BWIO Has New Carriers!

Have you been interested in becoming a member of Babywearing International of Oahu? If you have, now is the perfect time to invest in a membership. In the past few months we have added many wonderful new carriers to our library. These carriers are available to try on and to check out at our monthly meetings. If you become a member you have access to all of the carriers in our lending library and you have the ability to check them out for one whole month at a time. Our lending library consists of stretchy wraps, ring slings, soft structured carriers, water carriers, and woven wraps. We have been working hard fundraising to grow our library and fill it with carriers that you all have been asking for.

We have recently added over 12 ring slings (including two water ring slings with UPF fabric, perfect for taking your little one to the beach) and over 12 soft structured carriers including a Tula free to grow, three lillebaby airflows, kinderpacks, a tula coast, and multiple wrap conversion Soul Sling carriers. In addition to ring slings and soft structured carriers we have added over five meh deis, two stretchy wraps, and a handful of woven wraps.

BWI of Oahu is so excited to continue expanding our library with carriers that we know our community is interested in trying and borrowing. When purchasing carriers we consider which carriers are checked out the most often and what people who attend meetings look for in a carrier. Being in Hawaii we try to purchase cooler carriers, as cool as you can get with a baby attached anyway, in light colors.

We have included pictures of just a few of our new carriers. We hope to see you at a meeting soon where you can come look at the rest of them along with our entire lending library! Our lending library is available at all official meetings to try on carriers, learn how to use them with the help of volunteer babywearing educators, and check out carriers (new and old) to take home and try out for the month!

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Become a Member!

Did you know that our group is a chapter of a non-profit organization? We are run solely by volunteers and donations! We would love for you to become a member of our lending library! You will get access to our lending library with a HUGE variety of carriers.
You can join at a meeting, or online. Here is how to join online:
1. Complete this form: https://goo.gl/forms/FVbrOcbuDGz1lFaL2
2. Send your $30 donation via PayPal to Oahu@babywearinginternational.org

Coming to a meeting, chatting with us, and getting assistance from an educator is FREE! Please let us know if you have any questions!

 

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Volunteers Wanted!

Babywearing International 0f Oahu is recruiting volunteers! Our organization is run solely on volunteers, without all of our current volunteers we would not be able to host meetings or play dates. We would not be able provide in person and online help with carriers. We would not be able to use lend carriers out from our lending library. We are passionate about babywearing and know that many of you are as well. We would love to see you as a Volunteer Babywearing Educator or Chapter Support Volunteer.

You may be asking yourself, what do these positions entail? I’ll tell you!

Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBE) must complete a skills assessment showing their ability to babywear. Do you only know how to use one type of carrier? That’s okay! BWI of Oahu provides training to our VBEs on how to teach and assist other caregivers with babywearing.

Chapter Support Volunteers (CSV) help our chapter stay organized during meetings. You will be checking members in, checking in and out carriers, chatting with caregivers about what they would like to learn, and maybe even watching toddlers as they run around.

For more details on becoming part of our volunteering team you can e-mail us at oahu@babywearinginternational.org, find our public or group Facebook page by searching for Babywearing International of Oahu and messaging us there, finding our Instagram at @BWIOFOAHU, or messaging us here through our blog. volunteer

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BWIO’s Statement of Social Justice

Babywearing International of Oahu’s Statement of Social Justice

Recently, an issue confined to several closed groups on Facebook was brought out into the public: Didymos and its Ind*o wrap. In short, the design and name of this wrap are examples of hurtful cultural appropriation. Babywearing International (BWI) has issued a statement against racism and appropriation (http://babywearinginternational.org/…/bwi-statement-agains…/) and has asked its chapters to consider removing these Didymos wraps from circulation. Babywearing International of Oahu stands behind BWI’s statement, and also offers the following:

We are a babywearing community, but we are also a community of people, of a diverse set of caregivers who have the best for their families and children in mind. So we will commit to our own statement of social justice. We will make sure our community is inclusive to all, regardless of age, citizenship status, class, color, disability, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Along with BWI, our community will not tolerate silencing, tone policing, or otherwise oppressing marginalized groups. We will remain respectful to all of our community members and we will allow everyone to have a voice. We will practice mindfulness about our own privilege and listen to those who may not always get the chance to talk.

We recognize that babywearing, the very foundation of this community, is thousands of years old and comes from many rich traditions around the world. We will keep in mind and acknowledge these traditions and cultures whenever we can, making an effort to realize that babywearing is not a new trend, but a practice with a rich history.

