Category Archive Featured

Moncton Babywearing Group: Best Babywearing Group in Canada 2018

With only a small handful of days to vote, Canadians were enthusiastic. Congratulations Moncton Babywearing Group, you won the Best Babywearing Group in Canada for 2018. I recommend reading the rest of the nominations, we have some great groups run by some fabulous volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

Moncton Babywearing Group

  • They are a fantastic resource helping so many of us with fit on our current carriers, networking babywearing mum’s through the Facebook group & local meetups, trying out a variety of different carriers before purchasing.
  • They helped me learn how to properly use a ssc at a group meeting. And they also have helped guide me / answered my questions in regards to purchasing a different type of carrier. I greatly appreciate the education and support that they provide as I would of otherwise shyed away from babywearing.
  • Wonderful resource for all things babywearing! They also have an awesome lending library. Lots of tips and instruction on different carriers, plus information on how to safely wear baby. I bought both carriers I own now due to the discussions in the group.

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Windsor Babywearing group

  • This is such an amazing and supportive group run by local moms who manage the online group, schedule babywearing play dates and also offer a lending library on their own time. I like the playdates, it’s where you can meet up with other like minded moms to try on various different carriers and learn what may work best for you. They also do one on one learning sessions as well. I love this group.
  • They provide so much knowledge and information regarding so many carriers and they take so much time out of their lives to run this group. When I joined, I quickly learned how inviting and generous this group is. Such a nice community.
  • They are so great!!! They have the best babywearing moms and we are so lucky have such a great babywearing community here in Windsor.

 

Ottawa Babywearing Group – Under Wraps

  • I joined OBG Under Wraps group about a couple of years ago, it was formed by many enthusiasts who enjoy using woven wraps to carry their children. It has been my to go group if I ever have any questions about wraps bst, wrap techniques, or just simply to show off my new wraps. The members in the group are extremely friendly and positive, no one talks about controversial topics, no triggering posts. It’s truly a sanctuary for people like me who just want to learn more about woven wraps, admire beautiful pictures of parents wearing their littles.
  • Couple years ago, the babywearing community had many dramas going around and I honestly stopped enjoying being in the community as much, but since joining Under Wraps, the joy has returned. Even its parent group has been quite peaceful. The groups admins really work hard to make sure people are here to discuss and share babywearing knowledge in a safe space. My babywearing days are coming to an end very quickly as my youngest is already 2, I hope for the next couple years this group continues to grow peacefully.
  • I have always been a part of the main Ottawa Babywearing Group, but to me Under Wraps is special.  It is a smaller community, I feel like I know all of them and they are my go to place for many things — be it quick questions, commiserating and sharing parental woes, and enjoying everyone’s squish pics. In this group, there’s always someone happy to answer questions and share experiences. It’s a great group of moms and dads.

 

Winnipeg Babywearers

  • The Winnipeg Babywearers has an active Facebook group of four thousand where members can access peer to peer support. Leaders are great at directing parents to current information and supporting all their members. They run two monthly meetings where anyone can access in person help, which includes trying carriers from their extensive lending library.
  • The group has been meeting for over 15 years. Many leaders donate years of service providing a strong foundation for the group. Leaders are so helpful and kind, they work to make you comfortable and successful.
  • The Winnipeg Babywearers were instrumental in helping me feel successful with babywearing. The in person help was so important to me and taught me so much more than anything I was learning online. It was so helpful to be able to try carriers before committing to a purchase. I went in thinking I would hate a ring sling thanks to the group I discovered how to use them to their full advantage. Now 7 years later they are still my favourite carrier.

 

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 20-01-2015 03:59:19
End date 26-05-2018 23:59:59
Poll Results:
Which is your favourite babywearing group in Canada for 2018?

 

Official 2018 #BWICweek events

It’s time to celebrate Babywearing in Canada week! Babywearing in Canada week takes place from May 18, 2017, to May 26, 2018. Have you registered your official event? Fill out our form here! Events can be registered right up to the last day.

