This blog post was originally written by Babywearing Calgary’s former co-leader Andi over at Offbeat Doula. We are happy to welcome Andi back to the Babywearing Calgary team, as one of Babywearing Calgary’s contributing bloggers! Whoop whoop! A Brief Babywearing History … Continue reading
Babywearing Calgary has some big news about our lending library.
We’ve been working hard over here to get our lending library more accessible, and more streamlined. We’ve also split our library to a North Calgary and South Calgary location! This should help make it accessible to more people to spread the babywearing love. Several carriers are available in both locations but others will be on rotation every few months.
We also have a new snazzy online tool for reserving carriers! You’ll need to create an account, pay your yearly membership fee, browse our inventory and reserve a carrier. Once we approve your request we can arrange a pick up day and time. All of our instructions are on the new tool home page but you can find them under Lending Library information on our webpage as well.
Our new online tool can be accessed here: Babywearing Calgary on MyTurn
We hope this makes communication and renting carriers easier for everyone.
I’m writing this blog post with a heavy heart and so much love for the babywearing community. It is a bittersweet farewell to a community that I helped build and that I have immersed myself in over the past decade. I figure it’s worthy of a blog post, so this is for you.
I started Bridge City Slingers in Lethbridge, AB, in 2007 with a dear friend of mine, and moved to Calgary in 2012, where I was welcomed as an admin immediately. It was hard to leave the Lethbridge group, as I had built so many friendships there. I still have friends from that group that will no doubt be in my life forever.
I had a big goal in mind for Babywearing Calgary, it was to encourage growth and also build a giant lending library. I have completed both of those goals, with the support and help from fellow admins.
The lending library is my baby, and I spent endless hours organizing, sending out requests, and networking with company heads to acquire the carriers. I have made so many connections that I highly value because of the networking I have done. I feel so blessed to have been able to do that, and I am incredibly proud of what has become of the lending library. I’m not lying when I say it’s one of the best lending libraries in the world. This is a fact. And it’s all for you…
For the mom who can’t decide between x,y,z carriers, for the mom who can’t afford to buy a carrier, for the mom who loves so many wraps that she can’t commit to just one, for the mom who wants to see all her options, for the dad who needs to try them before buying them, for the parent who needs a special carrier for traveling… and for our sponsors… it is really for all of you.
I feel like I have put in my work and finished what I needed to with Babywearing Calgary, and so it is time for me to move on. I feel like we finally have a large rad group of women fully capable to continue running the group and spreading the babywearing love. I will still be helping new moms learn to wear their babies, and I will still be doing private consults with mamas of multiples, and I will still be teaching people how to teach other people, but I just won’t be as involved in Babywearing Calgary anymore. You can find me over on The Offbeat Doula Blog if you ever want to reach out or follow along with what I’m up to. I actually have something pretty big lined up over there. 😉
I will stay a member on Babywearing Calgary, and will answer questions whenever I can, but I’ll be wearing my member hat only. The library will be moving to Emma’s house, and we may even be splitting it up to a south library and a north library. That is just how big and awesome our library is. You will be updated.
Thank you so much Babywearing Calgary for trusting me to lead this group and trust that I always had the group’s best interests at heart. Thank you for being respectful and caring towards each other, and making my admin role fairly painless (expect that one time, hahaha, kidding, there were a few *wink wink*). And lastly, thank you for wearing your babies and willing to help other moms wear their babies.
And with that, I bid you adieu. Good luck in all your future adventures, and please remember I am just a text/PM/e-mail away.
**ps, y’all made me feel pretty damn good, so thank you.
Last week I (Andi) went to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. It is the largest annual baby business trade show in the world, and it housed thousands of exhibitors. I went as a guest with no real ties to any business. I basically spent the four trade show days wandering around meeting old friends, new friends, and talking more than I ever have. I used to own a baby business a long time ago, so it was awesome being able to catch up with some of my old suppliers. So I tended to rotate through my various roles of former business owner, babywearing educator, and birth doula.
I used the opportunity to connect with some of our current lending library sponsors, and also build some new relationships with new sponsors. The lending library grew by four carriers after the ABC Kids Expo, including an Onya, Tula standard, Beco ring sling, and a Twingaroo carrier. I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for the businesses and the individuals that put their faith in me and donated a carrier, thank you.
