We're so glad to hear that you are interested in attending a BWI of Central VA meeting. We love to have new attendees. Here is a little bit about what you can expect at our meetings:
All of our meetings are FREE and open to the public. Parents and caregivers of all types are welcome (including fathers, grandparents, doulas, babysitters/nannies, siblings, and parents-to-be) and children of all ages are welcome too. There are usually plenty of toddlers and preschoolers around to play with. You are free to come late or leave early if your little one or schedule requires it.
When you arrive you will be greeted by a volunteer and asked to sign our liability waiver and attendance form on a tablet or phone. Typically we have a few minutes for socializing, setting up, and then we will all introduce ourselves and go over any announcements. A Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE) will then ask the attendees to introduce yourselves, your child(ren)/child you will be wearing (or when you are due), and what you are there to learn today or if you're just there to socialize. Please bring any carriers that you have questions about to the meeting so that we can help you troubleshoot. If we have a large group or lots of brand new babywearers we usually do a short babywearing 101 presentation, otherwise we can provide the same information one-on-one with any new wearers.
After introductions, we break into small groups of people with similar questions or you may receive one-on-one assistance from a VBE. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask one of us for help! We are often at meetings with kids in tow and getting pulled in many different directions but we want to make sure that everyone has their questions answered so please speak up!
While at the meeting you will be able to examine and try on a variety of different carriers. Our lending library has more than 175 baby carriers of all different styles and varieties and normally we have several dozen at any given meeting. We have a wide variety of carriers including soft structured carriers, ring slings, mei tais, woven wraps, and stretchy wraps including options appropriate for newborns, babies, and toddlers. Anyone can try on carriers at a meeting with VBE assistance for free!
At busy meetings VBEs wear bright orange headbands and our Meeting Support Volunteers, who can answer questions about membership and library checkouts, wear white headbands.
We try to make meetings a comfortable environment for all parents. Feeding babies (breast or bottle) is welcomed and encouraged. We try to have changing facilities available whenever possible, but please plan on bringing dirty diapers home with you. Please be aware that our food policy states that no food is allowed in the meeting areas. A spill-proof container for water is okay. We ask that all snacks are consumed outside the meeting areas.
Please use your best judgement in assessing the health of you and your family members. The community we service is full of young children and pregnant women, and our aim is to protect them from illnesses. BWI of Central VA reserves the right to ask those who are visibly ill to leave a meeting at any time for the protection of other attendees.
If you join BWI of CVA (membership is $30/year) you may borrow one carrier per month from our library to use at home. We have membership information available at every meeting and can take cash, credit/debit cards, or checks! Membership is a great way to support our volunteer efforts in the community.
We look forward to seeing you at a meeting soon!