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:
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!
4) Certified 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 certified 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.
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