IBW Bash 2017 Gold Sponsor Highlight: Smitten Wovens


Smitten with Wovens is a family owned business based out of Texas.  Starting out as a fairly small company in 2015 with only one woven design, they quickly expanded and now offer dozens of gorgeous designs, ring slings, bags, and other must-have accessories.

As a company that has a strong emphasis on ecology and sustainability, Smitten with Wovens ensures ethical and responsible business practices and uses packaging that is recycled and biodegradable. Each woven wrap comes with a gently used children’s book, saving it from a landfill. In addition, all Smitten wraps are sourced, woven, and finished in the USA so you know you’re buying something ethically responsible.



Known for their width, Smitten with Wovens are the perfect carriers for smaller babies and bigger kids alike. If you have a toddler who likes to ride arms in or take wrap naps, these are the perfect wraps for you! As a vegan company, both 100% cotton wraps as well as tencel/cotton wraps are offered. If you haven’t had the chance to try tencel yet and you enjoy soft, moldable wraps, then you need to try it!


Smitten has generously donated a size 6 Nimh Brisby woven wrap. This 100% cotton wrap is absolutely gorgeous featuring an ecru weft with a black, purple, and lilac gradient weft. Soft and moldable out of the box, this wrap will not take much to break it in. I’ve been eyeing this wrap for a long time and wish I could be the one to win it!




Please visit them on Facebook and make sure you take the time to check out their awesome website, you’ll be amazed by their whimsical designs. Plus, they have matching coffee mugs for their wrap designs!  I know I’d be pretty excited to match.


IBW Bash Gold Sponsor Highlight: Marsupial Mamas



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!


Nursing in Carriers

Nursing in a Catbird Baby PIkkolo!

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we figured it was a good time to talk about nursing in carriers.  We celebrated World Breastfeeding Week with the Breastfeed, Chicago group.  Sara and I presented a session on breastfeeding while babywearing after The Big Latch On was complete.  

Here is some info about their group for any locals:  http://breastfeedchicago.wordpress.com

Nursing photo from the Breastfeed Chicago event!

Nursing photo from the Breastfeed Chicago event!

This post consists ENTIRELY of photos of moms nursing in their carriers. Sometimes you can tell, but sometimes you can’t!  That is also why some of the photos have a baby that is positioned lower than we normally recommend.  And we encourage baby to be tightened up and “kissable” after nursing is complete.

During the session, we did demos of various carrier types, and gave tips on how to successfully nurse in them.   We talked about Pouches, Bag style, narrow based carriers, wraps, mei tais, ring slings, and buckle carriers/ soft structured carriers (SSC’s).  While I like my weighted doll, it was fabulous to have moms who were able to do real, live demonstrations.  It was also great to see some moms nursing in a carrier for the first time, or feeling more comfortable nursing in a carrier because of the discussions we had.  I thought it would be nice to share a few of the tips and general things we went over.

Note:  Though this post is focused on breastfeeding, bottle feeding in a carrier is ALSO a fantastic option.  It’s a great way for dad, the babysitter, or other family members to help out in an environment (the carrier) that the baby feels safe and comfortable in.  One of the other BWI chapters did a fantastic blog post on bottle feeding in a carrier.  It can be found HERE.


Breastfeeding in a Carrier, the Basics:

It’s best to learn to nurse, and learn to use your carrier SEPARATELY before trying to do the two things together.  We recommend the following:

1.  Learn how to breastfeed (or rather wait for your baby to learn how to breastfeed, you really just learn how to help them if needed…)  

    • Make sure breastfeeding is well established.  It’s really important to make sure breastfeeding is going well before nursing in carriers, especially for moms who haven’t been breastfeeding very long.  Breastfeeding is a skill, sometimes it starts off wonderfully with a bang.  Sometimes it’s a bit of a learning curve for both mom AND baby, and can take a bit longer to figure everything out.  
    • If the baby is latching well, removing milk effectively, gaining weight at a recommended level, and moms nipples have healed if there was any trauma, then it’s a great time to think about nursing in your carriers.

2.  Learn how to use your carrier (if you’re a new parent and haven’t used one yet).  This may take a few minutes, or a few days, or even a few weeks, depending on how everything is going as a new parent. 

3.  When you’re comfortable with 1. and 2. above, put the carrier on, get the babies mouth to your nipple, and nurse them. 🙂  That sounds easy right?  For some new moms, it’s just that easy.  Other moms find that some of the tips below help (these are tips from the session handout).

One nursing session from 4 different angles

One nursing session from 4 different angles


General Tips for nursing in a carrier:

  • You can breast or bottle feed in almost any carrier type.

  • You will probably prefer to use the carrier you are most comfortable with.

  • Other caregivers can easily use baby carriers to bottle feed by just loosening the carrier up a little, and offering the bottle.

  • Practice at home first, in front of a mirror.

  • Latch baby/ begin nursing before baby is starving/ upset.  It will help prevent the frantic, noisy baby cries, which will help you stay calm.

  • Washcloths, burp rags, or a hand can be used to help support the breast.

  • In general, the carrier must be loosened, and baby can be moved or “bounced” down to the breast.  Some moms also drop the waist of their carrier if it is a mei tai or SSC.

