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  • To join group discussions, get email meeting reminders, give input on new events please join our yahoo group through the link below.

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  • We celebrate IBW annually!

  • Check us out live

    Winter 2011 Listing of Events

    Morning Cygnus Lactation Services
    Location 402 N. Seymour Mundelein, IL
    Monthly Second Friday Morning 10 a.m. – noon
    Jan 14, Feb 11, Mar 11, Apr 8

    Morning Be By Baby
    Location 1654 W Roscoe St Chicago IL 60657
    Monthly First Tuesday Morning 11 – 12:30 p.m.
    Jan 4, Feb 1, Mar 1, Apr 5

    Evening Grayslake Area Public Library, Room ABC
    Location 100 Library Lane, Grayslake, IL
    Monthly Thursday Evening 6:15 – 8:15 pm
    Jan 27, Feb 17, Mar 24, Apr 28, May 26, June 23

    Morning Algonquin Public Library, Harnish Room
    Location 2600 Harnish Dr, Algonquin, IL
    Monthly Last Thursday Morning 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
    Jan 20, Feb 24, Mar 17

    Morning Waukegan Public Library, Bradbury Room
    Location 128 North County Street, Waukegan, IL
    Monthly Last Thursday Morning 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    Jan 27, Feb 24, Mar 31, Apr 28

We’ve merged!

The Lake County Babywearers and Chicago City Slingers have merged to create a broader chapter of Babywearing International!

Visit our new site Babywearing International of Chicagoland.

Rebozo: A beautiful tale on discovering babywearing

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My baby was the one you could hear from down the hall. Doors all along the hallway of the Mother-Baby Unit shut as the nurse brought 5 pounds 2 ounces of scrawny, screaming irritation back to me once again. After a physically uneventful but emotionally draining year, I was completely unprepared for a premature birth, forced labor and botched delivery. Apparently baby was not ready, either.