These are the official events for 2017. Join our facebook group and follow us on facebook or Instagram for the latest new. 🙂

Charlottetown PEI

Date: May 18, 2018
Event planner: Jacqueline (JC) Martin
Location: Bonshaw Park and Trails
Time: 11:00 am start
Group: PEI babywearing and attachment parenting group

We’ll meet at the park at 10:00 am, then hike from there. 🙂

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Date: May 24, 2018
Event planner: Jacqueline (JC) Martin
Location: Birdie’s Room, 18C Superior Crescent, Charlottetown (C1E 2A1)
Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Group: PEI babywearing and attachment parenting group

Come join us at Birdie’s Room for a play date. Come for the LLL meeting in the morning or just come to hang out. It’s up to you.

Moncton NB

Date: May 18, 2018
Event planner: Larissa Flanagan
Location: Hildegrad Park
Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 pm
Group: Moncton Babywearing

Our regular monthly meeting, with special attention to babywearing in Canada.

Ottawa ON

Date: May 20, 2018
Event planner: Débora Rodrigues
Location: Kneaded Touch Women’s Clinic, 206 – 4100 Strandherd Avenue
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Business: Crown of Dreams, Pure Natural Newborn Photography, My Yoga at Home and Little Luv Slings

Join us in celebrating – we’re having a party! We’ll start with cake and refreshments and learn how:

🎉 allows us, as parents of babies, the freedom to MOVE and go anywhere (Priceless Mobility!)
🎉 helps us to connect with community so we can feel more surrounded & supported in the early years of our children’s lives
🎉 helps to build confidence in our parenting by giving us the power to be the parents we’ve always wanted to be

Here’s what we have lined up for our 3 hours together:

🍰 Little Luv Slings will have us crafting with wrap scraps.
🍰 Crown of Dreams you will perfect those babywearing knots.
🍰 My Yoga at Home with Claudia will be showing some yoga moves.
🍰 Pure Natural Newborn Photography will be running through best baby poses for pics.

 

Saskatoon SK

Date: May 23, 2018
Event planner: Lindsay Sanderson
Location: Saskatoon Farmer’s Market, 414 Avenue B South
Time: 1:00 pm
Business: Raising a little

Let’s celebrate Babywearing in Canada week by bringing out all the babywearing parents in Saskatoon! On May 23 lets flood the riverbank with babywearers. We will meet in the park across from the Farmer’s Market at 1. From there we will walk down the riverbank for a fun, family walk. Bring your carriers or grab one out of the Raising a Little stash. This event is free but you do need to register in advance.

Terrebonne QC

Date: May 26, 2018
Event planner: Geneviève Calvé
Location: Centre Embyrion, 200 Philippe-Chartrand, suite 100
Time: 10 h 00 à 15 h 00
Business: Miss Gigotine

J’organise un rassemblement de parents porteurs afin de souligner la semaine du portage canadienne (#BWICweek).

Au menu: essai de porte-bébés, mini ateliers privés GRATUITS, discussions et plaisir fou. L’entrée étant libre, vous venez à l’heure et aussi longtemps qu’il vous plaira. Que vous soyez débutants ou porteurs aguerris, cet évènement est pour vous! Il y aura également une section jeu sur place pour occuper votre ainé 🙂

I am having this event for babywearing parents to help highlight Babywearing in Canada week (#BWICweek). On the agenda: Try any baby carriers, private free mini-seminars, discussions and much more fun! Entry is free, come when you can and stay as long as you like! Whether you are new to carrying, or are veterans, this event is for you! There will also be a play area for toddlers. 🙂

ACE Wrapping: Best babywearing blogger in Canada 2018

Congratulations Asia from ACE Wrapping on winning the Best babywearing blogger in Canada for 2018.

 

ACE Wrapping

Blogger’s name: Asia
Youtube channel
ACE wrapping art facebook page.
Helps admin Fancy Finishes facebook group.

