12 May

About Us

BWI-Logo-Stacked-with-TM-300x300Babywearing International, Inc. (BWI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote babywearing as a universally accepted practice, with benefits for both child and caregiver, through education and support. The heart of BWI is our network of local chapters which provide free educational meetings and support within their own communities.

We invite you to spend some time getting to know us.

29 Jun

Chapter Highlight – BWI of DC-MD-VA

spring

spring

When Babywearing International, Inc. was founded in 2008 as a nonprofit organization with the mission “to promote babywearing as a universally accepted practice, with benefits for both child and caregiver, through education and support,” it started with just four chapters. It didn’t take long before more babywearing groups were signing on though, and within three years, BWI doubled its size. BWI of DC-MD-VA, which affiliated in 2009, was one of those first chapters to join.

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20 Jun

Happy Father’s Day to the Babywearing Men

Today we celebrate the special men in our lives! Let’s toast to the fathers, fathers-in-law, step-fathers, father figures, and ALL important male caregivers! We honor all of you who are a Dad (by whatever way you came to be one) plus those of you who are active male role models.

Babywearing is a GREAT way for male caregivers to bond with the little ones they love and to be able to complete household chores, plus, well, for pretty much all the other reasons that babywearing exists! But why trust me when you can hear it directly from some amazing men? These four guys granted me the opportunity to ask about their babywearing adventures. Read on to hear from Doyin Richards, Danny Lebron, Ciarán McKenna, and Dan Gilbert about the importance of babywearing in their lives.

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Doyin Richards is one of the most respected and in-demand voices in America in the realm of modern fatherhood today. He has been interviewed by the TODAY Show, Katie Couric, NPR, USA Today, The New York Times, and CNN (to name a few).  He is the founder of the popular website and blog, “Daddy Doin’ Work,” an accomplished author, and a charter member of the TODAY Show’s Parenting Team. You can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Doyin and daughter in a soft structured carrier

Doyin and daughter

Kathy: Who do you wear?

Doyin: I have two young daughters, ages 4 and 2 respectively. I wore both of them in my Ergobaby carrier from when they were newborns until 2 years old. Since I don’t plan on having any additional children, I’m kinda bummed that my baby wearing days are soon coming to an end.

Kathy: What does babywearing mean to you?

Doyin: I love, love, love baby wearing. Sometimes it was a way to be hands-free while at the supermarket or while handling household chores. Other times, it was a way to calm them when they became fussy. But most importantly, it is one of my favorite ways to bond with my girls. I wrote a good portion of my first book, Daddy Doin’ Work: Empowering Mothers To Evolve Fatherhood, standing up while my bouncing my youngest in the Ergobaby carrier when she was an infant. I joke that she was literally close to my heart during the writing process.

Kathy:  How did you find babywearing and start your babywearing journey?

Doyin: Before my first child was born, I talked with two dads that I respect and both of them told me about the joys of babywearing. Granted, at first I thought it seemed odd to have a tiny human strapped to my chest – but after a couple of wears, I was hooked. It didn’t take long for it to become second nature. I honestly believe the bond I have with my girls is stronger due to the fact I wore them so often.

Kathy: When did you become a babywearing advocate and how do you promote wearing in your community?

Doyin: I started my “Daddy Doin’ Work” blog when my oldest daughter was 18 months old, but I was using my Ergobaby carrier long before that point. As I mentioned earlier, I feel as if babywearing strengthened my bond with my daughters – but unfortunately, stigmas in society still exist that dictate it’s not “manly” to wear babies. My job was to share that nothing is more manly than being a good, involved dad – and oftentimes that involves babywearing. I run giveaways with Ergobaby products, promote babywearing dads on my Instagram feed, and I continue to bang the drum on how important it for men to wear their little ones.

Kathy: As an advocate for babywearing, what message would you share with other male caregivers?

Doyin: Wear your babies! Don’t worry about what other people say or think of you. Although we’ve come a long way in regards to what a modern dad is like in our society, we still have more progress to make. Ignore the people who may laugh or chuckle at you. At the end of the day, you will have a stronger bond with your babies if you take part in this important activity – and nothing in the world is more important than that.

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Danny Lebron, also known as Danny The Babywearing Dad, has become a well known babywearing advocate, has modeled for our Optimal Positioning Cards, creates YouTube babywearing tutorials, and can be recognized as a Pavo Textiles model. You can follow Danny on Facebook and Instagram.

DannyKathy: Who do you wear?

