At some point during the meeting, especially if we only have 2 or 3 leaders present, we may call a halt to all the one-on-one help to process carrier checkouts in a batch. If you plan to check out a carrier and have not ever checked one out before (and are not a member), please consider pre-registering so that we have your contact information on file.
Getting the Most out of a Weeknight Meeting
- Let us know you're coming! Pre-register, especially if you want to check something out. Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or by email if there is a particular carrier you want to look at or a particular carry you need help with. If you want to see a carrier that is in a different lending library, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will bring it, if it is available.
- Arrive in time for introductions/BW101/The Safety talk. It's ok to arrive any time during the meeting, but, as we said above, the introductions aren't just so we will know your names. We probably won't remember them all, although we do try. The real reason we do introductions is to help us help you, and everyone else at the meeting, by allowing us to divide up and teach small groups who have similar interests/needs.
- Plan ahead for your kids. Kids of all ages are welcome at our meetings, but because Magpie Kids is a toy store, this is our least friendly meeting for older siblings. Please come with whatever you need to keep your child(ren) happy: snacks, drinks, toys, books, whatever that may be. We ask that it be quiet and not messy: Magpie Kids generously hosts our weeknight meetings, at no cost to BWIGB. They rearrange some of the store for us, and generally keep the register staffed (in case you fall in love with one of their many, many amazing toys and baubles). If your child has a special toy that would be stressful to share, consider leaving that in the car. When packing snacks, please be aware that many of our participants have food allergies (especially nut, gluten and dairy). We ask that you keep snacks contained (within arm’s reach) to limit your child leaving food or drink where someone else could pick it up, and avoid sharing or offering snacks or drinks to other children.
- Bring what you own. If you already own some baby carriers but need some help or feel that they aren't comfortable, bring them with you. Chances are, even if there's a better carrier out there for you and your baby, we can help you adjust what you have to work better for you.
- Make yourself comfortable. There isn't room to set up chairs, but there is a cozy corner where you can sit and feed your child, and there is a restroom with a changing table.
- Put your child’s needs first. Feel free to parent your child. Our leaders will sometimes have to pause instruction or conversation in order to parent their own children, and we understand that you may need a break to do the same. You are welcome to breastfeed, bottle feed, stand and sway with your baby, take a child to the restroom, whatever you need to do. The children are why we’re here, after all. Please know that many of our leaders are stay at home moms or are working moms with some schedule flexibility, so we often have our children with us, too. Our leaders have kids that range from newborn to 4 years old. Many of us couldn’t volunteer to teach you if we couldn’t bring our kids with us. Our leaders and attendees will also have older children that they need to bring, especially when school is not in session. We all try our best to keep older children calm and contained, but towards the end of the meeting especially, their patience may be wearing thin, hunger is setting in, and things can get a bit rough. It’s frustrating and nerve wracking for all of us! Please bear with us. If you see a safety concern, inform one of the leaders and/or the parent of the child.
- Speak up. Ask questions! We love questions. We will periodically pause from instruction and ask if there are any general questions. We can handle more specific or in depth questions when we begin our one-on-one support after our basic overview instruction. We do try to get to everyone in turn. When possible, we like to work in small groups to maximize our meeting time and share more varied information. Sometimes true one-on-one assistance is needed and we will do our best to be available for that. Please speak up and ask for what you need. It isn’t rude! If you ever need us to repeat something, we’re happy to do it. If you asked for help and we didn’t get back to you, remind us. We are not intentionally ignoring you. You did not annoy us. We probably just got sidetracked with all the competing demands at a meeting.
- Trust us! All of our VBEs (Volunteer Babywearing Educators) are well versed in every type of baby carrier, and even our leaders and leaders-in-training who are not yet VBEs are experienced with most carriers and can redirect you to someone else if you go out of their comfort area. While we each have our favorites and our strong suits, any of us can help you with just about anything you need. For example, if one VBE is wearing her child in a ring sling, she can still help you with mei tais. If she feels another leader is better equipped to help you, she will take you over and introduce you to that leader. If you trust us, we will do our best to make sure you get the help you need.
- Be Patient! We are moving more of our systems for check-in, membership, and the lending library to electronic databases. Please be patient with us while we figure out new technology and new systems and deal with things that sometimes don’t work the way they should. We’re all new to it and trying to learn. Once we do, we’ll spend a lot less time at each meeting trying to manage paperwork and we’ll be more available to teach babywearing.