Babywearing in Summer!

Sara and her son Ronan in their Wrapsody Water Wrap

Babywearing is hot in general, but how do you combat extreme heat when you have literally tied a little space heater to your chest? In Chicago we see highs in the 90s to low 100s, and humidity levels that make the rainforest seem like a desert. Combine that with a sweaty, needy, hotbox and… Wait! Where are you going?

Overheating can be very dangerous for babies, especially for infants under 6 months, who lack the ability to regulate their own temperatures. Use common sense and go back inside when baby seems to be overheating. Take breaks from the sun when you can and make sure both baby and you stay well hydrated. Don’t feed a baby, less than 6 months old, water without your doctor’s permission, and don’t add excess water to their formula, or any water to expressed breastmilk. Use sunscreen according to the directions, and according to your pediatrician’s recommendations, to prevent burns. Take your baby out of the carrier if it seems to be causing them to overheat.

Carrier choice:

  • Soft structured carriers (SSC) are usually fairly cool. Any heavier fabric SSC may be a little more uncomfortable than one with a lighter fabric or a breathable panel, but just because you have a heavier SSC doesn’t mean you can’t use it comfortably in the summer. Infant inserts, on the other hand, can cause overheating. Use caution with infant inserts and speak to one of our VBEs if you have a younger baby and an SSC in the summer. There are often tricks to remaining cool that we can help you with, depending on the brand of carrier
  • Asian inspired baby carriers, such as meh dais and onbuhimos, tend to remain nicely cool in the summer. The exception being where they are made out of a heavy fabric or cover most of the body (as in a traditional wide blanket podaegi).
  • Woven wraps – depending on the weave and fiber content, woven wraps can be a cool choice but also can be extremely suffocating. If you have a warmer wrap, try one layer carries and use shorter wraps so there is less excess fabric. If you have only long wraps, still aim for one layer carries that eat up some of the length, like a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) with the passes bunched.
  • Stretchy wraps – Most stretchy wraps are very warm and don’t breathe well. However, there are some brands that are thinner and more airy, such as the bamboo blend ones I’ve seen out there. So check with us on your stretchy if you have questions. You have to have all three layers of fabric over baby with any stretchy wrap so choosing the right stretchy for summer wearing is important.
  • Ring slings are your summer friend! By their nature, ring slings have only one layer of fabric, and it is often a very breathable one, like linen or cotton.

Planning on hitting the pool or beach this summer? There are some great carriers specifically made for water usage you can find! Although you can often use regular carriers in the water, they will become heavy and the colors may fade or bleed in water. Additionally, chlorine can damage the sewing on a carrier making it structurally unsafe. The most common types of pool carriers are mesh or solarweave ring slings and wraps but there are other types as well.

***For safety reasons, use caution in the water, and don’t attempt to actually swim or go in deep water with a child tied to you. Nor should you wear a baby on a boat or anywhere else a safety device is needed that babywearing would interfere with.*** 

Remaining Cool:

You don’t need a special carrier for warm summer wearing. There are a few tips for staying cool in the heat no matter what your carrier is:

  • Dress for the weather. Remember that your carrier is another layer. It’s fine to dress baby in just a onesie and diaper, or just a diaper, when you’ll have another layer over them (watch for sun exposure though).
  • Dress yourself for the weather. Wear moisture wicking clothing and make sure you and baby aren’t skin to skin. When your skin meets you both get hotter. Wear a thin shirt with a higher neck to keep you both from sweating.
  • Dribble water on their heads, arms, legs, and any other part sticking out. Some people I know carry around a spray bottle to add a little mist, but letting a few drops drip from your water bottle works as well.
  • Cooling towels! These became popular a couple years ago and really hit the babywearing community last summer. You can find them in big box stores and online. Some name brands are Frogg Toggs and EnduraCool but you can find generic brands at the dollar store even! They are similar to a chamois – you get them wet, and the evaporation technology keeps them cool for hours (or even days!!). Lay them over baby’s legs, dab baby’s cheeks, and the back of baby’s neck. We just got back from the desert, and this is what helped the best to keep baby from overheating. Do not put the cooling towel between you and baby though. They work by evaporation and if the towel is between you two then it can’t evaporate so it will not work.
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible. The sun is hot and it’s not great for the skin anyway. Keep baby in a hat to block the sun and put a light, breathable blanket over baby (but not over their face!)
  • Since sunscreen isn’t recommended in large amounts for infants under 6 months of age, try to keep younger babies in the shade as much as possible. This is easier said than done, especially if you have an older child to chase after. There are a few companies that make carrier covers that are 100% UVA/UVB. Monkey Pocket and Rain or Shine Kids makes them, and you can sometimes find old Peekaru ones that were discontinued. Bjorn makes a UVA/UVB cover that fits over their carriers too. Outfits that have sun protection are also recommended; rash guards and UV blocking clothing are fairly easy to find these days but we can help you search if need be! A light blanket as stated above can help too.