It was weeks before I could sit down, months before I could sit down without pain. Days before baby could latch on, weeks before he wanted to latch. Family came and went before the weather could turn. They marveled at baby’s tiny body and earsplitting voice. I notified the silence where baby’s father had been: “Baby boy born. Mother and baby fine.” I tried to cook and clean for my patient husband, our new marriage trapped in non-verbal infancy and the frustration of novelty: diapers, dryer vents, drugstores, dirt.
Nights were measured in one-hour intervals. Days ran into one another strung together by the constant motion of bouncing, moving, swaying, walking around and around in circles on my carpet path. Housebound by doctors’ orders and winter storms I sometimes wore earplugs to dull the constant crying until I, too, became dull.
Dull. Alone. Sinking inside. In my more lucid moments I thought this must be punishment for unplanned pregnancy. No friends, no network, no family and no peace. I never registered for baby things thanks to the kind lady at the Pregnancy Center who gave me a crib, a stroller and some maternity clothes. Lacking an periodical subscription a Babies R Us or an internet connection, I did not hear the term “Postpartum Depression” until well after the postpartum stage.
Books lived on the nightstands, on the counters, on the edge of the crib. Straight lines of text balanced the erratic daily mood swings, until they joined one day in a black-and-white picture book from 1961 entitled Children and their Mothers. Grainy photos of black and white skin, poverty and prosperity, new world, old world, third world glared starkly in the glow of my nightlight. Mothers from around the world, sad and happy, eating, healing, resting, nursing, working, starving, dying. In homes, hospitals, clinics, hovels and ditches. But the babies! The babies were content, peaceful, unaware of their circumstances. And for every sleepy, drooly, placid baby there was a piece of cloth, a basket, a scarf, a pack which held them up high on their mother’s body.
In the morning, after my tired husband left for work, I took a flat sheet and ripped it in half longwise. Looking in the mirror for perhaps the first time in weeks I tried to tie a band around my body, wrapping the length and width around mummy-like. I looked at the tiny body clawing at his blanket on my bed and then at the quantity of fabric wrapped around my middle. Looked at the picture of the African mamas washing sewing cleaning with babies socializing on their backs. Unwound the sheet and picked up now-frantic baby…and stuffed him feet-first into the top of my sports bra.
This became our morning exercise routine. Daddy leave for work. Baby wake up again. Mommy frantically strip her shirt off and nurse angry baby, then stuff him semi-upright in her bra and begin walking our carpet path. After a few days, baby quieted after a only minutes of protest, dosing in his tight elastic nest on top of mommy’s chest, all his bony arms and legs folded in, securely held. After a few weeks I got braver. I knew how to do something! I could cook, I could clean, I could help my baby feel better, if only for a few hours.
We got braver as the weather worsened and nights began before dinnertime. I half-expected to be stopped by a police car on our first walk around the block. Ma’am, what is that lump under your coat? Just a sleeping baby, warm in his swaddling of shirts and scarves, only the top of his hat visible under my chin. Deep snow, deeper quiet, an hours’ respite from fighting our housebound demons.
By spring baby had outgrown his nest. A new internet connection brought news of warmer weather, lists of garage sales and links to baby stores. I dragged out a used Snugli and diaper-pinned the straps back on. Baby objected to this new, open-air insecurity. What luck when I found a “real” sling at Walmart! It was huge–I pushed and pulled the padding through the rings, removed stitching, chopped ends and generally mangled it into submission. Miles, weeks and two aching shoulders later, I found a new website. La Leche led to Jenrose led to Jan Andrea led to my sewing machine and finally a simple pouch sling emerged.
We went to the grocery store together, baby, the pouch, and I. The white people stared, the gentleman in the milk aisle shook his head. “What will they think of next? That baby is going to fall out on the floor!” But the old Mexican lady buying bushels of tomatoes adjusted the stretch of fabric across my back with a gap-toothed smile and tucked the edges under baby’s knees. The deli girl told me of her grandmother and her country as plastic-gloved hands mimed tying straps and tucking fabric. “Rebozo?” asked a man sorting oranges, then let loose a torrent of Spanish. “Rebozo?”
“Rebozo?” I asked my Spanish-speaking mother a few weeks later. Doubtful about my invention, she was heartened by my combed hair and babbling baby. The wall between us cast shadows in either direction, baby rising every day, the noon sun of compromise. A few months later she returned from a missions trip, thinned and warmed by hotter climate. She handed me two strips of brightly woven cloth with fringe at the ends. The weave was open, the cotton soft and flexible. Meshlike, the scarves stretched and curved around the curve of baby’s peeking face. “Rebozo,” said my mother, as she tied it around baby and I. “Rebozo.”

Marion Scott is wife to a patient man, mother to four youngsters and designer of the CatBird Baby Pikkolo. A babywearing pioneer of sorts here in the area, she’s been wearing her babies intermittently for the past ten years, well before many slings were readily available on the market. She is the liaison for Babywearing International of Chicagoland, our local babywearing group. I’m proud to call her a babywearing mentor and friend.

Wrapping Wednesdays: An in-depth look at the world of Wovens

I’ve decided to talk about wraps on Wednesday from now on!  Everyone who knows me, knows that I love woven wraps!  To me they are the most versatile of all baby carriers. The same woven can take you from wearing a newborn all the way through toddlerhood.  With one long simple piece of cloth, you can carry your little one in a variety of  different positions.

Buying your first woven can feel overwhelming.  There are lots of different brands, different fabrics with all different patterns and colorways.  Then they also come in different sizes.  I’m going to take some time today to explain the different brands, materials, etc.

First sizing, all wovens come in a variety of sizes, the common sizes range from a size 2 (2.7meters) to a size 7 (5.2meters).  The average sized adult can use a size 6 for all carries.  Here’s a chart from Didymos to explain the sizing more http://www.didymos.com/index.php?s=groesse

Next are the different brands.  I’ve tried atleast one of  each of these different brands, so I’m talking from my own personal experiences. 

Didymos– Probably the most popular of wovens out there right now.  German made Didys come in all different fabrics anything from all cotton, linen blends, hemp blends, cashmere, and silk.  They come out with lots of limited editions each year so they are highly sought out.

