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?

Playdate this Friday, July 26, 2013

The normal playdate meeting that was scheduled for Friday in Mundelein is being tagged onto a playdate happening close by a bit later in the day.  Sara is planning a regular playdate at Warren Township Park for 11 am on Friday morning.  The location of the park is about 10 minutes north of Mundelein Playdate meeting.

And to entice you further, we’re including some photos from last month’s park playdate meet up!

Preschool Snacking at Kracklauer Park

Preschool Snacking at Kracklauer Park- 4 year 11 month old in a Toddler Kinderpack with the hood hanging out

If someone would prefer to just swap carriers in or out with Heather in Mundelein on Friday, that is also an option. Send an email to bwichicagoland@gmail.com or contact via Heather Facebook to swap carriers in Mundelein.

Toddler Snuggles at the June Park Playdate!

Toddler Snuggles at the June Park Playdate!

Otherwise, plan to visit Sara at Warren Township Park.  Warren Park is *technically* Gurnee, but still really close for those who were planning to come to Cygnus.  Enter the park on Almond Road.  It is at the Southwest corner of Almond and Washington streets, and only about 10 minutes north of Cygnus Lactation.  If a BWI member plans to check in our check out any carriers, please send an email to bwichicagoland@gmail.com or send Heather a facebook message through our closed group.  Sara will be bringing ONE SMALL suitcase for swapping stuff out.  This won’t be a regular meeting, but will be an opportunity to swap carriers in or out. It’s also an opportunity to drop off carriers that are due.  We just need to know what you’re interested in by Thursday mid-day!

Back Snuggles in an Action Baby Carrier (ABC)

Back Snuggles in an Action Baby Carrier (ABC)

Warren township does have a sand area that also includes some water features/ spouts, and regular bathrooms with flushing toilets and sinks.  The park is lot of fun for the kids.  A little more parental effort is needed to keep track of kids who run/ take off in parks, since there are some openings to the outside, parking lots, etc.  Just wanted everyone to be aware; it’s a great park, but not a small one you can just let preschoolers run wild and still be able to see them everywhere from sitting on a bench.  It’s a favorite park for some of our families, because there are great structures for younger and also older children (and adults too)!  If your kids like sand/ water sand, consider bringing a change of clothes to leave in the car. 😉

Park Playdate!!

Warren Township Park is located in the Warren Township Center (Campus), located at 17801 W. Washington Street, Gurnee, IL.
Here is their website information:   http://www.warrentownship.net/campus.html


Wintertime Information for Meetings

So, it’s that time of year again.  It gets cold, snow starts to fall, and it seems like every school aged kid gets sick.  So of course it’s time for our annual group announcements.

Winter Weather

Winter Weather


Cancellations or Single Leader Meetings

We try really hard to keep all meetings going that we have scheduled.  Inevitably, one or two meetings each year get cancelled or changed because of either the weather, driving conditions, or health of leaders or their children.  Some of the leaders drive over an hour to get to some of the meetings, IN GOOD WEATHER.  If the weather is poor (or there is sickness), we may still have a meeting, but it  might have less educators there to help.  We ask that you please try and be patient with us.  We also ask that folks who are comfortable helping out let a leader know you are willing to come and help.

Meeting Napping

Meeting Napping

In the event a meeting or playdate is cancelled, the following will happen: it will be changed in our Facebook group, on the Facebook event, the calendar here will be updated, the location will be notified, and we make a quick post to let everyone know.  For this reason, PLEASE check one of these locations before the meetings this winter.  Because there will be multiple notices everywhere, we will hope to catch everyone.  And for BWI members, if a meeting is cancelled and you have a carrier checked out, we will notify you of how we will handle carrier swaps or holding the carrier an extra month.


Cold and Flu Season

Newborn Wrapping

Newborn Wrapping

With the winter flu season approaching, we want to send a few health reminders out. We have pregnant mamas and newborns coming to our meetings every month.  We also try to keep leaders healthy so we can still come lead other meetings in different areas each month. Sick leaders also mean cancelled meetings, and we try and overlap to avoid this.  It’s just that time of year.

Baby Snuggles

Baby Snuggles

Please STAY HOME if you or your family are feeling sick. We all understand teethy kids, but if you or your child is actively sick, has the flu, has been running a fever within the last 24 hours, or has a rash of any sort related to previous fever/sickness, please wait to visit us until the next meeting.

Lingering runny noses and leftover coughs seem like a normal part of wintertime, but we want to ensure people who are ACTIVELY sick wait to visit us.  We promise, we’re not going anywhere.  We will be here next week, or even next month.  This is not meant to cause stress or concern, it’s just the annual reminder since wintertime tends to coincide with children and adults who are ill.

