written by Marta Ginter
If you've never been to a babywearing meeting, or more specifically, to a Babywearing International of NYC meeting, you might wonder what it's all about! Is it for you if you're just starting to babywear? Will you feel welcome if you bring a stroller? I'll try to answer all those concerns here.
First, read the details of the meeting location that you're planning to attend. There might be specific information included that will help you find the space easily. Still can't find it? Post your question in the FB event and one of the volunteers or members will surely be ready to help.
Secondly, every caregiver is welcome! We can't emphasize this enough! Expecting parents, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nannies... Anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to use carriers with the baby they care for or is a babywearer already. Older siblings always welcome too :)
If you have particular questions, you might want to arrive on time to make sure you get the help you need. However, don't worry if you arrive late or even are able to catch only the last 20 minutes of the meeting - the volunteers will do their best to help you.
What to bring? You don't need to bring anything. If you come with your stroller and no carrier, you'll be fine! We have Lending Libraries and lots of carriers for you to try out. If you bring alllll the wraps for others to try out - great! If you can't bring your baby, we have weighted demo dolls at every location, so no worries!
When you arrive, you will be greeted by one of the volunteers, either a Voluntary Babywearing Educator (VBE) or Advanced Babywearing Educator (ABE) wearing an orange headband (or... wristband, some of us don't love the look of the headband ;) ) or a Chapter Support Volunteer (CSV). If we don't notice you come in, it's only because we are busy helping another caregiver. Apologies in advance! Please let us know that you arrived! Then you will be asked to fill out a sign-in form, we might use a kindle, a phone or a good old sheet of paper. We ask for your name, e-mail, your kids' age and we ask if you agree to our photo release (you don't need to agree in order to participate; sometimes we post pictures in our FB discussion group or on the website) and to agree to the liability agreement.
Most of the time the meeting will start with short introductions, volunteers will say a few words about themselves and members will say their names and tell everyone what they would like to learn.
If there seems to be a popular demand for one style of carriers/carries, the VBEs/ABEs may choose to do a general demo of what was most requested. Otherwise the VBEs/ABEs will likely split the group into smaller subgroups based on the carrier demand. A VBE/ABE will be helping each of the groups by demonstrating, troubleshooting, helping with the fit etc. Then that VBE/ABE will move on to the next subgroup. In the meantime, feel free to mingle, tend to your baby, chat with attendants or join any of the subgroups! We encourage peer to peer support but please remember that only VBEs/ABEs will teach and offer official advice. When in doubt - ask a VBE/ABE!
What if you don't have any questions but love babywearing? Please come! Meet other babywearers, make friends, try what's new in the Lending Library or just hang out!
Towards the end of the meeting members will be able to check out carriers. Please, let a VBE/ABE or a CSV know if you want to borrow a carrier! Make sure you know how to use it before you leave :)
We try to end the meetings on time to respect the donated space and volunteers' time. Help us wrap it up smoothly by collecting your belongings and setting a good example for the rest. We will see you next time!