A Babywearing Paint and Pour

A babywearing paint and pour – hmmmmm, a fun fundraising idea!

I wasn’t sure how this was going to go…wearing babies while painting might not be the most fun after I got thinking about it. But our local social guru Sareena explained to me that this was a mama’s afternoon out, so unless you have a nursling, leave the kids at home and enjoy connecting with some other babywearing mamas. Perfect – sometimes we all need a little motivation to take some ME time!

Plus there were treats – even some food and chocolate!

treats and food

Now I’m not a painter, unless it comes to walls – and then only if the Sharpie won’t come off, so I was curious how my mama babywearing painting was going to turn out. I wasn’t really that worried about it because paying $25 for an afternoon to myself is more than worth it, especially considering some of the proceeds would be donated to us for our lending library,  but I was hoping that Sarah Clark from The Social Studio could work some serious artist magic with me.

Turns out she didn’t have to! She did the hard part for us by sketching a basic guide that we could all easily customize.

secret sketching

Then she walked us through each of the steps so we could blend colors, customize our carriers, and of course personalize our mamas to reflect ourselves. She even helped out with the sweet little babe so mama could have some time to paint herself. Sarah made it sooooo very easy for us ALL to be an artist!

We all agreed hands-free was the way to go, so out came a carrier!

bwing shot

We also agreed that wine helped make choosing the colors a little easier!

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We had so much fun chatting and painting – the time quickly flew by.

And just like that we were all heading home with our gorgeous babywearing paintings and making plans for what we wanted to paint next. PLUS we can get another carrier for our lending library!!!

twins

Each painting turned out so beautiful – and you might even be able to figure out who did which one because we all pretty much painted ourselves, really well if I do say so myself!

If you want to explore your inner creativity and  have a lot of laughs and fun with local babywearing mamas, join us for our next Babywearing Paint and Pour! Details are in our Facebook group Ames Area Babywearing & Beyond.

If you want to have your own Paint and Pour, babywearing pictures are optional – Sarah has loads of other ideas so you can make your own event personal to your group, find her on Facebook, The Social Studio. Plus she comes to you so you can customize your events to be exactly what you want just like your paintings!

If you have more ideas on how we can raise money to help building our lending library send us an email, amesareababywearing@gmail.com, or message us on Facebook!

 

 

 

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A Lending Library – FINALLY!

When our meet ups got started a lending library was a dream of the future. Those of us who came to help had our carriers that we brought along and between a few of us, we had everything covered – wraps, ring slings, pouches, mei tais, and buckle carriers. After meeting regularly and building a babywearing community, both in person and online, we all agreed that it would be super helpful to have a basic library of carriers to lend out. We posted to see if anyone had something they would donate to help us get started.

These were our first donations!

lending library beginning

It wasn’t a lot, but some basics were there and more importantly, it was a start! We worked hard over the next few months. We fundraised and solicited donations. Through the generosity of our mamas and some amazing companies, we finally had a great starting lending library.

Here it is!

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A one year membership is just $25 and this allows you to check out one carrier each month. It’s a great way to try things before buying – see what’s comfortable and what your baby loves.

We have plans to grow this library even bigger, so if you have something laying around you don’t use please consider donating it. If you make a donation you get your first year’s membership FREE! If you know companies that donate or offer lending library discounts, please let us know! And if you see Facebook giveaways tag us and enter our group – we have BIG plans to keep on growing so we can help as many people as possible safely wear their babies!

Another Reason to Wear Your Baby

When I suggest babywearing to a new mama I usually go right for the convenience aspect, “it allows you to be hands free so you can get stuff done!” Most new mamas are busy and want a little bit of their freedom from their old life, so having their hands free to do things ranks right up there with getting some extra sleep.

I will also mention a few of the other benefits…

  • Provides comfort and security for the baby
  • Provides external regulation
  • Helps with baby’s social & mental development
  • Helps baby to sleep better
  • Keeps baby in motion, it’s very womb-like to keep baby calm
  • Keeps people from touching baby so the germs stay away
  • It’s a confidence booster – when baby is content caregivers feel more confident
  • It’s easy to breastfeed on the go, if mama is breastfeeding

So when I had a mama friend contact me to borrow a carrier and it wasn’t for any of the reasons I previously mentioned, I was surprised – really surprised.  I’ve been helping mamas wear their little nuggets for almost 10 years and it’s been almost 13 years since I first wore my son, and that was for convenience mostly.

She explained to me that she had been shopping at the mall for the perfect outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding. She was pretty frustrated trying to find something that she liked and she was probably underdressing so “I wanna wear the babe classy” she texted me. This was going to be the first time seeing some old friends since having her children and she thought was if she could wear her baby, the focus wouldn’t be on her.

