Saturday, August 31, 2013

Babywearing Institute - Houston TX

After a couple months of intense fundraising, including multiple days of holding a group garage sale in hundred degree weather, we finally got our pay off.  In mid-august, Ashley, C.j. and I all went down to Houston to take a 4 day Babywearing Institute class.
Our instructor, Angelique, was awesome.  We spent four somewhat long and intense days in a room full of 8 women and a varying number of babies/little ones (in august.  in Houston) but all for the love of babywearing.  And it was totally worth it.  

The first two days covered basics but it wasn't just how to wear or even just how to teach a basic carry.  We delved in to so much more than that.  We also broke up in to pairs and worked on not just mastering particular carries, but also teaching them.  

The second two days we covered a number of advanced topics, from back wearing to special needs.  We learned a lot from our instructor but also from our classmates.  We talked about physical development milestones and what is actually happening inside a baby's body and how the ways we babywear can affect that.  

Now that the three of us have completed the classes we are classified as Babywearing Institute Scholars Beginning & Advanced.  As soon as we each complete and pass our exams we will move up to Certified Babywearing Educators.

Because I cannot find my camera cord, I can't share all the "real" pictures I took, but here are a few of cell phone selfies.  :-)
Ashley and I both traveled to Houston without our little ones so we used these fantastic weighted dolls we made.  I must say, I wish I had made a weighted doll sooner!  Despite being slightly more difficult than an live child, which really just makes you work that much harder and get that much better, they are perfect for practicing with.  I really felt like I was able to try everything without worrying about if the baby was tired of being messed with and I was able to practice things multiple times.  Most of the time a live child will get irritated with that.

Occasionally we borrowed a real baby for a bit.  If you are in BWATulsa you may recognize this particular squish.  She even took a sweet nap on me for a bit.
We did everything from your basic Front Wrap Cross Carry to the Wiggle Proof back carry to ring slings, as show here.  We used long wraps and short wraps.  In fact, I personally have a new found love for shorty wraps because of a few carries we tried, one I am going to have to explore in more detail at some point.  
This was our little group, just the right size.  As you can tell, there might also have been some bonding and silliness between lessons.  

Somer Johnson is a Babywearing enthusiast and Momma to E, a bundle of energy.  She is also addicted to cloth diapers and makes and sells wool dryer balls as SomerKnits.  Occasionally she also carves out some time to knit, spin or weave her main pre-baby passions.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tandem Wearing: Saving a Mama’s Sanity, One Shopping Trip at a Time

So there I was… doesn’t every good story start that way?  

So there I was, in the parking lot of Sam’s Club. I carry my Moby Wrap, Babyhawk Mei Tai, and Boba with me everywhere I go. I normally carry my newborn in my Moby and my husband carries our two year old in the Boba. However, today, I was by myself.

Then came my bright idea! Tandem carry!!! I had seen it done multiple times, so I figured, “Lets do this!” Tandem wearing is something that I had considered and dismissed in the past. Now, I had a newborn, a two year old, a 3 (almost four) year old, and a five year old and I needed to buy groceries. My oldest is 13 and he is normally my minion wrangler/chaser when I go shopping, except he was at Tae Kwon Do summer camp this week.

I wrapped my newborn first in my Moby wrap. Then, I tied the Mei Tai around my waist, slung my two-year-old up onto my back, and tied him on.

It was surprisingly comfortable and everyone seemed secure. I put the older two in the cart seat. Success!!! Everyone was contained and safely so!

I received the usual comments about having my hands full, but I also received a ton of comments about how genius it was that I could carry two of my babies at once and still have my hands free to do my shopping.

What could have been a stressful, chaotic shopping trip turned into a peaceful trip where I was able to educate a few people on baby wearing! A very pregnant mama even asked me specifically about the Moby Wrap and if I liked it. She had received one as a gift at her baby shower.

My lower back was pretty sore, but I believe that is directly related to the fact that I gave birth only one month before.

 All in all, it was a great experience and I am looking forward to tandem wearing more often!
Danielle is a SAHM to five sons! She spends her time refereeing wrestling matches, walking around in a zombie-esque state, cloth diapering, and homeschooling, and she wouldn't change a thing!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Baby Wearing Saved Harvest: A story of music, mud, mountians and baby wearing

      Fall is on the way and along with my favorite season comes my favorite music festival. Every year we travel to the Mulberry Mountains of Arkansas for Harvest festival. Harvest festival is put on by the fabulous Yonder Mountain String Band. This festival has great people, weather, scenery and best of all, some of the sweetest bluegrass music out there.

