Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December Member of the Month: April Hamilton!

Meet April: mom, babywearer, musician, and our BWI of Knoxville Member of the Month!

Let's start simple; your name, children's names and ages?
April Hamilton.  Zilpha Fisher will be 2 on New Years Eve, and Charles Sawyer Fisher- EDD Feb. 9th 2015

How long have you been wearing? 

Multitasking at its finest
I started wearing Zilpha pretty immediately after her birth

What led you to babywearing and how has it changed your parenting?
I was very tired of being confined to a chair and needed to get chores done. I was so thrilled when I was able to conquer breastfeeding and babywearing simultaneously. After those gates were opened, I was unstoppable, being able to do laundry, clean, cook, and even play music.

Have you had an interesting babywearing experience you'd like to share?
The most interesting babywearing experience I’ve had is usually what the nursing home residents have to say to me when I put my daughter on my back before a show. I truly am a unicorn playing music and wearing my toddler to the elderly.

What is your favorite carrier and why do you prefer it?
I will always have a soft spot for a good comfy wrap, but because of the easy access of my SSC, I always reach for our KP.

Do you feel like you have support from family and friends on wearing your baby?
I have an extremely supportive mate and family!

What do you like to spend time doing aside from babywearing and spending time with your kiddo(s)?

There’s time that I’m suppose to have without my child? HA! Especially now that I am pregnant I NEVER get alone time…. but, if I were to have my alone time, I’d love to break out my sewing machine and quilt. 

Babywearing adventure

What is your favorite thing about living in Knoxville?
I love that this city is big enough to have different options of support groups for parenting styles but yet its small enough to feel like there’s still a community and not a mass of folks in a town.

What's your favorite cartoon from childhood?
Oy vey! Cartoon? As a single cartoon? That's impossible to narrow down, so I’ll go with a few, and I’m totally prepared to show my age. I loved Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, DuckTales, Inspector Gadget, Jem, and Pound Puppies just to name a few.

Gotta have some juicy in every interview, right? Tell us one guilty pleasure of yours? 

Guilty pleasure… hmmm… I have waaay to many carriers in my stash right now, and I can not sell one in fear that I’ll want it for the baby on the way. Pretty lame guilty pleasure, I know! Sorry! :) 

What do you like best about BWI?
LOVE the lending library! We also have some amazing women to help bring it all together. I have to say I’ll never forget meeting with Ashley Teller and her amazing teaching skills to help me feel confident in babywearing!

What would you like to see in the future with BWI?
Keep this amazing program going! I can only imagine all the babies and mama’s, like myself, who have been helped so much by this group!

Little music lover

What's the cutest habit of your kiddo(s) you feel the need to share with the world?  
I love how my daughter dances to basically any music she hears! she’ll also hold the microphone correctly and actually sing in it!

Let's be open-ended and vague to close: anything else you just want to tell us about yourself?  
Ummm...not really. I would love to get to more meetings and will eventually be able to. Maybe my opportunity will arise with the birth of my squish!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Shorty Lovin'

        When it comes to woven wraps, I hear the same thing over and over, "But it's just SO MUCH fabric!" And that's valid! When dealing with yard upon yard of high quality, heavy duty fabric (often as much as 17 feet), it is easy to become overwhelmed. Sure, you could go with a soft structured carrier or ring sling, but wrapping can be so much fun! Wraps can also serve to be much more multi-functional than other carriers. Do you have more than one wrap-ee in dramatically different sizes? No worries! Wraps to the rescue! The main reason I personally default to wrapping is that I have a lot of back issues. Carriers keep all the weight of baby on one area of the body. With a woven wrap, I can wrap one way, then switch it up to shift the weight once that place is sore.
        "But, but, my tails drag on the ground and get nasty!" "My toddler loses interest before I'm finished dealing with 5+ yards of fabric!" "I'm petite, and even a size 5 is more than I can handle!" Never fear! Shorties are here! Shorties are generally considered a size 1-3, and sometimes a size 4. Another perk? They are cheaper than the same wrap in a longer size! I also love to use my shorties as scarves in the winter. My children are getting older; so we don't wear as often these days. I love to still be able to make use of my wraps, and I can't count how many times it has come in handy to have a carrier on hand for unexpected nursing sessions (or "boo boo's" or over-stimulation...).

       But could a shorty possibly be as versatile as a long wrap? Honestly, I believe they are MORE versatile. The possibilities are endless, but I will try to list as many as I can. To give a frame of reference, I am 5'7" and about 160 pounds. I have very petite shoulders. My base size is a 5, but I need a 6 to have tails left over.