If you really need help and are sick, we can make arrangements to meetup after the meeting when you or your children are feeling better. Or feel free to pop by for a moment and exchange a carrier if you are a BWI member and need to trade something out quickly.   We will work with you to swap carriers, and depending on the area you live in, there might be another accessible meeting the next week you could attend as well.


Wishes for a Healthy December

We hope you all have a healthy month.  As I sit here with a sick first grader who is WAY too big for me to wear him, I’m reminded of two great benefits to using carriers that I miss now with my older boy.  It’s a great way to comfort and calm a sick child.  Sick kids usually just want to be held all the time anyway, your carrier can help you do that.  It can also to keep folks you don’t know from pawing at your new little babe!  Take the opportunity to wrap them up nice and close, and keep them safe and secure.


Mundelein Meeting Changes

Group Growth

It’s no secret that we’ve been outgrowing the space at Cygnus for the monthly morning meeting in Mundelein.  As our group has grown we’ve been evaluating options for the Mundelein Meeting.  This is a good problem to have, but a problem none the less.  The meetings have gotten so busy that it has become overwhelming for some of us as leaders, so we can only imagine how overwhelming it can be for new parents!

(Now, granted, this ring sling photo isn’t the best (the rings could be down lower and the shoulder a little farther out) but the photo shows from one end of the Cygnus meeting space to the other.  I think I put my younger boy up to show how you could still wear a 3 year old in a ring sling.  This was my handy dandy Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) ring sling wrap conversion made from BB Slen Passion Fruit….)

We love the space and kind accommodations at Cygnus.  Jeanne has hosted our meeting since long before the Lake County Babywearers and Slingers merged almost 2 years ago.  It’s a free, available space, with toys and close restrooms.  Jeanne, thanks SO MUCH for letting us meet at your spot.


Scheduling through libraries is actually a little bit of work that adds up all year round… figuring out schedules, not having a consistent time, asking and waiting for the ok, only being able to schedule 2-3 months in advance, needing someone with a card (and at some locations that person has to open/close the room), and constantly updating our group info with new events.  Having a standing meeting is REALLY convenient for leaders.  To try and keep that convenience and better meet the needs of new parents, we’re going to make some changes.


Trying something new

We have an early afternoon meeting in Gurnee, and an evening meeting in Grayslake, and both of these locations are pretty close to the Mundelein meeting.  Hopefully, if the Mundelein changes don’t work with your schedule,  one of the other two might be a good substitute.


The standing meeting at Cygnus the SECOND friday morning of every month will continue, but it will become more of a “Babywearing 101” meeting.  The library will be available, and we will focus on more of the basics, safety, different types of carriers, general questions.  We want parents to bring the carriers they have, and we will help them get more comfortable.  This “101” meeting is targeted for new parents or parents who are just learning about baby carriers and are looking for basic information or help with a carrier they own.  It may be helpful to come to the more basic 101 meeting a few times before moving to the playdate based meeting.


The hope for this “101” meeting is that it will be a little calmer, a little *teeny* bit quieter, and a better environment for new parents that won’t be quite so overwhelming.  This meeting will be 1.5 hours, to accommodate leader schedules.


A few parents from meetings at Cygnus, who were still early on in their babywearing journey, who would have benefitted from this new format:

(Sakura Bloom, Moby Wrap, Gypsymama Breeze, and Angelpack SSC featured here)


Playdate based?

We are going to add a second Mundelein meeting for the THIRD Friday of every month. This meeting will be more playdate based, and targeted for folks who have already been to a meeting, and heard the general info at LEAST once, but preferably a number of times.  The hope for this meeting, is that it will be more playdate based, more peer-to-peer learning, and less “talking” from leaders.


Let’s be honest, some of the regulars who have come to a year or two of meetings really don’t need or want to hear about an open airway for the 25th time.   Unless they want to step up into a leadership position… but we’ll talk more about that in a post in the near future.


The playdate based meeting will probably be a better option for folks who don’t get scared off by excited toddlers and preschoolers, and want to revel in some babywearing geekery.  We will start off having this at Cygnus. If we outgrow Cygnus we will look for an alternate location.


Normal Meeting Information

Meetings:  Our meetings are ALWAYS free.  Parents and caregivers are ALWAYS free to try out the carriers we bring to the meetings.  If you would like to support our group and become an official BWI Member, with privileges to borrow carriers between meetings, a 30.00 optional membership is available for a 12 month period.

The lending library will be available at both meetings.

If you *can’t* come to the meeting that best fulfills your needs, you are free to come to the alternate meeting.  We’d rather have you come to the alternate meeting than not come at all.  We’re just trying this option out to see if it helps everyone as much as it will help leaders.Please note: though this meeting is held at a lactation office, babies and children who are fed by both formula and breast milk are always welcomed.  We can teach you how bottle feed in a carrier just as easily as we can teach you how to nurse in a carrier.  Jeanne Cygnus provides her meeting space to our group for free and we appreciate the availability.


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!!