Sunday, October 14, 2012

International Babywearing Week 2012 Wrap-Up

International Babywearing Week 2012 is coming to an end and BWI of CNY had a blast celebrating!  Here's a summary of the week's events:

All week long, babywearers submitted their pictures for a photo contest on Facebook for a chance to win a brand-new Ergobaby Carrier.  Our grand-prize winner is Tina Crowley, for her stunning collage which featured photos of herself, her husband, and her daughter all babywearing.

Honorable mentions went to Matt Gortner for best babywearing dad picture, Bryn Lovejoy-Grinnell for best tandem-wearing picture, and Stephanie Arnold for best child "baby"wearing picture.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

As for in-person events, we started out on Monday, October 8th, with a trip to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park.

Next, on Wednesday October 10th, we hosted a fundraiser at Moe's Southwest Grill.  Babywearers and friends enjoyed some delicious food throughout the day, and a  group of us met for dinner.  We are incredibly thankful to Moe's for their donation of more than $50!!

On Friday, October 12th, a group of us gathered at Destiny USA/Carousel Center for a babywearing mallwalk (with some shopping stops!)

And lastly, our grand finale was a social and fashion show held at Basic Baby on Saturday, October 13th.  Our members and guests took to the mall's hallway to strut our stuff and show off our little ones!

Thanks to everyone who joined us in celebrating International Babywearing Week 2012!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More Goodies!

We received another package of donations for International Babywearing Week!  This one contained some great additions to our ring sling collection:

A Sakura Bloom single-layer linen ring sling in lavender, which features a simple gathered shoulder (see post on ring sling shoulder styles):

(stock photo from

A Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) 100% cotton ring sling in red, size Large, which features the signature SBP pleated shoulder:

(Google image shown, not our exact sling)

Thank you to Sakura Bloom and Sleeping Baby Productions for you generous donations!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working and Wearing: How Babywearing Makes Parenting Complete

by Kristin Russell-Miller
Volunteer Babywearing Educator

I wasn't quite sure how I was going to manage working full time, mothering, being a partner in my relationship and handling all of life... I figured it would come to me and I'd just work it out.  Luckily, I had some great mama role models in my family. In particular, a cousin who was also a newer mom and we discovered that we had a lot of parenting ideas in common.

I had this beautiful baby, absolutely amazing... I decided I was going to breastfeed her and had planned to stay home from work for three months so that we could establish a good nursing relationship and bond before I had to return.  The first few days in the hospital went really well, we nursed a lot and slept when we could.  And then it came time to go home.  My brand new beautiful baby did amazingly well until we got to the car and then it was all over!  She screamed the entire way home in the car, it was so sad.  When we got home, and she was held again she calmed right down.  Imagine that, just holding her soothed her.  We found that holding her close kept her happy and safe and limited the amount of time she spent crying and upset. 

A couple of days later my first baby carrier came to me in the mail, lent by my wonderful cousin!  A Sleepy Wrap... thank the heavens it came.  I was ready to start moving around, doing some things around the house and even maybe walking our two dogs, the original "babies" in our home.  The wrap was amazing, it made all the difference in the world!  I was able to nearly constantly hold my baby and even nurse her at times.  That was the gateway...

Over the next few months I dove right into the world of babywearing!  I joined and discovered a world of mamas who had answers to my babywearing questions, support for nursing, support for working moms, for pumping and all of the things that I was about to encounter.  Before my daughter turned 6 months, I had tried Mei Tais, Soft Structured Carriers, Wraps, Pouches and Slings.  It was wonderful to be so close to her and to know that even after I needed to return to work, that I was going to be able to spend the time I did have at home with her so close.  And now that I look back I know that helped us stay bonded and close.  It also helped keep my milk supply up, despite being away from her for nearly 10 hours a day.  That time together was wonderful.  I was able to return to many of my duties at home, walking dogs, doing dishes and still be close to my baby.

