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.

01 Sep

Babywearing Adventures : At the Zoo

This week, I took a 4 week old and a 3 year old to the zoo…with no stroller! The National Zoo in Washington, DC is part of the Smithsonian Museums, and is a great zoo that’s actually free to get into. (It still always strikes me as funny to see people going for their morning jog through the zoo when we go!) It’s a pretty large and spread out zoo, and the whole thing goes up (or down, depending on how you come in) a gentle slope.
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We decided to do the trip stroller-free. We only own one stroller that we never use, and we would have had to use the carseat/travel system setup to use it with the 4 week old. Not ideal in our current hot weather. While we could have rented a stroller for around $10 at the zoo, we opted not to.

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I packed a ring sling and a Boba Air (I have big 4 week old!) to use with the baby and it worked great! I wore the ring sling in the morning and switched to the Boba after a couple hours.The 3yo was free to run from exhibit to exhibit and we didn’t have to worry about pushing around a heavy load. We packed light in one shoulder bag (still room for diapers, drinks, light snacks, sunscreen etc) and my husband carried that while I carried the baby.

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Last year, pre-baby, we took a zoo trip with our then-2-year-old and used a SSC with her. She walked in the morning, then after lunch I put her up on my back to go through the rest of the exhibits and gave her a rest.

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Here are some benefits to babywearing at the zoo:

  • Crowds! Babywearing allows for easier navigation in crowds, and also makes many babies feel more secure in strange places with strange animals.
  • Many of the buildings/indoor exhibits do not allow strollers. This means that you have to haul anything you have stored in the stroller inside, leave someone outside with the stroller, or trust that nobody will take it! Also means that any stroller-sleeping members of your group will have to be woken up or someone will need to wait outside with them.
  • Easier to feed an infant. Whether bottle or breastfeeding, you don’t have to stop and unhook a small infant to feed them. You can just bottle feed or nurse directly in the carrier wherever you are!
  • Gets kids at your height. I would have loved to wear my 3yo in an SSC this year, but wasn’t quite feeling up to it with a newborn as well, and my husband didn’t want to babywear. This reminded me of the benefit of getting kids at your eye level. Though zoos do their best to make things visible to tiny eyes, often fences, foliage, or signage is lower down and blocking their field of view. Lots of times we had to lift her up in order to see what we were seeing. Babywearing gets them at your eye level so you don’t have to do that!
  • Toddlers walk SLOW. And don’t pay attention to where they are going. And complain a lot. Another reason I missed wearing my 3yo this year! We were constantly having to ask her to keep up or tell her to pay attention and look forward when she was walking so she didn’t walk directly into someone or something. By popping kiddo up on your back, you speed your trip up and decrease the nagging and whining percentages significantly!

11885311_10103966654314808_2337834986197114312_nWhile there, we also saw lots people with baby carriers and a stroller…which might be best of both worlds! So that’s another option that may work for you.

17 Aug

Babywearing Research – Part 3: The Future of Babywearing Research

Future-of-Babywearing-ResearchToday’s post is the third of three posts on Babywearing Research from Steffany Kerr, a Master Babywearing Educator with Babywearing International of O’ahu. Steffany has a research focus of examining babywearing instruction methods with high risk populations and babywearing instruction as a social welfare intervention.

 

In the first two parts of this three part series, I outlined common misconceptions about babywearing specific research and provided a short analysis on the benefits and limitations of the research currently available to our industry. Now, in Part 3 of this series, I will discuss current efforts within the babywearing industry to increase information availability and create a foundation of babywearing specific research. This article will not touch on all babywearing research endeavors, but will highlight a few collective measures.

Read More

10 Aug

Chapter Highlight – BWI of Greenville North Carolina

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Babywearing International recently welcomed BWI of Greenville, North Carolina into the fold. Although they are called BWI of Greenville, they serve most of eastern North Carolina, which is largely populated by military families. Prior to their affiliation in June, they were known as Eastern NC Babywearers, started by Jackie Ramberg, a military wife and mom of three. Last year, Jackie asked Jennie Sanderson to help with the group. They’d been wanting to pursue affiliation for some time but didn’t have extra help to do so. Their group had grown very fast in the past few months, however, and they decided it was time. They added a few extra volunteers and went for it. Read More

03 Aug

Babywearing Research – Part 2: Relevant Research

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Today’s post is the second of three posts on Babywearing Research from Steffany Kerr, a Master Babywearing Educator with Babywearing International of O’ahu. Steffany has a research focus of examining babywearing instruction methods with high risk populations and babywearing instruction as a social welfare intervention.