 

 

  • Asia is the face of fancy finishes with woven wraps. Not only does she help admin a Fancy Finishes facebook group, she also regularly contributes to other groups such as including Geeky Wrappers. This is where I met her.
  • I find Asia to be very approachable, kind, down-to-earth and helpful when sharing her tips and techniques.
  • I love how she is so creative in combining different elements of wrapping into seamless and safe carries. I feel like she has invigorated my wrapping skills and I think she would be a wonderful face for the best Canadian wrapping video blogger. 🙂

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Take the time to read all our nominations. They show a level of thankfulness for those who work hard to help parents online. There weren’t as many nominations for this category, making me wonder if as Canadians we focus less on our nationality and more on what we can do to help parents. I appreciate anyone who works hard to help parents in our communities.

 

Momma Luvz

Blogger’s name: Teresa
Website Momma Luvz Blog
Momma Luvz facebook page.
Youtube channel.
Instagram: @Mommaluvzblog

  • I have been following Teresa since my first son was born. I love how she breaks down each carry and includes tips for seat poppers. Her website is easy to follow with different sections, and she even offers in person help. I wish I was closer to meet her in person. She has been amazing to follow.
  • She also blogs about a wide range of topics, even has a playdough recipe which was a hit with my toddler! I love her.
  • I find her videos easy to follow along with and I like the little bits of text she uses to get our attention about what we should watch out for.
This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 18-05-2018 03:59:19
End date 25-05-2018 23:59:59
Poll Results:
Vote for the best blogger in Canada 2018

Close to the Heart: Best babywearing store in Canada 2018

Votes are in! A huge congratulations to Close to the Heart, this year’s best babywearing store in Canada.

Close to the heart

Owner: Larissa
Business website: Close to the Heart
Facebook page.
Instagram: @Closetotheheart.shop

 

 

 

  • I honestly didn’t know much of anything about babywearing before Larissa. She was there to offer me any information on many different brands and answered all the questions I had! I’ve been carrying my daughter for 16 months now thanks to Larissa and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Larissa is such a kind person, always there to help anyone out. She’s has monthly meet ups locally with other parents in the area where they can try carriers and share information. Larissa is also a single mother of two, running her own amazing business carrying handmade baby products too, not just baby carriers. She’s an amazing educator and even more amazing lady.
  • Larissa helped me chose the right kind of carrier for my baby and myself. She is dedicated to educating on babywearing and has a lending library to test and try out products or lend a hand
  • Larissa is hard working and believes wholeheartedly in baby wearing. Helped me with fitting my carrier correctly. She is very devoted and knows her product. One of the most amazing knowledgeable babywearing educators in the area!

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Our small and medium-size stores build community in Canada, and are usually the first point of contact for many looking to purchase or to get help with a baby carrier. This was evident because this category received the second highest number of nominations. Canadians are passionately grateful to the stores who help them in their babywearing journey. Please, read the entries below. TO all the store owners, thank you for all you do.

 

Birdie’s Room

Owner: Barb
Business website: Birdie’s Room
Facebook page. Birdie’s Room Chit Chat facebook group.
Instagram: @BirdiesRoom

  • Where do I even begin. She’s built our group lending library, gives us with space for our babywearing group meetings, offers local discounts, lets people borrow before they buy. There is no end to the support she provides to the local babywearing community. Last but not least sponsored me to go to Canadien babywearing school.
  • Barb from Birdie’s room has started me on my Babywearing journey 4 years ago.  She has worked tirelessly to bring babywearing to parents across the world, and shown countless people the joys of babywearing. She has been so generous with our local Babywearing group, as well as other deserving organizations, including the Carrying On Project. She always operates her business with the most admirable professionalism, and thoughtful care, in everything she does. She’s not only an excellent business owner, but an excellent person, inside and out.
  • She’s been such a great help to our whole community of babyweareres. Providing knowledge, time, help, support and overall a rock for the babywearing people!

 

Hugs and Cuddles

Owner: Kerri
Business website: Hugs and Cuddles
Facebook page. Hug and Cuddles Babywearing Chatter facebook group.
Instagram: @Hugsandcuddles

  • I first met Kerri Devine at the peach festival 2 yrs ago. I had just purchased a second hand mei dai and was having trouble with it, I had asked for help at another store previously and they had half-heartedly offered me advice, then informed me that I could book a consultation. So when I met Kerri, she helped me, and was so kind to me. And since has helped me with all of my babywearing purchases. She’s kind and really knows her stuff. I recommend her to everyone and try and stop and say hi to her when ever out and about at shows and whatnot.
  • Kerri is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. She takes as much time as needed for one to find the carrier that is right for mom and babe. She this all and does not pressure the buyer into making a purchase. Overall, she is very kind and easy to work with.
  • Kerri is so smart and informative. She makes sure that you leave with product that is best suited for you. She’s always quick to answer questions. Not only that, but she also comes out to meetings to help local Mama’s. She’s so passionate.