Not only was I so close to her, but I became closer to my cousin since we had this wonderful thing in common!  I also met a wonderful group of mothers in the CNY area, who eventually became my mama support group and then turned into BWI of CNY!  What a wonderful group of women.  To know that no matter where we come from that we all have this beautiful thing in common.  Parenting and being able to be close to our babies in such a natural way.  If you think of it... babywearing while working was necessary for women to be able to care for babies, while working to gather food for their families.  I was proud to be a part of this centuries-old tradition.

My daughter is now 28 months old (a little over 2) and though she is walking now and getting around well on her own, I still wear her when I can.  It makes grocery shopping easier, apple picking this fall, and when we are out and she's tired and it's time for a nap... guess where you can find her?  At outdoor events and in busy parks this summer, I saw parents struggling to push strollers around through the overwhelming crowds.... my baby is close and safe on my back.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


by Melissa Lefkowicz-Lacirignola
Volunteer Babywearing Educator

Weaving Process Overview

The weaving process starts at the mill.  Woven wraps can be hand-woven on a loom, as well as woven by more complex machines.  Either way, the basics are the same. 

Woven wraps consist of threads that run the length of the wrap (the warp), and threads that are woven in and out of the warp threads (widthwise – or the weft) to create the simple piece of cloth or fabric.  That fabric or cloth is then cut into specific lengths and then becomes the woven wraps that we use to snuggle our little ones while babywearing. 

The overall look and characteristics of the fabric depends on how the weft threads are woven through the warp threads.  Warp threads are loaded into a machine or a loom, and then weft threads pass over and under to create the weave.  The weave can be tightly woven, creating a denser feel for the resulting product.  Alternatively, using less weft threads per inch will result in a more airy feeling product.  The appearance of a wrap can range from simple solid-color cross-twills (over one thread under the next in alternating rows) to complex jacquard patterns. 

There are knit or jersey wraps that are designed to stretch in all directions, but woven wraps differ in that they do not stretch lengthwise or widthwise, but have more of a diagonal stretch.  That allows it to still wrap snuggly and securely, while remaining supportive and strong. 

Coming next… fibers, blends, and brands!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ring Sling Shoulder Styles

While all ring slings generally function the same way, one of the biggest differences among brands is the “shoulder style”, or the way the fabric of the sling is sewn to the rings.  Shoulder style is a personal preference of the wearer; some wearers like and use all shoulder styles while others prefer one over the others.  Here’s an overview of what’s out there:


Simply gathered shoulders mean just that, the fabric is simply gathered where it is sewn to the rings, with no folds or pleats.  Gathered shoulder slings offer the most customizable fit; the wearer can spread or bunch the fabric as much as he/she wants to achieve the most comfortable position.  Brands that use a gathered shoulder include Sakura Bloom and Zanytoes, both of which we have in our lending library.

Sakura Bloom


Fully pleated shoulders are at the other end of the spectrum from gathered shoulders.  The fabric is sewn to the rings with a series of (often overlapping) pleats, creating a fixed width at the shoulder.  This means the wearer does not need to adjust the shoulder at all, which can make wearing a sling faster and easier.  Brands that use a pleated shoulder include Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) and Snuggy Baby, both of which we have in our lending library.

Sleeping Baby Productions

Snuggy Baby

Gathered + Pleats

Some shoulder styles attempt to offer the best of both worlds by being partially pleated, and the rest simply gathered.  This allows for some adjustment, but a little more ease of use than a simply gathered shoulder.  Brands that use this combination shoulder style include Kalea Baby, which we have in our lending library, Eesti, and Comfy Joey, which uses hidden pleats.

Kalea Baby

Eesti (sewn by SBP)

Comfy Joey

Lightly Padded (Maya Wrap)

The Lightly Padded Maya Wrap is in a category of its own.  The shoulder features a lightly padded, fixed-width rectangle of fabric, which is sewn to the body of the sling.  The padding adds a cushy feeling at the shoulder and the fixed-width makes this sling very easy to use and, like a pleated sling, beginner-friendly.  We have two lightly padded Maya Wraps in our lending library.

