Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So You're Going to the Beach... All the Sandy Details on Water Carriers

This time of year, we get lots and lots... and lots of questions about water slings and wraps.  So, we figured it was the perfect topic for a blog.  We combed through all the recent posts and have consolidated all of the down and dirty sandy details on water carriers.

First of all... what is a water wrap/sling? 

Basically they are light weight wraps or ring slings made from athletic mesh or a quick drying rip-stop type fabric.  They are designed to be used at the beach, pool,etc., and are very breathable.  They are however, not as supportive as most wraps.  Therefore we do not recommend them as an everyday carrier.  But when it comes to the beach or the pool, they can't be beat.

I would like to buy a water wrap/ring sling.  What are the best brands?

Basically any BCIA Compliant seller is fine.  If their website doesn't say if they are compliant, then just ask.  If they are, they will know what you are talking about.  If they don't know what you're talking about then they're mostly likely not.  We only recommend purchasing from BCIA Compliant sellers which means their wraps or slings have been through third-party safety testing.  Here are some of our favorites:

Wrapsody Sport and Water Wrap

Beachfront Baby Water Wrap

Bibbetts Water Ring Sling

Zanytoes Water Ring Sling

Comfy Joey Water Ring Sling

I would rather make my own.  Is that possible?

Definitely!  Here are some links that might help you!

Sleeping Baby Productions Mesh Ring Sling Tutorial

Babywearing DIY Advice and Support Facebook Group  (Jan Andrea Heirtzler of Sleeping Baby Productions is an admin in this group and they have amazing links and info in the files/documents section.)

Where can I find the material mentioned in the tutorials?

Athletic mesh is carried in most fabric stores such as JoAnn's, Hancocks and even some Walmarts.

Should I get a water wrap or sling?

This is simply user preference.  Some folks feel like wraps are easier with small babies and ring slings for older babies, but that is not a universal opinion.

How do I use my water wrap?

Here are a couple of great tutorials!  (FYI: Wrapping Rachel is totally rad.  Anything she posts is going to be a good, safe, quality video.)

Are there any specific safety concerns I should keep in mind when using my water wrap or sling?
Why yes there are!  What insightful questions you ask!  As with any carrier, you always want to keep baby visible and kissable.  This means baby should always be close enough for you to kiss and nothing should be covering their face.  You also want to make sure that baby has good back support and that you can always get one to two of your fingers under their chin between chin and chest.  Because of the material used, you may need to retighten more often with your water sling or wrap then you are used to.  Making sure that the carrier stays snug and supports baby's back is important. 
Additionally you want to keep a few common sense things in mind. (Although we all know that sleep deprivation can make common sense significantly less common.) 
1) Always keep baby on the front when going in the water.  No back carries as you want to be able to monitor baby closely. 
2) Don't wear while boating.  It may seem safer to wear baby while on a boat, but it's really not.  And baby should always have a life jacket on. 
3)  Even with a lightweight, breathable carrier watch for signs of dehydrations and make sure everyone is getting plenty of fluids (breastmilk or formula). 
4)  Make sure you are protecting baby's skin from the sun.  Don't forget that even if they are all wrapped up, their legs, arms or faces are still exposed to the sun. 
Water carriers are awesome and can make keeping up with an older child (or family members who act like children at the beach) much easier.  Use a quality carrier and keep these safety tips in mind and that beach trip will be as stress free as possible.  Unfortunately, a water sling can't make your crazy extended family easier to deal with.  That only comes with a Tula or Pavo. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Member Monday Feature: Vicki Felmet

I (Bonnie) knew Vicki's strap covers before I knew her name. In fact when she messaged the chapter's email about becoming a volunteer I wasn't even sure who she was. Then I found her on Facebook so I could add her to the volunteer group, and I was like, "OH! Hey!! You're the Boba with the Star Wars strap covers!! Of course I know you!" Since then Vicki and I have bonded over not only babywearing but our mutual love of sci-fi. I suspect that between the two of us, we have all the women's Star Wars shirts in existence and a good chunk of the men's too. Honestly, I think it's this inherent geekiness that makes her such an awesome volunteer. She knows what it's like to not quite fit in (like many of us), and she uses that to make people feel welcome and accepted for who they are.

Vicki has been a tireless volunteer for BWI Charlotte for almost a year now. She has come to meetings, greeting folks and help sign them up for membership and borrow carriers. She is always dependable and always willing to help however she can. Which is why not only is she our newest VBE (volunteer babywearing educator) but along with Stephanie, she is one of our two 2014 Volunteers of the Year. She sat down with us recently to tell us a little more about herself.

