Babywearing 101

Image of a white woman carrying a bald baby in a rainbow color wrap, beside the event title Babywearing 101We kicked off May by hosting our very first Babywearing 101 class at Greenlake Presbyterian Church! This event was hosted by one of our Newest VBEs, Julia W..

Julia took the group through all of the basics of safe baby wearing, making sure your baby is high enough, that the the airway is open, and of course, tips on how to keep both the wearer and baby comfortable.

Other VBEs that led demos for the main types of carriers, soft structured carriers, wraps, meh dais, ring slings and stretchy wraps. Once the demos were over, attendees were encouraged to get help putting up their own child or using one of BWI Seattle’s demo dolls. Participants had a chance to peruse a wide selection of carriers as well as get individual help with fittings by the volunteers.

Attending the BWI Babywearing 101 Class gave me the confidence to wear my 3 week old son. – Megan C.

African American woman is shown wearing her mixed race infant in a black and red ringsling

We recieved this great selfie from attendee Megan C. wearing her son for the first time after the event. This was her first event with BWI Seattle and first experience with babywearing. he writes, “Attending the BWI Babywearing 101 Class gave me the confidence to wear my 3 week old son. With the instruction of the instructors, I know I am using my wrap correctly and my son is safe. I am now wearing my son daily, to do things like eat and drink a beer hands free. My wrap will be a lifesaver when we travel to CA, this month. I am so glad I don’t have to bring our heavy stroller. Thank you BWI!”

We are so excited to see this first time mom implementing safe babywearing so quickly after the meeting!

Were you able to attend? Did you have more questions or feedback for us? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at info@bwiseattle.com

Love the Library

Love the Library

For everyone who falls in love with babywearing, there is likely a special place in their heart for that first carrier they tried and the first time they wore their baby. For many of our members, those memories and first “ups” came in a library carrier. Our local community of babywearers was formed around trying out lending library carriers and learning from one another, and with each new babe worn in a library carrier, that community and connection grows. For the month of February, we are celebrating the journey our library of carriers has made over the years, and highlighting a few members who have allowed us to share how the BWI Seattle Lending Library has helped them find the babywearing love!

Zyanya


Image description: man with glasses and a hat sitting at a table in a cafe with a newspaper in front of him wearing an infant in a ring sling


Image description: close up of a sleeping infant held close to a woman’s chest in a ring sling with a light blueish-green zig zag pattern on white background, woman is kissing the top of the baby’s head

I was excited to start babywearing before I even considered having a baby.  Having watched my cousin wear her two daughters in beautiful wovens over the past few years, wrapping a baby in a gorgeous wrap was one part of motherhood that actively appealed to me. (That and getting to read Harry Potter to a little one over and over again.)  So when I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was to find and join the BWI of Seattle Facebook group.  I expected it would be mostly social and a chance to get together to share advice about how to babywear safely.  I was so amazed to “discover” the massive library of carriers that was available, as well as the wealth of knowledge, advice, and support shared on a daily basis through the Facebook group.

I wanted to be prepared when my baby was born to wear him or her in the first few weeks, so a couple weeks before my due date I attended my first meeting.  Walking into that room for the first time is an experience.  I’ve since heard other members also speak about their first meetings with fondness and humor.  Kids flying around, seemingly hundreds of carriers strewn on tables, people trying different carriers on their own, people watching a demonstration for a wrap, people that seem to know each other really well, people off on their own, and babies!  And yet, with so much happening in one room, there is this perfectly organized check-in table with someone to greet you, clearly identified VBE’s to help answer questions, and all the carriers are organized by type.  I was so impressed and overwhelmed.  I went from table to table and learned about SSCs, ring slings, and wraps.  I had more questions answered than I even realized I had and learned so much.