Lightly Padded Maya Wrap

Folded Shoulder

Some slings, like the original Maya Wrap and P-Sling, have a “folded shoulder” which means that the fabric is folded like an accordion at the shoulder.  In the original Maya Wrap, the top layer of the fold is not sewn down, so that the wearer can fold this layer over to cap his/her shoulder.  This makes the top rail (edge) of the shoulder become the bottom edge of the pouch of the sling.  The P-Sling is made from very wide fabric that is accordion-folded to create a very narrow shoulder.  This is unique from other slings because it is designed to sit on top of the wearer’s shoulder, rather than cupping the shoulder like most slings.  P-Sling devotees find this very comfortable if they can find the “sweet spot” to place the shoulder, because it offers more freedom of movement than a sling that cups the shoulder.

original Maya Wrap


Some ring sling users fall in love with the first shoulder style they try, and others try a few different styles before they find their favorite.  We're pleased to offer a few different styles in our lending library so our members can try them on and get a feel for what's out there!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Babywearing as a Nanny

by Stephanie Patrick-Adams
Volunteer Babywearing Educator

One of the greatest benefits of babywearing is the bond you create with your child. We all know that the comfort, safety, closeness and warmth that a child feels when being worn close to its mother or father instills a great bond. This is something I know that I've benefited from with my own daughter. Long before being a mother I have been a nanny. A nanny who wears the children I watch! I've cared for children as early as infancy through grade school years and I'd like to share with you my experiences from this angle. I believe many of these same benefits can be had by not only a parent who babywears, but a nanny who babywears, a grandparent who babywears, an aunt or uncle who babywears, etc.  

One of the most difficult situations a nanny can be in is when a child becomes resentful of you because he begins to notice that when you come around, mom and dad leave, and he doesn't like that. I can tell you that I rarely run into a situation where a child is crying or stressed that his parents are gone. I believe since I maintain that bond of comfort and trust by wearing a child, it makes the whole experience better for everyone. The child is not crying and stressed, the parent can be confident that their child is happy and comfortable, and the nanny doesn't have a screaming child all day! The child is comfortable and close to me, and I can do dishes, pick up toys, and serve older brothers and sisters by making meals or going on walks or visiting the library or hanging at the park. Usually, this even results in the baby falling asleep! Double bonus! Now I have gotten all my responsibilities done, entertained the older children, and the motion of babywearing has lulled the child to sleep! Time to sit down for a bite while the child takes his nap. Even nannies need a few minutes in the day to relax! However we all know that trying to sit with a baby while they take their nap is dangerous. As soon as you're both comfortable, an older kid needs a hand. Or the phone rings. Or nature calls. This is doubly dangerous for a nanny! It is very important that I be able to jump and attend to whatever may come up, but if I'm wearing the baby while he is napping, he stays napping! Everyone benefits.  

There are also other benefits I have seen from my experience as a babywearing nanny. One is when a child learns to crawl or even early at walking. They want to get into everything, and sometimes the best way to get them out of trouble it to wear them. Everyone wins:  they aren't getting into danger and you can get a few things done.  On a completely different note, when you're wearing a child, whether or not it's your own, odds are you are talking to the child. In my case, nonstop. Sometimes it's even inadvertently, but that child is hearing you speak all day. He or she is in on your conversations and interactions, and I am convinced that it helps a child to communicate and understand language at an earlier age simply because of how exposed they are to communication. I have noticed this with children I nannied for, and also with my own daughter.  Being a babywearing nanny has actually also helped me be a better mother to my own daughter. She comes with me to work, and many times the child in the carrier is actually her. She still has to take her naps, and I can't count how many naps she's taken in a carrier at the zoo or at the park while older kids I was watching were enjoying their day. I am blessed to be able to bring her with me, but I can't shortchange the children I am being entrusted with and being paid to care for. Babywearing has helped me here very much.