Turns out I had a natural hemp indio, size 6, broken in, and ready to go! Hemp is not my go-to for a warmer day but it was plain, and that’s exactly how she planned to accessorize her outfit to help her feel good about what she was wearing.

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NHI – Didymos

She had a little experience with wrapping and was running out of time but we practiced with the demo doll and went over safety tips before she had to get home.

Exactly 2 hours later I received this:

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“Feels good for my first time 🙂 thanks again!!”

Now I am sure to mention that babywearing can help when you are having insecurities about how you look and feel. People can focus on  your sweet squish and not your hips. And since babies never go out of style and are always absolutely adorable, you can’t go wrong accessorizing with a baby and carrier! You stay classy Ames Area!

Do you want to learn how to wrap? Do you want to check out the difference between wraps…cotton, linen, hemp, wool, silk, bamboo and countless variations of blends?

Come to one of our local meet ups, held on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 5:30-7pm at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Meeting Room C, 1111 Duff Ave in Ames, and learn all about different wraps and carriers!

 

Water adventures with baby

Summer is almost officially here! That means it’s time to start thinking about all the logistics of water related fun with a baby in tow. For some of us, that means holding someone while chasing after another someone. That’s where a water carrier comes in handy! They can be used at the beach, in a pool, or even in the shower. Most water carriers are lightweight, fast drying, and breathable which make them a good option for hot summer days. Some even provide UV protection. These are a few options that I have tried.

Zanytoes Splash! sling

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Zanytoes makes a semi-customizable ring sling out of Solarweave fabric. Solarweave fabric helps provide sun protection. According to their website, “Solarweave rates excellent UV Protection and is UVBLOCK certified for certain protection after laundering. All colors are rated UPF 50+.” They recommend using this from 12-35 pounds, but I started using it at birth. It was a wonderfully cool option for my summer baby. The fabric was surprisingly soft, and their shoulder design is very comfortable. I was very happy using it with my newborn and have kept it around just for the versitility. The sling packs up very small and is easy to stash in a diaper bag. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a very large baby or toddler for long periods, but it would work for short trips.

Kokadi Water TaiTai 

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Kokadi makes a water mei tai. It is make of polyester and elastin which felt very similar to stretchy swim suit material and provides some UV protection (their website states a UV rating of 20). It does not provide any padding in the shoulder straps. I loved the pattern, being the big rainbow fan that I am. I did feel a little more hands-free with this than the ring sling, but I felt that my 50th percentile 6 month old was a little too saggy already. The fabric didn’t slip as I expected it to though, which was a nice surprise. It would be a good option for a newborn or smaller baby.

Babyette mesh wrap

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This was one of my first carriers, so I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it. A water wrap has the same versatility other wraps have and can be used from birth on. Babyette no longer makes baby carriers, but this was a slicker mesh fabric. The passes could tend to slide around when dry, but would stay put when wet. It was supportive and not stretchy at all. I’ve heard that Beachfront water wrap is a similar type of mesh water wrap. There are also water wraps that tend to be more stretchy similar to the swim suit like material of the Kokadi water carriers. An example of those would be the WrapDuo water wrap. I would recommend trying them in person before buying so you can feel the fabric and know which type you prefer.

Connecta Solar

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Connecta Solar is buckle carrier made of Solarweave fabric. It provides lightly padded shoulders, a sleeping hood, and a multi-purpose strap (to use as a chest clip for back carries, to narrow the seat for smaller babies, or a strap to secure the folded carrier for storage). The shoulder strap webbing has a buckle near the body panel to allow the wearer to cross the straps in the back for added comfort. There is not a structured waist as there is with most buckle carriers.  Similar to the Zanytoes sling, this fabric blocks 95- 99% of the suns harmful UVA and UVB rays. It is very breathable and easy to use. It comes in two sizes, standard or toddler. I got the toddler size for my 10 month old who is in size 24 month outfits. Due to the unstructured waist, it makes it very easy to wear apron style to adjust for a little smaller baby. This carrier is on the higher end of the price range for water carriers, but I am the most happy with it over the rest I’ve tried. It provides the best support and comfort for me. It also packs down very small to allow it to be stashed in a pool or diaper bag.

What water carriers have you tried? What did you like/dislike? Let us know in the comments!

**As always, please keep safety in mind when entering a pool with your little one. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t normally do with baby in your arms.**

Rhockett Retreat Review

After spending a fabulous 3 days and 2 nights among some of the most beautiful babywearing enthusiasts and their sweet babes many of us were not quite ready for the end.