Your chapter leadership will be removing the Didymos wrap in question from library circulation. Although this is not just a statement against Didymos’s appropriated wraps, we will use that as our jumping off point and will be looking into other potentially culturally appropriative designs. We will listen to your opinions, questions, and concerns, whether stated in the comments on this post, brought up in private messages, or emailed to our account (oahu@babywearinginternational.org).

Although we do not allow tone policing, we ask that you stay as respectful as possible when discussing these sensitive issues. State your opinion, but realize when you should be listening. Ask questions, but understand that it is not the responsibility of any marginalized person to speak for their whole community or to give answers. Express your concerns, but reflect on them first, thinking carefully about how your concerns may impact others.

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this statement. Below, you will find some links to further reading.

Together, we can continue to make this an inclusive community for all wearers.

http://nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack

What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege

http://the-toast.net/2014/11/17/cultural-appropriation-birthing-community/

 

 

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International Babywearing Week 2016

Babywearing is such an important part of all of our lives. It allows us to engage with our children and show them the world while also helping us achieve every day tasks. Although this is something to celebrate every day each year we take one week and fill it with special events to celebrate how much we love babywearing and spread that love to others in fun, new ways. International Babywearing Week starts tomorrow, October 5th! We cannot wait to celebrate with all of these fun events. Not only will we be having these great in person events but there will also be online events every day in our Facebook group! The hikes are also listed in our Facebook group with sign ups on the events there. You can join our page at this link to participate in our online events and sign up for the two hikes taking place on October 10th: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bwiofoahu/

We really hope you all can join us in celebrating babywearing for the next week!

flyer

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The Babywearer’s Guide to Hiking – Part Four: Safety

You are motivated, you have your carrier, and your stuff is all packed up and ready to go! But, we have one more topic to discuss before you and your family hit the trail, and it might be the most important: safety. The hike descriptions we provide in our Hiking with Keiki group hikes always end with the same few sentences: “…[O]nly you know what you and your family are capable of. Always be prepared!” This couldn’t be more true. When you’re out on the trails with your kids, you are responsible for everyone’s safety, so there are a few important ideas you need to keep in mind.

1
CONSIDERATIONS FOR CARRIERS

Periodically inspect your carriers. Better yet, give them a once over every time before you put them on. Although many brands make quality carriers, none of them are guaranteed to last a lifetime. If you have a framed backpack carrier, soft structured carrier, mei tai, or ring sling, check the seams at obvious weight-bearing areas. If you have a woven wrap or a carrier made from a woven wrap, check for any pulls, broken threads, or holes. Make sure you are comfortable with the carry you are trying to do. If you are attempting a back carry for the first time, make sure you have a spotter or that you are practicing over a soft surface like a bed or couch.

2

If your carrier has the option to allow baby to face outward, this may not be an ideal position for a hike. Some manufacturers only recommend facing out for a short period of time. Since many hikes last longer that 15-20 minutes, wearing a baby facing out does not seem practical for a hike. The risk of injury to a baby if a caregiver fell while forward facing out is higher than in other positions since baby cannot tuck his head into his caregiver and the caregiver cannot as easily guard baby’s head and face. Also, it is not recommended that babies sleep while facing out, so if your baby were to be lulled to sleep by your steady footfalls on a hike, you would have to take him out and switch him around for optimal safety. Some babies do like to see more of the world around them, but they can be easily overstimulated. While facing out, they cannot tuck back into their caregivers, which removes their ability to self-regulate. Both hip and back carries allow for the curious child to look around more, but still give him a chance to turn away from the world if over-stimulated. However, it is important to wait for your baby to fit properly in his carrier without any modifications and to have enough trunk control to sit with minimal assistance before attempting a back carry. If you do choose to forward face out, be attentive to your baby’s cues, listen to your own body, and do not put yourself in a position where you are likely to fall.

3

FROM MOLEHILLS TO MOUNTAINS

You know yourself and your family better than anyone else. Even if your BFF says a trail is easy, do your own research before going. A molehill to one person may be a mountain to you or your two-year-old. If you do research on a trail and it seems too difficult for you or your family, don’t let someone talk you into it. If you must do the trail, try going without your children first so you can truly gage how difficult or dangerous it is. If you wind up on a new trail with or without your family and you get to a point where you feel unsafe, turn around. Sometimes going back is the smartest and safest choice for everyone. You can always work yourself up to a more difficult trail and come back to it another day.

