Monday, March 3, 2014

Meet Your VBEs

Babywearing International's not only for new wearers. As an organization, it also helps give babywearing educators "a common educational background when they work with our non-profit groups". By helping other mamas, learning, studying, and giving hands-on help, volunteer babywearing educators - or VBEs - continually increase their knowledge and hone their teaching skills. Each VBE must be proficient in the use of all major types of carriers (wraps, ring slings, pouches, soft-structured carriers, and mei tais) in all common positions (front, side, hip). VBEs know how to teach wearing safely, ergonomically, and correctly, from newborns to preschoolers, and for a variety of special circumstances.

Every chapter of Babywearing International is led by at least two volunteer babywearing educators. Here in Columbia, we're lucky to have three VBEs with a whopping combined twenty-six years of teaching experience.

Elizabeth: When I was pregnant with my oldest son in 2009, I told my mother that once he was born I'd never put him down. She laughed at me, but I started wrapping him in a Moby and never looked back. I primarily use woven wraps, and have wrapped almost-daily since Blaise was born. I love helping new mamas learn to use a wrap or ring sling - the moment that baby settles, cuddles into mama's chest, and falls asleep is pure magic every single time. It's amazing to help parents learn to wear. It's such a simple skill that can help so much! I also love to help mamas DIY and learn to nurse in wraps (something I do for about two hours a day right now with my four-month-old). When I'm not babywearing or homeschooling, I make art of all kinds, but primarily write at my own blog, Manic Pixie Dream Mama and Columbia Moms Blog. I also have a novel in progress (as usual).

Elizabeth is in her second year as a recognized VBE and recently presented at the Midlands Perinatal Breastfeeding Conference, in which she taught an introduction to babywearing class to over 150 medical professionals, which counted for continuing education credits.

Rebecca: In 2007 I was working as a Nanny for the sweetest little 18month old boy. I was taking him to our first Mommy and Baby Yoga and when I walked in, the studio owner/teacher was sitting at the front desk, eating her lunch and putting a client's info into the computer . The whole time, she was wearing a sweetly sleeping toddler in a woven wrap. I was sold. I ended up buying my first two carriers from her- an Ellaroo Mei Hip and a 5m Ellaroo wrap.

I wore my nanny kids right up until I had my son in October of 2009. When I started babywearing I had trouble figuring out how to wrap so I stuck to the Mei Hip for a while, but when I found out I was pregnant I was determined to use something cozier. I found a ring sling maker on Etsy who was selling simple dupioni silk ring slings and bought one... then two... then three of them, and Aidan lived in those slings for the first three months of his life. Eventually, I found my way to and joined the community there and fell head over heels for wrapping.

I believe in babywearing. It's an empowering skill, being able to comfort and connect with your baby and still have your hands free. Babywearing is something that everyone can do. Baby born at home? Wear your baby. Baby born via Cesarean? Wear your baby. Baby doesn't share your DNA? Who cares! Wear your baby. Babywearing doesn't discriminate. Babies are born to be worn, and they deserve to feel that connection with you just as much as you deserve to feel that connection with them.

Rebecca is a graduate of the Babywearing Institute and a particular expert on ergonomics and anatomy.

Brandi: I have been a stay at home mom for the last 18 years. I have 6 kids with another due in May. I enjoy playing on the computer, reading, and needlecrafts right now. When health allows, I also enjoy hiking, camping and anything else that gets us into the fresh air. I started babywearing in the 90s. I later learned how unusual it was that my Lamaze teacher, in 1996, knew anything about baby slings. But she recommended them to prevent overstimulation in babies. We started with a Snugli style carrier. We added a padded style sling with my 2nd, then an unpadded. We dealt with special needs and health issues that had that child almost living in the sling. It was a full 5 years before my 3rd was born but I then had 4 kids in 5 years, babywearing was a necessity. I went from just using ring slings to pretty much using every carrier out there, over the next 8 years.

Brandi is a founding member of the Columbia chapter - formerly Columbia Babywearers - from way back in the day when it was a yahoo group only, and has over 16 years of wearing and teaching experience.


  1. Hi, I'm wondering how to get involved in this group. Is it open to all SC residents, or do you have to live in Columbia? I live in Florence and we have nothing like this group around here. Please let me know. My email is Thank you!

  2. When do you guys meet? Or do you just do one-on-one consults? Thanks.

  3. Is this for just Columbia or all of SC? Ty!
    My email is :)