Thursday, July 10, 2014

Budget Conscious Babywearing

Budget Conscious Babywearing
Guest Blog Post By: Erin Carpenter

As a newcomer to the babywearing world, the sticker shock of various woven wraps 
and carriers can leave you wondering if this is even feasible for your family, or if 
this is a practice for the wealthy and privileged. I was a first time mom without the 
financial means or support at home to afford what I thought was the “necessary” 
carrier, an Ergo. Unaware and uneducated about my options, I fell prey to the allure 
of a counterfeit carrier, with its lower price point. You don’t have to make the same 
mistake as I did, and you don’t have to sacrifice safety in order to wear your baby.

Donated Carriers
There are several specialty non-profit organizations that will donate a carrier to 
you, based upon family circumstances.

The Carrying On Project – Carriers for military families, who cannot otherwise 
afford a carrier.
Ruckabye Baby – Carriers for wounded warriors or Gold Star families with a child 
under the age of two.
3.21 Carry – Carriers for families whose child/children have Down syndrome or 
other disabilities.
Lift Me Up Babywearing – Carriers for families whose child/children have 
developmental disabilities, and who don’t otherwise own a carrier.

DIY Carriers
Handy with a sewing machine, or have someone available to help you? Our own 
VBE Natalie has made a number of her own carriers, with patterns and materials 
that are readily available. There are DIY forums on, with tons 
of online patterns and instructions to help you make anything from a tablecloth ring 
sling, an Asian baby carrier (mei tai, podaegi, onbuhimo, etc.), even a soft structured 
carrier! Osnaburg is a popular fabric used for DIY wraps, running as low as $3.89/
yd online and it can be dyed for a personalized touch.

Low Cost Carriers 
Little did I know when I first started out, there are safe and time-tested carriers 
out there that are low cost! The Infantino Sash Mei Tai can be purchased for less 
than $25 at your local big box store. There is a "Babywearing on a Budget" group on 
Facebook where users can buy, sell, and trade carriers under $100 – you might even be in 
the right place at the right time and score a much pricier carrier for a steal! Local 
resale groups and Craigslist are also good options for looking for a budget carrier. 

I regularly see stretchy wraps for sale. Use caution when purchasing a carrier 
through the last though, as counterfeit items will show up. When in doubt, get a 
second opinion from a VBE or an experienced babywearer. Have a non-ergonomic, 
narrow based carrier? There is a scarf trick to make the seat more comfortable for you and babyYou can use a scarf to make a wider seat for them! 

Lending Library
Not sure about what carrier you’d like to use with your baby, and cautious about 
how you’re spending that limited budget? Consider membership into our BWI 
group! For the cost of $30 a year, you’ll have the ability to check out one carrier a 
month from our Lending Library! You’ll have access to wraps of various sizes, ring 
slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers, as well as pouch slings, that can grow with 
you and your baby. It’s a great option to explore what works best for you and your 
family, while still being mindful of your dollars.

Babywearing is not a privilege for some, it’s a benefit for all, and can be done on any 
budget! It’s not the carrier that matters, it’s the carrying that counts. Let BWICOS 
help you wear your baby, whether your budget is $20 or $200!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July Meeting at East Library

It was so good to see so many new faces at East Library for our July Meeting! Thanks to all who attended. 

We talked a lot about hot weather babywearing and steps you can take to make sure you and baby stay cool. Using carriers that only have one layer like Ringslings or Soft Structured Carriers are really helpful. And if you're using your woven wrap, using carries with single layer passes ensure that baby will be cooler. 

We also discussed cooling towels that you can buy to place between you and baby to help regulate both your body temperatures while wearing. 'Frog Toggs' is a great brand of cooling towel for not a lot of cost. 

Also demonstrated at this meeting was a Torso Carry (also called a Kanga Carry) using a beach towel. If you're at the pool with the kids and you forget your carrier, never fear! You can turn your beach towel into a quick carrier with a few steps. If you've never attempted a back carry, make sure you are comfortable wearing your baby first. Then practice back carrying over a soft surface (like a couch or bed, etc.) and use another person to help spot, if you can. Baby should also be able to sit unassisted while using a back carry. 

If you joined Babywearing International at this meeting, welcome and thank you! Your annual dues of $30 help us expand our library, train our Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) and help us print materials to get the word out for babywearing! If you haven't yet joined, join here today! $30 also allows you to checkout one carrier from our lending library every month for the year that you've paid dues. A great deal if you're in the market for a new carrier but aren't ready to commit before trying one. BWI membership is also a great gift to someone you know that might be expecting!

Here's some great action shots from the meeting:

Our lending library!

Erin C. tries out a Mei Tai from the lending library.

One of our VBE's, Natalie C. assists an attendee with a back carry.

This sweet little girl is happily wrapped on her mama. 

Erin C. shows off one of her famous sling ring carries!

This cute little guy is comfy in a beach towel torso carry, as demonstrated at our meeting. 

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next meeting, taking place at Cloth Diaper Market on Saturday, July 19th, at 10am. See you all there!

Where we Wore in June

BWI, Colorado Springs! Here's Where We Wore in June!

Lauren B.'s husband wears their son in an Ergo Sport while at the Denver Aquarium.

Amanda J. and her sweet little girl while at MommyCon in a Beco Soleil.

Amanda J. enjoying MommyCon to the fullest while using her Beco Butterfly II.

Erin C. shows off one of her carries from her 30 day Sling Ring Challenge while at MommyCon!

Nicole R. snuggles her sleepy little guy while using her gorgeous ringsling. 

Nicole R. holds her sleepy toddler close in a woven wrap. 

Sarah L. and her baby boy enjoy the Iris Garden demonstrations at East Library.