4
If you and your family are completely new to hiking, you may not know your limits yet. In this case, it’s best to start with the easiest trail you can find. If you want to wear your child but haven’t done so very much or if you have little walkers who need to build up their endurance, you can even start with walks around the neighborhood or through a local park. Then, work yourself up. Use the Internet, buy a local trail guidebook, or, better yet, join a local hiking group. Bonus points if it’s a group focused on family hiking. Find different trails rated by difficulty level and make yourself a list. Start with easy and work your way up.

5

SO LONG SOLO

In Hiking with Keiki, we recommend that our members never hike alone or as the sole adult with their kids as long as they can avoid it. Even the most experienced hikers sometimes have accidents. Trail conditions can change at a moment’s notice; a safe trail on the way in could turn into a hazardous obstacle course on the way out. You don’t want to get stuck by yourself in a dangerous situation or, even worse, you don’t want you or one of your family members to get hurt with no one else around to help. If you must hike alone, stick to well-traveled trails. Ideally, find a group to hike with!

6

If you live on Oahu, join Hiking with Keiki! We offer several group hikes every week that we encourage members to join and we also allow members to post looking for other caregivers to form temporary hiking groups. On the mainland and on Maui, Hike it Baby has formed numerous chapters across the country that also offer group hikes. If you can’t find a hiking group near you, hit your local parent and caregiver groups and see if anyone else wants to start hiking with their families. This was how Hiking with Keiki was born: a post in Babywearing International of Oahu about hiking while babywearing and then an explosion of interest. You never know what you might spark in your own town!

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So get out there! Start hiking with your family. Find the perfect carrier to hit the trails and pack the essentials for you and your kids. And remember, safety is important! You know yourself and your family better than anyone else, so listen to your instincts and do proper research before exploring any new trails. Find a group to hike with or start your own. Catch the hiking bug and then pass it on!

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The Babywearer’s Guide to Hiking – Part Three: Packing

You’ve got your kid. You’ve got your carrier. You’ve got your diaper bag. Oh wait, that is unrealistically large and stuffed way too full to take on a trail. Whatever shall you do? It’s time to scale down and choose an appropriate vessel for how you carry your child, and I’m here to help!

family walking 1

*Note: In this post, I will sometimes mention brand names or show specific brands in pictures. I am not endorsing any particular company over another, but simply relating my personal experiences and opinions and what I have seen out on the trails.

 

THE ESSENTIALS

It’s time to empty out that diaper bag (c’mon, you’ve been meaning to do this anyway, right?) and boil your supplies down to what you REALLY need for a hike.