 

Snips and snails

Owner: Karen
Business website: Snips and snails baby
Facebook page. The Snail Shell facebook group.
Instagram: @Snipsandsnailsbaby

  • Karen from Snips and Snails is so kind and helpful, answers all the questions, helps get the right style and fit to beat suit your needs. There’s so many variables most people aren’t aware of when you first start out and when you dive down the rabbithole of babywearing.
  • Karen has been fantastic for all our babywearing needs. She has been quick to answer any questions we may have and helped us find what will fit our baby. She has always gone above and beyond to ensure the best selection is available and to ensure we receive our orders and items in a quick fashion. She is a great mom and business owner to buy from and speak with. She is fantastic and I have referred others to her as well and will continue to purchase from Karen in the future.
  • They make shopping for anything so easy. She helped me pick out a carrier for my toddler that I can also use with baby #2 and is even going to fit it for me and teach me how to use it. She set up a payment plan for me too! Snips and Snails is the best place to go to! Karen is amazing, because she engages with customers online a lot. She herself participates in various online babywearing groups, and is always ready to help or give feedback.

Honourable mention

Carry me mommy

Owner: Jessica
Business website: Carry Me Mommy
Facebook page.
Instagram: @Carrymemommy

  • Jessica, the owner, is incredibly helpful in answering any and all questions I have. Her shipping is fast. She also has a very generous payment plan option, making high quality carriers accessible for nearly everyone.

 

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 18-05-2018 03:59:19
End date 25-05-2018 23:59:59
Poll Results:
What is the best babywearing store in Canada for 2018

Emporte-Moi: Best Babywearing Educator in Canada 2018

A huge thank you to everyone who works helping parents in their communities. I am very pleased to announce this year’s Best Babywearing Educator is Mai-Anh from Emporte-Moi. Congratulations!!

Emporte Moi

Educator: Mai-Anh
Webpage: Emporte-Moi
Facebook: Mamasupial Montreal

 

 

 

  • I have a feeling I only know a small amount of what Mai does. I know she has her own business and babywearing group, but I don’t know her through her local efforts. She started a private babywearing group for mothers interested in babywearing that are also physicians. This has connected mothers who will learn about babywearing themselves but also share with their patients.
  • This is a very active group with over 3300 members and Mai has worked over many years, building up valuable FAQ resources to share and educate from the best babywearing practices) – ie. water safety, babywearing preterm infants, etc. I am also an admin within this group, along with a handful of other educators, but she should be commended for her continued passion and support for fostering new babywearers and helping experienced ones as well.
  • Mai answers nearly every question within her groups, which is impressive considering she is also a physician herself with a busy schedule. She is also fully bilingual.

 

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Educators who also work really hard to support parents in their communities. Thank you for all the work you do.

Little Hands and Me Parenting Network

Educator: Tanya
Webpage: Little Hands and Me
Facebook: LittlehandsandMeParentingNetwork

  • Tanya is the most patient and kind person I have ever met, no question is too small or stupid. She helps you understand how you should carry your baby securely for both yourself and your child. She takes the time to explain why it is important, and focuses on the safety and comfort of both the person carrying and the child being carried while working with what you have. I truly do not have enough words to say how wonderful Tanya is. On a side note, she has helped so much with my mental health after having a baby, and for that I will be forever grateful. She would be a very worthy recipient of any award for helping mothers.
  • Tanya is an amazing person, with such dedication, commitment and passion for what she does regarding early child education and parenting. She works hard in her community to offer wonderful programs that support parenting and child communication, amongst an array of other education efforts. Her dedication and effort really shows an amazing talent and is well appreciated by all the people who participate in her classes.
  • Tanya is tireless in her effort working with families in the Saskatoon area providing valuable information related to feeding baby, safety, and connecting during the early informative years. Not only has she helped others but remains open minded and searching for new material, courses to always improve upon her knowledge base. She has an interest and is certified in positive discipline which i feel is especially important is creating ” conscious” adults of the future!

