IBW Week 2013- Get Carried Away!

We have been busy planning activities to celebrate during IBW week next month.  Are you wondering what IBW week is?

It’s a great time to celebrate, first and foremost.  So, every cause and group has a special celebration time, right? Well next month is OURS!  It’s called International Babywearing Week, and this year it will be held from October 7th, through October 13th.  We realize this is just a few short weeks away, and we will be posting a full schedule over the next few days.

We are one of 52 chapters of Babywearing International in the U.S.  That in itself is CRAZY!  Some of us remember when we were one of seven chapters!  Well, all the chapters of BWI will be celebrating with all the other babywearing related organizations and individuals throughout the world!


This year’s theme is: GET CARRIED AWAY!! Here’s the international blog info about it: http://babywearinginternational.org/pages/babywearingweek.php

We will be posting a full event lineup, but we wanted to give you a taste of some of the fun we plan to have next month.

Monday:  We will have some group photos.  There will be one group photo shoot in Lake Zurich.  We are working on one to two possible other locations as well.

Tuesday: Babywearing Ballet at 9:45 AM in Lake Zurich, and a meetup in Chicago at 10 am at 31st St. Beach.

Wednesday: Celebration at Dolphin Swim Club in Crystal Lake, and a meetup at Lincoln Park Zoo that will include a picnic lunch.

Friday: Morning celebration in Mundelein, location TBA.

Saturday: Morning Celebration in Northbrook,  at New Mother New Baby.

We’re still figuring out if there will be anything official planned for Thursday or Sunday.  Is there something you see that you’d like to do?  We’d love to have you plan something near you!  If you have an idea for a playdate, park day, visit to a children’s museum, whatever you can think of!  If you’d like to organize it, we’re thrilled to post about it.


We will have some giveaways at some of the events.  We’re really looking forward to an opportunity to visit, socialize, and celebrate.  The events won’t be regular “meetings”.  They are an opportunity to celebrate YOU, and YOUR families, and how you are using your carriers to make your life as parents easier.

How would YOU like to celebrate with us?

Thank You’s and a chance at some Goodies-

We want to announce some fundraising efforts and thank some people and businesses, both local and online.  I know some of you have been waiting VERY PATIENTLY to hear what we have this year.  But first we want to introduce you to the folks who’ve made these donations (in no particular order)…  We are so thankful for these donations.  Some of the items donated will be raffled off.  Some of the items donated will be incorporated into our lending libraries.


THANK YOU ERGOBABY (and Heather L.) for allowing us to have our own BWI Chicagoland Ergo giveaway.  One of our members, Cheryl Hansen will get to choose her new Ergo from a few different options!  In addition, Ergo sent me some waist extenders, teething suck pads, and a black front pack that I’m donating to the group.  The front pack will be part of the fundraiser, the teething pads and waist extenders will be added to the lending libraries.  Here is a direct link to the front pack.


THANK YOU to Kristie from Max and Jack’s Room, for the donations of the Kissaluvs Proucts including two premium organic cloth wipes (in the Dino Mino and Owl’s Life prints)… and a 4 oz. bottle of Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion spray.


THANK YOU Susan Field, one of our leaders, for a donation of a Large (18-30lbs) Loveybums Crepe Wool diaper cover in mint green (with snaps) and one Beco Mini toy carrier.


THANK YOU to Jen at Marsupial Mamas for her donations of a two fantastic Natibaby Ring Sling carriers, a Iris Ring Sling, and a Dinos Ring Sling.














THANK YOU to Kristy at Little Trendsetters for 4 reversible pairs of carrier teething/suck pads.  I think these might be the cutest I’ve ever seen in person!

THANK YOU to Natibaby for two fantastic woven wraps.  The Natibaby bamboo/linen blend Pancy Pearl (maxi 5.2 meter) will be raffled off, and the Natibaby Organic Ecru size 6 wrap will be added to the lending library!  (Sorry the Natibaby photo on bottom with both is a little yellowed out from the photo).  One of our leaders, Rachel, just dyed it a gorgeous color that will work great for the lending library!

Isn’t this a beautiful dye job for a new lending library wrap?


THANK YOU to Jen Manzi, who is starting a new business called Manziknitz, for her donation of a semi-custom knitted hat.  The winner will provide measurements of their child’s head and Jen will give a few different options for the hat style she will knit.

THANK YOU to one of our members, Allison Myers, for her donation of a bottle of Young Living Essential Oils Gentle Baby Oil.


THANK YOU to Corry of Clean Green Nappy for her donation of multiple pairs of Rock-A-Thigh Baby Socks.  We have a few different sizes of the grey and the chunky monkey patterns!  (These are two for pics that are out of the plastic packaging.)


