1. Let us know you are coming! RSVP to the events so that we can do our best to have enough educators and volunteers available! If you decide last minute you are available, join us anyways! We’d love to see you!
2. Bring your own carriers. We are advocates for practice, not product! Our educators have a working knowledge of just about any carrier on the market. Our goal is first to help you feel comfortable and happy with what you currently own. If you want to try something new, you are welcome to try out the many carriers in our library. If you do not own a carrier yet, you are in luck! We have plenty for you to try and feel so you can be confident in your purchasing decisions.
3. Plan ahead for your child(ren). Kids of all ages are welcome at our meetings. Please come with whatever you need to keep your child(ren) happy: snacks, drinks, toys, books, whatever that may be. We ask that it be quiet and not messy as we meet in donated spaces. If your child has a special toy that would be stressful to share, consider leaving that in the car. When packing snacks, avoid nut products and be aware that many of our participants have food allergies (especially nut, gluten and dairy). We ask that you keep snacks contained (within arm’s reach to limit your child leaving food or drink where someone else could pick it up), and avoid sharing or offering snacks or drinks to other children.
4. Make Yourself Comfortable: We don’t set up chairs in any specific order, as whatever we take out we have to put back and many of our volunteer leaders have to leave as soon as the meeting is finished. If you would like a chair, grab one! Sit on the floor. Lean against a wall. Put a blanket down on the floor. Whatever makes you comfortable! Our meeting locations vary but you are welcome to make yourself comfortable as each location deems. Join us. If you come in late, that’s fine. Just slide right in.
5. Put Your Child’s Needs First: Feel free to parent your child. Our leaders will sometimes have to pause instruction or conversation in order to parent their own children, and we understand that you may need a break to do the same. The children are why we’re here, after all so do not worry if you have to step away to change a diaper, take someone to the potty, or sit down and feed your child. Please know that many of our leaders are stay at home moms or are working moms with some schedule flexibility, so we often have our children with us, too. Our leaders have kids that range from newborn to 12 years old. Many of us couldn’t volunteer as educators if we couldn’t bring our kids with us. Our leaders and attendees will also have older children that they need to bring, especially when school is not in session. We all try our best to keep older children calm and contained, but towards the end of the meeting especially, their patience may be wearing thin and hunger is setting in. If you see a safety concern, inform one of the leaders and/or the parent of the child.
6. Ask lots of questions! Please speak up and ask a question or ask for help when needed. It is not rude. If you need something repeated, just tell us. If you asked for help and we have not gotten to you, please remind us. Please do not leave if you feel like you still have concerns or questions. We want to help!
7. Trust Us: All of our educators are well versed in all the carrier types. While we may each have our own favorite(s), we are capable of helping you with what you need. For example, if an educator is wearing their child in a ring sling, it is still okay to ask them about soft structured carriers. If one of our educators can not answer your question, they will direct you to one who can or is best suited to help you.
8. Remember, we’re here to help you!! We volunteer our time because we want you to love babywearing and to be successful with it. At one point, we all walked into a babywearing meeting, unsure of ourselves, a little bit intimidated, not knowing anyone, and probably tired and frazzled, as well. But something special happened for us, and we came back again. And again. And again. And now we’re the ones standing in the front of the room, tossing a baby on our back again and again and again so you can learn to do it, too. We hope these tips will help make meetings a better experience for all of us, and allow us to better meet your needs and make you feel included. Happy wearing!
Much thanks, credit, and blatant copying comes from the amazing BWI of DC-MD-VA (Beltway Babywearers). If you are looking for an amazing blog to follow, this is a great one. To find the source of stolen and copied information, please see here: http://www.beltwaybabywearers.blogspot.com/2014/04/maximizing-your-meeting-experience.html?m=1. Special thanks to Ann Marie - for the many many many ways she has given to the babywearing community and for granting permission for the copying of her smart, educated, and well thought out words!
This is a question that we get frequently. We talk about babywearing. We talk about caring for young children, older children, nieces, nephews, grandkids, stepchildren, foster children, and future children. We talk about ways to wear your baby. We talk about safety while wearing. We talk about tips and tricks for wearing. We talk about activities for kids around town, we talk about shopping, we talk about cooking. We are a community of caregivers each different and alike in our own ways.
We do not care if you breastfeed, bottle feed, spoon feed, tube feed - as long as you feed your infant(s). We do not care if you make all whole grain homemade vegetarian meals, McDonald’s, paleo gluten free meals, or Kraft Mac N’ Cheese. We do not care if you use cloth diapers, disposable diapers, or elimination communication. All caregivers that are interested in finding out more and exploring the world of babywearing are welcome.
What should you expect to happen at a meetup? Timeline below is for the Grand Rapids Meetups. Holland Mamas, you start at 1 p.m. otherwise the timeline will follow the same way!
10:00 a.m.- 10:10 Please sign in at the Welcome Table. Return borrowed carriers to the Library Table.
10:10 - 10:30 Educational presentation. The presentation will vary each month and cover topics such as hot weather wearing, emergency wearing, wrapping terminology, babywearing 101. All library carriers must be checked in at library table by 10:30 a.m. when the presentation is complete or they will be considered late.
10:30 - 11:30 We will break into small groups to help foster one on one help. We will direct you into groups based on carriers you want to try and need help with. If all of our teachers are present, we will also include a 101 group that will check out all the different carrier types.
Once in the small groups, we will introduce ourselves and have those with matching needs work with our educators together. Watching and listening to other people learn carries is a great way to learn tips and tricks for yourself. We also encourage you to mingle and meet other caregivers at this time but suggest you check in with the small groups first! If you are brining or are interested in help with multiple types of carriers, pick anywhere to start! All library carriers available will be in the small groups so you can try them on and get a feel for them. We request that if it is your first time at a meetup, first time trying a new carrier type, or first time trying a new carry that you work with one of our educators. We will introduce ourselves before we break into groups.
If you are not yet a Sustaining Member and would like to join, you can sign up at our Membership Table. If you are a Sustaining Member, the Library Table with have the check out sheet and you can write your request at this time. All library requests should be made my 11:30 a.m.
11:30 - Our educators will begin to clean up their tables and fold carriers for transport. Please return all carriers to their tables so we can check them out. Our librarian will review the library requests and pass out carriers to our Sustaining Members.
11:45 - Noon: If you still have a question or concern - DO NOT LEAVE! Please come and see one of our educators. We strive to do our very best to help everyone one on one at the tables but if you still have something flag us down!