 

Porter la Vie

Educator: Janie
Webpage: Porter la Vie
Facebook: Projet.Porterlavie

  • Janie s’implique énormément dans le domaine du portage au Québec. En plus de son école qui forme des monitrices et aux parents. En plus, elle offre ces formations dans les deux langues officielles. Elle travail dans ce domain dès 2007. ENGLISH: Janie is very involved in babywearing in Quebec and started her school in 2007. Her school trains professionals, yet Janie also continues to work with parents in supporting them in their babywearing journey. Her courses are offered in English and French as she is fully bilingual.
  • Elle nous transmet les nouvelles informations dans le domaine et partage ce qu’elle apprend dans ces voyages. Recemment elle vient d’aller à Rome pour la première conférence en portage Italienne (1 convegno italiano sul babywearing). ENGLISH: She works to ensure we receive the latest informations in the field of babywearing and including what she learns in her travels. She recently went to Rome to present as part of their first babywearing conference.
  • Établissement de l’Institut National du portage des enfants. Le bût serait de combler des études dans le portage. ENGLISH: She is working with a group to establish the Institute National du portage des enfants. The goal would be to support the expansion of babywearing including studies.

 

Raising a Little

Educator: Lindsay
Webpage: Raising a little
Facebook: Raisingalittle

  • Lindsay is awesome and always willing to help. Whether it be answering questions in person or via social media, adjusting carriers or just being a listening ear. Lindsay has helped me adjust my carrier on many occasions. She loves what she does and doesn’t ask for anything in return.
  • Lindsay is an amazing person. So personable and truely cares about other people, parents, children and their wellbeing. She is so easy to talk to and has so much knowledge. Lindsay has grown her business so much over the past year because of how honest she is.
  • Lindsay helped me by finding the right carrier for my son and I. She made sure I knew how to use it properly and even came to my house to make things easier for me. She deserves to be nominated because she works hard and strives to make her customers happy. She is super friendly and knowledgeable about what she does!
  • Lindsay helped me find the right carrier for my little, my 6’2” husband and my 5’2” self! Our little is only 8lbs and is curious about the world. We need a carrier safe for now and down the road that she could safely view the world around her.

Honourable mention

Educator: Cindy
Works for: Birdie’s Room
Babywearing group member / support: Halton-Peel Babywearers! and Mississauga Babywearing Community

  • I first met Cindy on one of the many babywearing playdates she organizes along with babywearing hikes. Her kindness and encouragement helped me, along with anyone new to babywearing, feel comfortable and at ease.
  • She’s always willing to go above and beyond with answering questions or giving tips and advice, often on her own time (outside of “business hours”).
  • I think she derserves to be recognized for the amazing person she is and the wonderful job that she does.

 

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 18-05-2018 23:59:19
End date 25-05-2018 23:59:59
Poll Results:
Choose the best babywearing educator in Canada for 2018!

But what about Europe – babywearing and cycling abroad

Let’s not pretend we’ve never seen people cycling while babywearing in other countries. Because we have, especially if you have friends from the Netherlands, China, African countries or from other countries.

Are our perceptions accurate, are they really radical in Europe? We often see large promotions from both Denmark and the Netherlands about how great their biking infrastructure is such that I know that what these countries do is used to determine what might work here. 1

Needless to say, Canada does not have a biking culture, nor are we a small country like those in Europe whose winter conditions are basically NIL compared to ours.

So what is a biking culture? We have people who cycle, and cycle extensively, what do you mean we don’t have a biking culture? What are we lacking?