  1. Water – This is an ESSENTIAL essential. I even have a whole separate section for it down below. Check it out!
  2. Snacks – I usually pack one bar and fruit for myself, and more for my little lady. Snacking helps to urge her on whether she’s walking or worn. At a minimum, I pack her a bar, one or two fruits, a fruit leather, and one or two cheese sticks. I can also add on one or two crunchy snacks or even a sandwich for both of us, depending on the length of the hike. Snacks are not as important as water, but they are definitely essential, especially on longer hikes when it’s been a few hours between meals and you’re feeling the physical strain from hiking with a little one. snacks
  3. Diapers and Wipes – As your kids get older, you can ignore the first item, but this is definitely an important consideration for the littles who have not been potty trained yet. I usually can get away with packing one diaper now for my 22-month-old daughter, but if it’s an extra long hike or we’re having a particularly–ehem–hard day, I pack two. If you cloth diaper, definitely bring a wet bag and at least one or two cloth diapers. The wet bag is even nice to have if you’re using disposables to carry out a dirty diaper or dirty clothes. Wipes will continue to be on my list of hiking essentials while I’m still responsible for tiny, sticky humans. You never know when someone will stick their hand, elbow, or nose in dirt or what you hope is dirt. You’ll be so thankful in those moments to have wipes. Or if nature calls for those who are potty trained, wipes are always good to have around. I never take a whole big package, but I try to choose a package that’s nearly finished or even take out 5-10 and put them in a resealable baggy. Trust me. You’ll want them. disposable diaperscloth diapers
  4. Keys, Phone, ID, etc. – This may be obvious, but bring your keys so you can get back in your car. Bring your phone so you can take beautiful pictures, contact the outside world if there is an emergency, or use your map app to track your progress. Take your ID in case of an emergency. Also, be wary of what you leave in your car for hours at a time. It may be easier to pack cash, credit cards, and other small items that would be difficult to replace if your car was broken into while you were on the trail. ID keys
  5. Bandages and Alcohol Wipes – It’s a great idea to take a few bandages and alcohol wipes with you, especially if you have little legs attempting some big trails. They don’t take up much space, and you’ll be grateful to have them for the occasional cut or scrape. If you have extra room, it might be nice to invest in a small first aid kit or to keep one in your car. first aid
  6. Bug Spray and Sunscreen – These may not be essential items to pack on every hike, but I definitely recommend keeping them in your car. Out here on Oahu, many hikes have mosquitoes. A good rule of thumb: If you plan to encounter mud, streams, or waterfalls, use some bug spray before your hike. If you plan to cross any streams, bring some with you so you can reapply. If your hike will take more than two or three hours, it’s also a good idea to bring some with you to reapply. Mosquitoes love me, so I find the only bug sprays that work are the heavy duty kinds that have 25% DEET. According to the Center for Disease Control, it is safe to use these products on children as young as two months. However, some families choose to use more natural alternatives like essential oils. Find a bug spray or insect repellent that works best for you and your family. Then stock up and keep some in your car for when you want to chase waterfalls. Same with sunscreen, although I usually find I need sunscreen more on the exposed hikes that lead to scenic viewpoints rather than waterfalls.bug spray sunscreen
  7. Plastic Bags – These are another item that you may not want to bring with you, but that can definitely be an important car item. I tend to bring at least one folded up plastic grocery bag on each hike with me in case my daughter’s shoes get really muddy and then she wants to be carried or in case there is a whole lot of trash we need to pack out. I also leave a plethora of plastic grocery bags in my car for muddy shoes or clothes. I also usually keep a few small resealable plastic bags in my car in case I’m doing a particularly wet hike or it starts raining while I’m getting ready to start hiking. This way, I can put my phone and other valuable materials in the bag, safe from any potential moisture. Some hikers bring a roll of small plastic bags most commonly found in the pet aisle for cleaning up after our furry friends. These are nice because the rolls are small, but come with a lot of bags. Some even come with a clip so you can attach the roll to your carrier or bag rather than have it take up space inside.
  8. A Change of Shoes or Clothes – Another set of items that you probably won’t carry with you, but that are good to have in your car. I usually wear flip flops to hikes, change into my hiking shoes, then change back when I’m done, regardless of how clean or dirty my hiking shoes get. I definitely always keep a change of clothes for my daughter in the car and, if I know I’m doing a very muddy or wet hike, I’ll bring a simple change of clothes for myself too.

 

OPTIONAL ITEMS

The items are not necessary for every hike, but they may be good options to consider for specific hikes or conditions.

  1. Flashlight/headlamp – These are good items for sunrise or sunset hikes. To experience the true beauty of the sun greeting the Earth, you will have to start hiking in the dark. Likewise, to really capture the majesty of a perfect sunset, you’ll be finishing your hike with little light. During these hikes, flashlights and especially headlamps come in handy.flashlight headlamp
  2. Toys – Depending on the age of your little one, it might be a good idea to pack some toys. When my daughter was still a riding baby and always hiking on my back, I usually wore a teething necklace or attached a toy or two my carrier to keep her occupied and away from my hair. Now that she walks on some hikes, it’s fun to bring her doll so that she can wear her own baby.
  3. Rain jacket/poncho – If the forecast is more rain and you’re doing a hike that will still be safe with a little storm, it could be a good idea to bring a rain jacket or a poncho. Although, sometimes a little rain is welcome at the end of a long and hot hike.

 

THE VESSEL

Now that you know what to bring, you need to pick the best option for how to bring it. This may depend on how you plan to carry your child.