Natibaby-This is my favorite brand.  These are made in Poland and come in all different fabrics as well all cotton, linen blends, wool and they are the only woven company to use bamboo at this point.  Natibaby wraps tend to be wide, which make for great toddler wraps.  I’ve owned lots of Natis and all of them have been super soft.

Storchenweige– Storches come in stripes and the diamond weaved Leos.  Both are amazingly supportive and will work perfectly from newborn through toddlerhood. 

Ellevill-These come in a couple of different patterns, they have a great texture to them and they are thin to med in thickness.  They are one of the most beautiful wraps in my opinion. 

Hoppediz– These all cotton wraps are super supportive and wrap amazingly well. They come in lots of different colorways and break in nicely (I’ll talk about breaking in another week).  The light Hopps feel like they are made from linen, the regular line Hopps are pretty thick and great for the cold weather. They remind me alot of the Storchenweige stripes.  Older Hopps are thinner and can be amazingly soft and floppy.

Girasol– A favorite among many!  Giras come super soft and flannely feeling.  They are another one that are perfect for newborn snuggles but also strong enough for toddlers. These all cotton wraps come in lot of  beautiful rainbows of color. 

Neobulle– Made in France these wraps are on the thicker side, they are soft and wrap really well.  The all cotton wraps come in a variety of colors and stripes.  The organic ones are super soft and break in very easily.  The regular ones take a bit of work to get them soft.

Vatanai-These are on the thin side and work extremely well for the warmer temperatures.  I find them great for newborns and good for toddlers if you’re using it in a double carry like a Double Hammock or Wrap Cross Carry. They are extremely soft and come in a variety of beautiful colors

Colimacon & Cie– This french made woven is a lesser known brand, they are less expensive but are high quality.  They are very soft and almost feel like a well worn pair of jeans feel.  I’ve owned the turquoise one and the color of it is stunning.

BBSlen-These are one of the widest wraps out there.  Because of this, they are great for toddlers.  They are of medium thickness and take a bit of breaking in, but soften up nicely.

Another thing to take into consideration when purchasing your woven, is the material it’s made out of.  The majority of them are made with 100% cotton.  Some of the brands like Didymos and Natibaby have other cotton blends.  Here are some of the pros and cons to them

all cotton– durable, easy to care for (machine wash and can be thrown in the dryer with low heat) basically an all around great wrap.  Come in thin to thick  

linen blends-these are usually very supportive, easy to care for again, can be of all different thickness

silk blends– I’ve never owned one but the ones I’ve felt are extremely silky soft. 

hemp blends-Didymos has hemp blends they are supportive, med-thick and easy to care for

wool blends-Didymos and Natibaby have wool blends.  These can vary greatly some are extremely soft and cushy, while others are more dense and can take awhile to become soft. 

Hopefully this will help when you are looking at the world of wovens. They vary greatly but there is one thing they all have in common.  They will allow you to carry your baby, be hands free and help create an everlasting bond.

These stories need space, too

My 13-month-old baby boy’s chest rises and falls, rhythmically against my back as he slumbers while his brother and I collect leaves under a gentle autumn afternoon sun.

It’s been a long day, and Baby E., who is teething has needed extra mommy-care since he woke in a grumpy mood. I’ve been holding him nearly all day, and he’s refused his normal naps and sleeping, leading us further down a path of grumpiness and crying jags.

His big brother, G., has waited as patiently as a 3 year old can wait for attention of his own.

“Look at this biiiiig red one, mommy!” he exclaims. “It’s perfect.”

I squat down next to G. and examine a large Maple leaf that had freshly tumbled from the branches.

“You’re right!” I proclaim. “It IS perfect.”

He plucks the leaf from the cement, puts it in his bag and off we continue down the sidewalk in search of more leaves for our tree project.

As Baby E. quietly snores on my back, G. and I converse about autumn and why we have seasons and how Illinois is so verrry, verrrry far from the equator, which tends to make Illinois verrry, verrry cold in the winter.

A lull in conversation allows my mind to wander as G. bounds down the sidewalk seeking more leaves.