Proper and extensive bike lanes. The thing that keeps cyclists safe above all others is to separate cycling traffic from other vehicles. Bike lanes in all the cities I’ve been to in Canada are either non-existent, leaving you to share the road and they are non-continuous if they do exist. Our bike lanes often do not continue from one road to another. We even have some really weird examples in my home town, where a lane will go for two or three blocks, then disappear. It’s the most useless thing ever. A concrete example of this can be found in in this CBC article that shows the gaps in the urban cycling infrastructure in Ottawa .

Another thing that’s important in a cycling culture, are drivers who are used to having cyclists everywhere. And this is important. Cyclists are fast, they honestly don’t understand the blind spots a driver has, and they don’t behave like cars do. There is also no licensing or training requirements for cyclists, which means the onus is on the drivers. Our drivers simply aren’t used to keeping an eye out because cyclists aren’t a regular part of our everyday driving experience. In the Netherlands, drivers are trained to watch for cyclists. There’s even a campaign, videos and website to teach people about the Dutch reach, a technique of using the hand opposite the driver’s door to get out. It forces you to twist your body to see what’s coming up beside the car to prevent dooring, when a car door opens and knocks a cyclist down. It is taught in drivers tests in the Netherlands.2 See the video below.

But do Europeans really cycle while carrying children?

Some do. Some don’t. I have an extensive international network, so I asked some of my friends to help me out.

In Germany, Laura Dingel who works as a babywearing consultant in Munich, told me the following. Babywearing while cycling is not illegal, it is a gap in the law. In Germany, it is recommended that children wear a helmet, and the Allgemeine Deutsche Fahrrad Club (ADFC – in English, General German Bicycle Club) writes that parents are liable if they use a baby carrier on the bicycle and they might be subject to a fine if it is deemed dangerous. 3  Also, as a babywearing consultant Laura doesn’t recommend any activities where you can fall from a certain height or others can crash into you while babywearing.

Laura goes on to say, “That’s common sense in the German Babywearing scene. If you do so, it’s your own responsibility and you know it’s potentially dangerous.”

In speaking to Katie Nicolai, who works at Bindung trägt and also runs the babywearing group Tragegruppe Oberhausen, she explained to me that the fine for being caught cycling and babywearing is rather small, the charge is only 5 Euros. Moreover, it is rare to see someone be fined. Therefore, does not act as much of a deterrent.4

And I know that some Germans do babywear and cycle in Germany because I found this babywearing shell for cycling had been designed. Full information can be seen here.5

But this design was heavily criticised and it is fair to say that many Germans would be against babywearing on a bike. Most choose to use a bike trailer or bike seat.

And what about Scandinavians?

Amalie Apitzsch, admin for the large Danish babywearing group Slyngegalleriet and one of the planners of the Dansk Baerefestival told me this:

There are no explicit laws against babywearing while biking in Denmark, but there are general laws describing how to transport younger kids. The laws translates like this:

It is Article 25 of the cycling order that states:

  • PCS. 1. Bicycles may not carry more people than they are intended for. Children not older than 7 years must only be taken on the bike when special seating is provided for them.
  • PCS. 2. Special seating for children must be adapted to the weight and height of the child and there must be a guard against the wheels.
  • PCS. 3. Children who are taken by bicycle must be properly tied to their seat.

Essentially, they do not promote it in the Danish babywearing group for these reasons.

MariLaura Sjalig, a long time babywearing consultant from Norway, has this to say:

“It is not recommended in Norway. For children over 8 month’s that can sit in a bike seat, it is not illegal, but you are responsible if anything happens. In my opinion, though you change the center of gravity and the steering of the bike alot more in using a bike seat than if you have the babe in a carrier when biking. But we can still ski and babywear though. We have used bike seats for at least 50 years, so their use is culturally ingrained.”

It is not hard to find evidence of cycling and carrying on the internet. Googling and searching in Pinterest pulls up more than a few examples. But when you look deeper, many of the links are dead ends. I tend to think one of two things when I see this, perhaps the parents aged out of babywearing and they took their pictures down, or that they were possibly pressured into taking them down. Discussions of cycling and babywearing do happen regularly enough on Dutch babywearing groups like Draagpraat on Facebook.

