Babywearing While Pregnant

As Babywearing Educators, we are frequently asked about the safety of babywearing while pregnant, and the answer usually comes with a bit of followup about the wearer. In short, it is safe to wear your child if you feel comfortable to do so and you have checked with your doctor or midwife about being able to carry an older child during your pregnancy. Many of our leaders and members have carried their older children throughout their pregnancies safely and easily in a variety of different carriers, but a few modifications can help to make the process a little easier for you if you find that you are having specific fit and comfort issues.

Firstly, make sure your body is physically able to wear your older child. This is only a question that can be answered by your doctor or midwife. Each pregnancy is different. With certain issues or complications, it may not be considered safe to carry or lift loads above certain weights during your pregnancy. Your medical professional will be able to identify any issues that may restrict you in this way, so it is important to ask them if you plan to wear an older child before trying to do so.

Secondly, pay careful attention to your body’s signals. Babywearing can feel very different in each stage of pregnancy, and what was once very comfortable, may need adjustment later into your pregnancy. With building a new life, you may find that you are more prone to fatigue and new aches. If you feel that babywearing an older child is putting additional stress on your body, it may be best to discontinue wearing for the duration. You are the best judge of your body’s cues, so keep them in mind at all times while wearing.

Thirdly, explore your options. Carriers that were once comfortable may fit differently during pregnancy. There are a few simple adjustments that may help you be more comfortable with babywearing in your changing frame. We will cover a few of these adjustments below for you to personally try.

Sometimes, you may find that even with adjustments, the carrier you own is not a good fit for you during the pregnancy. We always invite you to come to a meeting to try on different types of carriers to see what could be a better fit for you and your children during this time.

Babywearing While Pregnant in a Soft Structured Carrier (Buckle Carrier) 

When using a soft structured carrier during pregnancy, you may find that a waistband adjustment or different carrying position may help your comfort in carrying.

Tip 1: Front wearing can get to be a little too difficult in this type of carrier as your pregnancy progresses. You can try a hip carry or a back carry given the older child is of a suitable age for these types of carries. Many caregivers find that a back carry is very comfortable while pregnant, and they can continue to wear this way through their entire pregnancy.

Tip 2: You can wear the waistband above or below your bump while back carrying to minimize discomfort. Where you wear it, is just based on personal preference. Sara (pictured below) has found that at different time in her pregnancy, she has preferred it to be above the bump and at other times below. Try both to see what works best for you.

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Below Bump Waistband Placement in Late Pregnancy

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Above Bump Waistband Placement in Mid Pregnancy

Babywearing While Pregnant in a Mei Tai

Tip 1: The waistband can be worn tied under or over your bump per your comfort, in a back carry. This is very similar to how you would wear a SSC in the photos above.

Tip 2:  Consider a hip carry or back carry with a child of suitable age, if front carry has become uncomfortable.

Tip 3: The shoulder straps can be tied in a variety of different finishes to keep the carrier more comfortable for you, and the weight of the child being carried away from your bump.

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Mei Tai Tied Tibetan with Waistband Over Bump

Babywearing While Pregnant in a Ring Sling

Tip 1:  Wearing your child higher, in an off-centered, or hip carry may help to distribute the weight of the chid to be a little more comfortable for you.

Tip 2:  Make sure to spread the back and shoulder of the sling as wide as you can to distribute your older child’s weight on your new frame.

Tip 3:  If you feel unbalanced at any point in wearing a one-shouldered carry, consider a two-shouldered carrier to help with evening the load of the child being carried.

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Toddler Wearing in Mid Pregnancy

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Toddler Wearing in Late Pregnancy (new baby is on its way here!)

Babywearing in a Woven Wrap

Tip 1:  When adjusting and making the seat for your older child, make sure to do so very carefully while leaning over.  Keeping a steady balance and even footing are essential with your changing body.

Tip 2:  Select carries that allow for a comfortable waistband over or under your bump and are high, away front the belly to prevent pressure on the bump while carrying.

Tip 3:  Select two-shouldered carries if you are not comfortable with one-shouldered weight barring.

Tip 4:  If front carries are becoming uncomfortable, consider an off-centered or hip carry as long as baby is of appropriate age to do so.

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Back Carry at 16 Weeks Pregnant with a 18 Month Old

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Off-centered Carry at 20 Weeks Pregnant

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Month by Month Woven Wrap Carries with a Toddler

Babywearing while pregnant is an option for most people.  If you are approved to do so by a medical professional and you are physically comfortable wearing your older child, please do consider it an option for helping you in your everyday life.  If ever specific wearing questions arise, please feel free to ask at a meeting or on our online Facebook board. Many women in our group have worn in all stages of their pregnancies, and we are here to support and help you with your wearing journey.  Many congratulations on your upcoming arrival, and we are excited to share in your growing family as BWICL leaders.

2014 blog in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Cancelled – Mundelein Meeting 10/28/2014

Attention everyone!

The Mundelein Meeting tomorrow, on 10/28, has to be cancelled. Something came up and the leader is no longer able to attend. We apologize profusely for this. If you have a carrier you would like to return or exchange, you can contact any of the leaders to work something out. Thank you for being understanding.

