Today kicks off our International Babywearing Week celebration!  For Make It Monday, we encouraged local babywearers to post pictures of DIY carriers that they made, or someone made for them.  Here’s a little peek at a few crafty ring slings, mei tais, and even a kanga in action:


Here are a few non-action shots of homemade mei tais:

If you’re crafty and want to try your hand at making your own carrier, here are a few great links to help you out:
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Ring Slings-
Shoulder styles directory
Overlapping pleated shoulder
Gathered shoulder
Hybrid pattern
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If you need rings for your sling, please do not use craft rings.  We recommend high quality nylon or aluminum rings that have been tested to ensure your child’s safety.  The great news is, SlingRings is local to us and Rochelle (owner) is a VBE for our group!
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Mei Tais-
Basic Mei Tai
Faux BBO
Man Tai
FrankenKozy
There’s a pattern available at Sew Liberated.
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Check out this page by the fabulous Jan Andrew of Sleeping Baby Productions for more tutorials and important information about making your own carrier.  We also recommend registering at TheBabyWearer.com (it’s free) and perusing the Do It Yourself area for more information, details, and inspiration.
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If you’re not crafty, don’t despair…you can easily make a no sew ring sling with a pair of SlingRings.
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Happy Carrier Making!
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Here are the vendors that will be at Midwives Rising for our Main Event on October 15th from 10 am-1 pm:

Inspired by Finn

Barefoot Books Phoenix

Laura Darr-Go, Baby, Go! Independent Consultant

Wee Design

Jamie’s Usborne Books & More

Giving Hands Doula Services

Birth & Earth

Scentsy by Renee Lorch

Arizona Birth Network

TaylorMade Slings

Henna by Shireen

A Sister’s Love Birth Services

Urban Life Photography

31 Gifts with Amanda McMahon

Please show your support by visiting their pages and checking out what they have to offer.  Many will be selling items at The Main Event so bring your checkbook, cash, or credit cards.

International Babywearing Week is coming up, and our group has a bunch of fun events planned to bring together babywearers around the valley and hopefully recruit a few new babywearers!  Our care packet from Babywearing International has been received, and in it were two fabulous new carriers for our lending library from Wrapsody and Scootababy (you’ll be seeing more of those after our photo shoot)!

Here’s a few pointers to get you ready to celebrate with Babywearing International of Phoenix:

1.  Watch this public service announcement.

2.  Join our Facebook page to enter fun contests, learn more about the events for IBW, and to find out about our meetings around the valley.

3.  Take a moment to review the awards and nominate any group or individual as you see fit.

4.  Check out all of the details of our celebration below as we follow the suggested event ideas from Babywearing International.

5.  JOIN US FOR SOME BABYWEARING!

Make it Monday–DIYers are encouraged to post photos of their creations on our Facebook page.  Each person who posts their DIY carrier picture will be entered in a contest to win a Mei Tai Baby Carrier pattern from Sew Liberated.  Our blog post from that day will feature links to our favorite DIY patterns as well as the pictures posted on our Facebook page.

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Take it Tuesday–Individuals are encouraged to take info on our local group to organizations and business that advocate babywearing–OB offices, MW offices, Ped. offices, childrens’ boutiques, mom groups, etc.  Each person who snaps a picture of themselves hanging, leaving, handing out, or otherwise distributing flyers and posts it on our Facebook page will be entered in a contest to win a $15 Starbucks gift certificate.  The file is for 2 flyers on a full page: bwiphalfpage.  There is also a sheet about our Main Event on Saturday if you’d like to distribute a few of those as well: ibw flyer for blip revised.
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Walking Wednesday–We are planning a baby wearing flash mob for Walking Wednesday, actually making it Dancing Wednesday in Phoenix!  Practice this choreography if you plan to join us!
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Teach it Thursday–Our blog will feature links and instructions for using different types of carriers as presented by some of our local baby wearing rockstars.
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Photo Friday–We will be meeting at a lovely local garden area to take pictures of parents and babies in a variety of carriers, both personally owned, and in our library.  These will be precious keepsakes and also provide pictures to use on our blog in the future.  Bring a lunch and a blanket…it’s the perfect place for a picnic!
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Shout it Saturday–We will be hosting a big event–The Main Event–at Midwives Rising from 10 am-1 pm.  Local vendors will have booths with a variety of goodies for expectant and new parents.  Bring your cash, checks, or credit cards to purchase the fun items they will be displaying.  Raffle tickets will be available with a plethora of great prizes for the whole family.  Local mamas will be sharing their baked goods to raise money for our group.  We will provide snacks, water, and prizes and games for older children.  We encourage you to bring a meal for your family and a blanket to pull up a piece of land and enjoy the festivities.  There is also a small park across the street for the children to play and a variety of restaurants nearby if you need to pick up additional food.  Everyone is invited!  I’m not sure if we’ll be shouting, but we’ll sure be having a ton of fun!
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Cyber Sunday–We will be reviewing our fun week here on our blog.  We hope you’ll join us during our first ever local celebration of International Babywearing Week!
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Stay tuned tomorrow as we share a glimpse of the vendors that will be present at our Main Event!  Later in the week we’ll share some of the additional generous donations by other local businesses and individuals that will be included in our raffle.