I also met some wonderful people within the babywearing community who continually inspire me with their knowledge, compassion, and overall radness. At the BCIA meeting I think we all bonded over being awkward, and that is okay… because really, the world would be pretty boring without some rad awkward folk to liven things up a bit. So here’s a cheers to the strong women and men that lead the babywearing industry today and who started it eons ago, and to those who continue to spread the babywearing love with every awkward conversation they have (cough cough… BCIA meeting).
Jillian from PaxBaby ^^
Colleen from Wrapsody, who is indeed the most awkward of them all. But definitely my favourite brand of awkward. xoxo
Lindsay and I with Julie from Beco (who is rad BTW) and Jessica of The Leaky Boob.
So now as promised, I have a giveaway for you! Basically, while I was wandering around, I noticed all the awesome swag that businesses were giving away, so I started approaching them and telling them about my idea for a giveaway. I decided to make a Mother of all Swag Bags giveaway, full of all sorts of goodies that were only available at the expo, and then some.
So without further ado, here is what is included in the swag bag:
- Expo bag full of everything that came inside the bag at the Expo
- Molly’s Suds Cloth Diaper detergent
- Peas in a Pod gift set
- Head wrap from Wrapsody Baby
- Babywearing bumper stickers
- Moby Klean Kanteen cup
- Fingerless knit gloves by Moby
- Exclusive Moby bracelets
- KangaCare TokiDoki buttons and “Frenzies” – whoever wins must tell me which Frenzie they get
- PlanetWise wet/dry bag AND snack size bag
- Beco Koozie (what what?!)
- Wean Green container with jelly beans
- BumGenius pen and chap stick
- TULA bunny made out of their newly released blanket!! (this is soooo soft!)
- beads from Fremont Street 😉
- and more!!
Click the image below to enter the giveaway!
Good luck, and please share this giveaway with all your friends! Giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. residents.
Babywearing Calgary is running a carrier drive between now and December 15th, 2015. On January 14th we will be going to The Elizabeth House for pregnant teens to run a hands on workshop and teach the new moms/moms to be how to safely wear their babies. This is something we have done in the past, and we are thrilled to be able to offer it again. If you have any quality carriers that are not being used at the moment, please consider donating them.
What should you donate?
What should you donate elsewhere maybe?
Narrow base carriers
(sorry, we have nothing against these carriers, but given that we will be providing information and instruction, we prefer to work with the carriers that we know will be easiest and most beneficial. Pouches are sized, which makes it hard in this sort of situation.)
To maintain some privacy for our members, the community location addresses are only being posted on the Facebook event, so either drop off at one of the three store locations, or join Babywearing Calgary on Facebook to get the addresses.
We love sharing the stories of our members, and finding out how they got in to babywearing. Everyone has a unique story to tell, but there is usually a common thread. The commonality is that is somehow improved their quality of life. Babywearing does not need to be expensive, you do not need to have XYZ carrier. All you need to have, is a desire to keep your baby close to you, whether it be because of the health benefits with a preemie or newborn, or simply so you can have hands free.
Here is a blog post that one of our co-leaders shared recently on her personal blog about her babywearing journey and where she is now. Have a look, and if you would like to have your story featured on the Babywearing Calgary blog, please pop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
I Can Wear Your Baby by Andi Johnson
I don’t wear my babies anymore. I often miss it, although I cherish the memories I have with my little ones tied on to me. I wore my youngest until I physically could not wear her any longer, and even now at age seven, she would want to go in my Amauti if I let her. I run a dayhome for my day job, and I am blessed with the sweetest little toddler that loves to be worn. Yesssss…I can still wear babies. And any of my friends that come over will no doubt hear me say at least once, “I can wear your baby”. I love it, okay?
I am pretty passionate about babywearing for numerous reasons. With my third baby, I was determined to figure out this whole “calm baby” thing…read more
One of the top questions we hear is “what carrier should I get?” While it seems like there should be a fairly straightforward answer to this question, there are so many factors to take in to account when choosing a carrier. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide.
1. What age is the child that you want to wear?
- This is important because there are some fantastic carriers for newborns that may not be that awesome for toddlers. There are also some carriers that are awesome for bigger babies/toddlers, but not necessarily newborns. For instance, newborns love love love ring slings and stretchy wraps, and they are soooo comfy… but many parents find that they aren’t as comfortable once the little one is not so little anymore. They can absolutely still be used for toddlers, just not for extended periods of time typically. And on the other hand, soft structured carriers are a nice back wearing option for toddlers, and while they work with newborns, they’re not necessarily the most comfy.