THANK YOU to Janelle Dent, another leader, for her donation of a Beco mini (child’s play) carrier.


THANK YOU to Fluff Envy for hosting a special event for some of our families in the western suburbs.  It was so nice of them to host us, especially outside normal store hours.  Justine also offered a 25.00 gift certificate at the event, and we are SO thankful for that!


THANK YOU to New Mother New Baby for hosting our big event last week, and also the generous donation of MULTIPLE items that were given away at their store.  There was a JuJuBe bag, an Ergo, a Boba Wrap, gift certificates, mama products, baby products, socks, and a TON of other prizes that I know our members will appreciate.

The Nitty Gritty Details…

Now for the fun stuff!  Raffle tickets will be available through Saturday October 27th.  Winners will be drawn on Sunday October 28th.

Tickets are 5.00 each or 5 tickets for 20.00.

You can get tickets by contacting a leader through our Facebook group, or also emailing the group address, bwichicagoland@gmail.com.  Leaders can be found in Elburn, Algonquin, Harvard, Mundelein, Wildwood, Hainesville, Waukegan, and Chicago.   We can take cash, check, or paypal for the tickets.  The extra time is to accommodate anyone who would like to forward a check in the mail!

Contact Heather, Janelle, or Tabitha for raffle tickets (a few of our leaders are going to be out of town).  There will also be tickets available at the Gurnee meeting on Monday afternoon, or the McHenry meeting on Friday morning.  And please bear with us if it takes a day or so to get back to you with the busy weekends, we will be following up with anyone who wants tickets!  There will be follow up confirmations made with anyone who has interest or gets tickets before anything is drawn on Sunday October 28th.

You will choose which raffle you would like each ticket entered into.  Winners will need to pick up their item from either a meeting or a leader’s house (or near a leader’s house).  Alternatively, the items can be shipped locally, but the winner would need to pay for shipping.



The Goodies!

Pictures and additional info for each raffle is listed in the thank you section above. 🙂

Raffle 1- Natibaby Ring Sling:  Dinos, size Medium

Raffle 2- Natibaby Woven Wrap:  Pearl Pancy, size 5.2m

Raffle 3- Baby Package:   Young Living baby oil, Loveybums Diaper cover, 4oz. Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion, and a pair of premium Kissaluvs cloth wipes

Raffle 4- Boyish Fun Pack:  Beco Mini Toy Doll Carrier (the one donated by Susan, with the blue, gray, and white leaves), Your choice of one of the pairs of Boyish Teething Pads from Little Trendsetters, and a pair of Rock-a-Thigh baby socks

Raffle 5- Girly Fun Pack:  Beco Mini Toy Doll Carrier (the one donated by Janelle, with the turqoise background, pink, white and orange flowers), Your choice of one of the pairs of Girlish Teething Pads from Little Trendsetters, and a pair of Rock-a-Thigh baby socks

Raffle 6- Babywearing Accessory Package:  Manziknitz hat, 2 pairs of Rock-a-Thigh baby socks, and a black Ergo front pack


Today we want to feature a few friends who have written blog posts about their babywearing journey.

To make it easy on us, we’re going to provide a few links from friends who’ve already posted their stories online.  🙂

We hope you read, enjoy, and comment!


Mandi’s Story

Mandi, one of our members, wanted to share this great story and a TON of wonderful pictures with you all:

Read here story HERE.


Susan’s Story

Susan, another member, wanted to share this guest blog post she did.  Susan also works at New Mother New Baby, a local brick and mortar store that provides baby products, mama products, lactation services and classes.

Read her story HERE.


Katrina’s Story

One of our members, Katrina, wanted to share this story directly with you.

Baby wearing has always been very important to me, however it took on a whole new role when my son ( who makes babe 4) was born. 
Coming early into this world after a fight to keep him cooking longer. Weighing in at 4 lb 9 oz and 17 in long this tiny peanut would change everything.  Wearing him in a wrap and snug to my chest almost 24/7 made the world of difference for him.  It helped with his body temp and regulating his heart rate.  Not to mention just the closeness feeling so good and comforting to him.  As a very frequent eater I could nurse him very easy and he stayed snug and warm wrapped to me.
Just as things were looking up he got very sick at 2 months and landed up at Lutheran General. With all the monitors, wearing him was not an option but I was able to fold a blanket up and “wear” him in the chair.  This is also how we slept for the next week.  The nurses that it was just wonderful that I fashioned a baby wrap so to speak and was able to hold him skin to skin non stop. 
It was truly amazing to see the difference in his stats when he was snug to me or being place in the hospital bed.  I sadly encountered some not so cool nurses that thought it was best he stayed in his bed. I would watch all the monitors start to go off. He would struggle to breath and fight so hard. Soon they learned I knew what he needed and that was tight to me.
Unfortunately we were back and forth 2 more times. I continued to repeat the “wrap” so to speak with a blanket and keep all his leads and wires were they needed to be but him where he needed to be the most.
Now at 8 months he is much better though we continue with some things.  The bond of wearing him then and now is immeasurably.  At times that is the only way I get things done.  I would not have done things any differently.
Thank you for taking the time to read Kaenon’s story.

