There is a sad time that comes in this babywearing community. When children become too old to want rides and snuggles. For some this comes sooner than others. You might ask why we would tell you about aging out. After all, many of you are just beginning this adventure. Unfortunately, some day that little babe in your carrier will not be so little anymore. So what happens when you age out?
What is aging out? Aging out is when your little babe no longer asks to go up. It’s when you are no longer able to carry the weight of a sweet child. It’s when the babywearing relationship is no longer beneficial or enjoyed by one or either of you. As with all stages of your child growing older - it can be both celebrated and missed. The only thing certain in life is that time will keep moving on. Babies will never be as young as they are today and today will never happen again - unless you get caught in some weird Groundhog’s Day special effects.
A few ways that you can savor the memories:
1. Keep your friendships and your community. You are always welcome to continue coming to meetings, getting more involved with the community, or just take a parents night out with some of those great friends. Turns out that as much as you love your babywearing friends - your kids start to love each other also.
[Image: On the left is white man is wearing a white toddler girl on his back in a polka dot patterned soft structured carrier with navy blue straps. On the right is a woman of color with dark natural hair wearing a toddler on her back in a coordinating polka dot soft structured carrier with pink straps. The toddlers are holding hands.]
2. Keepsakes - some people will keep keepsakes of their time like photos, pieces of wraps, custom ornaments, wrap blankets, scrap purses, etc. Check out Bijou and Tekhni for wonderful blankets, Carry Me Close for babywearing dolls and ornaments, Little Zen One for a custom babywearing watercolor painting, or professional photography like Stamped In Time to commemorate your days.
[Image: White woman with dark hair is looking toward the right edge of the frame into the middle distance, wearing a white infant boy on her back in a galaxy dyed woven wrap. The infant is looking in the same direction as the woman. To the right of the figures is a watermark that reads 'Stamped In Time Photography.']
3. Share the love and help start new babywearers among your friends and family. Tell your family and friends about how babywearing has helped you. Purchase doll carriers for your kiddos to carry their dolls and grow up to be babywearers themselves.
[Image: White woman with dark hair and glasses is wearing her niece, a white toddler girl, in a rainbow patterned meh dai carrier. The toddler is looking into the middle distance and is wearing a white wide-brimmed hat and the woman is smiling at the camera. The are standing in front of a tiger information board at a zoo]
4. Sell off carriers, pass to a friend, or donate them to organizations - World on My Shoulders, The Carrying On Project, 3.21 Carry, BWI of Grand Rapids, and more!
Again, many of you may just be starting, so why are we talking about this? We need your help! We need to tell you today because our group is experiencing a big transition of wonderful volunteers and educators that have begun to age out. Over the last year, you may have noticed a big change in the names of volunteers and educators at the top of our Facebook group. Our group runs on volunteers alone. When a volunteer retires to spend time on family or focus on their big kids interests, moves to a new job, we are down! We need volunteers to help us keep the group available and successful.
Volunteers help us run our meetings and our group from online to in person. We need hands to help keep the group alive. We are not in dire positioning, we have educators and volunteers to continue, but it is time to think about the future of the group. Have you loved being involved at meetings? Please consider becoming a volunteer. Have you found yourself in love with sharing all about babywearing and telling your friends? We train new educators out of our volunteer group. We will provide training and support for everyone who jumps in at any level.
You can find out more about our group on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter 24/7/365! We look forward to connecting with you soon, and happy wearing!
The Board of Directors will use local school closings and their own discretion to determine if a meeting will be cancelled due to inclement weather. If a meeting is cancelled, it will be announced in the Facebook event, Facebook group, and on the Facebook fan page, and your carrier will be automatically renewed for one month.
If our meeting is not cancelled and you are absolutely unable to make it to a meeting to return your carrier, please follow the steps below:
International Babywearing Week kicks off on October 2nd! International Babywearing Week (IBW) is an annual event sponsored by Babywearing International. It is a week-long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing!
This year's theme is “Threaded Together.” The inspiration from the theme comes from the textiles and the weaving process for carriers babywearers use. All of these individual threads, once woven, create a material used to keep a child close. All of us babywearers come together to create a global community; we are united in the fact that we use carriers to wear our babies.
Here with Babywearing International of Grand Rapids we have a number of online and in-person events! With both indoor and outdoor options, along with active and a bit more relaxing events, there is something for everyone. BONUS: Most of our events are FREE and a few even offer chances for FABULOUS PRIZES! Check out our Facebook fan page or website for more information on specific events. We hope to see you at an event (or all of them)!