Rhonda Brackett, of Rhockett Weaving, set out to make history with a babywearing retreat right here in Iowa. She had grand plans of getting babywearing mamas together to not only add to their babywearing knowledge but to also provide a weekend getaway with yoga, campfires, henna art, and all things babywearing. Her retreat went above and beyond our expectations!

So now what?!?


4 Stages of Surviving the Rhockett Retreat Blues


Stage 1: Connection

After saying our goodbyes many of us connected by posting in the Rhockett Retreat Ramblings Facebook group, sharing our pictures and stories. Some of us were busy friending more Facebook friends.  Afterall, our babywearing mama tribe can never be too big. Connecting on Facebook allows us to extend our friendships beyond the weekend.

Stage 2: Excitement

With such an amazing swag bag it wasn’t surprising when new babywearing pictures started popping up on Facebook. The Tekhni Rhockett Retreat Exclusive Delta Rockabilly with Repreve is too gorgeous to sit in a stash untouched. I think everyone who has wrapped with it has loved it.

rhockett retreat tekhni wrap

We got to see a beautifully dyed one *plus* we got a tutorial on dyeing so it will be fun to see the different variations on an already amazing wrap.

We also got a limited edition Ergobaby 10th Anniversary design, which was designed by Karin Frost herself.  It has a stunning Polynesian tattoo art design on the hood and interior. And since Ergobaby first began in Hawaii, it’s a very fitting choice. Ergobaby helped make babywearing comfortable and accessible to many families and this special carrier is a spectacular addition to anyone’s stash or lending library.

rhockett retreat 10th anniversary carrier cropped

Stage 3: Churning

With 2 new awesome carriers added to our stashes some of us decided to go through what we have to decide what stays and what goes. If you have something you are ready to let go you might be able to trade for something different…check out the for sale album in the Facebook group, the local Central Iowa Babywearing Swap Facebook group, or the big swap groups to see what’s out there. Of course you can always use your PayPal account to expand your stash 🙂

(Want tips on navigating the swap pages?!? Come to a Meet Up and chat with a veteran babywearer to learn the do’s and don’ts. Plus you can try on some great carriers to help you decide what you want to search for!)

Stage 4: Expansion

With all of the babywearing energy between the Ames Area Babywearing and Beyond admins we decided to make plans to expand the babywearing resources here in the Ames area.  Currently we have our Facebook group and our monthly Meet Ups.  We have plans to build this website, start a lending library, and educate the community on the benefits of babywearing and how to safely do it. Stay tuned for more details – and if you have a little extra time consider volunteering your talents to help achieve these new goals.


Sooo…what happened at the Rhockett Retreat?!?


An epic rainbow stash shot, magnificent swag bags, Rhonda in action at a loom, wrap scrap crafts, a learn-to-dye demo, and fantastic door prizes! There was plenty of babywearing tips & tricks shared and lots of fun playing around with the stunning carriers that people brought to share.

Rhockett Retreat

While there was plenty of babywearing stuff going on, Rhonda & her planning team didn’t forget the retreat part. We could customize the schedule and were free to come and go as we pleased.

rhockett retreat schedule 2

There was some amazing henna art done by Alternative Artistry. Sarah customized each design and stayed late into the night so everyone could have what they envisioned. Jaimie’s feather design might be a future tattoo 😉

rhockett retreat henna collage

The Sunstream Retreat Center was a great place to get away. There was a little rain and the temperatures were a bit chilly but the warm conversations, the beautiful views of the valley by the Des Moines river, and the camp-like atmosphere made it the perfect little weekend getaway. Sadly the rain canceled the zip lining but it did stop in time for the bonfire, with s’mores of course 🙂

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The sun was shining by the time Sunday rolled around and we were able to get some group shots with our new carriers. Since many of us came to the retreat solo we wrapped our new Tekhnis or a demo doll if we could find one. There were definitely plenty of cute babies there, but for those of us who left our little ones at home we were anxious to get back to them.

rhockett retreat ergobaby carriers

It was a sensational weekend and we have Rhonda & her team to thank for that. We are already counting down the days until the next one…only 359 or so days to go! Will you be attending next year with us?!?

The next step…

It’s been 9 months since Jaimie decided to host evening monthly meet ups!!!  We decided it was time to move this group to the next step.  Each month we meet more babywearing mamas in the Ames area and we want to offer more.  We have some big plans for the Ames Area Babywearing group and would love having more help.  There are lots of different things to do so we can find something to fit  your schedule and your skills.  Interested?!?  Please email us at amesareababywearing@gmail.com or post in our Facebook Group “Ames Area Babywearing and Beyond” – and keep an eye out for more details soon!