Size 1: Unless you are extremely small, a rebozo will be about all that you can do.

Size 2 and 3: I am combining these as the carries one tends to do in these are the same. The size of the wrapper and the child, as well as the skill level of the wrapper, will determine which size you need. Typically I find that the main carries I do in a 3, such as Half Jordan's Back Carry (Half JBC) or Double Rebozo (DR), I can tie at shoulder in a 2 or finish with a Candy Cane Chest Belt (CCCB)with a 3. I prefer a size 2 for a torso carry, but the tails are not cumbersome in a 3. If you need a front carry, rebozo will most likely be all that you can do in a 2. With a 3, however, I can also do a Semi Front Wrap Cross Carry and the Crankaroo. I need a 4 for a Kangaroo (which is another front carry). For back carries, the possibilities are endless. Below, I will list as many as I can think of, but I'm certain I will miss some. Please comment below if you think of any I have left out!

Double Hammock Rebozo and Double Hammock Double Rings
RRRR (Pirate Carry) and Ruck Tied at Shoulder
Short Cross Carry
Shepherd's Carry
Double Rebozo
Half Jordan's Back Carry

Ruck Tied under Bum

Back Rebozo

Torso Carry

Semi Front Wrap Cross Carry

Semi Front Wrap Cross Carry with Rings


Front Rebozo

How to wear your Shorty as a Scarf
SCC vs. Half JBC vs. Double Rebozo


Monday, November 3, 2014

Baby it's Cold Outside! Cold Weather Wearing Tips and Tricks

MBE Rachel Dreyer shows us how it's done! 
There are some things here in the South that we do not always feel prepared for. Although it comes year after year we always seem surprised when the cold weather makes its first appearance. Then, suddenly it happens, one bout of cold and the next thing you know you have found yourself pulling out the coats from the closet and then MITTENS and HATS! The snow shows up and we are left each year going, "Whoa, what was that?!" just as soon as it melts and leaves us again.

During this season, that seems to get a little chillier each time, we are stuck scratching our heads as parents with just what do we do with the children to keep them warm, cozy, and safe. As babywearers we are left with even more questions! How many layers should we plan for? Can we use that carrier over coats? How do I keep my tails out of the snow? Now what?!

The great news is you can still babywear and keep your baby (and toddlers) close and toasty.

Your first step will be to decide if you want to layer up baby and yourself first or after putting baby in a carrier.

I tend to prefer to keep smaller babies tucked up with me in the carrier and then add layers to keep us both warm and with bigger babies, especially ones that will want up and down, you might want to layer them and you up before using the carrier.

VBE Sara Stephenson demonstrates layering on top of a worn newborn
VBE Aisling Schenck shows a back carry in a woven wrap using layering under the wrap to keep her and baby warm. 
One important thing to always remember is basic babywearing safety. You always want to be able to see your baby's face so watch that your layering does not get TOO thick. In general a worn baby is going to stay a little more toasty when they are near the wearers body. So, if you are layering OVER baby and the carrier then you will want to keep the layers of clothing on baby a little lighter. Body heat will transmit through normal clothing, with a smaller baby you can dress both yourself and baby in casual cold weather clothing (maybe an undershirt and heavier shirt for example) and then put the baby in the carrier next to your body. From there you have many options for layering over top of the both of you.

My preferred and cheapest method ;-) has been to use an over sized coat that is able to fit over both bodies. 
VBE Shannon Brethauer shows us how to tuck
baby into your coat 

From there you can add layers to anything sticking out. Hats on heads, scarves on necks, gloves on hands or anything else that seems necessary for the weather you will be facing. Hats are important with smaller babies to keep their body heat regulated.
Usually you will find that you both stay quite a bit warmer snuggled together than you would expect so be sure to pay attention to your under laying and take off a layer if needed! 

VBE Charlotte Anderholt shows us the KinderCoat
There are also many different options that you can find that can be purchased for this same purpose. Many different companies make a lot of choices designed to be worn over a baby in a carrier.

VBE Jenny Krout shows us a
Kowalli Baby Carrier Cover 
Other popular options are Peekaru vests and coats which can be worn over you and baby, fleece babywearing ponchos, and inserts that can be buttoned or zipped into the wearers coat to expand the fabric to make room for baby. 
VBE Sarah Kemper shows the PeekaRu Fleece Vest

A fantastic list of possible Babywearing Coats and Carrier Covers can be found here:
on the Babywearing International of Chicago's blog. They know Babywearing in cold weather!

So from here, lets work with the carriers you have to how to make them function the best in cold weather!


