Get to Know: Ali McKenna

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! ūüôā )

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.



IBW Bash Platinum Sponsor Highlight: Tallulah Baby Designs


Tallulah Baby Designs is a mom-owned company that started out by making gorgeous wrap scrap accessories. With the popularity of her accessories sky rocketing, she decided to start sewing and selling onbuhimos. In case you’re unfamiliar with onbuhimos, they’re asian inspired carriers that are compact and lightweight baby carriers without a waist belt. They are perfect for the more advanced babywearer who likes the feel of a ruck carry with a woven wrap but also likes the convenience of a soft structured carrier.¬† Traditional onbuhimos are equipped with two rings at the base of the panel with fabric straps while buckle onbuhimos (like Tallulah’s) have webbing like a common soft-structured carrier.
tallulah5Since then, her company has soared to be one of the leading buckle onbuhimo makers in the United States. Each onbuhimo is hand-sewn in Las Vegas, NV and is made with extreme care and scrutiny. All of the carriers are made with a linen base in order to give them structure and stability; the linen also allows her to make carriers out of any wrap material to stay within the CPSIA guidelines. Every now and then, she also posts converted ring slings for sale too!

If you haven’t had the ability to try an onbuhimo yet, I highly recommend trying a Tallulah Baby first! They’re gorgeous, easy to get on and off, and–most importantly–comfortable!¬† If you’ve already tried an onbuhimo from a different brand and found them uncomfortable, I implore you to give them another shot with Tallulah Baby.¬† We do have them in the library and I promise you will not be disappointed!

In addition to gorgeous carriers, Tallulah Baby also has some pretty amazing accessories to go along with them. If you have a future babywearer in your life who wants to match you while wearing their dolls and stuffed animals, you could possibly get a matching doll onbuhimo or ring sling! She also makes coffee cozies, wrap scrap stuffed animals, wristlets, and key fobs.

Tallulah Baby Designs has generously donated a toddler sized onbuhimo made from Kokoro Ren! It’s absolutely gorgeous and we know the lucky person who wins it will be ecstatic! Please make sure to visit her website, Facebook page, or¬†closed group¬†and make sure she knows how appreciative BWICL is of her extremely generous donation!


IBW Bash Platinum Sponsor Highlight: ChunkaBuns


ChunkaBuns¬†is an E-commerce baby and toddler apparel company working to change the children’s fashion industry through manufacturing, materials, and customer service. They specialize in eco-friendly and cloth diaper friendly clothing that meet all income levels with three clothing lines: Posh, Savvy, and Thrifty.

  • The Posh Line is made in the USA with organic and eco-friendly fabrics.
  • The Savvy Line is a combo of USA manufacturing and eco-friendly fabrics, with allowances made to create the most cost-effective Earth-Savvy product.
  • The Thrifty Line is low price and upcycled. Items may have slight printing defect, up-cycled from the baby clothes Buy-Back program, or clearance items.

ChunkaBuns’ pants are made to fit a wide range of babies. For example, the pant size 0-9 months can actually fit baby from birth all the way to 9 months, and oftentimes, even past that. An accordian-fold cuff is held in place with a small ribbon, which is snipped to increase the pant length. The waist can fold up or down to increase or decrease the rise. Additionally, an extra panel in the seal adds to the overall rise and width of the pant, giving plenty of room for cloth diapers!

If you’re the type of parent who loves fun matching tees, look no further. They have the most adorable mom (and dad) and baby matching shirts. I know these are a huge hit among many parents I know and I secretly (okay, it’s no secret) want the Big and Little Dippers!

In addition to amazing clothing, they also carry a bunch of amazing accessories¬†such as adorable thigh-high socks, bibs, and even Tekhni hip sacks. They also have these amazing little things called Savvy Bands¬†which are elastic bands that turn regular cloth diapers into training pants. I really wish I had known about these when I was potty training my son years ago.¬† Instead of spending just a few dollars to use all of my cloth diapers, I spent a fortune on trainers that I didn’t really end up even using!


ChunkaBuns has generously donated three amazing and adorable sets of clothing for our raffle prizes. Each includes a pair of pants, onesie, and socks. Please check out their Facebook page to thank them for their generous donation and be sure to check out their website! You will not be disappointed.

IBW Bash Gold Sponsor Highlight: Babylonia


Babylonia is a small company from Belgium that has been around for 16 years. With six different types of sustainably made carriers, most with organic materials, everyone is sure to find something they love from Babylonia.

Babylonia offers three options for stretchy wraps: Tricot-Slen, Tricot-Slen Cool, and the Tri-Cotti. Made from 100% organic cotton, the Tricot-Slen and Tri-Cotti are the ideal newborn carriers; they’re both extremely soft, snuggly, and easy to use! The Tricot-Slen cool is a lightweight version of a stretchy wrap made with 100% Newlife threads, which are made out of recycled plastic bottles. While thread made from recycled plastic bottles sounds a little odd and may seem like it’d be an unpleasant material, it’s actually very soft and extremely comfortable. If you haven’t tried a recycled wrap, I’d highly recommend it.

babylonislingsIn addition, Babylonia also offers woven wraps and ring slings. Their ring slings are offered in two shoulder types-padded and unpadded-to give wearers plenty of options. While I’ve never had the chance to try one of their padded slings, I can say that their center-pleated slings (which are hard to find!) are my absolute favorite shoulder style. They hug my shoulder perfectly without limiting my mobility. Made out of 100% organic cotton,¬†their woven wraps come in four sizes: 260 cm (size 2), 460 cm (size 6), 490 cm (long six), and 560 cm (long seven). They have many different colorways, including some solids and more understated colorways for those who don’t always want to stand out. Of course, for those that do, they carry some brighter colorways and striped designs.

