured on our blog to share the reasons you love babywearing and our community, please email us at kc@babywearinginternational.org

Carrie Agnew, Vice President and VBE

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We Want to Meet YOU!

      2014 is here, and it’s not too late to set goals for the new year.  I like to set two or three attainable, life-enhancing goals, like improving my typing skills or resolving to make the bed once in a while.  Maybe your goal is to try new things, re-work your relationship with your family, or meet new friends.  Here is a list of the top 5 ways that coming to a Babywearing International meeting could enhance your life:

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    5)  Reap the benefits of babywearing:  Did you know that babywearing has been shown to not only increase parental confidence, but also to reduce overall crying time in infants?  (http://babywearinginternational.org/articles.php?article=1)   Various stages of parenting are challenging for many reasons.  Babywearing allows a caregiver to learn and readily respond to a newborn’s cues.  An older infant can be calmed in an overwhelming situation or be allowed to explore surroundings while still feeling the security of a parent’s clutch.  Toddlers may enjoy being carried on hikes, trips to the zoo or park, or even while grocery shopping.  Wearing a child can allow a caregiver to address the needs of more than one child, or even other household tasks.  Have you ever stared at a pile of laundry or a stack of paperwork needing to be completed and wondered how on Earth you were going to get it done with a baby in the house?  Babywearing to the rescue!

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    4)  Accredited babywearing educators:   Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) are on hand to help everyone from caregivers wearing a child for the first time, to experienced wearers working on new skills.  VBEs  have been tested in both written and practical format,  are accredited by the parent Babywearing International organization, and are experienced in all basic styles of babywearing.  If you have seen a carrier online or have questions about safety or positioning, a VBE will be able to provide you with the information you need to make a decision.

    3)  Peer-to-peer support:  While new skills should always be practiced with a VBE, you might have seen a new variation on a carry you already know and would like to work out the kinks.  This is when peer-to-peer support comes in.  Perhaps you already know that you like woven wraps of a certain size but would like to feel different blends or weaves of fabric.  Of course, discussions of this nature can be found all over the internet, but being able to feel the difference in person is priceless.  Besides babywearing, many caregivers are able to find peer support in other areas at meetings, like diapering, baby sleep schedules, and gentle parenting techniques.

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    2)  Carriers to try and borrow:  BWI of KC has a lending library with over 50 carriers, including stretchy wraps, ring slings, soft-structured (buckle) carriers, mei tais, and numerous woven wraps in sizes 2-7.  These carriers are available for anyone attending the meetings to explore, whether it be watching a “carrier 101,” trying a carrier with a weighted demonstration doll, or even receiving assistance in properly wearing the carrier with one’s own child–for free.  One perk of becoming a BWI member is that members are able to check out one carrier per month for the duration of the 12-month membership.  An annual membership is $30 and a portion of the dues stay in our local chapter to help us build our local library and pay for promotional supplies like business cards.  We pay a portion of the dues to the parent organization, and in turn, they provide us with insurance, support, informational material to distribute, and they often donate carriers.

Check out this post to learn a little more about some of the carriers available in our local lending library!

    1)  Join the local community!  Parenting can be hard, so why face it alone?  So much support can be found online, but nothing really beats face-to-face interactions of people in the same situations as you.  Personally, even though I had been babywearing for 3 years already, I was terrified to go to my first BWI meeting, and I put it off for at least 3 months.  As you may know, starting new friendships after children come along can be intimidating.  I was incredibly nervous at my first meeting, but I connected with another mom and decided to go ahead attend the next month, and connected with a few more moms at that meeting.  I eventually became an educator and I look  forward to every interaction I have with the people that decide to jump into our local community.

Follow our blog over the coming days and weeks to see a few of our local BWI members share what they enjoy about being part of the community!

~Carrie Agnew, VBE and Vice President of Babywearing International of Kansas City

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How to Jazz up a Ring Sling!

Short of converting a woven wrap into a sling, I have never had an easy time finding good fabric to use to make my own ring sling. The cute stuff always seems to have an ugly wrong side, is made of synthetic fabric, is not strong/soft/smooth/thin/thick enough, etc., or sometimes all of the above. The good news is, slings can be “dressed up” with just a little extra effort and materials. And in my opinion, that extra just makes it more fun!

Keep it safe

This post will not go into detail about exactly how to sew a ring sling. Jan Andrea of Sleeping Baby Productions has a great website with patterns, instructions, and material recommendations here . In a nutshell, cotton fabrics like bottomweight, duck, canvas, denim, and twill; also 100% linen (not the polyester linen look-alike) are going to be your best choices when shopping at JoAnn’s or similar. Slingrings.com is the best place to get rings–do NOT use craft rings from Hobby Lobby.

Using dye to personalize

Procion dyes are the best choice to use for baby products, because the molecules actually bond to the fabric, rather than union dyes like RIT, which deposits onto the fabric, but washes out over time (in the washing machine water and in baby’s mouth, body, etc.). Dharmatrading.com or Dylon at craft stores are good choices (Dharma seems to be better quality and produce more vibrant colors). Cellulose (plant) fibers like cotton, linen, and hemp will take procion dyes well. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and add the extras as noted, such as salt and soda ash. Keep in mind that white fabric will produce the truest colors, and any other color fabric you dye will end up fabric color+dye color–meaning get white or a very light color fabric to start with.