Heather’s Story

Yea, so I know it’s my story, and I’ve posted it in parts before.  But today I want to link a post that is near and dear to my heart.    
I find myself reflecting on our soon-to-be-over babywearing days and I really love this post.  And we have a lot of new members who probably don’t know much about our family either.  So I’m sharing, again. 😉
HERE is how our journey began.  If you want to know how it ends, you’ll just have to stay tuned a little longer… The young child who was 2 in this story has somehow turned 4, and still begs to be on our backs from time to time.

Do you have a story you’d like to add today?  Please forward a link or story to bwichicagoland@gmail.com and we’ll add you on to this post!

And don’t forget, BWI Chicagoland facebook and meeting folks- the post below is the Ergo giveaway post!  Please comment and join in for your chance to win an Ergo for yourself (or a friend in need)!

IBW Week 2012- A Week to Celebrate and Share Your Knowledge

International Babywearing Week 2012

So, by now you’ve probably heard all the hoopla about our special celebratory week that happens every October.

Well, this year our celebration “officially” begins Monday October 8th and goes through Sunday October 14th.

The theme for this year is “Carrying on Traditions”. What does that mean to you?

We’re also going to be announcing some exciting giveaways and fundraising raffles before IBW week starts. You’ll have to wait just a little longer to hear about some of the goodies we’re raffling off, giving away, or adding to our lending libraries!

Week at a Glance

We have a few potential events in process right now, but many events have been firmed up. Here is our tentative schedule of events for the week:

Monday October 8th: GROUP PHOTOSHOOT- We’re firming up details for 1-3 locations to meet up and get some group photos taken. There will be more details to follow on these events.

Tuesday October 9th: ZOO MEETUP- We’ll be meeting up at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago at 10 am, pending favorable weather. This zoo is free to enter, and it’s not as large as Brookfield Zoo. It will be easier to find each other. For questions or meeting up, details will be posted both here and on facebook shortly before the event. Alternatively, when you get to the zoo (if you’re late) you can text Laura or Heather for directions to the group.  Details will be posted as an event on the calendar.  If the weather is not favorable, this may be moved or postponed since it is an outside event.  If that were to happen, it would be posted both here and in our group.

Meet new friends at the zoo!

Second event for Tuesday October 9th: BLOG POSTINGS- We would love you to link a personal blog post about how using baby carriers have positively impacted your life as a parent or caregiver. Or a blog post about why using carriers is important to you. And we’ll be linking them all up on our site here. Alternatively, if you don’t have a blog yourself, we’d love to share your story here. If we have a lot of stories to share, we’ll do some just before or after Tuesday. Please forward your post information to bwichicagoland@gmail.com with the title IBW WEEK BLOG POST.

Wednesday October 10th: FACEBOOK GROUP DAY- We’ll be doing some online activites in our facebook group. Asking some questions… maybe what’s your…favorite carrier, favorite carry, favorite memory wearing your child, favorite benefit. Who knows? You’ll just have to wait and see!

Thursday October 11th: PHOTO CONTEST- We will be having a photo contest of caregivers and children using carriers. There will be a few categories, as well as a few “guidelines”. If anyone takes any individual photos on Monday, they can be entered into the photo contest!

Meet up with other parents who use carriers

One of the categories will be focused on SAFE hands-free activities while babywearing. These will be posted on this public website, so we’ll require that caregivers are appropriately dressed, we’ll be including family friendly photos. As a general rule of thumb, if you would be embarrassed your teenage son looked at this, it’s not appropriate. 😉

Friday October 12th: MEETING CELEBRATIONS- There will be a celebratory meet ups at two different locations. There will be a northerly meeting in Mundelein, at Cygnus Lactation, at 9:30 am. IBW week happens to fall during our normal meeting time! Details will be posted on the Calendar.

There will be a meeting in Sugar Grove at 10 am as well (slightly south and quite west of Chicago). This will be the second meeting for Kane/Kendall County. We’re looking forward to seeing you there! Details will be posted on the calendar.