Name: Vicki Felmet

Tell us a little about your family.
We are a small family of 3, unless you count the animals then that number goes up to 9 (I'm a sucker for anything with four legs). I live in Rock Hill, SC. My husband, Brooks, is a police officer and our son, Rory, a tiny tornado. We enjoy the outdoors, video games, and crafting of all sorts. I'm usually the quiet one at the meetings with a Star Wars or Doctor Who shirt on.

How did you learn about babywearing?
An old friend of mine was getting into babywearing with her newborn and when I got pregnant I started researching EVERYTHING. I fell down the rabbit hole of DIY babywearing and my love has only grown from there.

What is your favorite carrier of all time? 
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for our Boba.

Babywearing allows me to _________:
Stay sane. I can be there for my son without having to sacrifice getting things done.

How did you learn about BWI Charlotte? I originally joined the Columbia (SC) group on facebook and found that there was one even closer!

I love being a part of BWI Charlotte because ________:
I love babywearing and I love the friends I've made from the group. Before becoming a vbe, I routinely came to meetings just for the comradery. It's hard finding new friends as an adult and this has been a lifesaver :)

What meeting do you typically attend?
Babies'R'Us Pineville, Gingersnap Baby, and Rivergate Michaels

Do you have a favorite library carrier?
I've recently come to love the Beco Gemini. So versatile and comfortable.

You find yourself on a deserted island.  You can only have one carrier and one luxury item (hair dryer, mascara, favorite coffee cup, favorite pair of shoes, etc.).  What would they be?
A size 6 woven wrap (doubles as a hammock!) and a satellite phone.

Vicki, thank you so much for everything you do for our community!

Policy Change for Buy/Sale/Trade Posts


After much discussion, the leadership of BWI Charlotte has decided to update the policy for Buy/Sale/Trade (B/S/T) posts in our Facebook chat group. 

Beginning Friday (5/22/15), B/S/T posts to the wall will no longer be allowed.  This includes the use of Facebook's new "Sell" feature.  We still want folks to be able to purchase carriers locally, though, so each Friday there will be a For Sale Friday post where everyone can post what they currently have for sale.  This will keep everything together and let folks know what is still actively for sale.  This post will also include helpful information for wearers new to the resale market and links to different swaps.

Beginning Friday (5/22/15) all current B/S/T posts will be deleted, so make sure you finalize any sales before then.  We will also be updating the rules in the pinned post to reflect the new policy and any new B/S/T posts to the wall will be deleted.

We know you probably have questions so let me answer a couple.

1)  Can the For Sale Friday post be bumped?  Yes!  Feel free to bump the posts as often as needed.

2)  If I'm looking to buy something in particular, can I ask if anyone has it for sale?  Yes!  An admin will most likely bump the most recent For Sale Friday post and direct you there, but member are free to comment with the carriers they have for sale as long as they are relevant to the original posters ISO (in search of).

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to comment in the Facebook group. 

Thank you all so much for everything you do to support this amazing community! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Member Monday Feature: Stephanie Tomlinson

We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out to our Mother's Day Gala on Saturday. As soon as we got some of the awesome pictures that were taken, we'll be doing a big recap. If you were there you know we presented two of our amazing volunteers with 2014 Volunteer of the Year awards. One of those recipients was Stephanie Tomlinson. Unfortunately, Stephanie was out of town with sick littles and wasn't able to come so we thought we'd take a minute to introduce her to you. I (Bonnie) first met Stephanie about a year or so ago. She started attending the event at Babies R Us in Concord Mills. I was struck by her passion for babywearing but also by her acceptance of others, her desire to learn as much as she could, and her willingness to help with anything. We quickly found that we could count on her to be there and help us manage one of our most popular events. Just a few shorts weeks ago, Stephanie officially passed her VBE (volunteer babywearing educator) requirements and is now a full fledged educator, but she has been an invaluable member of our group for a long time. We thought you guys should get to know her too!

Stephanie, can you tell us a little about your family? 

We are a geek family of 4. I have a husband, Blake, and two littles; Eli, 4.5 years old, and Caroline, 2 years old. We moved here from California about 2.5 years ago and found a lovely little community here in Landis. We enjoy (among MANY other things) Star Wars, Star Trek, and Phineas and Ferb. We also enjoy performance speed cars and planes.

How did you learn about babywearing? 

I can't really pinpoint when I learned there was a world beyond the baby bjorn and the moby, but after the birth of Caroline, I transitioned from working mom of one to stay at home mom of two. Meanwhile, my husband decided to go back to school in the evenings. This whole transitionary period facilitated the need for me to become a serious babywearer!

What is your favorite carrier of all times?

It's a toss up between a ring sling and a mei tai.

Babywearing allows me to _________: 

Be the happy place for my toddler wherever we are and keep both kids safe because my hands are full with just one when we're out and about.

