If you're looking to make friends with people who wear babies and are into attachment parenting this may be a good place to be. I was only interested in trying out a few different carriers from the local lending library. I joined a CIncinnati Facebook group and learned that there was a waiting list for carriers and "paying members" get first dibs on borrowing carriers. After being knocked down the list for over a month waiting for my turn on a Tula I decided to just pay the "dues" and get first dibs. It's $10 to borrow one without the membership (for this particular chapter. Each chapter makes their own rules) and I wasn't spending hundreds of dollars on one and risk disliking it so the $30 annual membership "dues", as they called them, was a no-brainer. At first I was notified when it was my turn for a carrier and met with the same woman several times without issue. Then the group split into different sub-chapters and I began dealing with another woman. She was twenty minutes late the first time we met, I had to drive an hour and a half round-trip to drop off the carrier the second time, and then she stood me up the third time. No joke, I drove 20 minutes, waited for 20 minutes, she messaged me saying I could wait another half hour for her to load her kids (I declined and thanked her), and drove 20 minutes home. Apparently the rules were always that you had to meet once a month at meetings to pick up and drop off carriers unless the admins were feeling generous, but they were only just recently implemented (their policies are only on their Facebook page and I cannot see them to confirm this). I don't have time to hang out with my actual friends, let alone time to devote on Saturday mornings to chit chat and trade carriers with people I have nothing in common with otherwise. I asked for a refund for my membership after I was stood up. The woman went on a rant about the rules and repeatedly mentioned that she volunteers, doesn't get paid for this, and it's not her entire life. Listen, I do a lot of volunteer work. If I didn't have time to commit I wouldn't. I also don't throw my sacrifice up in the air as an excuse to be a flake. After my Facebook messenger went off repeatedly for ten minutes while I was driving home from her standing me up I blocked her. I thought this was a reasonable thing to do after she blew my phone up like that. Apparently not. I was then banned from the group, as you can't block an admin and stay on the group. When I contacted BWI directly I was told that I could borrow from meetings. How do I know when meetings are held if I can't see the Facebook group? I was told to unblock the admin if I want the ban lifted. I won't open the door for someone to behave like a lunatic to use carriers. So I'm out $30 that they consider a "donation" and nonrefundable. If they're that hard up for the $30 they can keep it. It's sketchy and unethical, at best, but I don't really have time to devote to fighting it. Instead I'll shout from the rooftops NOT to give this group any money because they can (and will) take it and leave you with nothing to show for it. I simply didn't want to waste my time and gas and then have someone complain when I had a problem with the waste. If you want to try their carriers or meet do it without giving them money.
I first learned the importance of wearing my babies when I became a mother for the first time. I had a high-needs baby that needed to be held upright, I had a job outside the home and I had a house and husband to take care of. I purchased my first carrier very early on and wore it often even though it wasn't very easy or comfortable. When the second baby came, I knew there must be something better, but nothing I found worked for us. I was determined to make something work when I had my 3rd child. By then (2004) slings were easy to find on the internet. I read review after review and I was lucky enough to meet someone in person who could help me with a sling! I finally found something that was comfortable, practical, easy and stylish!
After I had my 4th child, a local babywearing group was started. I began attending the meetings and learning all I could. I loved babywearing so much that I decided to help teach other caregivers the joys and benefits of wearing your children close. I've even used my 5th child as a model for the various carriers!
This group has grown and spread the love of babywearing all over the world via the internet and all over our locale with meetings and special events.