       Imagine this.....Seventy five degrees during the day, and cold enough at night to bundle up in your tent to keep warm (did I mention this is a camping music festival)? Okay, keep imagining….Family friendly folks, music all day and night, people sharing, smiling, and dancing.  Awesome right? Now picture this......a torrential rainstorm, so bad that the venue instructs you to take cover in your car and not to remain in your tent.

            We watched from the safety of my mom’s camper van as improperly secured tents literally blew away. Not only did it rain all night, it rained the next day, all day.  By the time the rain stopped and we were able to get back outside, the musical mountain became a muddy mess.

       Thanks goodness for baby wearing! We were prepared with rain boots but the walk from the campsites to the venue was lengthy and completely covered in mud, sometimes ankle deep.  We had recently purchased a toddler Kinderpack for my forty pound three year old.  My eleven month old rode in a standard Kinderpack.  

       We were able to make it through all the mud to the music with our babies on our back. I’m not sure what we would have done without our carriers.  Luckily we were able to salvage this messy situation and enjoy our favorite festival with our kids.  This is how Baby wearing saved Harvest.

  -- Kim Williams-Harris

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Do You Do While Wearing?

We are all aware the hands free aspect of baby wearing has SO many benefits to keeping Mom (or Dad) sane and productive. From personal experience here is a brief compilation of all the amazing things that can be done while wearing your baby:

1.       Easily and discreetly nurse a very hungry, grumpy baby in public

2.      Use a public restroom without your toddler rolling around on the slightly damp, toilet paper strewn tile floor

3.      Drink AN adult beverage (AN as in ONE – not promoting any baby wearing binges here, but Mama needs a margarita on occasion!) **

4.       Take your scruffy Chewabacca lookalike dog to get their nails trimmed

5.       Take a long walk on the beach to see who can find the largest seashell

6.       Shovel chocolate laden, hot fudge dripping frozen yogurt into your face

7.       Discover you indeed do have carpets underneath that ocean of toys and vacuum it (success!)

8.       Get your boogie on at the Yonder Mountain String Band Harvest Music Festival (with ear plugs for baby of course!)

9.       Conquer Turkey Mountain and hike to the top of Sparrow Hawk Cliff


10.   Oogle your very attractive husband as he prepares you an anniversary dinner while babywearing…..oh wait, I wasn’t the one babywearing….

What do you do while wearing your baby????

Heather Langley is an avid babywearer and proud mom to Rex, age 19 months. She is a Babywearing Around Tulsa administrator and Employment Specialist at Family & Children's Services Women in Recovery program. Heather enjoys spreading the babywearing love, music, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. 

**Opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BWATulsa.  BWATulsa is not advocating drinking while babywearing.  Discretion and care should always be taken while engaging in babywearing.  Only you can judge what is safe for you and your baby.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mighty Morphin' Power... Babywearers!

Mighty Morphin' Power... Babywearers!

My almost 3 year old son pretending to be a Power Ranger!

As I'm watching my two year old pretend to be a power ranger, I'm reminded that in a young child's eye there is no right or wrong.  As he runs through the house screaming "Power Ranger" and pressing his "morpher" on his left wrist while watching the original series of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (who use morpher cards that they hold up and call out their zord names to morph), I can clearly see that he's "morphing" using a newer series technique.  To him though he's doing it correctly.  The above pictures are my son using his vacuum sword to protect his sister from the evil popcorn monster! 

As parents we desperately only want to do right by our kids.  In babywearing we hear so many different terms and some of them can make us feel inadequate or even judged.  Babywearing Around Tulsa's mission is to spread the love of babywearing.  As leaders we are here to help answer your questions, help you locate the carrier best for you, help you troubleshoot, etc; we are not here to judge you.  We are however human and sometimes we do not come across as the way we intend. 

So I'd like to explain some of the terminology that we use.

Safe versus Ideal: These two terms are very different but can be easily confused.  A Safe carrier is one that holds baby close to the wearer, hands free, without the child falling or suffocating.  An Ideal carrier is one that upholds the properties that place baby in a seated position, knees level or above bum, and upright.  A safe carrier is any carrier that has passed testing, has not been recalled and is used according to manufacturers' instructions.  Even an ideal carrier can become unsafe if not used properly, though a safe carrier is not always an ideal carrier.  Earlier today I was kissing on the baby and my son wanted to join.  Though his kisses were safe and not rough but gentle, slow kisses on the cheeks, they were not ideal.  Why you ask?  Because they were a slobbery, wet mess, but they still made the baby smile.  The same applies with babywearing; is your baby happy?