  1. Backpack – These work best if you plan to front carry your child or if you have a second caregiver to accompany you. They are a great option for longer hikes, since they have the largest capacity for packing. I used a backpack for about two to three months, until I started wearing my daughter on my back for hikes. I would not recommend a backpack if you plan to back carry your child and do not have anyone else to help wear the backpack. I’ve seen many caregivers try to wear a backpack on the front while they carry their child on their back, but, to me, this is uncomfortable and unsafe. One of the reasons I prefer wearing my daughter on my back is so that I have a clear view of the ground beneath me. Wearing a backpack on my front defeats that purpose.
    1. PRO TIP – When your child is old enough and will be walking for the majority of the hike, buy a backpack just for her! She will love the independence of carrying her own snacks and water, and this means you have less to carry. That is until she gets tired and wants “uppies.” Then you have to carry your child, your bag, and a tiny backpack that you may be less than happy you brought at
      that point. toddler backpack
  2. Shoulder Bag – These work best for shorter hikes, when you’re carrying a smaller child, or when your child will be mostly walking. They are not as supportive or secure as some other options, but they get the job done in a pinch. I used a one-shoulder, tote bag for a few months when I was over my backpack but had not yet discovered the amazing world of fanny packs. It worked, but I would have prefered to have both of my hands and arms free during certain sections of some hikes that tested my skills. One of my fellow hikers also prefers to use her shoulder bag when she is tandem carrying her children (i.e.: wearing two children at one time; in this case, one on back and one on front). shoulder bag
  3. Cross-Body Bag – These can be great options, especially when carrying a child. Although they are still technically one-shoulder bags, the cross over your torso distributes the weight a bit more evenly, allowing for more support and comfort. If you can find one with straps that can tie, that’s even better since you can adjust the bag to fit you any way, which you might like if you are sometimes wearing your child and sometimes not. Some baby carrier companies even make their own adjustable, cross-body bags since they are so popular with the babywearing crowd.
  4. Fanny Pack – Although the cool kids are apparently calling these “hip sacks” these days, let’s be real: a FANNY PACK is a great addition to any hikers’ supply list, especially if another thing on that list is “baby carrier” and another thing is “child.” I was a bit reluctant to purchase a fanny pack, as the old, dorky stigma had stuck with me from childhood. But I am so glad I did! I can fit pretty much everything I need in my fanny pack and then clip it to my body so that I am handsfree. Perfect.

 

HYDRATION

You need water to keep your body going so that you don’t injure yourself or your kiddos. If your kids are old enough, you’ll also need to pack water for them too. A good rule of thumb is to bring 16 oz of water per mile per person under normal conditions. Bring more if it’s hot. For extra long or hot hikes, I like to leave at least 32 oz in my car. My thirsty, post-hike self always appreciates the forethought. When my daughter is only riding and not walking, I usually just pack her 8 oz sippy cup, and she is fine with that. I will, of course, share my water with her though if she is extra thirsty. If you’re planning a long or hot hike, it’s also a good idea to drink a good amount of water before you even start hiking. Dehydration can happen quickly and can really compromise your safety out on the trails.

Carrying enough water can be a whole task within itself. Here are some further tips to make sure you and your family stay hydrated on the trails:

  1. Get yourself a good water bottle. – Here in Hawaii, many of us prefer Hydro Flasks. They do not sweat. They keep cold water cold for hours without ice. You can purchase different lids for them. However, I started off with a Nalgene and loved it…until the handle broke. My daughter uses a small, 8 oz plastic cup that has a lid that snaps closed. She is usually okay with this amount of water, but if she needs more, I can always share some of mine. Bottom line: find a water bottle that will not break if you drop it on the trail and that you can use on all of your hikes.two water bottles
  2. Figure out how to pack it. – This was a puzzle to me for a while. My water bottle is big. It holds 40 oz of water. I can’t fit that in a fanny pack. I used to be able to carry it in my backpack, but then the backpack itself became too cumbersome when I switched to back carrying my daughter. I was able to put it in the shoulder bag, but I also didn’t love that vessel. Since I started using a fanny pack, I’ve just been carrying it in my arms, which sort of defeats the handsfree benefits of the fanny pack. I’ve recently bought a cross-body water bottle holder that I love! It’s really allowed me to be hands free on a hike while carrying my daughter, all our stuff, and our water. Some people use fanny packs that come with water bottle pockets. The water bottles are usually on the smaller side, but there is space for multiple containers.
  3. OR SKIP ALL THAT and get a water bladder. – The most popular kind is a CamelBak. They come in various sizes, and are mostly worn like backpacks, although I’ve seen many caregivers wear them on the front if wearing a child on the back. They are more comfortable and safe worn on the front than a backpack, in my opinion. They can hold a ridiculous amount of water, so many caregivers who choose this option only bring one for their family. Bonus: They make child sizes as well, so when your little one gets big enough, she can carry her own water. Bonus bonus: Some, like the ones pictured below, come with additional storage space. For some, this is all they need.

    camelback open

 

You’re packed with the essentials and have enough water for a full day on the trails! But before you get going, we need to talk about safety for you and your family. Come back next week for the last, but certainly not least important post all about how to keep you and your loved ones safe while hiking.

kids on the trail

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