Please introduce yourself and your family.

I’m Susan, a VBE for Babywearing International of Phoenix, leader of the Phoenix Earth Scouts, and a member of the Board of Directors for Babywearing International.  My husband Andrew and I have four sons: Atticus (8.5); Creeley (5.5); Townsyn (3.5); and Dempsey (7 months).  I homeschool our boys, and contribute to blogs related to babywearing, homeschooling, and cloth diapering. In my free time I love to knit, read, and sew.

What made you decide to wear your baby?

Our first baby was very cranky most of the time. We had nearly every baby holder on the market, and I did all of the things I thought society wanted me to do…hold my baby, feed my baby, change my baby, put my baby down. Except my baby then cried. So I held and walked around with him…all.day.long.  I followed my instincts, and decided that my baby needed to be close to me, feel my touch, nurse on demand, listen to my heartbeat, and smell my scent. I found that wearing him in a carrier was much easier than carrying him in my arms all day, and I could actually get things done. And so my journey began…

What was the first carrier you tried?  Did you like it?

Our first carrier was a Baby Bjorn we received as a gift. I liked it for the first few weeks, mainly because it was the only way to keep my son happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it particularly comfortable, and my back began to ache when he reached twelve pounds. My husband’s boss at the time suggested we head to a local breastfeeding store to check out the sling he and his wife purchased. We headed to the store and I picked out an Over The Shoulder Baby Holder. Immediately after getting it home, I decided I couldn’t deal with the padding, so I headed back and exchanged it for a Maya Wrap. Then I was hooked.

What other carriers have you tried?

I have tried every type (not brand) of carrier out there. I’ve found that ring slings and wraps are what I tend to use the most. I’m not a huge fan of soft-structured carriers, and although I love the look of Mei Tais, I don’t love the straps.

What is your favorite type of carrier?

If someone held a gun to my head and made me pick one, I’d choose a long wrap. I really do think they are the most versatile carrier out there, and I love them from the newborn years straight through toddlerhood. I have very big, heavy children, so I specifically love my wraps to be workhorses.  For this reason, my absolute favorite carriers are Didymos stripe weaves in a size 6.

That being said, I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with my Sakura Bloom Essentail Linen ring sling. Since I received one in June, I have only worn my wraps a handful of times. It is extremely comfortable, supportive, and cool in the oppressive desert heat.  I also love ringslings by Psling, TaylorMade, UpMama, and Sleeping Baby.  I love others as well, but they have mostly gone out of business.

Do you have an absolute favorite carrier or any you plan to pass on to your children?

My three oldest kids each have a Didymos size 6 that is their “legacy” wrap. For the geeks out there: Atticus is getting Martin; Creeley is getting Simon; and Townsyn is getting Aare. I haven’t picked one out for Dempsey yet. I’m really hoping for a new stripe pattern this fall, and I even made color suggestions to Didymos. I also have a size 6 Havana Indio that I plan to keep around for grandma-wrapping.

What is your favorite carry?

There is nothing like a newborn in a pocket wrap cross carry or an infant in a front wrap cross carry. ❤  For brand new babies, I adore stretchy wraps.  My absolute favorite are by Wrapsody (GypsyMama).

What is your favorite thing about babywearing?