How did you learn about BWI Charlotte? 

I searched for a BWI chapter after we moved here to make connections with people I had something in common with.

I love being a part of BWI Charlotte because ________: 

The group is terrific and welcoming and I love being able to help other parents love babywearing as much as I do!

What meeting do you typically attend? 

Concord Babies R Us meeting and the Huntersville Exodus meeting.

Do you have a favorite library carrier? 

Right now I'm really liking the Lillebaby. I haven't been as impressed by a SSC since I found Kinderpack love.

You find yourself on a deserted island. You can only have one carrier and one luxury item (hair dryer, mascara, favorite coffee cup, favorite pair of shoes, etc.). What would they be? 

I'd have to have a shorty wrap because of versatility and EOS lemon lipbalm!

Stephanie, thank you so much for telling us a little more about yourself, and thank you so much for everything you do for our group!  We are so lucky to have you!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mother's Day Gala

It’s hard to believe, but Saturday will mark BWI Charlotte’s 2nd anniversary and our 3rd annual Mother’s Day Gala.  The 1st event happened kind of by accident.  We had just gotten word that after 6 months of work, our little babywearing group had completed its affiliation process and we were officially Babywearing International of Charlotte.  The leadership was excited to announce the news at the May event when Bonnie realized that the date was Mother’s Day weekend. 

In just a couple of weeks, with the help of the other leaders and some gracious sponsors, the regularly schedule monthly event turned into not only BWI Charlotte’s first official event but the first Mother’s Day Gala.  It wasn’t much.  Some simple decorations, quick refreshments, and a few giveaways, but it was an exciting event!

Last year, things got a little more organized.  A bunch of folks generously donated prizes to be given away.  More volunteers pitched in to help, and lots of people came.  In fact it was our single most attended event of the year.  We even had a lot of faces we hadn’t seen in a while.  It was kind of like our group’s homecoming. 

This year things are getting even better.  To start with, this year we are excited to be hosting the event at Bellies and Babies, an amazing supporter of BWI Charlotte and an awesome resource for the community.

Once again, we will be having some light refreshments.  If you would like to bring something, please let us know.  Bonnie will definitely be bringing OJ and sparkling grape juice to make mock mimosas, or MOM-mosas. 

This year we are excited to have some fun crafts for moms and kids.  We don’t want to give too much away so we’ll just say that your refrigerator may be a little prettier after this event.  And you might have a special Mother’s Day card from your kids, but you didn’t hear that from us.

We will also be doing mini sessions with the truly talented photographer, Mariela Feliz Fernandez as a fundraiser for the group.  For only $40 you will get a 10 minute session to use however you like.  Think babywearing, breastfeeding, or simply a sweet family or mommy/baby shot.  You’ll also get 5 edited digital images and the opportunity to buy prints.  This awesome fundraiser will allow us to add even more carriers to our learning library!  

The star of the event is always the giveaways and we have some awesome prizes this year!

Comfy Joey has donated two $25 gift cards!

Tipps Prints has donated three gorgeous prints including this one!

The Hanging Wire has donated three stunning necklace/earring sets!

Southern Sparrow Creations has donated two adorable teethers!

Living the Young Life will be donating some essential oils!

CanDo Kiddo has donated a homemade tummy time pillow and copy of her book with play activities for infants!

Wrap Therapy has donated an individual wrap session ($25 value)!

Yogi Monkey has donated three handmade lavender eye pillows!

Splendid Mama has donated an essential oil starter kit including lemon, lavender, and peppermint!

If you would like to donate food or a giveaway prize, then tag a leader in the Facebook group or send an email to charlotte@babywearinginternational.org.  If you would like to participate in the photography mini sessions fundraiser, please see all the details here.  Spots are going fast though so don’t wait! 

We are looking forward to seeing you all there on Saturday.  Although we won’t be doing our normal Babywearing Basics presentation or lending out from the library, we are always up for helping folk babywear.  So, feel free to bring your carriers and we’ll be happy to help!  Babies, siblings and other caregivers are invited to join us, but if you would prefer to make it a Mom’s Afternoon Out, feel free to come solo!  It’s going to be a great time!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Member Monday Feature: Sutton Shealy

With our group getting so large and with so many events all over the city each month, it's hard to know who everyone is.  So, we decided to start a Member Monday feature here on the blog. Every week we'll introduce you to a different member with a different babywearing background.  Some will be volunteers, some will just be regular meeting attenders.  Some will be veteran babywearers and some will be at the beginning of their journey.  We are hoping to show the depth and breath of the babywearing community.  If you are a regular attender at meetings or a regular contributor to the Facebook community, be prepared to be recruited.  ::insert evil laugh::

Today we are starting with Sutton Shealy.  She has quickly become an important part of our volunteer team.  In fact, she is going to be taking over some social media posting responsibilities so you'll probably be seeing more of her soon.  Therefore, we decided it would be good to introduce her.  Sutton is one of the sweetest people I've (Bonnie) ever met.  She has a gentle and peaceful way about her and a very infectious smile.  She totally makes me want to quit my job and travel the country together following the Grateful Dead.  And that's totally a complement!