The discussions in the Netherlands on whether to cycle while carrying can get a little hot and heavy. The focus can be on accessibility. Many do not have driver’s licenses in the Netherlands, and taking a bicycle is often faster, easier and more efficient than taking public transportation. Equally important, it costs nothing to do so. Plus, their weather isn’t as harsh as ours and using a bicycle can be faster and more convenient than taking a bus or using light rail options.

I also found additional opinion pieces from Selma Langbroek, a consultant in the Netherlands who looks at both sides of the equation. Dutch legislation is like Canada’s in that it requires the feet be against a surface, and so on. Read more in this article.

Selma’s points can be roughly summarized as follows:

    • Babies without head support cannot be put into a bike seat.
    • It gives the parent back a bit of freedom; you can travel longer distances more easily.
    • A bike seat is not necessarily that supportive for babies. And babies recline too much in a bike trailer.
    • Best done while backwearing to prevent injury from the handlebars.
    • Cycling feels familiar and it feels safe.4

Accessibility is important. Extremely so. Here is another link where this Dutch mom who cycled with her baby in the sling with her oldest child to school. She felt it was liberating and much easier to get on the bike, off the bike, her eldest sorted and into the building, and back home again. The general consensus if that if you cycle and babywear, it’s best done on quieter paths and streets.

Then if we expand our consciousness, and look at places on the African continent, owning a bicycle is really liberating and allows people more freedom. They can access services, travel around and go further than they do on foot. When you start looking at things in this light, babywearing and biking can also be about granting dignity to people. There are even charities which fundraise to provide bicycles just for this purpose.

The Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia is all about empowering disadvantaged Namibians through sustainable transport like cycling. Known as BenNamibia.

 

Watch the video form more information.

Many Canadians have connections to other places, other cultures and we should always be open to learning about them. Most Europeans are against cycling and many of their laws mimic many of ours, some Europeans like to cycle while carrying because it is such a natural part of their life. And then to others, like BenNamibia, cycling is about accessibility and dignity.

Because of the above about our culture, policies and laws, I believe in taking the conservative approach on babywearing while cycling in Canada.

And yes, for those who are interested. There are no studies showing the impact of babywearing while cycling.

Do you have anything to add? Comment below! Please read our other cycling articles Cycling and Babywearing – yes or no and the next one called Biking in Canada.

A huge thank you out to people in my network who provided their time, expertise and in some cases their translation skills. Those not included in the article who helped me out also include Wendy and Ariel.

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Footnotes
1. The Danes do have an extensive cycling infrastructure, but also a concern for preserving their biking culture. The number of Danes who own and use cars more regularly has increased over the past few decades. To understand a bit more, take a look at this document where they provide an extensive analysis.
2. There is an entire website whose sole focus is educating people on the Dutch reach method.
3. Directly from this website:
In Babyschalen können Eltern Säuglinge schon früh im gut gefeder-ten Anhänger transportieren, wenn sie langsam fahren, Kopfsteinpflas-ter und Unebenheiten meiden. Nicht geeignet sind Rückentragen und Tragetücher. (Not suitable are backpacks and slings) Das verbietet die StVO zwar nicht, aber Hersteller schlie-ßen meist den Gebrauch auf dem Fahrrad aus. Im Schadensfall haften Eltern vollständig selbst.

3. Katie quoted me this from the above link: Sie beförderten auf dem Fahrrad ein Kind, obwohl die vorgeschriebenen Sicherheits¬vorkehrungen nicht vorhanden waren.” 5 Euros.
4. Another cycling piece from Germany that features this shield. On this website, we see an image of a mom babywearing on a bike in Berlin.
5. Use google translate to visit Draagtips website – Selma has written at least two pieces on cycling and babywearing: Dragend fietsen is het veilig and Dragend fietsen mag nou wel.

Cycling and babywearing – yes or no?

Should you cycle while babywearing your child in Canada?

Babywearing comes down to two basic things – first is keeping a child secure in the carrier, with airway safety being the very first consideration, second is preventing falls.

But it’s not always the baby we’re trying to keep from falling. Which means that baby carrying is also about controlling the adult to keep the baby safe. Which means the adult has to mind their speed, stability, all while managing obstacles while carrying.

