How much is a membership?
Membership is $30 for one year.
What are the benefits of membership?
Membership in our chapter grants you access to check out carriers from our lending library at monthly meetings.
How do I become a member?
Come to one of our meetings, fill out an application and pay your annual dues via check or credit card. Alternatively, contact a chapter leader and we can email you the application to fill out before hand and arrange to pay your dues outside of regular meetings.
Do I have to be a member to attend meetings or borrow a carrier?
You do not have to be a dues paying member in order to attend any of our meetings and most of our outreach events (some outreach events that we attend and are sponsored by other organizations may require fees). You can try on and test any carrier in our library for free during the meeting. However, if you wish to borrow or check out a carrier for a month, you must become a member.
When and how often do you have meetings?
We have regular meetings twice a month. Our weekend meeting is on the second Sunday of the month (with few exceptions) from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Our weekday meeting varies from month to month but is always from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. We do not currently have a regular meeting place. Check our Facebook page events for meeting locations each month.
Does it cost anything to attend a meeting?
All of our regular meetings are free and open to the public. It does not cost anything to attend!
What do you do at a meeting?
Can I bring my children/mom/husband/friend?
Yes, yes and yes! Caregivers and children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please note that we do not currently offer any childcare during meetings so we ask that if you need assistance keeping tabs on your little one(s) while you are getting assistance with a carrier, please bring someone who can help you.
Someone gave me this carrier at my baby shower and I have no idea how to use it. Can you help me?
Yes, we can! Our VBEs have extensive knowledge of many types of carriers. Bring your carrier with you to a meeting and our VBEs will help you adjust and use your carrier.
Do I need to RSVP to attend a meeting?
Facebook allows you to indicate your attendance in the events but it is not required. You do not need to give any advance notice if you want to attend a meeting. Just show up! However, if you think you will be running late, it would be helpful if you sent us a message on Facebook, especially if you are returning a checked out carrier.
I can't make it to a meeting. Can someone meet me to help with my carrier?
Unfortunately, our volunteers are only available during allotted meetings times. If you cannot make it to a meeting, you are welcome to post your questions in our Facebook group and we will trouble shoot as best we can but it may not be the same as hands-on assistance. Alternatively, there are local retailers who offer assistance with carriers for a fee or for free if you purchased a carrier from their store.
Do you have a _____ in the lending library that I can try?
See our list of carriers here.
Can I take a library carrier home?
Dues paying members are able to check out library carriers for one month.
Can I keep a borrowed carrier for longer than one month?
Many of our carriers are in high demand by parents who want to try before buying. For this reason we do not typically allow carriers to be kept longer than one month. You are welcome to re-check out a carrier again at the next month's meeting, but we want all of our members and attendees to have an opportunity to try all the carriers we have available. Carriers which we have multiples of we can be a little more flexible on. Talk to a chapter leader.
I can't make it to a meeting. Can a chapter leader meet up with me to check out a carrier?
Unfortunately, no. Our lending library is only available during meetings and outreach events.
Do I need to wash this carrier before I return it?
You do not need to wash carriers before returning. If you spilled something on your library carrier and are concerned, please contact a chapter leader about washing instructions.
I'm interested in teaching others about babywearing. Can I do that?
You sure can! BWI is run entirely by volunteers and many of them started out as parents who just wanted to learn more about babywearing. BWI offers educator accreditation programs for those individuals who would like to volunteer their time to help other caregivers learn more about babywearing.
What is a VBE or CSV?
A Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE) is a chapter leader who has been accredited by the national chapter of Babywearing International (BWI). VBEs have demonstrated proficiency in many types of baby carriers and are well versed in best babywearing safety and practices as outlined by BWI. Some VBEs go on to seek higher accreditation levels such as Advanced Babywearing Educator (ABE) and Master Babywearing Educator (MBE). No matter the level of accreditation, all of our educators are qualified to assist you in your babywearing journey.
A Chapter Support Volunteer (CSV) is a chapter leader who performs administrative tasks to assist in keeping chapter operations running smoothly. Our CSVs perform many essential functions such as arranging for meetings spaces, meeting sign in, checking carriers in and out at meetings, handling membership applications and maintaining chapter the chapter website and social media pages. CSVs are not accredited to provide instruction at meetings but many are seasoned baby wearers and are happy to talk about their favorite babywearing experiences.
How do I become a VBE or CSV?
Individuals wishing to become accredited Volunteer Babywearing Educators through BWI must pass a written assessment as well as an in person assessment to demonstrate proficiency in babywearing safety and knowledge. If you would like to learn more about this process, please contact one of the chapter leaders to find out more. Likewise, if you would like to support our chapter without going through educator accreditation process and skills assessment, you can fill out an application to become a CSV.
