What is IBC anyway? by Anne Margush/BWI of Bay Area

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The International Babywearing Conference 2018 is taking place in Des Moines from 19022 July. If you’re thinking of going but not sure what IBC is all about, read all about BWI of Bay Area’s volunteer Anne Margush as she shares her experience attending IBC 2016. Thank you Anne for sharing your experience with us. 

 

What is IBC anyway? by Anne Margush/BWI of Bay Area

When I told people that I was headed to the International Babywearing Conference July 14th – 18th in Atlanta, the most frequent reaction was, “…the what? They have a conference for that? What would you even do?” I’d never been before, so I didn’t have a great answer for them. What DO you do at a babywearing conference? Luckily for all of you, several of your friendly VBE’s (Volunteer Babywearing Educators) attended this year and over the next couple weeks we will be sharing more in-depth some of the things we learned.

Image shows two white presenting women wearing blonde-haired babies in blue wraps being helped by a black haired bespectacled woman wearing their baby on their back in a rainbow colored black weft wrap. They are at a registration desk at IBC 2016.

So what do you do at a babywearing conference? Turns out you do a lot! The days were packed with great sessions geared toward a wide audience. There were classes specifically for educators, enthusiasts, and medical professionals, on everything from Social Justice, kangaroo care, carrier geekery, teaching tips, history of babywearing, traditional carriers, and more! There were multiple sessions going on at once which made choosing which to attend really difficult.

 

Some of the sweet gifts we got in our swag bag as conference attendant! Image shows a white water bottle, a pink tape measure and multiple brochures from babywearing manufacturers on a floral background.

 

When we weren’t going to sessions, we spent a lot of time talking about each other’s sessions and just bonding as a team. That part was really important, especially to me as both a newer VBE and new to the Bay Area. I got an opportunity to really get to know some of my fellow educators that I haven’t been able to spend much time with. I learned a lot just by talking with them and sharing experiences.

There was also an amazing vendor hall, including some locals! It was so fun to browse carriers, accessories, and talk with many of the manufacturers themselves. There were some cool exclusive releases and a lot of great deals (maybe popping up in a Library near you!). It was a great opportunity to try out some carriers that we don’t see much, or that are brand new, partially in the interests of being able to answer questions as they come up but also just because we love to try new things!

Image shows a dark purple-haired light skinned woman wearing a black and white XOXO carrier, which is a hybrid carrier with a demo doll on her back.

 

In addition to the vendor hall, BWI and many of the brands hosted shindigs that went from pretty informal meetups to full-blown cocktail parties. There were giveaways and contests and a lot of getting to meet internet friends in real life!

BWI of Bay Area volunteers Jay, Anna, Laura, Martha, and Gena at the BWI reception. Check out the sweet water bottles that we got in our swag bag! Image shows from left a white woman with sunglasses on her head and her right hand covering her lips, a bespectacled white woman with pink purple hair, a white woman wearing a gray shirt, a white woman with a black Star Wars shirt and a gray beanie, and a white woman with a big smile on her face – they are all smiling at the camera.

 

It was great to see how much thought Babywearing International and the Conference Committee put into pulling together such a big conference. There were 700+ people registered, and that’s not counting kids and caregivers that came along but weren’t necessarily attending the conference! There was childcare available, a nursing/pumping room, and approximately 540 ounces of breastmilk donated to local organizations. Even things like including a water bottle in the (very sturdy) swag bag showed a lot of care and consideration.

It was such a great opportunity to learn, browse, and build community – both local and far away! I got home exhausted, but also full of new ideas on how to better reach communities here, new teaching tools, and only one new wrap! I consider it a great success and look forward to seeing what’s planned for the next International Babywearing Conference in 2018!

(If you want to know more about the sessions/sponsors/vendors for IBC 2018, check out the website!

Editor’s note: This story was first posted on the BWI of Bay Area website. Thank you Anne Margush for sharing your experience.

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