*A note about sunscreen: Sunscreen is going to be a necessity on any day for a baby older than 6m (and even under 6m according to the AAP), but it can stain your carriers. Follow the general guidelines for using sunscreen by applying 15 minutes before going out. That should be enough time to protect your carrier.

Shameless plug: Don’t forget about your local lending library! If you need to borrow a carrier for a vacation or want to use something lighter in the summer without actually buying a new carrier – check one out from the group! You can borrow one carrier a month for $30/year.

Happy wearing, and stay cool!

Join BWICL for our May Membership Drive!

Have you heard? Through the end of this month, Babywearing International of Chicagoland is hosting this awesome membership drive! That means instead of the usual $30 membership fee, we are offering them for only $25! You can even renew early if you’re already a member. (If you aren’t familiar with our membership, check out how to create an account or renew your membership here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/BWIChicagoland/posts/?ref=page_internal). Now that you know how to join in, why is it so important for us to keep getting new memberships and renewals?

BWICL is a nonprofit organization.  We are completely volunteer-run, and we are happy to share the love of babywearing with all of our visitors and members! All the income we make is used to further our mission to promote babywearing and its benefits for both children and caregivers, through education and support. Because we are a nonprofit organization, membership dues are considered a donation, which also means you can write off your dues on your taxes. It’s a win-win situation!

How do memberships help us further our mission?  Memberships may seem insignificant sometimes. You pay $30 and can check out carriers once a month for a year, right? It goes a little deeper than that, though. Behind the scenes, we leaders work hard to host awesome meetings, keep our libraries up to date, make sure our carriers are clean and safe, and even help us expand-we are looking at you, DuPage County! Without the income we receive from memberships, we aren’t able to do everything we’d like for our chapter. Sometimes we have to say no to buying new carriers or we can’t replace a carrier that needed to be retired. We love giving back to our members, too. In 2017, we will have our third annual International Babywearing Week Bash, which BWICL wouldn’t be able to do without all ofour amazing members and leaders! 

As a little gift to anyone who participates in the Membership Drive, BWICL is giving away a wrap scrap purse! It’s all the more reason to jump in and renew early or donate for a great cause. Are you in? 

Babywearing as a Healing Tool

Written by Nikki Patrick

Babywearing is a tool that caregivers use for a multitude of reasons. Some are drawn to the convenience of being mostly hands free and able to carry baby throughout daily activities. Some like the bonding that occurs through wearing. Some wear because they like the way their carrier of choice looks. Most are a combination of all of these things.

I was drawn to babywearing for these reasons plus one more very important reason: healing. I am a survivor of many years of childhood sexual abuse, abandonment, and neglect. The man I called my father was abusive in every imaginable way and my mother struggled with mental illness and substance abuse. She tried but her own issues got in the way of our relationship and my ability to bond with her as my mother.

When my daughter was born I experienced a flood of emotion and a deep instinct to protect her from the hurt I had experienced. As a small infant, nothing seemed better to me than wrapping her warm body close to mine and carrying her throughout my day. I started off babywearing to protect her but it ended up having a profound healing effect on me. We were able to bond in a very intimate way that is difficult for many abuse survivors to deal with. She would stare at me with her big blue eyes as she drifted off to sleep and I knew in my heart that I would always protect her as much as I was able. I nursed her in carriers, soothed her from illness, rocked her gently to sleep, and carried her as she learned to interact with the world.

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As she grew more alert and aware, I found myself doing the same. Like a child, I was experiencing the world through her eyes, something I hadn’t had the opportunity to do during my own childhood. Front carries became an opportunity to explain colors, music, and other exciting things that we’d see as we went about our adventures. Back carries allowed her independence to see something other than my chest and a small view of the world and opened up a whole new bigger view. She was still close to me, safe. As my daughter grew, I found myself less panicked at the idea of protecting her from the ills of the world and more in tune with sharing the beauty of the world with her.

We rarely wear these days at almost 4 years old but I firmly believe the year she spent riding in a carrier helped me to heal in some very special ways and forged a bond that will never be broken. I am still her safe place. She still nestles into my body to fall asleep and I fell her sweet breath on my cheek as she begins dreaming of sweet things, not the nightmares of my childhood. She now carries her babies in various carriers and I believe that one step in breaking the cycle of abuse and mental illness that plagues my family has been done. My daughter, thanks to babywearing, knows the importance of deep bonds and physical closeness.

Babywearing is such a diverse tool. Whether it’s running an errand easily, corralling one child in a carrier while holding the hand of another, or providing a place to escape a chaotic event; babywearing is useful in some way for almost everyone. For me, it filled a hole in my heart that I didn’t know existed. I’ve learned how to protect but still let go. I’ve learned that I will always be a safe space thanks to the bonds we’ve formed no matter what happens in the big world. Babywearing helped heal me, one carry at a time.

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IBW Bash Sponsor List

 

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We would like to give a huge thank you to all of our sponsors!

