Thursday, November 13, 2014

Welcome to BWI of HR's New Board

Welcome to our new board members!!!
      If you're part of our Facebook chatter group, you will know that we just recently held our annual voting for our new board for Babywearing International of Hampton Roads. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of this growth.   We have grown and expanded so much these last two years. It's an amazing feeling to watch your baby grow, and this is how I feel about Babywearing International of Hampton Roads.  I'm so pleased with where we are and where we are headed. We have a great group of ladies lined up to take the reins.  With that I introduce to you your new Babywearing International of Hampton Board members.

Chair of BWI of HR: Dana Karstensen-Bryan
Operations Chair: Suzanne Worrell
Education Chair: Jade Penney
Outreach Chair: Kristin Hoerber
Janet Castro & Hillary Westbrook serving as Virginia Beach Area Representatives
Helena Claus serving as a Peninsula Area Representative
Anne Kabaitan serving as a Southside Area Representative

I would also like to congratulate Caitlyn Shaw and Dana Karstensen-Bryan for their new roles on the Board of Directors for Babywearing International.
We look forward to the year ahead, teaching and sharing the love of babywearing to our community. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Carry of the Month: Front Cross Carry

Please read our disclaimer before trying this carry.

Yay! Can you believe it's cold already again? I actually turned on the heat and everything for a few days. The weather fluctuates but I was really starting to think about cold babywearing. I'm from Minnesota and while it doesn't get nearly as cold here as it does there, I remember that panicky feeling I had trying to wrap outside with the cold snow and that breath-taking wind. THEN, all that crud melts and you're trying to figure out how to keep tails out of the slush. Well, if only someone had taught me a front cross carry. The perfect woven front carry for winter snuggles. You'll see why...

FCC is generally done with your base size however you could maybe get away with a size smaller if you're baby is young. We haven't talked about base sizing in a while so I'll do a quick reminder; a base size is generally a size 5, 6, or 7 depending on you and baby's size. In a base size, you're typically able to accomplish this carry, a front wrap cross carry, double hammock, or back wrap cross carry

Now if you're wondering why I think this is the perfect winter carry, it's because it's poppable! Everyone loves a good poppable carry, right? Well this one is especially comfortable, an excellent beginner carry and you'll be able to wrap it up at home, throw your jacket on, drive wherever you're going and boom, it takes seconds to plop baby into this carry. No need to worry about that awful wind and cold for very long and you can still leave that car seat in the car. 

So, if you know me, I love a clean wrap job especially while I'm teaching. I've folded my wrap width wise just to keep everything nice and neat. The fold is on the bottom with the two top rails on top. Then just put the wrap behind you with the middle marker on your back about natural waist height. Take the wrap and start putting the passes over your shoulder like in the third photo. 

Neatly cross the passes making sure there are no twists. Twists can create pressure points and be uncomfortable for the wearer. Then I've brought the tails back around and did a quick single knot. We'll double knot it later but it's much easier to untie that single knot when making adjustments.

In the first picture, I'm putting pressure where the two passes cross because that's right where I want my baby's bottom to be. If my kiddo were bigger, I'd pull even more to get more slack and pull my hands down closer to my belly button. It just depends but you'll get used to eyeballing it really quickly. In the second photo, I'm spreading out the folded passes. The rail on the bottom of the fold comes out to your shoulder. We're ready to load up baby! So if you were wanting to use this as a pretied carry while running errands, you could do this first few steps all at home and then these last few steps would be for after you get to your destination. 

Always working with the pass closest to your body, bring your arm under the wrap and slowly navigate baby's legs and butt into that pass so that baby is straddling it. Just like in the second picture, spread the pass completely over baby's back and from knee to knee. This is important because we don't have a horizontal pass to secure everything down. Now you'll just lift baby's leg, lift the other pass over and spread just like you did the first one. Try not to stress about hurting your baby, they are super flexible and I find just grabbing by their ankle and pushing their leg up so they bend at the knee super helpful. 

You're pretty much done. If you felt comfortable and secure, you could call it quits. I prefer to have the passes up on my shoulders so I just slide them up which usually takes out any slack and I double knot and am done. However, if you're feeling like you need to tighten things up you can. Just hold baby's back, undo the knot with one hand and simply start pulling on the wrap section by section until you feel like baby is where they should be; close enough to kiss and with their face in view. Double knot and you're done! 

I really hope you loved this tutorial and you find yourself using it this winter. If you're just starting to learn to wrap, I hope this helped you feel a little more confident starting out. 

You can email questions to our Education chair at
Photo tutorial not doin' it for you? No worries. Check out Babywearing International of Hampton Roads's YouTube channel for more information and tutorials!

Friday, October 10, 2014

IBW 2014: Sharing the Adventure After Wearing Days are Over

So I've talked a lot about how my babywearing journey began but I think I'm finally ready to talk about how it's finally over...

I think this is truly the last time Carmen and I wore out of necessity. We were in the grocery store and she went on and on. Whining, mini melt downs and we just couldn't figure out how to keep her happy, so I threw her up in the Kinderpack and that was that. No second thoughts about it but it was also the last time that I truly found the Kinderpack as a solution for that kind of behavior.

Suddenly, I found myself aching every time we wore. Being an educator for 2+ years has taught me every trick in the book to make yourself comfortable while wearing. I had tried most of it and had
asked for more suggestions and then you just finally realized that maybe it's because she's about two thirds your height and nearly a third of your weight. Even though the Kinderpack was comfortable, there wasn't really much I could do to keep my feet from aching, my legs getting sore and from waddling when I'd wear her. She is almost 4 years old after all. She's independent, doesn't really run off, holds hands well and even though she happily rode in the Kinderpack, she would also happily walk next to me. That's when Carmen and I made the very difficult decision to call it quits.

I think it's really important that that last sentence be the main focus of this post. "Carmen and I." WE chose to quit wearing. It was decision that we decided TOGETHER. I got down on her level with the Kinderpack in hand and we talked about it. I asked her how she felt about it. "Good," she said.

"And are you ready to walk with me and hold my hand from now on?"
"How would you feel if we gave the Kinderpack a new home?"
"So no more Kinderpack rides, is that okay?"
"Yes, okay."

Even though I had the opportunity to talk about this with Carmen, I knew that I could have made this decision on my own. It was like an unspoken agreement between her and I but I think I needed to hear it from her so we could move on. So I could move on. And it brings me back to all the times that I may have had sour judgements about others and how ashamed I am which is really what provoked me to write this. This wasn't an easy decision! How could I have judged someone for making this one on their own terms just like Carmen and I had done! When it physically pains you to wear and your child is happy on the ground, you don't have to explain that to anyone else.

Dad got to experience the last KP nap.
I know there are times when you have to make that decision just for you and maybe it's not an agreement between you and your child. Carmen went through a very violent kicking phase when she was angry and I had to end wearing sessions. If she didn't show interest after that, I alone could have easily ended our wearing days right there and no one could have told me that it wasn't for the better! Judgement is inevitable while parenting and I strongly think it's just in our human nature but we judge less when we are educated. When we get insights to others' stories and when we understand fellow parents, we judge less.

So you'll still see me at meetings, I may not have a child attached to me, I'm not pregnant and I may not have plans for more but this community has brought me so much joy and I'm here to stay for as long as I can. Babywearing is a parenting tool I feel should be available to everyone and just because we are done, it's still my duty as a fellow mother to teach you to wear your baby safely and comfortably. Traditionally, it'd be your aunt, your sister, your mother, your grandmother but times have changed and we're here for you through all stages. Educating you while still pregnant to when you decide to call it quits.