General Babywearing FAQ
Which baby carrier is best?
BWI of Wichita does not endorse any specific brand or type of baby carrier as “the best.” What works best for one family or baby may not be the best for another. The best carrier is the one that fits your needs.
What kind of baby carrier should I get?
Baby carriers are like jeans and a lot depends on individual's personal preference. Our VBEs can make recommendations based on features you are looking for but the best way to figure out which carrier you should get is to come to a meeting and try them all on! Our library has a wide variety of carrier types and brands that you can try for free with free assistance and instruction from our VBEs. You can certainly find your preferred carrier through online reviews and trial and error but you will save yourself a lot of trouble and hassle if you try before buying.
What does this word/acronym mean?
Babywearing has become a culture of its own complete with its own lingo and set of acronyms! This can be confusing and intimidating to new babywearers. For a quick rundown on common abbreviations and terms visit BWI Glossary here or Babywearing 102 Glossary here.
I'm interested in wearing my baby but I'm on a tight budget. What are my options?
There is a baby carrier for every budget. The babywearing industry has come a long way in the last few years in the availability of quality and affordable carriers. Our VBEs and other members are more than happy to recommend their favorite budget brands. Baby carriers can also be found second hand in our local swap page or on the many different budget friendly babywearing swaps on Facebook. Exercise caution when B/S/Ting on Facebook or anywhere else. For helpful tips on how to navigate B/S/T go here.
Wow this carrier is expensive! Why does a piece of cloth cost so much?
Many factors play into the cost of certain baby carriers. It seems strange to newcomers and outsiders to spend that amount of money on what amounts to a piece of fabric to carry a baby in but this is an item that must follow rigorous safety standards in order to be BICA compliant in the USA and other countries. Many “purpose woven” wraps undergo safety testing, must follow safety standards and comply with certain protocols in order to be sold in the U.S. This process costs manufacturers money and time and is built into the cost of their products.
Some types of carriers and brands have achieved a loyal following in the babywearing community and you'll find that certain brands will have a secondary retail market with prices in the four digit range, well exceeding their retail prices. You may also notice that secondhand carriers may cost just as much if not more than a new one. What gives? Different materials, patterns, weaving methods and brands all factor into the cost of an item brand new. Many wraps are stiff and difficult to work with out of the box but after long time use become soft and easier to work with. “Broken in” wraps purchased second hand are often more valuable for this reason. You will also find that many baby carriers are like works of art all on their own. This has made them collectible for many parents who have fallen in love babywearing and may have “collections” that include dozens of carriers or more.
The important thing to remember is that you don't have to spend more than you want to on a good baby carrier nor do you need a collection of 20 wraps in order to babywear. One parent can spend $25 on a carrier and enjoy wearing their baby from birth through the end of their babywearing days.
I saw someone post a picture of their carrier collection and they have dozens! Why does anyone need that many carriers?
It is not necessary for anyone to have more than one baby carrier for the entirety of their babywearing journey, however, some parents may find that having multiple carriers or multiple types of carriers useful. For example, a carrier for each differently sized caregiver adds convenience so the carrier does not have to be re-adjusted each time. Or a caregiver may prefer one type of carrier for quick errands but another type for wearing for extended periods. As mentioned above, some babywearers have come to love certain brands and carriers so much that they become collectible and enjoy having a “stash” of carriers that they can admire and use daily.
Can't I just make a baby carrier?
Sure you can! Our VBEs do not offer instruction on how to make your own carriers but there are dozens of online and local resources available to help the crafty person make a DIY baby carrier for $20 or less! Many of our local members also have personal experience doing it themselves and are happy to share their knowledge in our Facebook group. If you choose this route, please exercise caution and make sure you thoroughly research the materials and methods you use to make your carrier. Manufactured carriers go through rigorous testing process to ensure that they are safe. That said, people all over the world have been safely tying their babies to their bodies for centuries using inexpensive materials that you can find at your local fabric store. You can still safely babywear making your own carrier, but choosing the right materials and methods is very important. See our list of resources for more information.
Where can I buy a baby carrier locally?
There are several big box stores that sell popular brands of carriers as well as local boutiques. We also have a B/S/T thread in our Facebook group where you can purchase used carriers from local parents. You may also be able to find carriers at local children's consignment stores and sales. When purchasing used from an unknown seller, be sure to inspect the carrier for any wear or damage that might make the carrier unsafe.
Where can I buy a baby carrier online?
If you can't find what you're looking for locally, there are hundreds of family run babywearing retailers online as well as big box retailers that you can shop at. See our list of resources for some of our favorite/recommended retailers. You can also ask for recommendations in our Facebook group to find what you need.