Danny: I wear my little baby girl Luna, who is about to turn 2 in July. She is our first child but we renewed our babywearing card and are currently pregnant with belly baby number two! I also have worn clothes to carry to the laundry.

Kathy: What does babywearing mean to you?

Danny: Babywearing means an easier day. It means bonding with my child. Babywearing has brought a village of people my way that I adore. Without babywearing, parenting would be five times harder than it already is. Not only are carriers a big help but I’m also amazed by the art behind them. It’s a lifestyle that I am proud to be a part of.

Kathy:  How did you find babywearing and start your babywearing journey?

Danny: My wife, Cleo, introduced me to everything babywearing and brought me to Caribou Baby (which is now Wild Was Mama) in Brooklyn, NY. When I took a small lesson, I fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to wear Luna when she was born. Hours after birth, I got to wear Luna for the first time and when she kept quiet and looked so at peace I knew this was for me.

Danny and daughter in a ring sling

Danny and daughter

Kathy: When did you become a babywearing advocate and how do you promote wearing in your community?

Danny: Modeling for Pavo Textiles surely gave me a big push and gave a name to my face. I came up with Danny The Babywearing Dad after the awesome Babywearing Dad on Instagram. After a few shoots with Pavo I thought, why not really push this babywearing thing all over the world?! I promote babywearing by just living as a babywearing parent. Every time me and my wife wear Luna we see people stop and stare. Some ask questions and some don’t, but just showing how easy and fun it can make things is helpful to potential wearers.

Kathy: As an advocate for babywearing, what message would you share with other male caregivers?

Danny: If women can do it, so can we! Besides giving birth and breastfeeding of course. Wearing a baby isn’t a “ladies” thing nor a “manly” thing. It’s a caregiver thing. I feel a confidence that I have never felt when I wear my daughter. I actually feel “handsomer” (he laughs). Being a babywearer not only as a male but a black male, I think can really open doors for other men in this world, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds.

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Ciarán and son.

Ciarán and son

 

 

Ciarán McKenna, a.k.a. Ciarán the Babywearing Dad, runs a blog, and can be found advocating for cloth diapers and babywearing in Ireland and beyond, on Facebook, and  Instagram.

 

 

Kathy: Who do you wear?

Ciarán: I wear my beautiful little boy, he is 6 months old now and I’ve been wearing him since he was 6 weeks old.

Kathy: What does babywearing mean to you?

Ciarán: Babywearing has helped me become that dad I wanted to be. As well as allowing me to get stuff done around the house (which it is great for). I have bonded with my son way more than I ever thought possible. Once I started wearing him he started to react better to me: he knew my smell and the sound of my voice; I could comfort him easier; and he was happy to be left alone with me, and I with him. There is nothing in this world that will calm a baby like a tight snuggly wrap cuddle! From teething, to just cranky from tiredness  – I’d be lost without it. I wear him now just for the joy it brings me; he is always happy to be wrapped and smiles and gets excited when he sees one of us take out a wrap or carrier. Sometimes I’ll just sit for an hour with him fast asleep wrapped to me,  just taking him in and enjoying this tiny life I have before he gets too big.Ciaran

Kathy:  How did you find babywearing and start your babywearing journey?

Ciarán: My partner was all for babywearing before we had our baby. Her cousin babywears and she wanted to do it as well. I was very skeptical at first, a typical man, only interested in full buckles in one colour! My first carrier was a Buzzidil, full buckles, but had some colour to it. Very quickly I found that it wasn’t very comfortable around the house, so one day I asked my girlfriend to wrap our baby to me. We only had one wrap from the local library at the time and I hadn’t a clue how to use it. As soon as he was wrapped up tight to me I loved it instantly, there was nothing like it. It was so comfortable and he loved it too and fell asleep very quickly! After a couple of goes of having my baby wrapped to me, I tried it myself and never looked back!

Kathy: When did you become a babywearing advocate and how do you promote wearing in your community?

Ciarán: After my first time wrapping by myself, I posted a picture to a babywearing Facebook group I am in, probably my first post in that group. The response was huge, hundreds of likes and loads of comments. It was brought to my attention that there are very few proud daddy babywearers in Ireland, especially when it comes to wraps. I then went to my local sling meet and there were two other dads there. One, the husband of the organizer, does babywear; the other was a guy who refused point blank to even try it. I thought after that I would set up a Facebook page and show other dads the benefits, that it can be manly, and that there is nothing wrong with wearing your baby. I have since had some lovely messages from prospective dads who want to know more about babywearing, and from wives/partners thanking me because their babies’ dad is babywearing because of my page. I love hearing those stories and it’s great to know that I have gotten some dads to try it.