2. Do you want one carrier to last from newborn to toddler?
- If you’re looking for a one carrier does all the ages, there are several. Woven wraps, soft structured carriers, mei tais, hybrid stretch wraps, ring slings, etc. are all good. So you want just one to last all the time, now you need to ask yourself…
3. Are you looking for quick and easy?
- If ease of use is something that is important to you, then you could narrow down the list a little bit to ring sling, soft structured carrier (SSC), and potentially a mei tai (although some people still find the mei tai to be “too much” work). Some people prefer the ease of buckles, which makes the choice fairly simple at this point.
4. How long will you wear baby for at a time?
- If you are the type of person who wants to wear your baby all day, then you’ll likely want something that goes on both shoulders. This means a mei tai, SSC or a wrap. Wraps are particularly nice because they distribute the weight across your entire body. They are hands down the most versatile carrier on the market. However, if you said “yes” to “quick and easy”, then you may not love a wrap, regardless of how comfortable and long lasting it can be.
5. Is ease of breastfeeding important?
- Some carriers are easier to breastfeed in than others. Don’t get me wrong, you can breastfeed in basically all carriers, but if you’re looking for a carrier that can support a cradle hold easily, that would be a ring sling. You can also achieve this in a woven wrap, but it’s not as easy as a ring sling when it comes to breastfeeding.
6. Will you be sharing your carrier with your partner?
- Take in to account your partners size when deciding on a carrier if you plan on sharing between you two. Some carriers fit petite people better than other carriers, and some carriers are more adjustable to go between sizes.
7. What will you be doing while babywearing?
- Are you looking for something to wear while grocery shopping, cooking, typing at work, doing yoga, hiking, skiing (yes, this does happen, and typically only by very experienced skiers), or simply to pace the house, sooth the baby, go for walks outside, or even shower. What you plan on doing while babywearing will influence what carrier you purchase. This also falls in a similar category as “how long will you wear baby”, but it also takes in to account the conditions. An example is, if you plan to use your carrier for quick ins and outs to the grocery store during the winter, think about how you will get the carrier on in the wet parking lot without getting your mei tai straps soaking wet. There is a way, but it can be a little tricky if you’re just starting out. You basically do it while either fully or halfway in your vehicle. The point is, it’s worth thinking about it ahead of time.
8. What is your budget?
- Carriers range from about $50 up to an insanely ridiculous amount of $2000. Don’t let that scare you, the $2000 ones are actually made out of unicorn hair and gold woven together, then sprinkled thoroughly with faerie dust. We’ll save those ones for the collectors. Your average in store wrap will not usually go above $300, although a custom hand woven may be closer to $600. Figuring out your budget ahead of time will help you narrow down your options.
If you’re going in to a brick and mortar store to purchase a carrier, whoever is helping you will be able to narrow down carrier choices, but it will help if you know the answers (or are at least thinking about the answers) to these questions before you go. Also, it is hard to get everything out of one carrier, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting 2 or 3!
And of course this is where your local babywearing group comes in to play. Use the resources available to you and try out as many carriers as you can before purchasing. Go to a meeting and chat with people about what they like, and why they like it. And lastly, choose a budget and stick to it. It is easy to go a little nutzo when buying carriers, and a necessary item can quickly turn in to a collection. There’s nothing wrong with collecting carriers, just be warned, it can escalate quickly. 😉 When I first posted on-line in 2005 wondering what carrier I should get, the response I got was, “don’t ask which carrier you should get, ask which carrier you should get first.”
Happy carrier shopping!
Happy International Babywearing Week!
Every year, babywearing groups around the world celebrate their love for babywearing by taking part in various activities involving babywearing. This week our group will be taking the malls by storm, spreading the babywearing love one shopper at a time. Stay tuned for another post with pics from those events.
Things that always seems to make IBW a little more exciting are all the giveaways. If you search a little bit on social media, you will likely find some sort of babywearing related giveaway, which is AWESOME! Well, we wanted to get in on the love spreading and gift giving and all that fun stuff, so we have teamed up with CuddleRoo to bring a giveaway to you!
“CuddleRoo is a line of decorative animal covers designed to slip over backpack-style baby carriers to provide an extra layer of cuteness. Simultaneously practical and adorable, baby wearing moms, dads and caregivers will be able to keep their kid cozy while unleashing their cute animal spirit.” – CuddleRoo FB page
CuddleRoo is sending us ONE giraffe carrier cover that should arrive just in time for Halloween, and one of our lucky readers will be able to call it their own next Friday. That said, the covers are not made just for Halloween. They can be, and should be worn all the time… they just so happen be be perfect for Halloween. 😉
You have several different ways to get an entry in for the CuddleRoo cover, so take advantage of that. And GOOD LUCK!