International Babywearing Week 2014

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It is time again for International Babywearing Week, an annual week of events designed to raise awareness of the benefits of babywearing. This year’s theme is “Share the Adventure” and Babywearing International of Chicagoland has a whole week of adventures planned. Officially, International Babywearing Week goes from October 5-11, 2014 but we are starting the celebrations a day early, on October 4th. Here’s an overview of what we have planned. You can get more information in our Facebook group.

Saturday, Oct 4

When: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
What: Schaumburg Babywearing Meeting
Where: Schaumburg Township Library, 130 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193
Fee: None

When: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
What: Northbrook Babywearing Meeting
Where: New Mother New Baby, 3115 Dundee Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062
Fee: None

Sunday, Oct 5

When: 10:00 am
What: Babywearing Photos with MSV Photography
Where: Graue Mill, 3800 York Rd, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Fee: $20 ($5 to photographer, $15 to BWI of Chicagoland) per family for 3 edited shots. If they would like a few more, they can discuss with her on an additional fee.

Monday, Oct 6

When: 1:00 pm
What: Infant Massage with Baby Benefits Chicago
Where: Sod Room, 1454 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
Fee: none for babies under 6 months, $5 for babies 6 months to 1 year
“Infant massage can help your baby sleep better, decrease gas and create a stronger bond with your baby. Join Baby Benefits Chicago for an informational class on all the benefits that infant massage may have for you and baby and also learn some of the massage strokes for baby. Babies under 1 year of age with their parent or caregiver are welcome.”

When: 5:30 pm
What: Babywearing Photos with Hy Photography
Where: Paulus Park, 200 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047
Fee: $25 cash ($15 to BWI of Chicagoland, $10 to Hilary) and they will get 3 edited photos (including one group photo)

Tuesday, Oct 7

When: 9:45am – 11:00 am (Start time of 9:45 will allow time to get the babies and toddlers ready, settled, and in carriers to start dance instruction at 10:00 am)
What: Babywearing Ballet
Where: Trilogy School of Performing Arts, 490 E. Route 22, Lake Zurich, IL 60047
Fee: $5 per adult (children free) and all will be donated to BWI of Chicagoland
“Come meet other moms, bond with your little one, and enjoy an invigorating low-impact workout. Ballet strengthens muscles, increases flexibility and enhances posture. Babywearing Ballet does all of this while also providing a unique and soothing bonding activity for mom and baby. This class is offered with a relaxed atmosphere, allowing babies and moms of any age and ability to thrive.”

When: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
What: Berwyn Babywearing Meeting
Where: Berwyn Public Library, 2701 Harlem Ave, Berwyn, IL 60402
Fee: None

Wednesday, Oct 8

When: 3:00 pm
What: Kanga Cardio Class
Where: Hip Circle Studio, 709 Washington St, Evanston, IL 60202
Fee: none
NOTE: Class is already full. See our Facebook group page if an opening becomes available.
“KangaCardio™ is a fun way to get fit after baby – wear your baby and get a workout in for both of you! We’ll cycle through a variety of workouts, dance-fitness, circuit training, and cardio-boxing, all while wearing your baby! Bring gym/fitness shoes and the carrier of your choosing. There is a limit of 10 for this class.”

Friday, Oct 10

When: All Day – Specific meetup times at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm for the group
What: Lincoln Park Zoo Adventure
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Fee: None

Saturday, Oct 11

When: Late Afternoon / Early Evening
What: Babywearing Photos with Julie of This Little Piggy Photography
Where: Montrose Harbor, 601 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
Fee: $40 for 3 photographs plus group photo

When: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
What: Baby Carrier Sale
Where: Evanston, Illinois (see Facebook group for address)
“Babywearing International of Chicagoland has some gently used carriers to sell. Come see us, buy a carrier for less than retail price, and support us all at the same time! All money raised will be put right back into our group to fund new carriers for our library!”

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Exciting New Additions to the Lending Library!

We are pleased to announce some fun and exciting new additions to the lending library! These new carriers are the result of generous donations, giveaways, and discounts provided by some amazing companies!

The first carrier to highlight is a Size 5 Kokadi Hemp/Cotton Pirateland! A discount for this wrap was won in a contest held by Sweet Pea Boutique. Since we get a lot of requests for wraps of different blends, we are really excited about this new edition!

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Second, we received some amazing carriers from Onya Baby! One of them was donated and the other we were able to receive at a discounted price. These carriers can be used from birth through toddlerhood, and can even be used as a seat for your little one when you are out and about. The carriers we received are the Onya Baby NexStep and the Onya Baby Cruiser with infant insert. We are glad this amazing carrier will be able to reach more caregivers (we currently only have one for 7 monthly meetings). We also love that Onya Baby is a family owned company!

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The final carrier to highlight is an awesome Size 7 Swallowtail Dusk that was donated by Pavo Textiles. This is a highly sought after wrap that will make an amazing addition to the lending library. It is suitable from birth-toddlerhood and beyond! The one thing to note is that this wrap is very long, and while it is a great wrap, it is likely to be a bit long for some caregivers.