Your two main areas of concern are too much fabric under your shoulder and under baby's seat. If you are layering before you put baby in the sling then be careful that you do not have too much layering  or slippery materials under.
A big puffy coat on the wearer might make it hard to keep the shoulder placed and it might slide around and be uncomfortable or cause  possible fall hazards.
You'll also want to make sure that the baby does not have too thick of a body suit, or slippery pants like snow pants so the material of the sling stays tucked nicely under their bottom.
You can use a babywearing cover over your sling which is usually the easiest option with a ring sling. Try to avoid layering over with an actual coat because the shoulder will pull up on your neck when the sleeves of the coat are put on. Choose a poncho or a cover like the Kowalli.


SSC's are probably the easiest option overall in cold weather wearing. They are easy to put on both over or under winter clothing layering. Your biggest concern is finding the right adjustments and fit depending on how you are wearing. If you are wearing over your coat and over baby's coat you'll want to make sure that the straps and buckles are loosened to accommodate the extra cushioning. However, with baby it can be harder to pop them down into the seat of the carrier and make sure they are snug in the back carries as easily if they are wearing winter coats. Be sure to have someone check to make sure everyone is snug in proper positions with the carrier high on baby's back or check a mirror very well if you do not have a second person around. Many people like to use Soft Structured Carriers in the colder weather, especially snowy weather because when you are getting a baby in and out of car or going multiple places you can buckle the carrier on and never have to worry about tails of wraps or straps of Mei Tai's touching the ground and getting yucky in parking lot slush.

Myself, ABE Mary Rodio using my Tula
with my toddler and pregnant belly in the 30 Degree
Weather here November 1st. 

Beautiful photo of Mei Tai use on a snowy walk from VBE Jessica Stampe 


These are quite functional in the colder weather. The Mei Tai tends to adapt to clothing underneath a tad bit better than the SSC's making it a little easier to use over a bigger coat, however, with a smaller baby you'll want to be sure that the coat is not causing baby to slip around in any way and there is plenty of support around the sides of the carrier as needed.
Mei Tai's can be worn over a wearer's winter coat or under fairly easily as well so you have a lot of options in wearing with a mei tai. If you are using the carrier to get baby out of a car seat you can tuck the straps of the mei tai into your clothing as you go so you do not drag them on the ground.
One way to do this would be to tuck into belt loops or pants pockets, or to into the waist band of your pants (I've even used the straps of my bras if I was wearing a sweater dress)


Woven wraps are a bit more complicated in winter weather than options but still a wonderful option. The biggest concern is usually on what to do with the tails of the wrap in ice or snowy weather. There's a few ways you can counter that from using shorties or much smaller wraps that will not have as much tail to work with, or like mentioned above with Mei Tai's, tucking the tails of the wrap into your clothing as you work with the wrap. When I get the baby out of the car in a parking lot, I've gotten pretty good at tossing my tails into the seat of the car or wrapping over the trunk of my car and then laying the tails of the wrap in my trunk as I wrap as well.
VBE Hannah Kurlick of BWI of Memphis
Showing us how to enjoy that TN snow in a
Woven Wrap

This video is a great demonstration of tucking your tails as you wrap:

 Once again, just make sure that everything is snug and tight. It can be a little harder to feel what you are doing under or over winter clothing. Make sure if there is a snow suit type material in use or another slippery material that the baby is secure and no material is able to be moved out of place with normal shifting. Be sure that the back of the child is well supported because a cushy jacket could slump down as well and put baby in a chin to chest position.

Some Final Tips: 

Never underestimate the power of those silly foot bands on baby pants! Those things are amazing for keeping the pant leg tucked down over babies' legs so they are not pulled up and skin exposed to the weather.

Baby legs and leg warmers are another great addition to any baby winter wardrobe. Even if you put them on over another pair of pants, they will typically be long enough to be pulled down and cover any exposed skin that pulls up from baby being in a carrier.
Wool Wraps are an amazing tool to pull out in the cold weather!

You can tuck a blanket around baby when the weather is mildly uncomfortable for baby.
ABE, Mary Rodio using blanket to protect newborn Zoey-Anna
from cold rainy weather on Labor Day

Want to know how to layer for cold weather? This is a great guide! Remember if baby is going to be against your body, take one layer away.