        Properties of an Ideal carrier:

·        Upright position

·        Front/Forward facing in (baby facing wearer)

·        Fabric knee to knee

·        Knees level or above bum

·        Baby's spine supported

·        Baby's legs supported

·        For newborns, baby's head supported

        Things that make a carrier unsafe:

·        Using a carrier past the manufacturer's recommended weight range

·        Not properly buckling the carrier

·        Back carrying prior to the recommended age/weight range (wait I was told by an admin that it was safe.....I'll get into this a bit further down)

·        Not using the extra support that is provided with the carrier (For example, not using the K'tan sash when the hold states the sash should be used)

·        A hold or carrier that places their chin on their chest (this possess a suffocation risk)

·        Using a carrier that has ripped seams, broken threads, etc

Photos like above circulate Facebook frequently among babywearers.  Though they do show the difference in non-ideal and ideal carriers, they also contain jargon and negative words that can be very off-putting for some.  As an experienced babywearer I know I don't always get things perfect (too much tension on rails, popped seat, shifted therefore not knee to knee, etc) and I know I get defensive if someone just tells me that I'm doing something wrong.  I personally prefer to hear "he's not quite knee to knee" instead of that's bad.  Most that I've talked to feel the same way. 

This leads to the next terms that are used very frequently, Recommended and Not Recommended.  I try my best as a leader to stay current in the recommendations that are put out by the babywearing schools.  So far these have not changed much since I've been babywearing.  With that being said, all their fundamentals are the same.  A carried baby is a happy baby.  All schools only recommend carriers that are safe, but not all of them only recommend ideal carriers.  In my personal opinion, there are levels of ideal babywearing and when we know better, we try to do better.  With this being said, when we state that something is not recommended or that this way is recommended it does NOT mean you are wearing wrong, just that another way is researched as better.  For example, back carries in any carrier are not recommended until six months old or the baby can sit unassisted.  If you'd like to see the research for any recommendation, feel free to ask.  I'd be more than happy to share with you.  So does that mean just because something is recommended that you MUST do it that way.  Absolutely NOT.  By all means you are the parent and you know your child the best. 

Spreading the Babywearing Love and Carrying All the Babies!

C.J. North is a babywearing activist who is a certified elementary teacher, but stays home with her three kids; 6yo stepson, 2.5yo son, and 5mo daughter.  C.J. has a love for cloth diapers and is crunchier than she ever thought she would be.  She also manages the allergy and special needs of her family, while being overly addicted to research.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Papa Bear and His Cub

When my son was first born i got into all kinds of baby groups and even started one of my own. Close friends of mine had been wearing their babies since they had been born, and while I might not be yelling for folks to nominate me for father of the year by any stretch, I figured that i have to do everything in my power to educate myself on the subject of childrearing. A part of that education was babywearing. Now being a first time father (and being 6'1" 235lbs), holding my tiny little 7 pound baby boy was nerve-wracking to say the least. Priding myself on being a manly man, as most men do, the thought of baby wearing was a little intimidating. I purchased a moby wrap (in black of course, to be as manly as possible) and following the instructions to the letter, led me to feel like I had a tangled hammock around me with a screaming infant inside. It took a trip to my friend and babywearing expert Kim Harris's house to show me the ropes enough to kinda get the feel for it. After she helped me get the wrap around me and Jase in the wrap, it was wonderful... Jase fell asleep and I was hands free to basically go and do.

Now my wife and I don't exactly have millions in the bank so obviously most of our cash goes to bills and groceries like most everyone I know, so I couldnt exactly go out and purchase a $300 wrap, but the moby I found to be inexpensive but still rather difficult to master the wrap, and having 40,000 feet of dangling fabric in a hot parking lot didn't seem all that inviting. So in doing a  lot of research (and a lot of talking with Kim) I went to Buy Buy Baby to shop for me a wrap that was comfy for Jase and me (remember I'm a Husky.... yeah thats a good adjective.... husky... we will go with that...guy)  that would look some semblance of manly that didn't break the bank. Luckily for me my wife had a really good coupon and I was able to procure an Infantino Mei Tai wrap that had padded shoulders and was easy to tie by myself and even easier to tie when my wife helps me... I figure that she carried him for 9 months and couldn't take him off like I can, so the least I can do is wear him throughout a trip to Walmart, Barnes and Noble or the Aquarium or the zoo...also it had a gray and white vine-like design that wasnt girly but wasnt exactly Rambo either.