  • Some moms (particularly shorter or larger chested moms) find it is MUCH easier to get the baby into a good position by shifting the whole base of their mei tai or SSC to the opposite hip that the baby will nurse from.  This is easy to do after loosening straps if you hold the base of the carrier body and shift the entire carrier to the opposite hip.  The base of the carrier sometimes looks more like a hip carry than a front carry in this scenario.  Sometimes this really helps for shorter moms as their kids get older as well.

  • When learning, it can help to sit down, loosen carrier, latch baby, then resume activity.

  • It doesn’t matter if the breast comes to the baby’s mouth, or if mouth moves to the breast, as long as the two connect with a good latch.

  • Always be aware of the way baby looks and sounds when nursing.  A baby nursing in a carrier should sound the SAME as a baby nursing who ISN’T in a carrier.

  • ALWAYS return the baby to an upright and supported position after nursing (if nursing is in a more cradled position).  EVEN if baby has fallen asleep.

  • Always re-tighten the carrier so the baby is kissable after nursing.


Toddler nursing

Toddler nursing


“Hands free” nursing:

  • Hands free nursing is *technically* possible, but not likely with young babies.

    • A loosened carrier needs to be monitored closely to keep baby secure.

    • Young babies typically do not have adequate head, neck, and trunk control to nurse unassisted.

    • Think of it more as “one handed nursing” when they are younger.

  • Nursing in a carrier gets easier and easier as baby gets older.

  • It’s a truly great option with toddlers.

    • Children eventually get enough control and awareness to “take over”.

    • Older children often hold the breast themselves, and require no adjustment or assistance other than a little loosening of the carrier.

R. nurses to sleep


Clothing choices:

  • Baby carriers sometimes shift clothing, or make adjusting clothes for nursing a bit more tricky.

  • Consider whether you will pull down your shirt, or pull up your shirt (or open a little slot).

  • Two layers offer discretion and comfort for buckles and straps.  Two layers also help for buckles and mei tais, one layer can stay under the waist band/ buckle or strap, one layer can sit over it for additional discretion (or to hide any spots you might be less comfortable with).


YOUR turn!

If you are a nursing mom, and haven’t ever tried to nurse in a carrier before, now is a great time to try!  Or if you’re a bottle feeding mom, give it a go as well!  We’d love to hear how it works for you.  Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

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

Breaking in a woven wrap

There has been lots of discussion lately on how to “break in” a new woven wrap. When you buy a woven brand new, it can come feeling pretty stiff and not to soft. To get it to where it’s soft, floppy and moldable, there’s a couple of things that you can do that will help the process of “breaking in”
When you first get it you’ll want to wash it (please follow the washing instructions for the type of fabric you have)
You’ll also want to dry it, depending on the fabric you may be able to put it in the dryer on low heat. Tossing a few tennis balls in or even shoes inside of socks work as dryer balls. This will help beat in the fabric while it’s drying.
After it’s dry, I like to steam iron my wraps. Again this will help soften your wrap up.
Last but definitely not least, you’ll want to either braid, knot it or use this little trick that a wonderful mama from the babywearer.com does. I especially like using this technique as I feel that it speeds up the process tremendously. I’ve broken in several very stiff wovens this way. Enjoy her video!

Mundelein’s February Meeting

Mundelein’s morning meeting was alot of fun!  We had alot of new moms with us as well as older members of our group. 

Two of our members: Alisa on the left wearing her son Dominic in a Natibaby Fairytales. And Cassia on the right wearing her daughter Vida in a Natibaby Organic Ecru

We went over the various types of carriers that are used. There are 5 main types of carriers mei tais, ring slings, wraps, pouches and SSCs (soft structured carrier). Within all of these categories are many different brands and types.

Ring Slings: a piece of fabric with rings sewn on one end. Primarily worn on front or side/hip. Can be used for a nursing cover or blanket. Can be worn from newborn on up through toddlerhood.
Popular brands: Sakura Bloom, Maya Wrap, Sleeping Baby Production

Pouch: a sized tube of fabric. Primarily worn on front or side/hip. Daddy friendly, no fuss, quick and easy, small for diaper bag. These need to be sized, so most likely will need two different ones to fit mom and dad.
Popular brands: Hotsling, Peanut Shell

Mei Tai: rectangular body with two pairs of straps to tie; one for the waist and another over the shoulders
can be worn front, back or side/hip.
Popular brands: Catbird Baby, Kozy, Babyhawk, Freehand

Soft Structured Carrier (SSC): like a mei tai but with buckle style straps. Can be worn front, back and side/hip. Low learning curve
daddy friendly, no fuss, quick and easy
Popular brands: Ergo, Pikkolo, Action Baby Carrier, Beco, Olives & Applesauce

Wraps: a simple piece of cloth that wraps around the wearer to hold the baby. Worn in several carries in front, back and hip. This type has the highest learning curve but is the most versatile.
There are 2 types of wraps; stretchy(4 way stretch) and woven(diagonal give, most supportive)
Popular stretchy brands: Sleepywrap, Anaju and the Moby
Popular woven brands: Didymos, Natibaby, Ellevill, Storchenwiege

 Another very useful website is www.thebabywearer.com. It  can be like information overload at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to navigate.