Be aware of your surroundings, skills and activities. Can you wrap baby under your ski suit? Probably. But SHOULD you ski with baby... no probably not. ;-)
If you are not an experienced back wearer than cold weather where you cannot monitor baby might not be the best time to try it out. Or to try to master a back carry with extra layers and gear involved.
Also, watch your footing! Snow and cold weather can mean ice. Be extra careful about where and how you are stepping rather you are wearing or carrying baby. Be aware that baby will work against your center of gravity so stick with the types of carries that you are using to doing rather that's front or rear carries.

Use your best judgement for how long a little one should be outside in colder weather, but do not let the cold weather keep you hiding indoors the entire winter! There's a lot of fun to be had and we still need at least some Vitamin D and sunshine even in the colder months.

Christie Chapman and her family in "Normal Gear" and a wool
wrap out enjoying the family despite the cold. 
Stephanie Long from BWI Oklahoma City
posing for some lovely family
photos in the gorgeous snow! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday in Honor of International Babywearing Week 2014

It's already five days into International Babywearing Week 2014 and only two days left. Bittersweet memories already in reflecting in the fun we've had in just a few days!
Wearing my third while at work. 

Today we are looking back on our personal babywearing adventures. I'd like to share a little bit of my babywearing journey with you!

I found babywearing with my eldest, back in 1999 when the Babywearing World was much different. The part that might be the most interesting about me finding babywearing back in a time when wearing was not very popular was it was actually my mother who got me into wearing.

Wearing my second at Cumberland Falls

In 1980 when I was born we lived in Alaska. My mother was a very outdoorsy type and she would often wander off into the woods to go hiking and camping for weeks at a time. On occasion she would take friends and other kiddos along with her on these trips. I remember being young and going through the photo albums of our adventures in Alaska. It was quite a site to see my petite, 90 pound mother with myself loaded on her back in one of her two carriers, (she had a framed backback and a carrier that was very similar to a common Soft Structure Carrier such as the Ergo) my four year old sister by her side, camping gear loaded up and her white german sheperd and dotson watching beside us all. A few times she actually showed me the Ergo-Like carrier that she had used with me and I remember touching the fairly worn carrier and marveling at how strong and amazing my mother was.

My Second Born in the new recalled SlingRider
but one of my first carriers. 
In 1999 I had two carriers I used with my first. A front style carrier that I used around the house and when we went into town. At that time I was a single, teenage mother so I was staying with my mother on her 30 acre farm and trips into town were infrequent! I also had a framed backpack style carrier that I used out working the horses and helping with chores once my eldest was able to sit unassisted.

Ten years passed between my first and my second. Having previous babywearing experience I knew that I wanted to wear my second born as well and I was in a few different online groups for parents at the time that had a few more natural oriented Mama's as members who in turn got me into the more modern day world of babywearing. At my baby shower my mother was very happy to gift me with the Infantino SlingRideer (Which has since been recalled) and I was excited to start my second babywearing journey. I bought myself a Moby as well and remember really wanting the beautiful woven wraps and slings that I had seen online.

My second and I enjoyed making DIY carriers together. 
I wore her once in the SlingRider at her follow up appointment after birth and decided it made me uncomfortable. I moved on to the Moby wrap which I liked quite a bit. I still really wanted all those pretty slings I kept seeing online but at the time, I had just quit my job to become a stay at home mom again with my second and it was just not within the budget to purchase them so I did a lot of research and started making my own.

There's many great tutorials online for making your own carriers. Sleeping Baby is probably my favorite for having the most information in one place. Her page features a great collection of education and resources as well as safety tips and information.

My very first woven wrap doing my first very carry!
Sometime later, on Mother's Day, I purchased my first woven wrap in lieu of accepting any other gifts I said that is what I wanted. I found a size 7 Storechenwiege Anna in a swap group that was very well loved and very much broken in so it was an amazingly great starter wrap. I've since bought new Storch wraps and I have to say, there's something for buying used as they take a bit of wear and work to make them as mold-ably soft and lovely as that one was!

Wearing my second while at work and
pregnant with my third. 

Nature Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains 

I've had so many wonderful experiences that Babywearing has brought to me! After 15 years of babywearing and 5 years of fairly "serious" babywearing there's just so many memories that each piece of cloth or carrier that has come into my home contains. 

A lot like my mother we enjoy nature hikes a lot. I have so many photos wearing my second and my third in many, many trips to the woods, mountains and waterfalls. I hope that one day they will be able to look back and appreciate the memories made while keeping them close and secure just as I have been able to.

Wearing my third while pregnant with my
fourth while my second smiles at the camera
during a nature hike for IBW 
Our BWI Group Warming Celebration! 
I hope that you have many amazing babywearing experiences
as your journey unfolds!
Happy Babywearing and Happy Babywearing International Week!