Saturday October 13th: WEEKEND CELEBRATION EVENT- New Mother New Baby in Northbrook has volunteered to host us for a weekend celebration.  It’s a nice room, with a wall of mirrors to check your carry out.  New Mother New Baby has donated some items to raffle off and give away at this event.   Details will be posted on the calendar.

Sunday October 14th:  HISTORICAL BABYWEARING- Historical babywearing photos will be posted both here and on our facebook page. It’s a way to think about how we are “Carrying on Traditions”, following the theme of this year’s celebration.

We can’t wait to share more information over the next week or two as we approach this very busy week!  Won’t you join us?

Playdate September

Changes this Fall

International Babywearing Week 2012 is just around the corner. For those of you who’ve never heard of this and think “What the heck, there’s a babywearing week?”, let me explain. For a week each October, the international organization that we’re a part of holds a celebration.

We celebrate and advocate for all the parents and other caregivers who use baby carriers to benefit themselves and the babies they carry. This year’s theme is “Carrying on Traditions”, and we’ll be celebrating October 8th through 14th. Here’s a little info if you’d like to learn more:


To give the leaders a little breath, time to reflect, and time to prepare together for October’s activities, we’re canceling the majority of the meetings in September. The McHenry meeting will still be held, as will the Chicago meeting, and the newly announced Kane County meeting. There will be no meetings for Gurnee, Mundelein, Grayslake, or Des Plaines in September.

If you are a BWI member, you’re free to hold onto any carrier you have for an extra month! If you decide you really want to try something different, contact a leader to swap your carrier out. If you come to where the library is held (in either Chicago, Waukegan, Mundelein, Harvard, or Algonquin), you can swap your carrier out.

Plan a Playdate

Now here is the fun part, the part where we need YOUR help. We’ve decided to try something new for the month of September! We’re making September “PLAYDATE SEPTEMBER”.

We’re encouraging all our members to PLAN PLAYDATES. Meet up with others who live close to you. Meet up with other who have similar interests, schedules, or kids the same ages. Meet up with others who you’d love to learn a skill from. Meet up to socialize and have coffee or tea while your kids play. Meet up to play with your fluffies! Weekdays, Weekends, days, or nights, it’s your choice!

Here are some suggestions of places you can meet up with others:

Farmers Markets



Houses where kids can run free in the backyard

You can also meet up at libraries, coffee shops, malls, it’s your choice. September is also such a fantastic month to spend at the park! The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to YOU, the members, to make some friends and learn a little along the way. You all have things you can teach each other, whether it’s about babywearing, life, or being a parent.

Capture the Memories

And we’d REALLY love it if you’d take some photos and send them to us. You can send them directly to the leaders, through Facebook, or to our group email (BWIChicagoland@gmail.com). We’d love some great photos we could use on our blog, if you’d like to offer them up as well.

We can’t think of a better way to foster new friendships, skills, and strengthen the little village we have here. Enjoy!!

A World of Possibilities

A world of possibilities.  Hmm.  When I first saw the theme for this year’s International Babywearing Week (IBW), I’ll be honest, I really had no idea what that was supposed to mean.  After I thought about it a little more, I think that it’s supposed to be interpreted individually.  If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will tell me.  🙂

The world of possibilities babywearing has opened for me may be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than the world of possibilities it has opened for my friends, my neighbors, and those I’ve never met before.  So I guess I can only share what it means to me.  So here goes…

It means more opportunity. Opportunity to learn, interact, or visit with others while my little one slumbered on my chest.  It meant going to weddings and feeling calm while my family with little kids were running around chasing the children like crazy people.  Ok, well aren’t all families crazy anyway?  So maybe that one’s a bit of a stretch…

It means bonding. My husband could bond with our boys through wearing them.  Whether it was the Baby Bjorn early on or the ergo sport later, he has been able to also care for them the way they’re accustomed to being comforted with me during the weekday.

It means protection.  People seem less likely to want to put their dirty hands all over your newborn when they’re wrapped up tightly to your body.  Little kids reach for feet, not baby faces.  And it means comforting them when they’re sick (and fall asleep on your back in a wrap… and let you get them in bed still asleep!!).

It means freedom.  It means vacation.  Hiking and camping in tents.  Exposing our kids to nature. In bear country in the Rocky Mountains.  And the Smoky Mountains.  Even though we call Illinois our home.  It means we can take the train downtown and not HAVE to lug a stroller around.  Don’t get me wrong, I have strollers.  I’ve been thankful to occasionally use the jogging stroller to exercise- though it’s not a very pretty or fast sight.  I’ve been thankful for their storage when Christmas shopping.  It just means I have an OPTION.