As you can see, a nanny, grandparent, babysitter, aunt, or any person caring for a child that is not your own can have many of the same babywearing benefits as a parent!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Donations for International Babywearing Week

New Goodies!

We received a big box of donations for our lending library in honor of International Babywearing Week!   Here's a peek at what we received (images do not necessarily represent the colors/patterns we received)...

A gift certificate for an Olives and Applesauce soft structured carrier:

A Catbird Baby mei tai:

A Wrapsody Water Wrap:

A Snuggy Baby ring sling:

And a Britax carrier with seat extender:

HUGE thanks to the above companies for their generous donations!  We know our members will greatly benefit from these additions to our library.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Babywearing Dads

Babywearing Dads

In honor of Fathers' Day, our June meeting topic was Babywearing Dads, in which we highlighted daddy-favorites and explained pros and cons specific to dads for each carrier style.  Because I'm not a dad myself, I collected information from babywearing men I know personally, the experiences of other educators I consulted, and the dads who showed up for our meeting!

Pouch Slings

A simple tube of fabric, a pouch sling is very simple and sleek-looking, which can be appealing to male babywearers.  A downside is that because pouches are sized to the wearer, they often cannot be shared between both parents/caregivers and if it is not the right size for the wearer, it can be difficult to achieve a good fit.  

This dad at our meeting rocked his pouch sling!

Ring Slings

One educator I consulted often recommends ring slings for dads with tiny babies, specifically because there are just a few important things to check to ensure the baby is safe and secure.  For the same reasons they're great for moms, they're also great for dads!  And, because ring slings are easily adjustable, they can be shared between multiple wearers; the smaller wearer will just have a longer tail.  Celebrity babywearing dad Brad Pitt has had his picture snapped using a ring sling (a stylish and manly solid black PSling)!

Mei Tais

A rectangle of fabric with straps coming out of each corner, these are a popular Daddy option because they are easy to learn and use and offer a bit more of a customized fit than the similar soft-structured-carrier (see next section).  Some widely available brands offer fun patterns like skulls, camouflage, tattoo, and flames that are big hits with babywearing men!

Soft Structured Carriers

Soft structured carriers are definitely a favorite among dads.  An SSC is similar to a mei tai except the straps buckle instead of tying, and often SSC's have a structured waist belt which helps transfer weight to the wearer's hips.  Most men find soft structured carriers to be aesthetically appealing and easy to learn and use. Some men feel that many SSC's are designed with a woman's smaller frame in mind, but other men have discovered brands that fit them very comfortably.

Here's a proud babywearing dad wearing his new baby in an SSC (we used a few folded-up receiving blankets to bring her up higher):


Stretchy wraps are great for dads with tiny babies for all the same reasons they're great for moms - plus they can easily be shared between multiple caregivers.  Widely available in simple solids, they can be a simple-looking option as well.  Woven wraps are great for babies of all ages and offer complete adjustability so they can also be shared between multiple caregivers, though each wearer might not be able to do the same carries, depending on the length/size chosen.  Woven wraps are commercially available in lengths up to 5-6 meters - enough length for even the biggest daddies! - and in a seemingly limitless variety of colors and patterns so there's a wrap to suit any man's taste.  An educator I spoke with reported that her husband is a big fan of the Front Wrap Cross Carry in a wrap because he finds it the magic answer for having the child take a long, long nap while mommy is unavailable.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Just a reminder that our meeting tomorrow will be moved from Basic Baby to the Great Cloth Diaper Change location in Shoppingtown Mall, in the old DeWitt Library space near Sears.  We'll meet from 10:00-11:30AM, instead of our regular noon.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Woven Wrap Sizing

We had some questions at our meeting yesterday about sizing for woven wraps, so I figured it would be a great topic for a blog entry!  In choosing a size for a woven wrap, it's important to consider the wearer's body size, the baby's age/size, and for which carries you'd like to use the wrap.  Generally, wraps are broken down into three size categories:  "long" or "base size", "mid-length", and "shorties".  Below is a general guideline of what lengths fit into which categories, and for what carries you'd use each length:

Long or Base Size Wraps

Average size wearer:  Size 6 (4.6-4.7m)
Smaller than average:  Size 5 (4.1-4.2m)
Larger than average:  Size 7 (5.2m)

Popular carries with a long wrap:

Front Carries

  • Front Wrap Cross Carrry
  • Front Cross Carry (some wearers can do FCC with one size down)

Back Carries

  • Double Hammock
  • Secured High Back Carry (some wearers can do SHBC with one size down)
  • Rucksack with Tibetan Finish (some can do with one size down)
  • Double Rebozo with Shoulder to Shoulder Chestbelt (DRS2S)

Mid-Length Wraps

Average size wearer:  Size 4 (3.6-3.7m)
Smaller than average:  Size 3 (3.2m)
Larger than average:  Size 5 (4.1-4.2m)

Popular carries with a mid-length wrap:

Front Carries
  • Kangaroo
  • Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum
  • Short Cross Carry
Hip Carries
  • Robin's Hip Carry
  • Coolest Hip Cross Carry
Back Carries
  • Rucksack
  • Jordan's Back Carry and variations

Short Wraps ("shorties")

Average size wearer:  Size 2 (2.6-2.8m)
Smaller than average:  Size 1 (2.2-2.4m)
Larger than average:  Size 3 (3.2m)

Popular carries with a shorty:

Front Carries
  • Rebozo
Hip Carries
  • Rebozo
  • Hip Cross Carry (some users can do HCC with a shorty, some need one size up)
Back Carries
  • Rucksack Tied Under Bum
  • Rucksack Tied At Shoulder and variations including Knotless Ruck and Reinforced Rear Rebozo Ruck
  • Double Rebozo

This list of course does not include all the carries you can do with each size.  If you're having trouble getting a carry to work with the length wrap that you have, please contact us and we'll help you find a carry that will work for you.  Also, many carries can be modified to work with a shorter or longer wrap.  For example, a rucksack uses a mid-length wrap, but you can do it with a shorty and tie under your baby's bottom instead of in front, or with a long wrap, you can use up the extra length by tying Tibetan or by bringing the tails around back to tie under your baby's bottom.  Most mid-length hip carries can be modified for a long wrap by just bringing the tails to your opposite hip to tie off.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Babywear?

Benefits of Babywearing -  excerpt from

Medical professionals agree that infants thrive through touch; “wearing” your baby is another way to meet this need. But the benefits of babywearing don’t end there … babywearing offers many other advantages, some of which include:

Happy Babies. It’s true … carried babies cry less! In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. (1)

Healthy Babies. Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes—walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. (2)

Confident Parents. A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our babies’ cues successfully. Holding our babies close in a sling allows us to become finely attuned to their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction deepens the mutual attachment between parent and child, and is especially beneficial for mothers who are at risk for or suffering from postpartum depression. (3) (4)

Loving Caregivers. Baby carriers are a great bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, adoptive parents, babysitters, and other caregivers. Imagine a new father going for a walk with his baby in a sling. The baby isbecoming used to his voice, heartbeat, movements, and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Baby carriers are beneficial for every adult in a baby’s life. Cuddling up close in the sling is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!

•Comfort and Convenience. With the help of a good carrier, you can take care of older children or do chores without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant—which helps to reduce sibling rivalry. Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save those arms and go where strollers can’t. Climbing stairs, hiking, and navigating crowded airports all can be done with ease when you use a well-designed baby carrier!

1 - Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648
2 - “Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for pre-term infants”. J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26.
3 - Pelaez-Nogueras M, Field TM, Hossain Z, Pickens J. (1996). Depressed mothers’ touching increases infants’ positive affect and attention in still-face interactions. Child Development, 67, 1780-92.
4 - Tessier R, M Cristo, S Velez, M Giron, JG Ruiz-Palaez, Y Charpak and N Charpak. (1998) Kangaroo mother care and the bonding hypothesis. Pediatrics 102:e17.