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Come to some meetings and enjoy playing with our new carriers!! And as always, let us know if there is a specific carrier you want to try so that we can make sure it will be at your meeting :)

New woven wrap from Cari Slings

We got a new addition to our lending library a couple of months back. It is a woven wrap by Cari Slings. They were generous enough to donate a wrap to our lending library for all of you to enjoy! The woven wrap is called Cardiidae Seaglass and it is 100% cotton. You can find out more information about them through their website and facebook page. Make sure to thank them for their generosity!

Thank you to our VBE Karen, for letting us use her son to try out the wrap, and thank you to our VBE Laura for modeling with him. They were so cute in their pictures that I couldn’t choose just one! If you click on the pictures it will open them up in a larger viewer for you.

 

Seasons of Change

The Early Days

As Colleen and I (Heather) retire and step down from BWI of Chicagoland, we’ve both been reflecting on what a phenomenal journey we’ve been on, from learning to use our first carriers, to learning to wear toddlers and preschoolers, to learning to spread the love, and meet so many new and veteran caregivers along the way.

I am forever grateful and appreciative of Colleen and Hyacynth (our other leader from Lake County, when I learned of the group).  I found them when I had a 2 year old and newborn.  Colleen and I both started using carriers around the same time (8 years ago, if you can believe that!!), but all I had experience with was my Baby Bjorn and an awesome ring sling.

Colleen learned about different carriers through our local La Leche League, before her first was even born!  She then found the local Lake County group through an online forum at thebabywearer.com .  Helping teach others was a calling for her.   When I met Colleen and Hyacynth, they were warm, welcoming leaders for the Lake County Babywearers, and had group gatherings I wanted to keep coming back to.  That was almost 6 years ago!  Colleen was my inspiration, and she pushed me beyond my comfort level.  “You want me to try this long piece of fabric?”  “Are you sure he’ll be ok on my back”  (remember I had only used a ring sling and Baby Bjorn before this…).  THANK YOU COLLEEN.

Back then, we were a small group, with around 30 attendees online (and maybe 10-15 adults total in person each month?).  It was a social group, and very much about wearing all the babies!  There weren’t nearly as many carriers or brands of carriers out on the market.  I will always think fondly of my early days learning from so many women I consider great friends to this day.

There has been SO MUCH growth and it is really exciting to see how many parents and caregivers are embracing different types of carriers and holding their babies close.  There has also been an explosion of education along the way, and an explosion of options.  If you’d like to learn more about our history along the way, this post has a lot of great information:

https://bwichicagoland.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/10-years-old-2000-strong/

FAST FORWARD

We’ve both grown as educators, parents, and friends.  The organizations have had tremendous growth as well over the last number of years.  But now, our kids are growing up, our lives and passions as parents have changed focus.  It’s time for us to find some new adventures!

REFLECTIONS

Almost 2 years ago I won an educator award from BWI.  When I look back at the bio, I’m reminded of the passion to help others, and the empathy needed to help caregivers effectively.  I was asked to put together a BIO for the award page.  I think about these two quotes often:

“I love sharing what I’ve learned, and want and help others see how this great tool can help make parenting so much easier.  I wish I’d have found our group earlier in our lives as parents.  I don’t think it’s important for an educator to know everything; I think it’s more important for an educator to know what resources to look for to help with a difficult situation.  I also think it’s important to listen to parents, and figure out what they’re REALLY asking, so we can meet their needs.  I love the look on a caregivers face when they find something they like, or their baby quiets down and falls asleep, or is content to look around.”

“It’s easy to forget that it’s NOT about the special fancy carrier, it’s about using some fabric to help them and their babies.  The parents are the real carriers, the fabric just helps them do that effectively.  That’s really the heart of our organization.  Thanks for letting me be a part of it.”

BEST WISHES

Sometimes caregivers will thank us, but we really need to be thanking all of you!  It was all of YOU that kept us coming back meeting after meeting, month after month, and wanting to spread out more, and stretch ourselves as a group.  To meet more of you, and share what we’ve learned about wearing our babies close.  The years have flown by.

This volunteering journey and the people we’ve met have changed our lives, so thank you for that as well!

You ALL drive this group.  You help each other socially, through questions, and support on the off topic facebook chat group.  You help each other learn about carriers, carries, and support each other in the local BWI group, at meetings, and playdates.  The group will continue to thrive because of ALL OF YOU.  If you see a post that you can contribute to?  Share what you’ve learned with others.  That’s how all of our past and present leaders learned along the way.

We love how the current and future leadership team has such passion, excitement, and “fresh eyes” to share babywearing. Their ambition and passion will serve the Chicagoland chapter well, and I’m sure they will make great, positive changes in the future.  I’m looking forward to hearing about the things they accomplish that took a back seat during our tremendous growth.  They have drive and ambition, and they will make great improvements and changes for the group!

Hold those babies close.  They grow up WAY TOO FAST!  One day (believe it or not) they’ll get too big to want to be worn.  This weekend, we hope you all get a chance to use whatever carries at your disposal to enjoy time with family and friends!  Happy Independence Day!

(Here are some photos of us along the way.)