It means I could be a more “lazy” mom.  Babies who are worn cry significantly less than babies who aren’t worn in those early days, and also beyond.  Babies cry for all sorts of reasons.  Sickness, overstimulation, health problems, missing naps, the reasons can be endless.  I’m all for making my life easier.  And opportunity to feel less stressed?  I’ll take it!

And as my child gets older, ahem, I’ve also been known to use it to calm my kids down.  I’ve been overheard on numerous occasions saying “that’s it, if you can’t XYZ you WILL go uppie until you can calm down”.  XYZ means anything in my world from running into traffic to hitting his older brother to touching every.possible.thing.breakable in a store.  Sometimes I’m surprised by the hands up in the air wanting to jump up for a break.  Sometimes I’m quickly tossing him on my back.  I then feel him sink against me and settle quickly, contently.  Sometimes it’s instead it’s after a momentary yet futile resistance. 🙂  A few minutes in that safe place can calm the overtired, overstimulated toddler or preschooler just as easily as it does a baby.  Photo  of his favorite beloved Kinderpack courtesy of Kristy Garceau Photography:  www.kristygarceauphotography.com

And being part of this BWI organization means I can help other caregivers.  It’s really a “caregiver to caregiver” organization.  It doesn’t mean I have to know EVERYTHING about babywearing or  know EVERY single fabric, length, or fiber of carriers out there (and believe me I don’t).  It also means I can defer to others who have more experience or knowledge of other specific carriers or carries.

It means I can take what I’ve learned from other caregivers, and share that knowledge with other caregivers.  This can be a foster mom who just wants ONE carrier to help juggle her day, a nanny who’s passionate about caring for her littles and wants a few options, or even a dear friend who wants 20 to play with them all.


We’d love to hear your stories!  And don’t forget to send me your photos for the contest by Sunday evening to hlmagrow@gmail.com.  Sunday evening we’ll also be letting you know what special raffles and giveaways we will have over next week.  Stay tuned for some items that could be coming your way!



Babywearing from the 3 year old perspective

Sometimes I forget how much babywearing turned from being an “activity” to a normal part of our lifestyle over the past few years.  I was reminded of that by my 3 year old tonight.  Our older son brought home another Star Wars Clone Wars book from the school library today.  We were reading about Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker.  In one of the pictures K pointed out that she had her baby with her.  I asked him about it, thinking “wow that’s a thin character, there’s no belly there, why would he ever think she’s pregnant??”.  After a few clarification questions, because, he is 3 after all… he said “no mama she has the baby ON HER BACK”.

Well, Ahsoka had a backpack on, and my sweet little “K” just assumed she was wearing a child.  It was an automatic for him that in this dark, angled, picture the item on her back was a buckle carrier (soft structured carrier).  It made me chuckle first, then I had time to think about it while they fell asleep.

Ironically, the purpose for the story was that they were rescuing Jabba’s son, who did indeed get hidden in the backpack on the journey to safety.  No, I don’t personally condone stuffing a mini Jabba in a backpack; but Star Wars is Star Wars and you can’t really argue with that, right?

So does he automatically assume there was babywearing in the story because he sees all the caregivers and children at meetings or playgroups?  Is it because we have *ahem* some carriers at home?  That we have friends who also babywear?  I’m sure he’s influenced by all of those things.  I think the biggest influence, though, is that fact that babywearing IS part of our lifestyle.  I don’t know exactly when that happened, but I’m thankful it did.

At 3, he’s still worn almost daily. Usually for a few minutes here, a few minutes there.  In the afternoon when he gets cranky since he’s desperately trying to phase out naps.  During one of the two trips to the bus stop every day, when I don’t want to argue about getting shoes and socks on for the walk 13 driveways away.   Walking home after the school walk-a-thon.  Walking to the homecoming parade.

As he’s getting older, I sometimes get stares from people who find it “odd”.  Sometimes people ask “Isn’t he too big?”  “Doesn’t that hurt you?”  In a word- NO!  We have a few great, comfortable carriers we tend to grab.  We’re both happy and content.  No one ever seems to argue with the outcome, when they see the change from the child melting down into a pile on the floor change to a child who is happy, quiet, and playing with my hair when he’s on my back.

The questions and comments I hear present a great opportunity to advocate for the benefits of babywearing.  I also get a lot of comments like “Wow, I wish I had one of those”.  “Can I have a ride too?”  And of course “He looks so happy in there”.

As he gets older, I can see these moments spanning more out, and I’ll be sad when our “uppie” days are gone, when he no longer brings me his favorite patterned Kinderpack when he’s tired.  But for now, I’m soaking it all in and appreciating every minute of it!