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed some common misconceptions about babywearing research and touched briefly on some of the resources that are currently available. Now, I will go into more detail about relevant sources and the extent to which we can draw from research within related disciplines. This is NOT a thorough academic literature review; other professionals in the industry are currently undertaking that project. I will not provide an in depth and expansive analysis of all relevant studies on each topic, nor will I address every possible research question. My intentions with this piece are to highlight information from related studies that may be useful, while noting the limitations of non-babywearing specific research. Some of the topics discussed will elicit a contentious response as they are hot topics within the industry. I will not be making any assertions about best practices in this article. My hope is to equip babywearers and babywearing educators with the capacity to look at the available research through the lense of a researcher, to gain insight on what we have to build from, and to identify what gaps we need to address. Read More

27 Jul

Creating a Normal Life with Severe Food Allergies: Our Adventures in Toddler Wearing

This post is written by Marissa Jennings, an educator with Babywearing International of Central Iowa. You can read this piece in it’s original format on their blog. Thanks for allowing us to re-post.

When my son Eli was only twelve weeks old, we discovered that his digestive system could not handle any cow’s milk protein in my breast milk, so I eliminated all dairy from my diet. About six months later, we were still in the same place and even witnessed Eli break out in a rash all over his mouth after simply being kissed by someone who just drank milk. At that point, we knew we were dealing with something more serious and decided to schedule an appointment for testing with an allergist. At eleven months old, Eli was diagnosed with anaphylactic allergies to milk, peanuts, and eggs (recently, we also added garlic to the list). Read More

20 Jul

Babywearing Research – Part I: Common Misunderstandings

Babywearing Research: Part 1, Common MisunderstandingsToday’s post comes from Steffany Kerr, a Master Babywearing Educator with Babywearing International of O’ahu. Steffany has a research focus of examining babywearing instruction methods with high risk populations and babywearing instruction as a social welfare intervention.

 

 

As a babywearing educator, I often encounter misinformation or questions about research regarding the practice of babywearing. Many of these questions are centered around settling debates about best practices. During these debates, articles are cited without much thought as to whether the information presented is indeed relevant to the topic at hand, or whether the content is reliable, valid, and/or statistically significant enough to warrant conclusive recommendations. Additionally, there is often the assumption that more research is available than we truly have. Through my work as a babywearing educator focusing on increasing the quantity and quality of babywearing-specific, statistically relevant, peer reviewed studies, I spend a lot of time attempting to clear up misconceptions about research and what we can deduce from the information that is currently available. In this three part blog series, I will identify some common misconceptions, clarify what information is currently available, and illustrate what efforts the industry is taking to increase the amount of babywearing-specific research.

Read More

13 Jul

Educator to Educator – Robin’s Hip Carry Tips

11655539_10152887536082187_945271651_nOne of my absolute favorite parts of being an MBE and a Higher Accreditation Regional Director with Babywearing International is interacting with individuals from chapters around the entire nation. Along the way, I have learned so many new tips and tricks for different carries! Today I am going to share some of the tips and tricks I have picked up for teaching Robin’s Hip Carry.

Robin’s Hip Carry is one of the first hip carries most people learn. It is fairly easy, can be done with a long or short wrap, and is an easy transition into wrapping  for those who have experience with a ring sling. Read More

06 Jul

Customs – And We Don’t Mean Shipping!

At BWI, we are lucky to have close relationships with several companies that manufacture and sell baby carriers and it has been exciting to be involved in the creation of three custom carriers over the last year!

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Beco Toddler (New Horizons)

11698794_10153069045402881_4723060283554251755_nNew Horizons, the BWI custom Beco Toddler carrier, was designed to highlight the close relationship between Babywearing International, TheBabywearer.com, and Beco Baby Carrier. The textiles chosen for the carrier reflect both the TBW and BWI colors, as well as our mission: the dots on the leg padding symbolize the many members and babywearers supported by our community of educators and volunteers.

11141369_10152866058772187_331955433825757147_nThese special Beco Toddlers were only available to BWI Chapter Volunteers, TBW Moderators, and BWI Lending Libraries. We were excited to be among the first in the world to get to try out this exciting new carrier, which has quickly become a favorite “big kid” carrier for many of us!

 

Wrapsody Hybrid (Kailani) and Breeze (Laguna)

kailani3-forweb-310x370Our two custom Wrapsody wraps also feature the TBW and BWI logo colors in a beautiful graduated stripe design. Kailani (the Hybrid) and Laguna (the Breeze) were designed and named by BWI Chapter Volunteers and were distributed to chapters following IBW 2014. There are subtle differences in color shading and stripe width between the two wraps. The contrasting colored rails on each wrap make them excellent for teaching and learning.

Previously sold only to lending libraries, these wraps are now available for purchase to the general public too! Twenty-five percent of all sales will be donated to BWI and $10 of the purchase price of each wrap will come back to your local chapter if you put its name in the “seller notes” box at checkout (located below the shipping address). Wraps are expected to ship in October! This pre-order is only open until July 14th so make sure to tell your friends and reserve yours right now!

Order a Laguna Breeze Wrap

Order a Kailani Hybrid Wrap

A huge thank you to everyone who helped in the creation of these carriers – especially the wonderful folks at Wrapsody and Beco Baby Carrier.  We look forward to many more collaborations in the future!

 

29 Jun

Chapter Highlight – BWI of DC-MD-VA

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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.

Read More

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

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