Ciaran 3Kathy: As an advocate for babywearing, what message would you share with other male caregivers?

 If you have never tried babywearing, just give it a go. Even if only at home, even if all you have available is the most colourful wrap in the world and your partner has to wrap your baby to you. You will not regret it. The bonding that you get from it cannot be replaced and cannot describe the overwhelming feeling of love that you get when your baby cuddles into you and goes to sleep.

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Dan Gilbert, is a babywearing uncle-extraordinaire who is a Virginia law enforcement officer, actively involved with The Carrying On Project, and pursing babywearing educator certification. Dan is the brother of Master Babywearing Educator Kit Jenkins.

Dan and niece

Dan and niece

Kathy: Who do you wear?

Dan: Typically, my nieces. But I have been known to steal other people’s children from time to time.

Kathy: What does babywearing mean to you?

Dan: Babywearing is something that helps you develop a sense of loving, protective closeness with a child that isn’t otherwise possible. When I was growing up, we moved a lot. So I understand how important a sense of stability and security can be for a small child.

Kathy:  How did you find babywearing and start your babywearing journey?

Dan: It started because I saw Kit and her husband Tim doing it. Then when Kit was on bed rest after having my niece Piper, it was something I could do to be helpful, so I picked up the ErgoSport and started doing it. Being forcefully assimilated by “The Carrying On Project” and getting spirited away to conferences came later. My sister is kind of a “get on the bus or get out of the way” type, so I hopped on board!

Kathy: When did you become a babywearing advocate and how do you promote wearing in your community?

Dan: Like I mentioned, when the proverbial babywearing-advocacy bus came for our family, I elected to hop aboard and not get run over. Once we started, it became a lifestyle. Now, I don’t understand how people have enough hands to raise kids without it. Wherever the kids go, at least one wrap or carrier comes with. I (an unmarried man with no children) even have my own carrier. It’s so handy that, like I said, I feel like child-rearing would be heinously difficult without it. I try to promote babywearing as a way of life to anyone that doesn’t know about it. I’m getting to the age where a lot of my friends are starting to have children (my lifestyle is a little too high-speed just yet ) and so when pregnancy announcements are made, I essentially pounce on them and tell them to try it in order to increase cuddling hormones, strengthen their bond with their children, make their lives easier…etc. I’d call it aggressive marketing.

Dan 2

Kathy: As an advocate for babywearing, what message would you share with other male caregivers?

Dan: Don’t shy away from it! It’s not feminine or weird or anything like that! It’s totally cool! (And if you’re single like I am, and women see you wearing a child, they think it’s all sexy and paternal and stuff… I digress) In a time where men are more and more often stepping up as primary caregivers for children, we need to embrace babywearing as a tool to bring us closer to the children in our lives. And there are some pretty bad-ass masculine looking carriers out there, fellas…

Cheers to all the male caregivers out there –especially the ones who wear! If you haven’t tried wearing yet, today is a good day to give it a try! Thanks to Doyin, Danny, Ciarán, and Dan for sharing with us today. 

 

A special shout-out to my own babywearing husband. Thank you for your all that you do to care for our family and for keeping our babies close to your heart. Happy Father’s Day! – Kathyjbl3

jbl

15 Jun

No Baby? No Problem! How to make your own inexpensive weighted doll for babywearing education.

Weighted dolls are fantastic teaching tools for babywearing educators, even those who have ready access to a baby of their own. Dolls never object to extended practice sessions, don’t take naps, pull hair, pop their seats, or need to be bribed to go up – plus, they’re much better at showing newborn positioning than a 25-pound toddler!

Professional demonstration dolls are available from companies like Touch Needs as well as occasionally through retailers or training institutes. These dolls are weighted and shaped to mimic real babies to help facilitate learning and teaching. But at more than $100 each, they just are not in the budget for many educators and babywearing groups, especially those that are are just getting started.

The good news is that it is fast and easy to make a DIY demo doll using readily available supplies – all for as little as $20!  Buying supplies in bulk brings down the cost, so this is a great group activity for all the educators or trainees in a chapter/group.

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08 Jun

Babywearing Saved Me: Keeping Me Grounded

wedding

At our legal wedding

Today’s story and photos come from Cynthia Bachhuber, VBE with BWI of Madison:

Pre-baby, I saw parents walking around town with babies strapped to them. They looked so cool, so with it, like they had this whole parenting thing down pat. I was hooked even before we were pregnant. Fast forward about 36 weeks and 6 days. My wife is heavily pregnant. We’re settling in for a cozy evening at home, when – splat!