For me, babywearing is part of my parenting style.  My babies can eat, sleep, learn, grow, and explore the world from the best place for them…right on me. I love to feel their sweet breath, hear their sweet squeaks, feel their fuzzy head, and graze their chubby cheeks with my lips.  It also allows me hands-free time with my other kids when they need my attention.  I can’t imagine parenting without babywearing!

Do you have any advice to share with other parents out there (Babywearing related or not)?

Don’t let people scare you away from wearing your baby because they think it will spoil them, keep them from becoming mobile, make them too dependent, etc. In my experience, worn babies are happy babies. They sleep better, grow better, learn to vocalize early, and hit their moving milestones on target. Babies who have their needs met actually grow to be beautifully independent children, partly due to the trust they developed for their caregiver through babywearing. Babywearing is also a lifesaver for parents of fussy babies. I’ve had quite a few of those, and I can’t imagine surviving the newborn phase without a good carrier. If you have a fussy baby, definitely work to find a carrier that you and your baby are comfortable in without hesitation. You won’t regret it!


Please introduce yourself and your family.
My name is Michelle Nordblom Hottya.  I am a doula, childbirth educator, lactation educator and board member of the Arizona Birth Network.  I am married to Alex and have three great kids, Madelyn (11 years), Elisa (8 years) and Christian (3 years).  In my free time I like to crochet hats for babies, my most popular being the BooBee Hat.
What made you decide to wear your baby?
My brother has always been a role model to me.  When he and his first wife had their daughter in 1995, I learned for the first time about the Bradley Method, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and Maya Wrap slings.  I loved her colorful, versatile sling and the way it helped her to keep my niece happy and close.
What was the first carrier you tried?  Did you like it?
My first carrier was a Fisher Price Perfect Support Carrier in 2000.  It’s similar to a Snugli, but even cheaper and more complicated.  While on maternity leave, I would take my baby for walks around the neighborhood in the carrier rather than the stroller.  She loved it!  We went everywhere in that carrier, and I got lots of questions about it.  It wasn’t very comfortable for me, and it was a bit strange to put on (first the harness snapped onto the adult, then the baby went into a separate harness, which snapped to the adult harness).  When I finally found a La Leche League group that was selling Maya Wraps for a fundraiser, I bought my first sling and never used the FP carrier again.
What other carriers have you tried?
I’ve tried a variety of carriers, including ring slings, pouches, wraps (stretch and woven), mei tais, and soft-structured carriers. I estimate that I’ve owned  30-40 carriers over the years.
What is your favorite type of carrier?
I will always come back to the ring sling.  I find it to be so easy and versatile, compatible with all different sizes of babies or toddlers and usable for front, side or back carries.  My second favorite is the SSC, of which I am fond of my Ergo.

Do you have an absolute favorite carrier or any you plan to pass on to your children?
I have a legacy carrier for each of my children:  my original blue chambray Maya Wrap for my oldest; a lilac and gold FancyBabySling for my middle; and a TaylorMade blue batik sling for my youngest.
What is your favorite carry?
Front tummy-to-tummy carry for newborns in a ring sling, or back carry in an SSC for toddlers.
What is your favorite thing about babywearing?
All I need to take my baby with me anywhere is a simple piece of cloth.  We have gone through airports, castles, museums, churches, on boats, sporting events, you name it.  Babywearing goes everywhere, and without the limitations of a bulky stroller!
Do you have any advice to share with other parents out there (Babywearing related or not)?

Practice babywearing when your baby is well-fed and sleepy.  Don’t be afraid of trial-and-error.  We all had to practice to find our preferred carries and carriers.   Give yourself and your baby a little time to get used to the carrier and then you won’t ever want to go anywhere without it!

And here’s a little preview of Michelle’s BooBee hat that I added myself because I love her work!  ~Susan

Modern Mei Tais (pronounced may tie) are based on traditional Asian carriers.  They are squares or rectangles of fabric with straps on all four corners.  They are comfortable from the newborn stage on through the toddler years and can be used for front and back carries.  They offer two-shoulder support with minimal material coverage due to the straps that tie around you.  Take a look at the versatility of this type of carrier, as modeled by the mamas and papas below.