  1. Tub dye–This is the simplest method to use for dyeing. You can use this method on an already assembled sling (homemade or purchased) or on fabric you are going to use to make one. Since fabric is often 45 inches wide and slings are more like 30 inches wide, you can even dye the whole cut of fabric and then make matching accessories with the scraps! Tub or washing machine dyeing instructions are usually included with dye.
  2. Gradient dye–Also called ombre, this makes a beautiful effect that has the added benefit of keeping the rails (top v. bottom) from getting confused. For different colored rails, dye before sewing on the rings. Alternatively, a vertical gradient, where the tail is a different color than the rings, would also work. This is more involved than tub dyeing, and I personally have had the best luck with the dip method , but you could also add water if you have a narrow enough container (the gradient will be too sudden if you use a wide bucket and a t shirt, as I’ve found). Gradient dyeing can look extra cool if you overdye a colored fabric. For example, if you use yellow fabric, and gradient dye it blue, you will have a green and yellow sling. You can also do a gradient dye on each side of the sling, making 3 colors–either overlap them to make a new color or leave the middle portion undyed.
  3. Tie Dye–a tie dye kit makes this super easy. You can get fancy and make fun designs , or just rubber band it in a couple places and squirt on dye. Jacquard makes a quality tie dye kit. Ideally, use it on fabric before sewing rings, but it would work with an assembled sling as well.
  4. Ice or Snow Dye — This method produces an effect somewhat similar to tie dye, but involves some extra equipment (a rack to set the fabric, a tub to collect dye water, a mask and gloves because you’re working with pure dye powder). It is also a good choice for dyeing an assembled ring sling if that is what you have.
  5. Low Water Immersion, Shibori, DNA…take a look at the facebook group for inspiration (click on “files” > “tutorials”)!

Adding fabric to one rail

I have seen a lot of really cute quilting fabric that I would love to use for a sling, but do not feel comfortable with the strength. They also tend to have an obvious wrong side that shows in the tail. My favorite way to combine a strong but plain fabric, like a thin denim, with a cute quilting fabric is to fold it over one of the edges. So you start with a rectangle of your basic fabric (denim or what have you): Then you sew on a few inches wide of the patterned fabric (please excuse the Paint job) so that right and wrong side look like this:

both sides look like this

Finally, sew the rings to the mostly charcoal part, leaving the colorful end the tail. This, like a gradient dye, has the added benefit of helping you tell the top rail from the bottom rail and avoid twisting.

Add a pocket to the tail

Pretty simple–just hem a square or even a heart of just about any fabric and size (depending on what you will use it for) and sew on 3 sides. You may want to try the sling on and position the pocket that way to make sure you do not sew it on the wrong side or upside down. Add this to any homemade or store bought sling before or after assembly.

Add ribbon

Ribbon can go over the stitching by the rings (especially useful for sloppy but effective sewing jobs or when the thread color does not match–just match the thread to the ribbon now). Or, try sewing one or more rows to the edge of the tail (at any time in the sling making process). You could even sew ribbon to either top rail or bottom rail before sewing the rings one, like Adding Fabric to One Rail above.

Applique the tail

Craft stores sell iron-on and sew-on appliques in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. Personally, I have never had an iron-on stay put, especially through a machine washing. And I do not keep things around that I can’t machine wash, especially things that routinely get spit up, poop, etc. on it like a baby sling. I prefer a careful zigzag stitch around the edge of a sew-on, but sewing on an iron-on applique works too. You could even make your own with scrap fabric ! The edge of the tail works best for added texture, not where the fabric is going to be run through the rings regularly. And keep orientation in mind–switching shoulders with a ring sling is best for posture and will help preserve your spine, and an upside-down cupcake might look a little funny.

Comment below and let us know what other ideas you have, or post photos of your completed projects!

-Rachel George, VBE BWI of KC

A couple of my completed slings:

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Uzazi Village, for Every Baby, A Healthy Village

We are in the final days of our carrier drive for Uzazi Village. A huge THANK YOU to those of you who have donated! We will be delivering the carriers next week, and I’m so happy to have so many to bring. Good news, we have extended the carrier drive to the end of International Babywearing Week! That gives you 2 more live events to bring your carrier donations!! We really believe in Uzazi’s vision, and we are so happy to be able to work with them in this fashion. Hopefully this is the beginning of more projects together promoting babywearing in the urban core! To tell you more about this beautiful organization here is a post from Jakini Men Ab, Uzazi Village RN.

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Uzazi Village serves women in the urban core, promoting healthier pregnancies, leading to healthier mamas and babies.  Uzazi is a Swahili word, meaning, “birth”.  Our vision is:

For every mother, a healthy baby

For every baby, a healthy village

At Uzazi Village, we understand that the health of any individual is impacted by the  village that surrounds them.  We want to surround our mamas with the best of ancient mothering wisdom as well as the latest evidence-based care.

Babywearing is an ancient tradition, practiced by many cultures around the globe.  While baby wearing has become a lost art in Kansas City’s urban core, we want to restore this and other Afrocentric traditions and practices to build holistically sustainable self-heath practices into our community.  Uzazi Village is very excited to be receiving a donation of baby slings and wraps from the local KC Chapter of Babywearing International (BWI).

As advocates and providers of breastfeeding services, support and education, Uzazi Village is overjoyed to incorporate babywearing education into our village practice.  We are eager to share how baby wearing not only promotes child development and family bonding, but is very beneficial for breastfeeding!  Our families will learn that breastfeeding in baby slings and wraps helps increase breastfeeding duration and reading baby hunger cues.  Babywearing will help mamas who want to be more discrete with breastfeeding feel more confident. It will help busy mamas breastfeed while doing daily activities.  Many of us at Uzazi Village have been devoted babywearing mamas for years. We would love to see fewer of our mamas lugging their babies around in ‘buckets’.  Our motto here is that ‘Car seats are for cars, babies are for wearing’.

Uzazi Village’s mission is to increase maternal and infant health equity in the urban core and we are grateful for BWIs support with the Baby Wrap Drive.