Introducing Volunteer Babywearing Educator: Alison McKenna
What do people call you?: Ali
What meetings can we find you at?: I run the Naperville meeting.
How long have you been babywearing?: Since the day we brought our oldest home from the hospital!
Do you work outside of the home? If so, what do you do?: I am a nurse and work in the ICU overnight at Alexian Brothers Medical Center. I currently have what I find to be the perfect balance of working just 1 overnight a week and am mostly with my kiddos, but I have tons of flexibility to pick up extra shifts (and have been known to pick up a few hours here and there knowing exactly how many hours it’ll take to afford a new baby carrier! 🙂 )
What got you started in babywearing?: My older sister really enjoyed babywearing, so bought me a Moby and taught me how to use it the day we brought Adeline home. It became very useful when Adeline was dealing with a lot of reflux as we figured out her dairy and soy allergies as a newborn!
What is one of your funniest stories from your babywearing career?: I guess this is kind of more of a “look how far we’ve come” but I remember when our oldest was probably only 2 or 3 months, my husband really wanted to let her face out, but we only had an Ergo Sport at the time. He sat her in the infant insert and stuck 1 leg out the side like normal and the other leg out the slit in the panel and proudly showed me how he figured out how to forward face her! Now that I’m a VBE and teach about safe babywearing, it’s kind of comical how I would respond to seeing someone wearing so inappropriately now!
What are your top three favorite things to do for fun?: Go on long runs (either by myself or pushing a stroller while chasing big kid bikers), shop at Target all by myself with no real plan in mind, and take my kids out on adventures exploring new parks or play places.
What is something you do not like to do?: Cook. I’m quite content throwing quick kid friendly meals in front of my kids, but I feel guilty doing it too often. My husband really enjoys cooking but only does it on the weekends…if he didn’t get home so late I’d be perfectly content with passing that off to him all the time!
Tell us about your family: My husband, Bill and I have been married for 10 years. We currently have 3 kids- Adeline- 5.5, Amelia- 3.5, and William 1.5. I am due with our 4th, another baby girl, in May.
What is the coolest place you have traveled? In 2011 I spent a month traveling around Spain and Italy and we finished off our trip with a week ski trip in the French Alps. I had never skied anywhere but the Midwest before, so it was a huge shock to me what “real” skiing is and basically had to relearn how to ski the first day or 2 since you have to be in control at all times when you’re on a winding trail for extended periods of time! As far as my time in Spain, my favorite city was probably Granada and in Italy I love visiting Venice and wish we had spent more time there!
What advice do you give to new wearers?: Never buy a carrier because it’s what everyone else says you need! Come to some meetings, try LOTS of different kinds of carriers before you buy anything! You might really surprise yourself on what you find really comfortable!
What is one item on your bucket list?: I really want to go visit my aunt & uncle in Alaska! I’d love to spend a few weeks there hiking, exploring, and enjoying the scenery. They live out in the country and it just seems like such a different lifestyle that I’d love to experience! My cousin has little 2 kids and I am so jealous of her pictures wearing her babies while out hiking up mountains!
Tell us one random fact about yourself.: I am a mean bop it extreme player….my high score at one time was 82!
How long have you been a volunteer with BWI?: I’ve been a VBE for almost a year.
What is your favorite carrier?: It kind of depends on the situation and age of the kid I’m wearing at the time. When we’re on the go, I mostly use a SSC since it’s so quick to have the baby up and ready before the older kids get antsy in the parking lot. When we’re at home, I primarily wrap. My current favorite carries with a woven wrap are Gisele’s and Cristina’s ruckless because they both have 2 leg passes to keep my wild man from popping his seat the minute I get him wrapped! But, with my summer newborns, we live in Kangaroo carry since it’s quick and a single layer to keep us cooler while out chasing the big kids!
Do you have a favorite brand or wrap company?: My favorite brand of SSC depends on the age of my kiddos. And as far as wraps are concerned, I actually only own 1 currently and have been borrowing others while on the hunt for what I would consider my dream wrap.