I feel Baby E.’s soft breath and teething-induced drool making a little patch on back damp.

And I feel grateful — grateful that he’s so snug and relaxed pressed against my body even as we merge recklessly into toddlerhood.

I’m comforted by his comfort.

But the reality that grips my heart, sends it soaring into the soft blue sky comes when G. retreats from a pile of leaves, grasps three fingers on my right hand and says, “Mom, I love having leaf walks with you.”

His face is brimming with love.
nd I think to myself, so often we talk about the benefits of babywearing for the child being worn and the person wearing him or her.

But how often do we talk about the many moments babywearing affords the little bigger one who walks alongside of mom, who can easily slip his little hand into one of her free ones so they can walk together?

I love {big fat mushy, overflowing love} the compelling stories my friends shared with the Chicago Tribune reporter who came to interview our Lake County Babywearers members at our International Babywearing Week event — stories of how babywearing eased post-partum depression, helped dad reconnect with his daughter and allowed a working mom the ability to bond with her little man after a long day’s work.

Babywearing boasts such powerful benefits; the Tribune story powerfully highlighted those extraordinary stories.

And parents need to read those stories because they showcase how to be attached caregivers.

But I think the every day, seemingly simple stories of babywearing benefits need a space, too.

So while I know it’s not newsworthy that G. and I went for a walk and connected on a gorgeous fall day, I just wanted share it anyway.

Because sometimes it’s those simple moments that end up changing a really small but important part of the world. And a small but really important heart.

Baby-wearing: Chicago-area group touts benefits of baby-wearing – chicagotribune.com

The LCbabywearers are in the Chicago Tribune.  A reporter came to our IBW week event this past Sunday and talked to several of  our moms.  Enjoy the article!

Baby-wearing: Chicago-area group touts benefits of baby-wearing – chicagotribune.com.

Petunia Pickle Bottom meets Ergo

Came across this blog today, and take a look at the new Ergo coming in Feb 2011. 

Beautiful Babywearing.

Babywearing is…

In honor of International Babywearing Week, I’ve decided to ask members of our group to describe what babywearing is to them in just one sentence.  Babywearing is alot to my family and me;  it’s helped us through colic, medical procedures and sleepless nights. Most importantly, it helped build a never-ending bond between my little guy and me. 

Take a minute to read and enjoy what our members have said.

“Babywearing has helped us become confident, attached parents and has helped us raise confident, attached children.” – Allison

“Babywearing is a whole new part of my life; it’s give me that closeness with my 3rd child that I didn’t think was possible while taking care of our other two young children.” – Casey

“Babywearing helped us become the confident, attached parents we hoped to become and has aided our daughter in learning amazing things by being involved in normal day-to-day activities.” – Sara

“Babywearing is an integral part of my life, allowing me to physically and emotionally connect with both of my children despite other obligations.” – Alisa

“Babywearing gives us the opportunity to be together despite the many demands of being a work-from-home family.” – Corry

‘It means I can attend to an active toddler and fragile newborn at the same time.” -Loralie

“Babywearing helped make us into the attached kind of parents we so desperately wanted to be and aided in shaping our little ones into compassionate souls.” – Hyacynth

“Babywearing has transformed our parenting style and has allowed us to easily comfort our children, meet their needs, accomplish daily tasks, and especially allowed us to more easily travel, camp and hike.” – Heather

“Imagine the easiest, safest, most natural way to nurture a young child – that’s what babywearing means to me.” – Karen

“Babywearing allows us to actively engage our children in outings, adventures, and daily activities without being bogged down by a stroller.” – Megan

“Babywearing has helped us meet many of our children’s needs without putting a stop to our lives.” – Colleen

 “Babywearing has not only allowed me to get chores done while comforting my children but has aided in forming the close bond with my children that I never thought was possible.” – Kate

The other day I was reading a post on facebook that asked this same question, and my favorite answer came from the owner of the store SweetPickles.  She described to me the heart of babywearing  by saying, 

 “Babywearing meant I never had to let go.”