You decide to come to a BWI of Portland eeting. Yeah! Welcome! But now what?
Have no fear, here is a simple breakdown of how our monthly meetings work.
Our meetings typically take place the first Saturday of the month. However, if our meeting space is booked, we will move it to either the following Saturday Or possibly a Sunday if needed. Please double check the event on Facebook or contact us directly each month.
Our meetings are typically at the Main Library in downtown Portland. We meet in the US Bank Meeting Room, just off the the right of the entrance before you enter the main part of the building.
The meeting is two hours long. We break the meeting down into three parts to make it easier for us to facilitate and you to attend: check-in, teaching, and, check-out.
The first 30 minutes is check in. When you first enter, a CSV (Chapter Support Volunteer) will greet you and have you sign-in to the meeting on a tablet. The sign-in is for attendance records and a photo release waiver. All meetings and play dates are free for anyone to attend.
If you checked a carrier out the previous month, you can return it at this time. It's import to return the carrier within the first 30 minutes of the meeting so we have it teaching and for others to check-out later. All carriers not received during this time will be charged a late fee.
Now have a seat and relax for a bit! We set up several rows of chairs for your comfort during the meeting. Change baby’s diaper, feed, or chat with fellow wearers for a bit.
VBE (Volunteer Babywearing Educator) give a brief introduction to our organization and go over some basic rules. Each one of the volunteers will introduce themselves as well, and we will ask each of you for a brief introduction and what you need help with that day.
Now the second and most fun part starts, teaching! This part lasts for an hour.
VBEs will break off into groups based on your needs. Usually there is a babywearing 101 overview, newborn wearing, woven wraps, ring sling/meh dai, and buckle carriers. But we may add or drop groups each meeting as needed.
You can go off to the group or groups you need. At first VBEs will go over basics for the carrier type and give a brief demo. You can grab a carrier from our library and follow along too. Then you can ask individual questions as needed.
During this time we also encourage you try-on as many carriers as possible and ask us for fit checks. Find a carrier that suits all your needs or just try something new!
However, once you have found the carrier you would like to check out, please allow others to try it on until it is time for check out. Please go over to one of CVSs and put your name down for it. If more than person wants to check-out the same carrier, we will do a drawing for it.
The last 30 minutes of the meeting is check-out. Members can borrow one of library carriers for one month! Not a member yet? You can also sign-up for membership right at the meeting and still take a carrier home.
Please also ask any final questions and get any last minute help you need during this time. Our job is to help you be the best babywearer possible, we don't want you leaving until that is accomplished!
Now you, baby, and carrier can march out into Portland in confidence. Until next month when you can come back with new questions and try new things!
Here are a few more questions you may have:
I can't make the first hour of the meeting. Can I come later?
Of course! You can come to our meetings at anytime. But if are you returning a carrier, you will be charged the $5 late fee if you bring it after the first half hour. We need them for teaching. Education is the main goal of this organization, we need all tools possible. You can always contact a VBE before the meeting to arrange a drop off a few days before.
I can't stay the whole time, can I check out the carrier I want before the last 30 minutes?
Unfortunately no. In addition to needing all possible carriers for teaching, it's not fair to the other members if all the carriers vanish at the beginning. A new wearer may not know about a certain carrier and won't get the chance to try it on if you take it right away.
Can I bring my own carrier? I need help using it correctly.
Absolutely! Our goal is to educate you on babywearing properly in any carrier.
Can I bring my baby with me?
Of course! We love babies of all ages! It's best to try a carrier out with the child who will be in it. Please feel free to see to all theirs needs in the room--- diapers changes to feedings. There is a restroom nearby as well. We also love holding babies while we get your carrier prepped!
Can I bring older siblings?
Yes. Our meetings can be very busy, though. You are responsible for all children you bring to the library. We do bring some toys to help keep littles happy while you look at carriers.
Can I bring my spouse? My mom? My sister? My friend?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Meetings are free to attend for all! We want everyone and anyone to learn how to wear safely.
Do I have to be a member to check-out a carrier?
Yes, it's the best perk of membership!! If you can't afford membership, please talk to us about scholarship opportunities. Meetings are always free for all to attend.
Samantha Reddy, ABE