Mary Rodio 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Work it out Wednesday!

This week we are celebrating International Babywearing Week. This week we are doing many events to show our love for babywearing in and around the community, in person and online. Monday we had a blast with our online scavenger hunt, Tuesday we learned something new from our Volunteer Babywearing Educators, and now for Wednesday we are going to Work It Out!

Now lets face it strapping extra weight, in some cases 30 or more pounds, can be a work out in and of itself. Doing everyday chores like sweeping, laundry, or even walking the dog will boost your burn by just wearing your snuggly baby. Be prepared as you may be distracted by your baby's cuteness, I consider this an added perk. Who doesn't love looking at their little one while being productive?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adventures in babywearing

Adventures in Babywearing!!
Babywearing was a life saver for me this summer! I'd like to share some of my tips and experiences from 3 different trips I took, the carriers I used, and why. Babywearing made flying effortless and helped me participate in fun activities with my family and friends that I personally think would've been a challenge without a baby carrier, and even a few things that would've been down right impossible. 

Baby's first trip was to visit old friends on the coast in Virginia. We really enjoyed our size 2 woven wrap on this trip. It was super hot in July and the shortie was nice and versatile while keeping us cool. I could keep baby snuggled on my front in a torso carry, nurse in a rebozo carry or I could put him in a back carry when I needed some freedom. Babywearing is especially handy for beach trips since it's next to impossible to push a stroller through the sand. You can keep baby close and still enjoy all the beach has to offer. Other outings like an amusement park and water park were a breeze with baby happily strapped to me. I also loved our Kinderpack soft structured carry for ease and comfort.

Our next trip was to go visit family in Indiana.  I opted to fly with baby since he hated the car and we had just had a very long road trip the month before. I usually prefer to bring a car seat on the plane
for safety reasons; But for this trip a happy baby won out since he typically screamed in his seat and I didn't want the entire plane to hate me. Many people travel with their babies under 2 as lap babies. It is recommended that baby be strapped into a carseat but is not required as it is safer to fly than it is to drive statistically and airlines know that many people would object to purchasing a full price ticket
for their baby. Do your research and do what is right for you. I was aware of the risks and opted to keep baby on my lap versus a seat, but have and will buy a seat for my babies in the future so they can be properly restrained. When wearing your baby through the airport you are typically allowed to keep baby in the carrier through security, though they will do a special screen on your hands. I used my shortie for this trip again because of the versatility and the fact that I couldn't easily wrap with a long wrap on a plane. A ring sling or buckle carrier would be great options for this reason as well. My little guy fell asleep right as we were boarding and unfortunately airlines require you to take your baby out of the carrier for take off. I asked the flight attendant what the reasoning is for this and her guess was that your weight could crush your baby in the event of an accident. It seemed unneccessary to me but we obliged. I popped baby back into our pre-tied rebozo carry to get off the plane and off we went.

Our final trip was local to Gatlinburg for the weekend. Long days of wearing out around town called for more supportive multi-pass carries in our longer woven wraps. Our second day there was spent hiking in Smoky Mountain National Park. This is another activity that would literally be impossible without wearing. Baby happily snoozed in the carrier while we hiked some fairly challenging trails and soaked in the sights, including a gorgeous waterfall. This day my husband shared the wearing with me so we used the Kinderpack since it was his preference. I definitely didn't object. Many people use carriers specifically designed for hiking, although a soft structured carrier provides the same function and is more practical for everyday use; A woven wrap would be a good option too. I would recommend a back carry for hiking so you can watch your footing. At one point baby was fussy and only happy on my front and it made things much more challenging. I wouldn't recommend a sling for this since something more balanced and ergonomic would be more comfortable for both Mom and Baby. I would definitely not recommend dangerous hiking while wearing, but there are plenty of trails out there that provide beautiful scenery as well as a challenge.

  Just because you have a baby doesn't mean that your travels and adventures need to stop. Babywearing provides a lot of opportunities for fun activities! Always remember that the rule of thumb is generally not to do anything wearing your baby that you wouldn't feel comfortable doing carrying your baby. Use your best judgment and if it's something you are questioning it's probably best to avoid it. But otherwise, grab your baby carrier and enjoy some great adventures with your little one!

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Member of the Month Nikki Moore

One of our newest VBE's, Nikki Moore is our Member of the Month! 

Let's start simple; your name, children's names and ages?
My name is Nikki Moore and I am mom to two amazing little men – Samuel, 4 years, and Micah, 16 months.

How long have you been wearing?
I've never really thought about how long I've been wearing but I've been wearing on and off for the last four years, since Sam was a baby.

