Sunday, October 14, 2012

Next meeting: 10/16/12

We've had so many meetups in the last week for International Babywearing Week that it feels like the Tuesday meeting is happening too soon (at least to me), but the calendar doesn't lie.  Our next meeting is tomorrow, October 16th, at Glenlake Park from 10-12.  I will be there, of course, with our raffle prizes, just waiting for our winners to show up!

Despite the craziness that was jam-packed into last week, I did enjoy IBW.  I got to know some of our attendees a bit better outside the confines of teaching and it was great to socialize with other moms.  We have some photos posted at the Facebook page; I'll see if I can get permission to post them here as well!

November's going to be a big month for Atlanta Babywearers, hopefully soon to be BWI of Atlanta (can I just say that dealing with banks is a huge hassle in Georgia?).  Firstly, we're crossing our fingers that we can finalize the last thing in the application and get that stuff all straightened out.  Secondly, Aisling is due in November and will be taking the month off.  Given how beautiful her girls are already, I can't wait to see what her next child looks like!  And of course to see what wraps she picks out.  A wrap geek's gotta have priorities.

Monday, October 8, 2012

IBW 2012 Guest Blog: Gretchen's Story

Our last guest blog comes from Gretchen. She and her son had a special situation as well. Babywearing has helped so many!


Babywearing is not a tradition that was handed down to me, but I hope it will have an impact on my kids in a positive way, and I would cry happy tears to get the privilege of seeing them wear their children one day. Wearing my babies has allowed me to truly bond with my them in ways that I otherwise couldn't.

My first son, Devin, was born at 26 weeks and weighed just 2 lbs., 6oz. I had a very rough pregnancy and he had a very traumatic birth. He went on to spend his first 11 weeks in the NICU. He lived in an isolette, a temperature-controlled environment built to mimic the womb he was so rudely evacuated from. I didn't get to hold him for 3 days after he was born and very rarely after that for the first several weeks. When I did get the chance to hold him, I held him skin to skin. Being up against my chest regulated his temperature, calmed his heart rate and his oxygen saturation always improved.

IBW 2012 Guest Blog: Priscila's Take

Last week, I asked if anyone would like to contribute a guest blogpost to the Atlanta Babywearers blog.  Priscila responded with a yes.  She and her daughter have some special circumstances, and babywearing has been important to them.  Here is what she wrote.

Where did you hear about babywearing?

I initially heard about babywearing from my sister-in-law. It was a relatively new concept to her at the time, and she's one to research a subject to death. Upon doing all of the research, she told me that she thought wearing my daughter, Eliora, would be helpful.

I was halfway through my pregnancy, we had just recently learned that my daughter had spina bifida (SB), and we were overwhelmed with the slew of special needs she could potentially have. Children with SB typically have developmental problems with their lower extremities, like severe low muscle tone, hip dysplasia, and clubbed feet. With that said, the mainstream concept of babywearing - using a narrow-seated carrier - was not an option for us.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

IBW 2012: Carrying on Traditions

International Babywearing Week is upon us!  Well, almost.  It's 10:35 PM EST as I write this.  So in about an hour and a half, IBW 2012 will be here!

This year's theme for IBW is "carrying on traditions," which for me has some extra significance.  At Atlanta Babywearers, a lot of first-time parents and first-time wearers learn how to carry at the meetings.  Their first exposure to babywearing comes through us, the VBEs and leaders of the group.  The vast majority of parents have never worn their children before, and are the first ones in their families to wear their children.

That's not true in my case.  For me, babywearing has always been a given, something that I knew about since I was a child and my mother told me about how she'd put her baby sister, 10 years her younger, in a strap carry and go leaping and bounding about in the Taiwanese countryside.  Her mother had carried her, and she carried her sister, and that practice was passed down to me.

Back then, wearing children in wraps was a necessity.  My grandmother came from a decent family but married poor, and strollers were not as much of an "essential" as they are now.  My grandmother would wear my mother, who was by all accounts quite a fussy baby, while doing the dishes, cooking, or cleaning the house.  Later, when my mother grew older, and baby #4 came around, it fell to her to help care for it, and you know the rest.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Practice, not product"

I wanted to link you guys to a great blog post by Arie of the Canadian Babywearing School regarding the practice of babywearing versus the product of babywearing.  It's easy to get caught up in all the material goods out there, or start putting carriers into good and bad categories.

Narrow-seated carriers such as the Baby Bjorn or the Snuggli often are called "crotch-danglers" in the babywearing community because the weight of the baby is concentrated in the area between the legs (versus a "wide-seated" carrier like an Ergo or Boba).  The legs themselves are not supported and are free, thus the dangling descriptor.  These carriers also allow a baby to be faced out to see the world.

In our meetings we've stressed the importance of safe carrying, which means that your baby's head should be close enough to kiss, the baby is able to breathe freely, and that very young babies should not be in a C-curved, chin-to-chest positon.  We talk about appropriate carriers and carries for newborns, infants, toddlers, and even preschoolers.  We've also talked about optimal seating for children, with the knees being above the hips, allowing them to be carried more comfortably.

Narrow-seated carriers such as the Bjorn and some versions of the Snugli do not get check marks for optimal seating, but they do get check marks for being safe.  Babies are well-supported and are at an extremely low risk for falling out.  And that's the bottom line, for us: is the carrier safe?  Can it do its job of carrying a child close?  If the answer is yes, we're happy to work with it.  We encourage babywearing, full stop.

Now, just because the Baby Bjorn-type carriers are safe and do their job adequately doesn't mean we can't trick them out a little bit in order to get a more comfortable carry and create an optimal seated position.  Arie's post has details on how to "pimp out" a Bjorn.  I have to say that this is a really cool trick and I can't wait to try this myself with a narrow-seated carrier.

Why is Arie Wearing a Baby Bjorn?

And lastly, when I mentioned "some versions" of the Snugli do not get check marks yadda yadda ya?  Snugli makes a wide-seated carrier called the Front Hip and Back Snugli.  It looks pretty good!  I have yet to see one in the wild so I cannot give any impressions about what they're like.  Maybe one day...