BWI of Greater Austin during a recent Flash Mob celebrating International Babywearing Week
Our November winner of our Babywearing Love Giveaway is the Babywearing International of Greater Austin! I interviewed Heather, a babywearing mama and leader of BWI of Greater Austin to learn more about the winning group and share their tips for babywearing parents and also new babywearing groups.
What happens at a regular meeting?
Our meetings begin with a brief Babywearing 101 and Safety Lesson. Then we split into carrier workshops for small group instruction. Our workshops are led by Volunteer Babywearing Educators or veteran babywearers.
What advice do you have for a new parent wanting to babywear?
Come to a meeting! There are so many different types of carriers available, it’s hard to do all of your research online. Many times we have people that show up “knowing” that they’re looking for a specific carrier only to find that for one reason or another it doesn’t work perfectly for them. Right now we have 55 different carriers available in our lending library, no local retailer can offer anywhere near the variety that we can. Of course, beyond the carriers we also offer our years of hands-on babywearing knowledge.
Can you tell us about Babywearing International (BWI)?
Our local BWI chapter’s mission:
Babywearing International of Greater Austin works to make a positive difference in the lives of children and their caregivers by sharing the age old practice of babywearing. We strive to teach caregivers safe babywearing practices, while also sharing the many proven benefits it provides through one on one and small group instruction.
Our parent organization, BWI, provides amazing support for the local chapters. They help us navigate the legalities of running a group, provide liability insurance for our certified VBE’s, solicit manufacturers for donations to expand our lending library, organize an annual conference, a global advocacy event (International Babywearing Week) and our group gains nonprofit status so we’re much better able to raise funds to further our mission. Becoming a Volunteer Babywearing Educator under BWI also gives leaders access to the VBE-only forums on their website. These forums contain an amazing wealth of knowledge, they’d alone be worth the small price of our annual dues.
And finally what advice would do you give to a passionate babywearer starting a new babywearing group?
Don’t reinvent the wheel like we did! The group VP’s and I spent many long hours figuring out how our large group should be organized. While educational, it wasn’t necessary. Either get with BWI or contact an established group to get help.
Running a group takes far more time than most people realize, but it’s incredibly rewarding to know that we’ve helped make a difference in the lives of so many children and caregivers. I love it!
Thanks Heather and BWI of Greater Austin for participating!