What led you to Babywearing and how has it changed your parenting?
My sister-in-law had her fourth while I was pregnant with my first. When we were visiting, we went to see a musical at a theatre and my sister wore my niece the ENTIRE show in her Moby Wrap. I knew I wanted to give babywearing a shot after that. I had a gauze wrap and a Hotsling when Sam was a baby. It didn't change my parenting terribly much with Sam, but when my second came around, babywearing was a lifesaver. Micah has milk/soy protein intolerance and had a really rough first 6 months as we tried to figure out what was wrong and get him better. Wearing him was one of the only ways he would nap for a while. We branched out to a Wrapsody stretch-hybrid and woven wraps. As he got better, I continued wearing him a lot because I discovered how great it was to be able to take care of my big kid and the baby at the same time. It was wonderful to be free of our stroller so we were able to navigate crowded places easily and go places a stroller can't go, like hiking in the mountains. It's enabled us to do more as a family, even with a little guy in tow. It's even allowed me to participate more in church.

Have you had an interesting Babywearing experience you'd like to share? When Micah was two months old we went to Dollywood with my dad and his family. They were visiting for a short time and it was the only day they could go to Dollywood. But it rained all day - despite a weather report saying it was going to be nice. We had already bought our admission so we decided to stay. Everybody else bought ponchos. I bought an umbrella. I wore Micah on my front in my wrap, zipped up my windbreaker around us, and held my umbrella over us all day. We were the driest members of our party!
Sweet Baby Cuddles

What is your favorite carrier and why do you prefer it?
I love my wraps. They are just so incredibly versatile. I can do front and back and hip and several variations on each. I like to have options! But I also use our Kinderpack and ring sling often too. The different carriers all have their place in our family!

Do you feel like you have support from family and friends on wearing your baby?
I think I'm winning them over. My husband has totally been won over. He loves wearing Micah in the Kinderpack and loves the freedom we have thanks to babywearing. He sings the praises of babywearing to anyone he can. I shared that my sister-in-law is a babywearer as well. My mom even bought a wrap for a coworker as a baby shower gift after seeing me wear my baby! Beyond that, most of my family and friends think it's funny that I wear Micah, but they also see how happy he is when he's being worn. We did get a lot of comments about him being spoiled or people not knowing he was able to walk when he was walking for a couple months at that point, but for the most part we've had lots of positive comments. Our family and close friends see how babywearing helped us get through the rough times with Micah.

What do you like to spend time doing aside from babywearing and spending time with your kiddos?
I love to sew and crochet and make things with my hands. Creating is such a wonderful outlet for me.

What is your favorite thing about living in Knoxville?
Living in the Knoxville area provides such a wide variety of things to do. There's really so many options. We have no excuse for being bored with the mountains and the city and the lakes. I love that there is so much natural beauty and great opportunities to be exposed to the arts as well. What's your favorite cartoon from childhood? I was a Nickelodeon kid growing up so my favorites were Rugrats and Doug. Although, going back and watching Rugrats after you have kids brings a whole new meaning to the show!

Gotta have some juicy in every interview right? Tell us one guilty pleasure of yours?
I am a pretty big geek. I love a good video game. After particularly rough days, my husband and I get on some of our favorite video games and kill monsters together. I carry a Nintendo 3DS almost everywhere with me. I love Star Wars, Doctor Who, Nintendo stuff, and you will often see me wearing a geeky t-shirt.

What do you like best about BWI?
I love that the focus is on spreading the babywearing love and making it accessible to everyone. Babywearing is such a wonderful parenting tool and BWI really wants to share that with the parenting community at large.

What would you like to see in the future with BWI?
I am excited to see our chapter expand and reach more families! I want to see safe babywearing be shared with as many people as possible. Babywearing can be such an incredible help. People need to know the option is out there! What's the cutest habit of your kiddos you feel the need to share with the world? Sam likes to introduce Micah to everyone. Everywhere we go, he tells people, “That's Micah. He's 1 year old.” He also likes to teach Micah things, so we will catch him teaching Micah about numbers and letters, animals, the
weather, and just about everything. Micah is my spunky boy. He's incredibly expressive and very determined. One of my favorite things he does is that he gives unsolicited kisses, complete with his own version of the “mwah” sound. So adorable!