I ended up checking-out the new XOXO carrier, excited that it seemed easy enough for any family member to use.  But I also learned that a ring sling would be great for a newborn and set about searching online for one to buy.  I ended up buying a wrap via the FSOT posts on the BWI Facebook group and then had it converted to a ring sling by someone recommended through the Facebook group.  Shortly after my son’s birth I posted a photo of my husband wearing him and we received some great tips to get him better positioned. Utilizing the library and participating in the Facebook community is a super wonderful combination that fully set us up for babywearing success.

Next month I am visiting family in Mexico and flying with my son for the first time.  I attended my second meeting two weeks ago to play around with some SSCs and figure out what would be good for travel.  Amidst the gentle chaos in the room I again found ladies that were so happy to help and share their knowledge and experience with me.  I look forward to attending many more meetings in the future and getting to know many more of you, as well as check-out more beautiful wraps and slings!  I am continually impressed by the kindness, enthusiasm, and supportiveness of this diverse community!  Thank you to the leaders for maintaining such a well-run and welcoming organization.


Elizabeth


Image description: selfie of a man and woman wearing holiday hats, the woman is wearing a baby with a reindeer hat in a red and orange meh dai

Image description: close up of a sleeping baby with a reindeer hat, red fabric with orange sunbursts is wrapped around the baby’s back
I knew absolutely nothing about carriers when I was pregnant, but my eyes were soon opened when a friend told me that she was in a baby wearing group in her neighborhood and I should look for one in mine. I found BWI Seattle and I am now the proud mom of an 8 month old who I wear almost every time we leave the house.
Thanks to the amazing and knowledgeable volunteers, I found out how much I love Meh Dai carriers. So much so that I borrowed the Soul Meh Dai two months in a row. A few things I love about Meh Dais in general, you don’t have to worry about any seat popping, they are fairly easy and quick to put on and you won’t pinch your fingers in all those buckles.
The Soul Meh Dai has been my favorite of the 4 I have borrowed so far because it’s pretty and my son loved it. He was so relaxed and fell asleep in it all the time. The fabric is soft and comfortable to wear. My son is 18 pounds and I didn’t feel any of that weight on my shoulders or back. The carrier feels like you are wearing a weight belt or one of those back supports. It’s great. This carrier in not adjustable for young infants, but my son fit wonderfully in it. His hips and legs were in that perfect “M” that everyone says is important and his legs were not spread too wide. I received many compliments on the carrier as we traveled back home to Ohio in December.
The library of carriers has been so amazing and I really can’t thank the volunteers enough for teaching me about all of the benefits of baby wearing. Hopefully someday I will be brave enough to try a wrap, but the ease and quickness of the Meh Dai has me hooked for now.

Angela

Image description: Selfie of a woman with glasses and hat wearing a baby on her back in a woven wrap that is black on one side and teal on the other with light pinstripes throughout

The BWI library has been so helpful to me during my time babywearing. Not only have the volunteers helped me understand how the many different carriers worked at meetings, but I got to try several out before I bought my own.
What was most helpful to me was trying the different woven wraps as that’s what my littlest enjoyed being worn in most. Checking out different sizes (lengths) and fabric blends was really helpful and I had a whole month to practice new carries with them all and really see if I liked the brand/style.
I was also able to borrow a soft structured carrier for our Disneyland trip which was a lifesaver and so much more cost effective than buying a carrier for just one month of use!

I recommend BWI Seattle and the lending library to every new mom I know and I know a lot as a doula and midwifery birth assistant!


Alex


Image description: woman in a black coat and scarf wearing a baby in a purple patterned meh dai on the front, baby is wearing a beanie looking away


Image description: woman wearing a sleeping baby in a blue and white woven wrap

Babywearing has been such a wonderful experience for our family. Thanks to BWI’s library we have been able to try out a variety of carriers. We have borrowed 2 wraps, a Meh Dai, and a ring sling. With each new carrier another facet of the world of babywearing has been revealed!

