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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keeping summer safety in mind.

As we close out July it feels like a good time to revisit our theme for this month- Summer Safety!

We discuss safety during this time of year because of a few variables including heat, sun exposure, and more outdoor activities. All of these can have an impact of safety while babywearing, both for caregivers and worn children. A few absolute rules still apply:

  • Keep airways clear. You should always be able to monitor baby's breathing with ease.
  • Keep baby's chin off of the chest. Reposition as necessary.
  • Ensure a proper fit for your carrier- come to one of our monthly meetings if you need help.
Babywearing in the summer, especially here in Middle Tennessee, is going to be hot, plain and simple. You still have to get where you're going and get things done. So! How do you stay cool and safe while out and about?

  • Wear sunscreen! It helps to be extra mindful of those exposed feet and hands, especially for young babies that don't need shoes and older kids who go from arms in to arms out in a flash.
  • Mineral based sunscreen won't damage your carrier. Chemical based sunscreens may cause discoloration.
  • For wrappers, consider sticking to single layer carries to avoid overheating. A FWCC with bunched passes or a simple ruck will keep you cooler than a multi-pass carry.
  • Try out a linen ring sling or a SSC with a mesh panel- both may keep you cooler. We have several of these options in our Learning Library.
  • Monitor body temperature and don't overdress little ones. It's easy for both of you to overheat when wearing in the summer. If you notice baby feeling overly sweaty or flushed it's a good time to take a break in the shade or indoors.
  • Hydrate! We know you hear it and do it but it can't be said enough. 
We know it's hot out and everyone's cranky- cooling off in some water feels like the only solution these days. If you're going to be around water and plan on babywearing consider using a waterproof carrier. These specially designed carriers can help you have a great water wearing experience. There are a variety of styles available, we have several mesh ring slings in our Learning Library for that very purpose. Once you're ready to go cool off in your carrier of choice keep in mind a few other important safety measures.  

  • Visible and kissable still applies- front carriers or hip carries are the best way to monitor baby. Never back carry while in water.
  • No wearing baby in water higher than your waist.
  • Always be mindful of water near baby's face.
  • Water carriers are not a life vest substitute. Always put yourself and baby in a properly fitted life vest prior to any boating activities.
Getting stuff done is a huge reason why so many caregivers embrace babywearing. When you see how helpful it can be it may be tempting to think that anything goes as long as baby is secure and happy. However, we encourage you to exercise caution when it comes to certain activities. To round out hot weather wearing and water safety above, here are a few final guidelines that we hope you will consider when making plans for what you'll get done while babywearing. 
  • If you couldn't do an activity while holding a baby you shouldn't do it while babywearing. 
  • If a helmet or protective gear are required for said activity, do not babywear while doing it.
  • Lawnmowers, weedwaters, and other power tools don't mix with babywearing- a carrier provides zero protection when it comes to fumes and debris, eye protection, and ear protection.
  • Exercise caution around grills, stoves, or open flames of any kind. Curious hands are at an easy height to grab something hot.
  • Avoid running and other high impact activities while babywearing as these motions could negatively impact a worn baby's head, neck, and spine. 
  • Never use a carrier in lieu of a car seat or life vest.
We strive to see our community embrace babywearing in all seasons. Our VBEs are available to help you safely make the most of your babywearing journey. If you have a question, comment, or concern, don't hesitate to reach out to us here or on Facebook

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Thinking about attending a meeting?

We love seeing new and familiar faces at our monthly meetings. Attending one is fantastic way to learn a new parenting skills, make friends, get out of the house when you have a newborn... the list goes on and on. If you have never attended a meeting you probably have questions. Below are a few we are asked frequently.

"What happens at a meeting?"

Meetings are led by Volunteer Babywearing Educators. VBEs usually have a shirt or headband that designates them as educators amongst the crowd. There will be a sign in sheet that attendees are asked to sign. We bring the learning library with us to meetings which has carriers that all are welcome to try on and get help using. We can also help you with your personal carriers.

Check ins of library carriers will occur at the beginning of the meeting and towards the end we will handle member check outs from our learning library as well as membership paperwork. We like to do library carrier returns before the meeting is in full swing. If you have a library carrier to return you're welcome to bring it up to a VBE who will get it checked in for you. By checking in carriers first thing this ensures that people can try on a variety of carriers and also frees up our time to focus on teaching. Once the check ins and sign ins are complete we start with introductions from the VBEs and any VBE in training. We will talk about Babywearing International, the benefits of membership, and we might talk about a certain theme for the month such as summer safety or ring slings.

After introductions we break into smaller groups. Often we divide up based on carrier preference so you can go to the group that interest you or pertains to the personal carrier you brought with you. If we have a lot of folks who are new to babywearing we may have a 101 group for demonstrating carrier options and safety while babywearing. Questions are welcome at any point during the meeting and we do our best to work one on one with each individual or couple.

"When and where are meetings held?"

Meetings are held in both Nashville and Murfreesboro. Nashville has meetings on the first Tuesday of the month, the second Monday of the month, and the first Saturday of even numbered months. Murfreesboro holds meetings on the third Thursday of the month. Locations change but in Nashville meetings are typically held at McCabe Community Center and Blooma Yoga in West Nashville. Mursfreesboro usually holds meetings at the Salem UMC in Rockvale. AM meetings run from about 10-noon and PM meetings from 7:30-9:30. You can subscribe to receive event notifications from our main page here. If you're in our chatter group you can check the events tab as well.

"Do I have to wear my baby to the meeting?"

Nope! Some people will be babywearing, some will have strollers, some will have older kids who prefer to walk... we are especially sensitive to the fact that we all started somewhere and consider meetings to be a judgment free zone.

"Can I bring my older kids to the meeting?"

Yes! Kids of all ages are welcome. Their supervision will be your responsibility at meetings as there is no child care available. Older kids do usually have a good time playing together while you try on carriers and chat.

"Can I come to a meeting if I don't have kids or am pregnant?"

Yes. We often have people who attend meetings to learn more about babywearing before baby arrives. Additionally, grandparents and other caregivers often attend- we only ask that you have an interest in babywearing.

"Do I have to be a member to attend a meeting? Who can come to a meeting?"

You do not have to be a member to attend. Anyone who has an interest in babywearing is encouraged to attend a meeting- they are free and open to the community. If you do decide to become a member we can get you signed up in person or online in a few minutes.

You are always welcome to get in touch with us if you have a question that you don't see answered here. Reach out to BWI of Middle Tennessee on Facebook or below in the comment section.
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