Newborns in Mei Tais:

Custom carriers, to suit your style

Hands-free to deal with toddlers

Froggy legs inside the carrier

Baby is visible and kissable

Mama's view

Infants in Mei Tais:

Sleeping on mama

Papa wearing

Peeking out

Toddlers in Mei Tais:

Back carry with a twist under the bum-Photo copyright of Catbird Baby, Inc.

Big kid in a back carry

Backpack style straps in a back carry

Nursing in Mei Tais:

Milk!

Milk!

And more milk!

Back carries in Mei Tais:

Tied tibetan style

Sleeping infant

Sleeping newborn with froggy legs inside carrier

Infant peeking over mama's shoulder

There are many Mei Tai makers out there.  Here are the links to the instruction pages of some of them!

BabyHawk

Bamberoo

CatBird Baby

Freehand

Kindercarry

Kozy

Mei Tai Baby

Napsack

TaylorMade Mei Tai

Some people choose to make their own Mei Tais.  Detailed instructions for safe DIY carriers can be found at the following links:

Simple Asian Carrier

‘Man-Tai’

Ball Baby Overall

FrankenKozy

and even a cute little strap bag to accessorize!

Here are a few DIY Mei Tais:

You can choose your patterns and colors

Use special old fabrics

Add any special features you want

If you’d like to try a Mei Tai, come to one of our meetings!  We hope to see you soon!

By Rochelle Price
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I hear that question a lot.  My own financial interest as the owner of SlingRings.com tempts me to answer Ring Sling every time, but I do not give in to temptation!  Actually, if you were to see my own carrier collection, you would realize that my love of ring slings is only the tip of the iceberg.
Rochelle and her husband wear two of their children in ringslings
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First, I have 5 children and one on the way, and every single child has had a different opinion about which positions and carriers they prefer.  Second, those opinions, and mine as well, change with the age of the child.  Third, the carrier that I would choose for camping in the mountains and the carrier that I would choose for giving a sermon at church are not the same.  So, let’s explore some possible, “bests.”
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Best Carrier for Snuggling a Newborn All Day
I would award this prize to a wrap, specifically a soft, washable wrap, and for many if not most people, a soft stretchy wrap.  My third child was a little peanut and lived in her Moby Wrap.  I had been very careful to choose something washable as her older brother was a spitter.  My fourth child was 10 lbs at birth, and colicky in the evenings.  I wore him daily in a wool blend indio from Didymos.  Thankfully he was not a spitter!  Both wraps are very soft and comfortable, but the Didymos is more support, which was important due to his weight and the hours that I spent bouncing him (and building my quads!)
Mamas wrapping their newborns in various Didymos wraps
Newborn almost asleep snuggled inside a Didymos Indio wrap
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Best Carrier for Dashing Through the Airport
For me, my hemp MyBeiBei is the clear winner here.  I can easily put a newborn or older child on my back in a hot second and still have two hands free to pull luggage, show documentation, etc,  plus it has no hardware to alarm security.  A mei tai is a more easily available option for most parents, and provides extra waist support for heavy children, or in the case of parents with a bad back.
This mama is carrying her tiny newborn in a BabyHawk Mei Tai
This mama is carrying her heavy toddler in a Kindercarry Mei Tai
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Best Carrier for Discreetly Nursing at Church, the Library, etc.
With my body shape and impatient babies, it is definitely easiest to nurse in a ring sling.  I can loosen and tighten the sling at a moments notice to put baby in the exact right position.  I can readjust and cover everything up as I am putting myself back together with a  minimum of fuss.  I can use the extra fabric to cover any unfortunate milk spots on me or the baby.  Plus ring slings are among the easiest and least expensive carriers to make, so I can have one to match all my good “going-out” outfits, for those few places where yoga pants just won’t do.
This mama is nursing her newborn in public for the first time using a Maya Wrap ringsling for support and discretion
This newborn is happily full and snuggled in the tummy to tummy position on his mama in a TaylorMade Silk Sling
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And this is just a small sampling!  Really, there are countless, “best” options out there.  You may have to try a few before you find the perfect little collection that will best suit your baby’s personality and size and your lifestyle needs.  So, come join us at one of our monthly meetings and get started!  Before you know it you’ll be helping your neighbors find the “perfect” carrier too.