The day I purchased this wrap I wore it (and my son) out of the store like a new pair of shoes...We went across the street to check out a different clothing selection for our little bundle, and whilst perusing the super cute (and manly) overalls for 3 month olds, a lady came out of her way to ask me where I had purchased my wrap and if I liked it. I commenced to telling her all about it like a new preacher eager to make his mark on the congregation. She seemed enthused because her husband had wanted to wear their little one but found the paisley prints a little too girly. I didn't blame him. I mean c'mon people.. what happened to unisex colors... I like gray, my wife likes gray, lets make a deal..anyways later on in the day we had shifted stores and were checking out the $5 movie bin at Walmart looking for the elusive, awesome $5 dvd, and a guy (roughly 40) walks by me (while I am complete with mai tai and son) and exclaims "Boy you're really taking one for the team!" Now if any of you reading this know me very well, you know how it took every ounce of self control to keep from either reaching out to grab him or saying something really nasty aloud for all the store to hear... but I didnt.. and I used that little filter between my brain and my mouth that sometimes is all too elusive. I thought to myself "well if bonding and being there for my son isn't manly then i guess I'm not manly."  But, honestly, I think that it is... if you think about it there aren't that many guys out there with the cajones enough to wrap their little one up on their chest and charge into a grocery store like a stormtrooper. Alas, I am now one of those men. And truly I think being a good father is one of the manliest things you can do.

I continue to wear my little Tater Bug right out in front, like a kangaroo, proudly displaying my love for my infant son. I'm super proud of him and he's the greatest accomplishment of my lifetime easily. My wife is now expressing interest in wearing him (but isn't confident enough in it yet to try putting him on at the front door of target like I will).  I figure with a few practice sessions at home, it will be a fight to see who gets to wear him!

I think fathers might (consciously or unconsciously) feel a bit left out if your wife is breastfeeding, that you aren't as big of a part of the baby's life as you should be... not true. I mean I'm no Dear Abby nor will I get a 900 number and give advice.. but in my opinion if husbands/fathers wear their baby, take turns feeding (breastfeeding with pumped bottles or with formula bottles) changing diapers giving baths, etc.. just being there a lot for playtime and for work time, your bond will grow with your baby leaps and bounds.. a bit of advice for fathers who are wearing or thinking about wearing your baby.. If anyone says anything in a negative way towards you wearing your little one, just know that they are the ignorant one.  Very, very ignorant. And if they had parked their all too important pride when their kids were young, then perhaps that child would act a little differently. And to all those who might see babywearers out in public, No... my baby isnt squished, and Yes, he can, in fact, breathe just fine, No he isnt heavy, nor is he too hot, and yes he is cute... I should know... I helped make him and I must say, I'm a craftsman. :) (he looks like his mother thank god).

My next stop...Coconut oil.... I hear that this stuff cures everything from psoriasis to low resale value on your home... I'm gonna have to check in to this.

-- Big Jake

Join Jake and others in his Facebook parenting group Parents of Great Kids.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Babywearing Around Tulsa in the News!

A couple months ago TulsaKids magazine did a story about hip moms that prominently featured a mom wearing a forward facing carrier. As soon at the magazine hit the shelves Babywearing Around Tulsa (BWAT) members questioned the carrier choice. Our very own Somer Johnson (BWAT Instructor) contacted TulsaKids magazine about the article and suggested doing a story about ideal carriers and babywearing.

In the August issue of TulsaKids magazine Kiley Roberson did the article, “look mom, no hands!” Roberson begins by talking about the practical aspect of babywearing, the theory behind attachment parenting, and how the carriers seem to come in all shapes and sizes before segueing into talking about the group. 

“Babywearing Around Tulsa is a local parenting group that meets once a month to explore new babywearing products and teach others about the benefits carriers offer. The group also promotes ideal and safe babywearing through education and community outreach such as their lending library…” – Kiley Roberson

Somer described babywearing as, ”...flexible and versatile. There really is something for everyone and we love to help others find their best fit.”

Tulsa’s top 5 favorite carriers picks are also listed in the article as well as a short description, which included the Kinderpack, Ring Slings, Woven Wraps, Mei Tais, & Boba Wraps.

Robertson then talks about babywearing safety and says that BWAT emphasizes safety. Somer had this to say on the subject, “Remember to avoid any narrow-based carriers that put all the weight between the baby’s legs. This means that there is pressure on the baby’s spine. An ergonomically correct will hold baby in a seated position with knees at or above the level of the baby’s bum.”

The article is concluded with information about BWAT’s meeting and how to find the group.

To read the article online in its entirety visit:


Ashley Ritchie is a lover of all things babywearing and 
mom to Avery. When she is not obsessing about 
babywearing she is the owner / WAHM of 
Tulsa Teethers & More LLC, 
where she makes and sells Baltic Amber,
chomp teething & babywearing necklaces, 
& wrap scrap jewelry.