babylonia bbslen


babylonia bbtai

For those that prefer soft-structured carriers and meh dais, Babylonia offers those as well! We currently have one of their BBTai in our lending library and it is wonderful! It works well for children of all ages and has a removable infant insert to place small babies in, making it easy to safely wear newborns in the larger panel. The wrap straps lay flat on your shoulders, allowing you to customize exactly how they sit to make it the most comfortable–also, the straps are extra long for those of us who need a little more length (no more tying under bum!).


babylonia flexia

Their soft-structured carrier, the Flexia, was just released earlier this year. Unlike other carriers that accommodate newborns, the Flexia doesn’t require any cinching or infant insert. Instead, it comes with three different panels that zip onto the straps and waist band. This new, innovative design offers the perfect panel size for each age range with the least amount of bulk. It’s pretty awesome and we cannot wait to get one for the lending library!

Babylonia has generously donated a Flexia and a BBTai to our raffle this year. We know our attendees are going to love these items! Please follow them on Facebook to show your appreciation for their donation, we couldn’t have the raffles without our sponsors!

IBW Bash Platinum Sponsor Highlight: Baby Tula


We would like to give a huge thank you to Baby Tula for their generous donation to our Bash raffle prizes!

Tula’s story begins with a desire for the perfect baby carrier for the owner and founder’s first child; after trying many different carriers they decided to come up with their own design.¬† Lo and behold, the Tula Baby Carrier was born.




Tula’s carriers, if you haven’t heard of them, are very popular for their comfortable fit and fun prints.¬† They have expanded their offerings to include their brand new Free-to-Grow, which adjusts without an insert from newborn on up, toddler carriers, multiple styles of standard carriers, wrap conversion carriers, woven wraps, ring slings and even blankets and accessories.



Thanks again to Tula for their amazingly generous donation to our Bash raffle prizes! Make sure you check out the prizes to see these awesome items!

IBW Bash Gold Sponsor Highlight: BabyBj√∂rn


BabyBjörn is a Swedish family-owned business started in 1961 by Björn and Lillemore Jakobson. Their mission is to develop good, functional, and safe products for babies and toddlers while providing parents with good information.

Their first baby carrier, Hj√§rten√§ra (meaning “Close to Heart”), was released in 1973, giving parents in Europe the means to carry their babies safely on their chest. ¬†Interestingly, BabyBj√∂rn was one of the first companies to feature Dads in their ads in the 1980’s!


BabyBj√∂rn has come a long way since their first carrier design. While still most known for their Original carrier, they added two new ergonomic designs-the One and the We-in 2013. ¬†The BabyBj√∂rn One and We are great carriers offering ergonomic support for newborns through toddlers up to 15 kg (about 33 lbs). They both offer newborn facing in (without an insert!), older baby facing in, and back carrying. The One offers facing out as well. ¬†All carriers made by Bj√∂rn offer mesh and cotton offers and the One was recently released in an outdoors option (it’s really neat!).

My absolutely favorite aspect of these carriers is how easy they are to put on and off. ¬†While the buckles on the We and One are different from the original, they are all extremely easy to get on and off. People with limited mobility in their hands oftentimes have extreme difficulty working buckles on most soft structured carriers but the buckles on the We and One can both be released with a single hand. Additionally, the waist strap “buckle” is more like a clip and doesn’t need much tensile strength at all.

Of course, BabyBj√∂rn offers so much more than baby carriers! They carry everything you could possibly need for the baby and toddler stages from bouncers and cribs to potties and everything in between. If you’re in the market for any baby products, check them out; I can say that we absolutely loved their potty chair!

BabyBjörn has graciously donated a Björn One carrier plus accessories for International Babywearing Week! We know whoever is lucky enough to win it will love this great carrier!  Please check out their website to see what they have to offer and give them a like on Facebook to thank them for their generous donation!

IBW Bash Platinum Sponsor Highlight: 5 Minute Recess

logo5 Minute Recess, also known as 5MR by most babywearers, is a small, family owned business that was started in 2013 with the intentions of being able to save for their child’s college fund. Starting out with only 20 wraps from a single vendor, they’ve since expanded to offer a variety of soft-structured carriers, meh dais, wraps, ring slings, onbuhimos, cloth diapers and accessories from many different companies.

With such a large selection, they have the ability to offer something that falls into everyone’s budget as well as style. The $100 and Under tab on their website offers amazing deals on carriers as well as gift ideas. If you’re lucky, you’ll hop onto their website when they’re having one of their amazing sales! To save even more money, make sure you sign up for their reward program so you can start racking up points.

They even have items for your little ones! Do you have a child who loves to babywear like their parents? They have the cutest doll carriers and you can get one to match your carrier too! The doll carriers are only 27.99 so talk about a steal. The holiday gift-giving time is coming, better stock up!

5 Minute Recess has generously donated a Pellicano Tree of Life Fuschia size 5 to our raffle for the Bash as well as 10 wrap conversion Smitten bags!


It’s safe to say that Rachel and Matt have been able to save enough for their daughter’s college fund. In fact, they’ve been so successful that they’ve been able to provide multiple carrier donations to Babywearing International chapters (like ours!) and make monetary donations to charities such as La Leche League International, Make-a-Wish, and Doctors without Borders. ¬†As of 2016, they’ve donated over $18,000 to charity and provided multiple BWI chapters with discounts. If you’d like to see more of what Rachel and Matt have to offer, check out their woven wrap company: Smitten with Wovens!