 

Platinum Level Sponsors

JuJuBe

Whole Love Organics

Tekhni

MommyCon

Hera’s Gift 

Jolie Images

 

Gold Level Sponsors

Holcomb Hollow

Chompy Chic

Miss Jamie from the Farm

Cygnus Lactation Services

Marsupial Mamas

 

Silver Level Sponsors

Spectra Baby USA

Solly Baby Wraps

Buncha Farmers

Goldfish Swim School – Roscoe Village

Baby K’tan

Smitten With Wovens

Risaroo

Fresh Monster

 

Bronze Level Sponsors

Bamboobies

Macaroni Soup by Miss Carole

Chicago Wolves

Chicago Bears

Chimparoo

Freemie

Thirsties

Pouch Pal

Poofy Organics by Jess Brandt-Eco Friendly Mama Made in the USA

Babylonia

Love Auntie Liz (Etsy)

Smiling Tree Toys

Trendy Mommy Designs (Etsy)

Firespiral

Beachfront Baby

Tilia Hills Designs

Redmond

Perfectly Posh with Marissa Owens

Birthways

Wiggle Bear Wovens

Old Fashioned Girl Modern Mama

Stomp and Shout

LuSa Organics

Breastfeed Chicago

Enough Said Mama (Etsy)

Keeping it Crafty

Lisa Kelsey LuLaRoe

Hippo Campus

Leaping Lizards Events

Babyloafs

IBW Bash Platinum Sponsor Highlight: Holcomb Hollow

Written by Nikki Patrick

Our platinum sponsor, Holcomb Hollow is an amazing family run business specializing in gluten free vegan pastries and fresh fruit jams and spreads. Their products are all vegan, no animal products are used in their production (including eggs). They are also gluten free and tested using the ELISA assay. 

With bold combinations of flavor, Holcomb Hollow has managed to make delicious products for almost any consumer’s dietary needs. 

We would like to thank them for their generous donation to our VIP bags and raffle, and will have muffins available for purchase at the Bash! 

You can find them at 

http://holcombhollow.com/

Or on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/theholcombhollow/

As well as at local farmer’s markets throughout the year!

IBW Bash Gold Sponsor Highlight: Marsupial Mamas

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Marsupial Mamas is a store that sells a large variety of baby carriers and babywearing accessories. The store is an online store but one of the lovely ladies behind the store happens to be local to us. Not only is she local, but Tabitha is one of the founding members of our babywearing group! Tabitha now works with another local chapter, Babywearing International of North Central Illinois, but she will always hold a special place in all our hearts. The other ladies behind Marsupial Mamas, Jilliane and Jennifer, live elsewhere around the US. Marsupial Mamas has often helped to support our chapter, giving us discounts on carriers for our library, or in this case, donating carriers to us to be raffled off at our bash on Saturday!

 

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Keep an eye on the Facebook page for Marsupial Mamas too because you can often find amazing sales going on, such at this one in honor of International Babywearing week!

 

IBW Bash Platinum Sponsor Highlight: MommyCon/WEAR

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Join us in thanking MommyCon for being sponsors of our IBW 2016 Bash!

MommyCon, a family-run business, is a boutique-style nationwide convention series dedicated to creating and nurturing a community of modern parents and parents-to-be in celebration of natural parenting.

MommyCon takes a gentle and positive approach to educating parents about the emotional and physical benefits of natural birthing, breastfeeding and babywearing. They advocate values of holistic health, eco-friendly diapering, child safety standards and procedures, and female self-care and wellness. Their mission is to create a community of support, acceptance and non-judgement for women journeying through parenthood. The seminars and workshops include babywearing, birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, car seat safety, natural health and medicine, baby gear, childproofing and so much more!

The MommyCon team is also responsible for Wear: A Babywearing Conference.  This conference, which will be held in conjunction with MommyCon next spring in Chicago, is focused on promoting safe, comfortable and accessible babywearing education. The conference seeks to educate and preserve indigenous babywearing practices while showcasing the latest in babywearing fashion, design and innovation.

They have generously donated 3-day passes to the conference next spring!  Thank you MommyCon!

 

 

IBW Bash Gold Sponsor Highlight: Chompy Chic Chewelry

Written by Nicole Navarro

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BWI would like to say a big “Thank You” to one of our local sponsors, Chompy Chic Chewlery!

Chompy Chic is located a bit north of Chicago in Janesville, WI. They offer handmade, stylish teething, nursing, and babywearing accessories for moms to wear and babies to play with and chomp on- hence the name, Chompy Chic!

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This lovely shop has a wide variety of products, colors and textiles to choose from and they even take custom orders. Best of all they are safe!  Food-grade silicone and hardwood maple are used to create this unique chewelry.  All of their products pass third party testing and are CPSIA in the USA. Make sure you head over to the Chompy Chic Facebook page to “Like” and follow for the most current updates on products and giveaways. You can shop online in their Etsy shop, in select baby boutiques and you can see them at the Bash on Saturday! Thank you to Chompy Chic!

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