Let's be open ended and vague to close: anything else you just want to tell us about yourself?
I love to have meaningful conversation. I love a good movie or play. I really enjoy being out in nature. I grew up in New Jersey and miss the ocean terribly, but have come to love the mountains as well. I love to be able to help people. I feel strongly that each family has their own journey to walk. What works for one family might not work for another. I really want to support families as they figure out what life as a family means for them and what works for them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

She makes it look so easy! Troubleshooting your carrier

Ever put on a carrier and wonder, what the heck did I do wrong? Why does everyone else make this look so easy? Well, we're here to help!

From ring slings to pouches to wraps, I am going to give you some tips on how to make your carrier more comfortable so you can make it look easy, too.

First things first, make sure that while you are trying new carries and carriers, you follow the weight limits of your carrier and the safety guidelines. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask your VBE's, we're here to help.


Ring Slings: One of my favorite carriers is a ring sling. It is great for beginners.

Problem: The ring sling hurts your shoulder.

Solution: Try spreading the fabric of the ring sling over your shoulder. It also helps to make sure that the fabric is not twisted on your back and that it is spread out.

Problem: The rings are hurting your shoulder

Solution: Put the rings at "corsage" position, not too high on your shoulder, but not too close to baby.

Don't worry, Dylan is only practicing with a pretend baby.

Wraps: There are so many different ways to wrap, and therefore several different was to troubleshoot, but here are just a few.

Problem: The wrap is uncomfortable on your shoulders.

Solution: Make sure the wrap is tight enough. The best way to tighten is "rail by rail". This is a common term used in the wrapping world, and it just means grabbing the top hem of the wrap, pulling to tighten and then gathering the middle to tighten and continuing to grab and tighten until you reach the bottom hem of the wrap, keeping the tension the whole time.

Make sure that baby is high enough. It also may be the carry you are trying. Ruck straps (where both shoulders of the wrap go from the seat of baby directly to your shoulders) tend to put more pressure, like in a rucksack carry, versus a rebozo pass (where there is one shoulder pass and one pass that goes around your body and then over your shoulder), like that in a double hammock, tend to put less pressure on your shoulders.

Ruck straps - Rucksack Carry

Carry with a chest/rebozo pass - Double Hammock

Problem: The tails are too long.

Solution: You can tie Tibetan, or do a knotless finish. This just means taking the tails, crossing them over your chest and looping them under the shoulder strap, then tying in front. Another way to get your tails off the floor is to wrap the tails of the carrier around your body one more time. For example, in a front wrap cross carry, generally the wrap ties in the back, but if you have long tails, you can wrap around and tie under babies bum in the front.

Rucksack carry tied Tibetian

Soft Structured Carriers: Great for quick ups and downs and convenient when it rains (no wrap tails dragging on the ground in the grocery store parking lot).

Problem: The straps dig into your underarms

Solution: Tighten the shoulder straps

Tightening allows the bottom part of the strap to pull away from your body

Problem: Your back is hurting.

Solution: Make sure that your baby is in the proper size for his/her age and size. A properly fitted carrier will make it so baby has a wide enough seat and will distribute the weight evenly on your shoulders. Also make sure that baby is high enough.

Grandma is carrying her grandson nice and high (close enough to kiss)

Pouch slings: These carriers are great, widely available and relatively inexpensive.

Problem: The pouch is too loose. 

Solution: The pouch may be too large, or you just may need to flip the shoulder. This allows you to tighten the carrier a little bit. Since pouches are sized, it is important to find the right size. Most manufacturers will have a sizing chart. But an easy way to tell is measure from the top of your shoulder to your belly button. This will give you an estimation for the length/ size you will need.

Pouch sling with an older baby. This is a great fit for mom and baby. Baby is nice and snug and the carrier fits mom properly.

An example of a shoulder flip

Some general wrapping tips:

Once you feel confident with wrapping on the front, and baby is sitting up unassisted, you may want to try back wrapping.

A good back carry to start with is the back wrap cross carry.

Make sure that you have a spotter, someone to go behind you and catch baby is he/she starts to fall. You may also try wrapping over a bed or couch.

Getting a good seat: Make sure that baby is knee to knee in the carrier. This is the most comfortable for baby, and distributes the weight evenly so that it is easier on your back, too.

While wrapping, once you get baby on your back, reach under baby's legs and pull the fabric up under his bum, between your body and his. If you bounce a little, this helps baby to slip into place and the wrap to slip between you and baby.

Getting baby high enough on your back: When putting baby on your back, make sure that they start out higher than you want. The process of wrapping generally makes baby drop a couple inches. 

These are just a few examples to help you out as you learn to wear your baby. The best way is to get hands on help at a meeting from your VBE's. We are happy to help you!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Member of the Month - August

Introducing Our August Member of the Month! 