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01 Jun

Warm Weather Wearing Tips

1012861_10151961517707187_1908945026_nGrowing up in Chicago, the month of June always meant that summer was officially in full swing. Ahhhh – summertime! Picnics, swimming, festivals, and s’mores! What’s not to love?

As the temps start to rise and we embark on these adventures, the question of how to stay cool becomes a leading topic of discussion. This is even more true for babywearers, as we want to keep not just ourselves cool, but also our babies.

BWI has you covered! Below are links to blogs containing tips for warm weather babywearing from several of our chapters!


Summer Babywearing Articles:10408986_10100253597146547_7190288684675489293_n

BWI of Southern Maryland
BWI of Hampton Roads
BWI of Hampton Roads Water Wearing
BWI Bay Area
BWI of Grand Rapids
BWI of Phoenix
BWI of Greater Austin
BWI of Greater Austin Water Wearing
BWI of Chicagoland
BWI of Knoxville
BWI of Boston

Have Fun!
Whether heading to a picnic, going for a hike, or relaxing at the beach, don’t let the heat keep you and your family from the joys of summer adventures!

26 May

Chapter Highlight – BWI of Tallahassee

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In our Chapter Highlight series this month, we want to recognize one of our newer chapters, BWI of Tallahassee, which is less than one year old. 

The chapter began as Tallahassee Babywearers, which was founded by Rebecca Lewis. Rebecca, who is now a VBE with BWI of Columbia, was passionate about babywearing and wanted to share her love of babywearing with others. When Rebecca moved to Columbia, South Carolina, Stephanie Lynn and Ashley Anderson stepped up to keep the group going. They guided the group through the BWI affiliation process so they could utilize all the resources that BWI offers. In August 2014, the group became BWI of Tallahassee.

BWI of Tallahassee serves an area in the panhandle of Florida, comprised of Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties. The main cities they serve are Tallahassee, Crawfordville, Quincy and Monticello. Stephanie Lynn is the President. She discovered babywearing when her son was about two months old and has been wearing her younger children since birth. Ashley, who is the Treasurer and Secretary, has been wearing her son since his birth, over two years ago.

As of now, the chapter regularly meets on the third Saturday each month. They hope to add a second meeting soon and are actively recruiting volunteers to make it happen! BWI of Tallahassee has volunteered at various outreach events and starting in July, they will attend brea10672174_714963621905228_1976127290717696400_nstfeeding meetings at both of the major local hospitals, with the goal of getting safe babywearing info into new parent packets.

Next month, they will have a mini photo shoot fundraiser, so they can buy more carriers for their library. Currently, the most popular ones are the Ergo and the Beco Soleil.

Want to know more about BWI of Tallahassee? You can find them on Facebook!

 

18 May

Babywearing Saved Me: Wardrobe Malfunctions

susan

Sometimes babywearing enhances your wardrobe because you have the perfect wrap to match your dress, shoes, and handbag. Sometimes babywearing enhances your wardrobe because a cute baby goes with and makes up for everything – even two-days-unshowered yoga pants and nursing tank chic. And sometimes babywearing enhances your wardrobe because you (or your child) wouldn’t be properly dressed AT ALL without that carrier. Today’s stories are about those days, when a baby carrier is a nursing cover, a top, a pair of pants and a handy child-porting device, all in one:

Katy Turnbull (a VBE with BWI of Rock-West) gave us this story:

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11 May

Teaching Tips for a SSC Hip Carry

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As babywearing educators, we are occasionally pushed outside our own babywearing comfort zone while teaching. For some, the hip carry in a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) is just that. This carry is great for those who are not quite ready for a back carry, but who are looking for something more than just a front carry. It is also an excellent option to allow a baby to look out and around if you do not have a carrier designed for facing forward. I personally have found this carry to be wonderful at zoos and botanical gardens!

Get to know your SSCs
Not all SSCs can do a hip carry, and not all of the remaining SSCs do a hip carry the same

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04 May

BabyBjörn

Baby Bjorn

BabyBjörn is a well known name in the babywearing community. BabyBjörn has worked with Babywearing International over the last few years and has helped to support our mission to make babywearing a universally accepted practice. Join us for an interview with Bridgette Kovacevich, the marketing manager for BabySwede LLC and Cathy Dean, Vice President of Programs and Development for the BWI Board of Directors.

Cathy Dean: Tell us a little bit about yourself and about the history and mission of BabyBjörn.

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