Our first library wrap was a beautiful blue and white Natibaby Flower in a size 6. This wrap was our first experience with a woven, and I loved how my little guy felt with us wrapped up together. We next borrowed a Tekhni Olympos Breeze, size 4, and it was wonderful! Soft and cushy, it was a dream to snuggle up in. The different length allowed us to experiment with new carries, which was a lot of fun.

Perhaps my favorite library experience so far has been with the Fidella Fly Tai Meh Dai. We needed a carrier that would be easy for me to use while traveling to the east coast without my husband. The FlyTai was perfect. Soft and moldable like a wrap, but easy to put on quickly like our Ergo. Our long trip was made much smoother by borrowing that carrier. My son really enjoyed it too, because for the month we had it he took many cozy naps in it.
Recently, we have acquired a Didymos Lisca Smeraldo ring sling from the library. Learning to use the ring sling has been a whole new adventure for us. Quick ups for trips to and from the car, or just for a cuddle, have been the hallmark of the ring sling.

My son and I have had a lot of fun borrowing carriers from the library, and my husband has been able to benefit from it as well! We have really enjoyed being able to learn these new babywearing skills that allow us to be closer to our child. I can’t wait to see what our next library adventure will be!

Cold Weather Babywearing

It’s getting cold in Seattle! Though we are lucky to live in a fairly temperate area, there are definitely days when it dips just below freezing. For those of us that enjoy the outdoors year round, or venture out on foot, it’s important to bundle up to keep our little ones safe and warm.

[Image text: Winter Wearing, a lesson in layers. Babywearing International. When the Temperature outside decreases, clothing layers on baby's extremities increase. Multiple thin layers of long sleeves, pants, socks, mittens, and a hat will keep baby's extremities warm. Watch for overheating and remove a layer of clothing if baby gets too hot. Ensure baby has minimal skin exposed, but keep the face clear. In extra cols weather, dress baby in overlapping thin layers and wear a larger coat that covers you and baby. Remember, your body heat and the carrier will keep baby warm as well!][Image text: Winter Wearing, a lesson in layers. Babywearing International. When the Temperature outside decreases, clothing layers on baby’s extremities increase. Multiple thin layers of long sleeves, pants, socks, mittens, and a hat will keep baby’s extremities warm. Watch for overheating and remove a layer of clothing if baby gets too hot. Ensure baby has minimal skin exposed, but keep the face clear. In extra cold weather, dress baby in overlapping thin layers and wear a larger coat that covers you and baby. Remember, your body heat and the carrier will keep baby warm as well!]

Safety

As always, the same babywearing safety principles apply with cold weather wearing. Protect their airway with proper support, keep them close enough to kiss, and use an appropriately fitted carrier including infant inserts if necessary. Some extra considerations are needed with winter clothing. Some extra puffy coats make tightening with wraps, meh dais, or ring slings very difficult. Slippery waterproof material is also notoriously difficult to tighten and makes maintaining a seat almost impossible if you have a leg straightener. Either change the clothes you chose or select a different style carrier to overcome these challenges.

[Image description: smiling mother outside in the snow. She has an open winter coat and is wearing her child on the front with an SSC covered in a yellow rain jacket.]

[Image description: smiling mother outside in the snow. She has an open winter coat and is wearing her child on the front with an SSC covered in a yellow rain jacket.]  Photo credit: BWI Seattle member Natasha

Dress in Layers

Dressing both yourself and your kiddo in layers individually as well as combined will help you stay warm. Be aware of little one and don’t over dress- remember that your combined body heat will be helping you both! Depending on the situation you may want to be fully bundled individually before you put on a carrier, like if your child will be getting down to play in the snow. Other times it may be more beneficial to add the layers over the carrier, like if you are walking around in and out of buildings where you may want to take off an outer layer without taking baby down.