Good Snuggles to be found with Babywearing

Let's start simple; your name, children's names and ages?

Brittany Ridley, Clay (1 year)

How long have you been wearing?

I have been wearing Clay since he was born.

What led you to Babywearing and how has it changed your parenting? 

I liked the idea of wearing my baby, to help make it easier for my husband and I to go hiking and not have to carry him when we knew we would be on our feet. I bought a K’Tan because it was on sale, and looked similar to a Moby, though I had no idea what it was or how to use it. I just knew it didn’t cost as much as a Moby or a Baby Bjorn.

Have you had an interesting Babywearing experience you'd like to share?
Enjoying the freedom for walks

I think the most interesting experience I had was trying to wrap a baby at over 5000ft on a mountain bald (grassy, tree-less area on top of a mountain), in high winds. I nearly lost the wrap to the wind a couple of times, but go him wrapped on my back after a minute or two. It wasn’t even my wrap, so that was definitely scary.

What is your favorite carrier and why do you prefer it?

I definitely love my wraps (size 2 and 4) because I like how versatile they are. I do LOVE my Tula for hiking and as something easy for my husband to use, but I prefer how snuggly I can get Clay in my wraps.

Do you feel like you have support from family and friends on wearing your baby? 

My friends and family may at times think I’m silly, but they cannot deny how happy he is when he is being worn and how much it calms him down when he is tired or grumpy. I am fortunate not to get negative feedback from him. I think they just think it’s silly, but it works, so no need to fuss about it. What do you like to spend time doing aside from babywearing and spending time with your kiddo(s)? I work full time for a local company, and do enjoy my team there. In my off time, I LOVE to spend time in the mountains in Tellico (close to my home in Sweetwater). Tennessee is such a beautiful state and I make a point to enjoy it as often as possible. I also just love to spend time with friends and family. They bless my life.

What is your favorite thing about living in Knoxville? 

Well, I actually live in Sweetater, but love East Tennessee as a whole because the climate is amazing. I grew up in northern Illinois and don’t miss the flat land or the SNOW. I do miss black dirt, but I can deal with the red clay if it means I get mountains to play on.

What's your favorite cartoon from childhood?

This is a tough question, because I liked several… Looney Tunes was definitely up there, but more than cartoons I really enjoyed Wallace and Gromit clay-mation shows and ANYTHING Jim Hensen (Muppets, Sesame Street, Fairy Tale Theater, etc.)

Gotta have some juicy in every interview right? Tell us one guilty pleasure of yours? 

Driving to nowhere. I don’t care what gas costs, but when I need to relax I just drive for hours. I never have a destination, just pick a road and go until I feel like turning onto another one. This is usually a 2 or 3 hour event, since I feel like turning around after about an hour or more.

What do you like best about BWI? 

I like that there is a place to refer any care-giver that wants more information about babywearing - whether they know it as a term or just an action. It just makes it easier to share knowledge in person then through selfies on the internet.

What would you like to see in the future with BWI? 

I would like to see it grow into something helpful and easily accessible to folks from all areas of town (and across East Tennessee). I hope to see us add enough VBEs and other educators to branch out and help share this child-rearing blessing to more and more families.

What's the cutest habit of your kiddos you feel the need to share with the world? 
Look at that cute face peeking out! 

His ability to giggle at anything, with great enthusiasm. He is so smiley and giggly, it’s infectious. I try to emulate that personality, because it’s nearly impossible to be upset with so much smiling and laughing going on. Let's be open ended and vague to close: anything else you just want to tell us about yourself? I’m pretty easy going. I look for the best in everyone, because their story is not my own and they have a reason behind their actions. I’m always looking to improve on things I know, and learn things I don’t. I may not agree with everyone about everything (because that would be a lie), but I will agree that we have different opinions and share information or just avoid talking about it if that subject starts an argument. I can be friends with people who have different opinions, as long as we have something to share. There is so much that can be learned from others, there is no reason to lock myself inside a box and hide away. Step out and take a risk and see where it takes you. 

Let's be open ended and vague to close: anything else you just want to tell us about yourself?

I’m pretty easy going. I look for the best in everyone, because their story is not my own and they have a reason behind their actions. I’m always looking to improve on things I know, and learn things I don’t. I may not agree with everyone about everything (because that would make be a lie), but I will agree that we have different opinions and share information or just avoid talking about it if that subject starts an argument. I can be friends with people who have different opinions, as long as we have something to share. There is so much that can be learned from others, there is no reason to lock myself inside a box and hide away. Step out and take a risk and see where it takes you.