Participate online throughout the week in our Facebook group by sharing pictures of how you are celebrating IBW! Get snapping for a chance at a prize and a lot of fun :)
We can't wait to celebrate with all of you. Remember, the fun kicks off on October 2nd!
[Image description: The words International Babywearing Week 2017 arch over the top of the "Threaded Together" logo which is composed of three human figures in orange, light blue and dark blue. They are holding hands and look like they are made from one thread that also creates a circle making a border around them shifting in the same colors. This circle is at the center of the image on top of a collage of text. The text, in multiple languages, when translated means "Threaded Together."]
One of the most popular questions received online and in person from wearers is: “How can I feed while wearing?” Considering that small children are eating nearly a dozen times a day, it’s not surprising that caregivers are looking for a way to keep their baby fed and not be tied to a chair all day long. There are plenty of solutions for feeding on the go, and you can almost certainly feed with the help of whatever carrier you have on hand.
In this post, our goal is to educate you on feeding in different carrier types for various feeding scenarios, including breastfeeding, bottle feeding, SNS feeding, and G-Tube feeding. If you have tips and tricks you’d like to share for these or other scenarios, please leave them in the comments so others can learn from your experiences. Babywearing is by no means one size fits all—we can all benefit from hearing others’ hands-on knowledge.
One caveat before we begin: we like to see a good feeding routine established before attempting to wear while feeding a baby. Starting a new feeding routine can be daunting in and of itself—adding wearing to it can make it more stressful than it needs to be. Waiting can help increase your chance of success, as you can devote your attention to wearing instead of wearing and juggling a new feeding type.
Many thanks to Kate Vandenbos for her knowledge on SNS feeding and photo and Michelle Kischnick-Leach for her knowledge on g-tube feeding and photo.
Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’re all itching to get outside and explore nature. There’s plenty of fun to be had in West Michigan during the summer, but one of our favorites while babywearing is hiking. Did you know that West Michigan has over fifty trail systems to explore? With babywearing, you can go farther and explore more than you could with a babe-in-arms or with a stroller.
Hiking can be done with any carrier type, but there are perks and drawbacks to each depending on your carrier preferences and the age of your child(ren). We’re going to outline some main points below, but feel free to attend one of our free educational meetings to learn more or get one-on-one help for your situation!
Soft structured carriers (Ergo, Tula, Lillebaby, etc.) are one of the most popular options for hiking. They’re good for front carries for little ones, or back carries for when your kiddos get older. They can be one of the fastest options that are also comfortable for longer excursions. Some even have pockets, airflow panels, or other features that may be helpful while hiking.
Frame packs (Kelty, Osprey, etc.) are another popular option, especially among hiking enthusiasts. They’re a good option for older children who can sit unassisted and who only want to be worn on the back. Many have storage for extra gear or for hydration pouches. The main drawback of frame packs is that they tend to be heavier and bulkier. You can learn more about frame packs at BWI of Portland’s blog here: http://bwipdx.weebly.com/blog/hard-frame-carrier-101 or here: http://bwipdx.weebly.com/blog/hard-frame-carrier-fit-comparison
Meh Dais (Babyhawk, CatBirdBaby, etc.) are a versatile option that can be used for smaller babies on the front or older babies on the back. The openings in the sides of the panel offer a good amount of airflow between you and baby, so it can be a great option when it’s warmer outside. The drawback of meh dais is that they have longer tails, but there are many ways you can tie to keep the tails out of the way and keep your shoulders comfortable, too!
Woven wraps (Girasol, Didymos, Lenny Lamb, etc.) are the most versatile option for hiking as babies can be worn on the front or back, plus many wearers find them to be the most comfortable on the shoulders. The drawback of wrapping is the time you have to put into it, plus the fabric can get warmer than other wearing options. Wearing with a shorter wrap is also an option, as you can get the benefit of the versatility of wrapping without having to worry about having too much fabric.
Ring slings (Sakura Bloom, Sleeping Baby, etc.) or pouch slings (Sevenslings, Hot Slings, etc.) can be used for hiking and are especially useful when you are going short distances or your baby likes to get up and down a lot. They don’t tend to be the most popular for when baby gets older or for longer excursions, as they are one-shoulder carries. Their man appeal is that they are fast to put on and fold up small, so they’re easy to take along when you’re not sure if your baby will want to be worn.
When it starts to get warmer, your preferences may change as well. If you want to learn more about wearing when it’s warm, check out our blog post on hot weather wearing here: http://bwiofgrandrapids.weebly.com/blog/hot-weather-wearing