PS.. Contest open to CANADIAN residents only.
Click the picture below to enter!
Calgary: host of The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth (the Stampede), hometown of
country music superstar Paul Brandt, and along with the rest of Alberta, sometimes
referred to as the “Texas of the North”. It’s a wonder that with all these prairie cowboy
distinctions, that our concept of babywearing doesn’t look like this:
Pinterest users, beware! This isn’t recommended babywearing.
I’m relatively new to babywearing (my son is just shy of a year old), but I’m not new to
Calgary. And over the many years that I’ve lived in this city, I honestly haven’t seen
much babywearing – at least not until I started looking for it. Many months ago, I got a
message from a fellow mama in Toronto. She wrote (of Calgary): “I sure felt like an
outsider wearing my baby there…hopefully it’s better now!” At the time, I wondered if it
really was better now – are we a city set up for babywearers? Do we embrace it? What
resources and assistance is available to babywearers in Calgary? It was around that
time that I really became immersed in the babywearing world, as well as the community
of babywearers here in Calgary.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re already aware of one of the greatest assets available
to any parent- the Babywearing Calgary group. When I first “liked” their Facebook page,
I didn’t know the difference between an Ergo and a ring sling, much less how parents
seemed to take the equivalent of a rainbow-hued table runner and use it to support a
30-pound child (sometimes two at once!). I’ve since learned the answers to these
questions, and much more, but the most valuable thing I have learned from
Babywearing Calgary is the power of support and encouragement from loving, likeminded
parents – especially for “newbies” like myself. Babywearing Calgary hosts
monthly meetings to learn about babywearing, has social outings to connect with other
babywearers in the city (which can be a novelty in our sprawling, car-commuting
culture), and a lending library from which to borrow a diverse range of wraps and
carriers. And their Facebook group of over 200 members offers an opportunity to get
answers to questions, troubleshoot problems, and even buy or sell used carriers.
One complaint I’ve heard from rural parents is the difficulty of purchasing carriers or
wraps in their hometowns. At best, sometimes only one or two types are available – and
even then, they aren’t always ergonomically sound. We are incredibly lucky to have
many places in Calgary that retail safe and comfortable carrier options (Posh Mommy,
Riva’s Eco Store and Baby & Me Maternity, to name a few) – with the greatest selection
being found at Babes in Arms (who just so happens to be one of our lending library sponsors).
I’ve found that visiting a store like Babes in Arms is about
more than just making a purchase. I’ve gotten education, advice, and support – both
from staff as well as from frequent customers. Not only that, but Babes in Arms offers
monthly classes as well (Babywearing 101 and Back Carries) for intensive education
from a certified babywearing instructor.
My sister-in-law recently told me that she had mentioned my varied collection of wraps
and carriers (a.k.a. “stash”) to a friend of hers. “Oh yes, babywearing!” her friend had
commented. “That’s really trendy right now.” I had no idea when I purchased my first
carrier that I was participating in any fad or trend – I was just trying to find a way to keep
my reflux-ridden baby happy, and get some housework accomplished at the same time.
And although there are new wrap designs and brands hitting the scene every month, it’s
hardly a modern phenomenon – babywearing has been around for centuries. And if
you’re in Calgary, fear not, you can participate without resorting to turning a Bjorn into a
hip holster a la John Wayne turned babywearer. Join the Facebook group, attend a
meeting, and get involved. I know I can tell my Toronto friend with confidence – this city
gets better and better for babywearers every day.
Caitlin lives with her husband, Scott, and their son Finn (just shy of one year old!). Although she loves the Calgary Farmer’s Market, the Rocky Mountains, and the Calgary Zoo, she generally avoids both country music and the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Caitlin also blogs athttp://propositionzen.wordpress.com.
There is a common belief that you should pull on the straps of your carrier to test it’s durability and security before placing babe in the carrier. This test is referred to as the “tug test”, and has been debunked by babywearers and manufacturers everywhere. The test actually puts stress on the carrier’s seams in ways that wearing a baby never would, and therefore can actually cause more damage to the carrier than using it would, ultimately making it potentially unsafe for babe (if you have damaged the carrier). For this reason, we recommend not doing the tug test on your carriers.
The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) wrote up a great article on why you shouldn’t tug test and what you can do to make sure your carrier is secure, please check it out here.