[Image text: Winter Wearing, Beware of the Bulk. Babywearing International. If you or baby are wearing a bulky jacket, you may have to alter your carry. Carrier straps may slip on slick fabrics. Monitor baby's position often to ensure they haven't shifted in the carrier. You may need a little extra length in a wrap and ring sling, or to loosen the straps in a soft structured carrier and mei tai to accomodate your and your baby's additional space. Check baby's position to ensure the carrier is still snug and secure- baby should be supported and close.]

[Image text: Winter Wearing, Beware of the Bulk. Babywearing International. If you or baby are wearing a bulky jacket, you may have to alter your carry. Carrier straps may slip on slick fabrics. Monitor baby’s position often to ensure they haven’t shifted in the carrier. You may need a little extra length in a wrap and ring sling, or to loosen the straps in a soft structured carrier and mei tai to accomodate your and your baby’s additional space. Check baby’s position to ensure the carrier is still snug and secure- baby should be supported and close.]

Layers for kids:
  • Leg Warmers to close the gap between socks and pants
  • Footed PJs or Tights as an extra layer to prevent any gaps
  • Hat that attaches under the chin for added warmth to keep those cheeks toasty, if your little one loses hats, try an Olie Minkey hat with attached sleeves and mittens so nothing gets lost.
  • Blanket – Keep an extra blanket in your car or diaper bag for unexpected times you need an extra layer. Warm but not too bulky is best. Just take the top corners and weave them or tie them into the top of the carrier, like an apron. This is a great DIY to close the gap of your jacket with a front carry. You can also add a blanket over a back carry though you may need help from someone else to reach.
  • Rain Jacket- the arms of a rainjacket can be threaded through the straps of a Meh Dai or SSC to add an extra waterproof layer- and hood that can be pulled up. This works for a front or back carry and is another great DIY option to a babywearing coat.
Layers for you
  • Large or oversized coat- Use a maternity coat, or a coat that is a size or two too big. Often with an infant in a front carry, this given plenty of room to zip up around both of you.
  • DIY Babywearing outerwear- there are many tutorials to make your own babywearing coat or poncho or hack an existing coat with an add on or hole for baby.
  • Babywearing Coats –  There are many options available on Amazon, Etsy, and brand specific sites. Most work for back or front carries, but check to make sure if you may want to back carry. Also make sure the coat goes over a carrier and is not intended to BE the carrier. Babywearing coats that are sold as the carrier as well are not tested and are not recommended as safe options for babywearing.
  • Jacket Inserts/Extenders –  Ready made and DIY jacket extenders can turn your regular coat into a babywearing coat.
  • Check out our Pinterest board for a few DIY options with varying levels of difficulty with some only requiring the ability to cut relatively straight!

[Image description: smiling mother outside in the snow. She is wearing a thick winter coat and sunglasses with her toddler on her back in an SSC with a thick wintercoat and hood.]

[Image description: smiling mother outside in the snow. She is wearing a thick winter coat and sunglasses with her toddler on her back in an SSC with a thick wintercoat and hood.] Photo credit: BWI Seattle member Megan

Tips for different carriers

  • Wraps- Wool is warm! Long wraps for multipass carries add extra warmth. Jackets can sometimes be restricting and you may have a hard time reaching or moving your arms.
  • Meh Dais and SSCs- add a blanket on the outside and tuck around the holes on the sides to keep in warmth
  • Ring Slings- Wool and extra long tails can add extra warmth. Watch out for slippery jackets, ring slings are tough to get them stay in place.

[Image description: smiling mother and infant bundled in a Lenny Lamb red babywearing fleece standing in from of a tree with lights indoors.]

[Image description: smiling mother and infant bundled in a Lenny Lamb red babywearing fleece standing in from of a tree with lights indoors.] Photo credit: BWI Seattle member Anastasia

Members! Do you need a babywearing coat? BWI Seattle is excited to begin offering coat rentals! You will be able to borrow the coat for longer than a month and a separate rental fee will apply (details coming soon).
Do you have a coat you no longer use? We are accepting donations for this program. Email us or come see us at a meeting if you have one to donate.