Sarah and M waving watermark.jpg

Babywearing tips + Q&A with local expert Sarah Bailey

To celebrate International Babywearing week we got to know local mama and babywearing expert Sarah Bailey a little better. Click here for some of her top tips for babywearing, learn more about her store Acorn Treasures, and learn how she supports the Madison/HSV community.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in a small Tennessee town about an hour outside of Nashville. I graduated from MTSU with a Master’s Degree in early childhood special education, and I taught families with children with special needs for nearly a decade. I spent most of my teaching career working for a non profit program that focused on children from birth to age three with disabilities. I moved to Huntsville, AL after meeting my husband. I am a mom to two amazing children who are in elementary school. I enjoy hiking, sewing, reading, learning, and helping others.

2. Tell us a little bit about Acorn Treasures and the history of the store.

I started a local babywearing support group in 2013. Through leading this group, I realized that parents most needed a local resource to learn how to use the items on the market. In 2014, a local shop owner graciously offered to rent me space to sell babywearing items. I also set up booths to teach babywearing and sell carriers at many events in the community. Less than a year later, we outgrew the space and the present day Acorn Treasures opened on Bob Wallace Avenue. Acorn Treasures has continued to add products and services for young families each year. In addition to baby carriers, wraps, and slings, we added cloth diapers, developmental toys, health and beauty products, and children’s shoes. We are celebrating the 5th year in the storefront this year.

3. What is your WHY? What drives you to keep supporting the community of Madison/HSV with Acorn Treasures and your consulting services?

Becoming a parent is one of the largest shifts in life for most people. My WHY is pretty simple. I love to support families through this change with a tool that can be used daily to make life a little easier as a new parent.

4. Why is choosing a baby carrier unique to each mom?

Choosing a babywearing item is unique to each caregiver and baby pair because hobbies vary, goals differ, and people are all sizes. One family may want to use a wrap to provide skin to skin to a newborn while another family may want to find a carrier for a toddler to ride on an adult’s back while hiking. Recommendations are individually provided based on a family’s normal or desired activities, goals for holding a baby close, and babies age or weight.

When fitting a baby carrier, we are finding a garment that fits two people at one time, an adult and a baby or young child. We take into consideration the age and size of the baby. We often consider the height of the caregiver. We like to keep in mind any other caregivers who may use the carrier as well as other children in the family who may need to be worn. Preferences, features, and fit matter. You may need to consider a few different options versus what is popular or what your best friend likes for a variety of reasons.

Baby carriers are like shoes or jeans. I love that a local customer called her husband sharing why she hadn’t returned home yet. She said “Honey, this is like trying on wedding dresses.”

5. Do you have any tips for breastfeeding in a carrier?

Most caregivers can easily breastfeed in a carrier with a little practice. Adjust the carrier down so that the baby's nose is at the wearer’s nipple. This may mean lowering your carrier several inches around the waist and loosening the arm straps. Young babies may need help getting latched while older babies may not need assistance. Keep a hand on the carrier since it’s not as snug. As soon as your baby is no longer nursing, tighten your carrier up.

6. What's the one piece of advice you'd give to a mama who is trying babywearing for the first time?

Babywearing is learning something new. Like all new things, you may need to devote some dedicated time to learn new skills. Expect babywearing to take a little time and effort to learn.

I like to compare babywearing to learning to ride a bicycle. It may take a little time, practice and perseverance. Once you’ve got how to use a carrier, wrap or sling figured out, you don’t even have to think about it anymore. Putting on the carrier, wrap or sling just becomes automatic.

I think some caregivers get discouraged when trying on a carrier is not easy the first or second time. When I get a new item in, it’s not unusual for me to spend 30 minutes exploring the features, trying it out, and learning a new item before I test it with a baby.

Consider scheduling an appointment around the 20 week mark in your pregnancy. This gives you plenty of time to practice before your baby arrives, and provides something to do to prepare for your baby’s arrival. You will be ready to wear a carrier, wrap or sling as soon as your baby is born.

7. What's the best way for mamas to book a babywearing consultation with Acorn Treasures?

The easiest way to book a babywearing consultation with Acorn Treasures is by sending us a message via our Facebook page. If you aren’t on Facebook, you can call or text anytime.