Based on the number of posts I’ve written over the past 10 days – which is to say, none – you’d think I hadn’t learned a thing. On the contrary, I have learned all sorts of things, as I spent my vacation geeking it up with lots of babywearing friends. I always think I’ll have all sorts of time to blog and do other things while on vacation. Somehow, that never ends up being the case!
So, on to the lessons learned.
A good number of vendors attended the conference and had booths set up in the Vendor Hall. Britax had a vendor booth and I visited them to talk about carseat safety. They confirmed what I already knew, and showed me the correct way to do the pinch test for the straps. They also referred me to a website: safekids.org as a place I could go to find good info on car seat safety as well as an inspection station.
Another vendor with a booth was Infantino. I was curious to see what their mei tai (MT) and soft-structured carrier (SSC) looked like, so I went over and tried them out with the help of their demo doll. (All of my wearees had gone back to the hotel.) While there, I spent a good deal of time talking with the lady at the booth, who seemed to be the person who designed the carriers. Infantino has gotten a bad rep in the babywearing community for various reasons. I fully expected to be talking to someone who didn’t really know what they were talking about. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely the lady was, and how well-grounded she appeared to be. We had a nice conversation regarding the differences between being a WAHM making carriers and being a larger corporation. We discussed how designing a new carrier takes a LOOONG time. We talked about the fact that sometimes it just takes time to sew a carrier or accessory, even if it’s not particularly complicated. I really enjoyed talking to her and was happy to receive a hug at the end of our conversation.
One of the classes I took at the conference was on using a rebozo (or a mid-length piece of cloth) to assist in labor. This was such a great class! I had the privilege of being the demo belly, as in, most of the techniques were tried out on me. My hips had been killing me from all of the walking, so I was very happy to be the demo belly! After that class, my hips were MUCH happier, and I came away armed with lots of different methods that I’ll be using during labor this time around. I suppose I could try to explain the techniques, but they are really best understood in a visual manner. She shared some tips for the following:
– how to encourage a baby that is posterior or in a less-than-optimal to flip
– how to block out distractions to help mom focus
– how to provide counterpressure on the hips during a contraction
– how to help a mom figure out where to push, because saying “it’s like pooping” is not really accurate. My favorite statement by Amy: “It’s in the same neighborhood, but it’s a different house.” So very, very true.
This pic shows Amy and I demonstrating the “help a mama figure out where to push” technique.
The doula that taught the class was Amy Bookwalter. If you are in the DC-MD-VA area and are looking for a doula or childbirth educator, you should check out her webiste: rosebuddoula.net.
Rachel Coleman, creator of Signing Time, was the keynote speaker for the conference. Although I found her signing videos a little too cheesy for my own tastes, I enjoyed hearing her story, very inspirational. It was nice to hear from someone else how using sign language from a young age had made such a difference in the life of her daughter.
There were two other vendor booths that I visited: Ergo baby and Baby K’tan. Visiting the Ergo booth confirmed for me that Ergo’s aren’t a good fit for me. I’d never tried one until this weekend, but I never thought they would be comfortable based on what they looked like. The back of the carrier is quite low and it seemed to me that would make for a less-than-comfortable carry. I tried the carrier on with my 24lb toddler. I was correct, not particularly comfortable. It wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely much too big for me. It was cinched down to the point of being too tight across my chest, and I still could lift the shoulder straps two inches. This meant that the top part of my toddler wasn’t snugged into my back, which translated into uncomfortable carry. So, it was good to discover this, though. And good to try that carrier so I can be better versed when helping others with their Ergo. (Although I don’t personally like the Ergo, I think there are plenty of people that find it comfortable and really love it. This is simply my opinion of how it fit me, not about the carrier in general.)
And finally, Baby K’tan. A good friend of mine used the K’tan with her first baby, and seemed to like it. I was intrigued as I’d never seen anything like that before. Since they were at the conference, I decided to see how the carrier worked. This is another carrier that I don’t think would work all that well for me, but it’s definitely something that would be great for beginning babywearers who didn’t want to have to faff about with 5 yards of fabric.
I’m sure there are other things that I learned, but I can’t seem to remember them at the moment.
Oh, I learned about traditional babywearing in Japan, went to a very interesting lecture on what research had been done in relation to babywearing and positioning, and went to a talk given by an occupational therapist discussing why certain positions are more optimal than others. Maybe tomorrow I’ll share some of the specifics learned in those classes. I’ll close for now, so as not to overload your brains! =)