Can you tell us a little about your family? I have a little army of all boys (even my dog): Tripp is my husband. He is an artist and has a big wooly beard and curly hair. Hawke is our oldest. He is 5 and the life of the party. Pretty sure he is cooler than both my husband and I. I started wearing him around 5 months in a ring sling and then moved to a SSC around 12 months. Harland (Harley Bear) will be 3 in July. He was born early and spent the first few weeks of his life in the NICU. Because he missed out on the extra womb time, I was either wearing him or holding him pretty much the first 6-12 months of his life. Hayes is 9 months and a rainbow baby and is our joyful Buddha baby. He is pretty much always happy and smiling and only cries when he is sleepy. Samson (our boykin spaniel) is 9 years old and will play ball or frisbee for hours. We moved to Charlotte the summer of 2012 from Colorado. I am slowly finding my mommy tribe, finally.

How did you learn about baby wearing? I can't really pinpoint when I learned about it. I feel like it was something I had always known about. In all honesty, strapping my baby to the front of my body never seemed appealing until I tried it. Then it was love. Love the closeness, the tender moments, the comfort it provides, the ease of getting around places and doing things like cooking and vacuuming.

What is your favorite carrier of all times? I absolutely love ring slings, but I am most handy with my Ergo.

What does babywearing allow you to do?  Babywearing allows me to vacuum & cook, work our booth at music festivals, go see live music, and carry grocery bags in both hands without leaving the baby in the house or car unattended.

How did you learn about BWI Charlotte? Jill (VBE)

What is your favorite thing about being a part of BWI Charlotte?  I love being a part of BWI Charlotte because it gets me out of the house to have adult conversation with unpretentious moms who don't judge each other and who are passionate keeping their babies close.

What meeting do you typically attend? Babies and Bellies

Do you have a favorite library carrier? Boba Air (just wish it had some leg padding)

You find yourself on a deserted island.  You can only have one carrier and one luxury item (hair dryer, mascara, favorite coffee cup, favorite pair of shoes, etc.).  What would they be? Ergo for my carrier and either a sleeping bag or a hair brush.
Sutton, thank you so much for letting us get to know you better.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May Meeting Schedule

Wednesday, May 6th from 10:30am-12:30pm - Babywearing Basics - Bellies N Babies 316 Lillington Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204 - North Library

Saturday, May 9th from 3pm-5pm - Mother's Day Gala - Bellies N Babies 316 Lillington Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204

Thursday, May 14th from 6pm-8pm - Babywearing Basics - Babies R Us Gastonia 2830 E Franklin Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28056 - South Library

Sunday, May 17th from 3pm-5pm - Babywearing Basics - Exodus Chiropractic - 15940 Northcross Dr Ste B, Huntersville, NC 28078 - North Library

Tuesday, May 19th from 10:00am-12:00pm - Babywearing Basics - Michaels in Rivergate - 13540 Hoover Creek Blvd, Ste 800, Charlotte, NC, 28273 - South Library

Thursday, May 21st from 10:00am-12:00pm - Babywearing Basics - Gingersnap Baby 10822 Providence Rd Suite 800, Charlotte, NC, 28277 - South Library

Tuesday, May 24th from 6:30pm-8:30pm - Babywearing Basics - Babies R Us Concord Mills 8062 Concord Mills Blvd, Concord, NC 28027 - North Library

Babywearing Basics:

Babywearing Basics events begin with a babywearing basics presentation including why we wear, safety when wearing and then an overview of the different types of carriers. Once the presentation is over, we help folks one-on-one and in small groups. Please feel free to bring any carriers you have and would like help with. Babies and caregiving partners are always welcome as are other children.

The learning library (North or South) will be available to play with and try on. BWI members can also check out carriers from the library. Membership is $30 per YEAR and allows you to borrow up to one carrier per month for the entire year. $20 of the membership stays right here in the Charlotte chapter and goes directly to buying more carriers for the library.  Click here for more information about our Learning Library. 

Mother's Day Gala:

It time for our annual Mother's Day Celebration.  This is a do-not-miss event!  We will have giveaways and refreshments and lots of time to socialize.  We will not be doing a basics presentation but are always willing to help folks, so bring any carriers you need help with.  Littles and other caregivers welcome but also feel free to come solo if you want a girls afternoon out for Mother's Day.