Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
The sound of the alarm penetrated the haze of my half-asleep, half-awake state. The pajama clad kids and half empty suit case were loaded into the car in the predawn darkness. Baby girl (Beans) and I had an early flight to catch.
MommyCon Chicago, here we come!
Even before I entered the Stephens Center in Rosemont, I developed a serious case of carrier envy. Not only was this MommyCon; it was also WEAR: A Babywearing Conference! Everywhere I looked there were beautiful carriers: buckle carriers, ring slings, mei dais, pouches, and my personal favorite: woven wraps in all colors of the rainbow. Stripes, hand wovens, plaids, cotton, hemp, silk, Tencel. My ISO (In Search Of) List at least doubled.
WEAR was more than just a little personal wrap envy. It was also an influx of knowledge. I don’t know if I could articulate a favorite information session; they were all that good.
The first session I attended was The Still Face Paradigm: Evidence for Babywearing as a Tool for Promote Attachment with Lela Williams, Associate Professor in the Social Sciences Department at Arizona State University (https://socialwork.asu.edu/content/lela-williams-2). There is not much scientific peer-reviewed research being done in the babywearing world. Lela has published most, if not all, of the recent studies. The Still Face Paradigm looked at the relationship between Attachment Parenting and Babywearing, and a very special neuropeptide called oxytocin. It is amazing what a huge role oxytocin plays in our bodies. All of the information was fascinating from a scientific and babywearing point of view.
Demystifying Woven Wraps with Amy Rainbow from Amy Wraps Babies (http://www.amywrapsbabies.com/) and LaKeta L. Kemp of Tandem Trouble (https://tandemtrouble.com/) was one of my favorites, as well. A lot of the topics that were covered are things my chapter is interested in: inclusivity in meetings and online through language and volunteer-member interactions. While both women were presenting, they were constantly changing carries with their woven wrap and demo dolls. Front Traditional Sling Carry to a Front Double Hammock with a Poppins finish to a Back Double Hammock Carry to a Back Ruck Carry with a Candy Cane Chest Belt. It was truly amazing to watch.
The Baby Tula Surprise Party revealed their newest product on Saturday evening: The Tula Free To Grow Baby Carrier! I did not get a chance to play with it in person yet, but it looked really cool. The Personal Fit Adjusters (PFAs) actually adjust the height of the body panel. The width of the seat is also adjustable through a series of snaps. This means it can be used from birth to toddlerhood without an infant insert. Check it out for yourself on the Tula website: https://babytula.com/pages/free-to-grow.
Let’s Grow Your Passion into Your Profession! with Joanna McNeilly from the Center for Babywearing Studies (http://www.centerforbabywearingstudies.com/) was a great note to end WEAR. A lot of what she said could be applied to any small business. There were so many awesome ideas for Grow as a retail store that we hope to implement soon. Her passion was evident in her talk. She will also be in Durham this summer teaching a Certification course that I hope to attend.
My inner fan girl escaped on several occasions. I absorbed a lot of my babywearing knowledge while my first, Captain, took nursing naps and I watched YouTube. Lots and lots and lots of YouTube! I had the pleasure of meeting Wrap You in Love (https://www.wrapyouinlove.com/), LaKeta Kemp from Tandem Trouble and Amy Rainbow from Amy Wraps Babies.
My wallet also shrank, thankfully just a teeny bit, at the Expo. It was the perfect occasion to pick personal gifts for some of my babywearing and non-babywearing friends and family.
I connected with some of the companies our family and Grow use on a daily basis, like: EZPZ (http://www.ezpzfun.com/), GroVia (http://www.grovia.com/), and Lunapads (http://lunapads.com/?geoip_country=US).
I discovered some exciting new (to me) companies whose products I can’t wait to explore some more like: Emmeline Textiles (https://emmelinetextiles.com/), Logan and Lenora (https://loganandlenora.com/), Pretty Paisley Productions (https://www.prettypaisley.com/), and XOXO (https://www.facebook.com/xoxobabyco/). Grow also hopes to partner with The Carrying On Project (http://www.carryingonproject.org/) in the near future to provide carriers to military families.
I picked up some awesome carriers for our local babywearing library including some onbuhimo carriers from 2Lambie (https://2lambie.com/) and a donation from Didymos (https://www.didymos.com/en/).
Breakfast Sunday morning was a meet and greet with the participating Babywearing International (https://babywearinginternational.org/) volunteers. It’s easy to get stuck in your little babywearing world so it was great to meet some of my counterparts from all over the country. Thank you Kathy Low and Kat Chaffin so much for hosting! My newest wrap addition, a Butterfly Baby Company wrap (http://www.butterflybabycompany.com/) also got some love [Sweet Shop, Black Weft, Size 5, seconds]. And I won an awesome wrap conversion tote bag from Smitten Wovens (https://wearsmitten.com/) in their Vena Cava design.
All too soon, Beans and I were boarding the plane to return home. My mind was full – full of ideas for Grow as a retail store and a community center, full of outreach hopes for the local babywearing chapter, full of excitement after a wonderful learning experience at WEAR.
Next time I’ll visit Chicago, the Windy City. This time it was all about MommyCon.
WEAR ALL THE BABIES!