When cycling, the most important thing to mind is protecting the baby in case of a fall. Helmets contribute greatly to injury prevention while cycling. Below is information from a website maintained by Chris Gilham, an Australian journalist. Currently, most provinces and territories require helmets be worn.1

  • Alberta: Minors
  • British Columbia: All ages
  • Manitoba: Minors
  • New Brunswick: All ages
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: All ages
  • Northwest Territories: No law
  • Nova Scotia: All ages
  • Nunavut: No law
  • Ontario: Minors
  • Prince Edward Island: All ages
  • Quebec: No law but education programs available
  • Saskatchewan: No law but education programs available
  • Yukon: No law

I also spoke to Kendra Runions, a feeding support consultant in Eastern Ontario2. She worked for 2 years selling specialty safety equipment for power sports applications and some of the families she helped had riders were as young as two years old.

When I asked Kendra about helmet wearing, this is what she said:

“I could easily write a novel on just helmet wearing. Is it a correctly fitted helmet? Is it optimal materials to withstand the most
likely crash scenario?

  • Has the child’s skull developed enough to wear the style of helmet you’ve chosen?
  • Where was it purchased?
  • What is it’s rating type?
  • Do you understand the difference in ratings and where they test protection?
  • How old is it and where was it stored? Even if it looks perfect it has a shelf life.
  • Do they understand how tight it really does need to be?
  • What about the neck?
  • Has the baby been tension tested and can they even suppport and balance the helmet?

All of these factors should be in play when choosing a helmet from tricycles to tobaggans and dirt bikes.”

Do you feel adults can gauge whether a helmet is properly fitted and safe for their child?

“No. Honestly a lot of adults don’t know even how to fit a helmet for themselves. An incorrectly balanced and fitted helmet can cause a more severe injury than would have been originally sustained even in a relatively minor accident. I’m talking tip over and fall accident. All of these factors should be in play when choosing a helmet for everything from tricycles to toboggans to dirt bikes.”

What happens to the body dynamic forces when a baby is worn on the body?

“First off your center of gravity is shifted. I’ve consistently warned adults of having other adult passengers because there is some input required for manoeuvering and if your passenger does the wrong thing it can definitely throw you off enough to cause an accident. Now just think of how unpredictable kids are, along with having their leverage points reduced when wrapped or carried and just basically being too short for their legs to reach anything.

Velocity, distance, gravity, pretty much every force could potentially be encountered based on what type of accident could occur. The possibilities are literally endless.”

What about if the baby is worn on the back?

A back worn child is actually what I picture by default. Everything I have mentioned is at play. This is where I want to note that in the event of most accidents, especially low speed, think under 5 km/hr, your back passenger will end up off the vehicle before you. There are many scenarios in which the driver will remain with the vehicle but the passenger will not. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. In order to absorb impact and mitigate potential damage to the human body its better on us to take space to stop v.s. one fast and sudden stop. Everyone has heard “tuck and roll”. A back worn child cannot break free from the adult to do this. Any adult with a child strapped to them is no longer the correct shape for their own body to make the adjustments it
needs to maximize their own injury protection. The adult will most likely be fighting base protective instincts in order to try and shield the child.

Can you always protect your baby in case of an accident? NO.

Think about the difference if you fall while walking, versus if you fall while biking. Now add a baby in the mix on a parent’s back or even in the front. It changes the centre of gravity, which with experience you can accommodate for, but it also adds a weight. If a back pack can go flying off your body when you get into an accident while cycling, or you crush it with your body, think about replacing that very same backpack with the weight of a child.

Additional to the information from my interview with Kendra, here is an excerpt from iBike, an American organization centred around cycling information and safety about cycling while babywearing:

“The conservative approach is that taking an infant on a bike in a backpack has risks and is potentially dangerous — and it is illegal in some jurisdictions.  Some of the issues are:  The center of gravity is higher; if you wear helmets, your helmets may banged together; the child is quite vulnerable in a fall because the distance is higher and there is a greater chance of the infant ending up underneath the adult in a tumble; and the backpack provides less protection than a child seat or trailer.  Slings would present similar issues, though in is a sling the child is lower down and their head is better supported, so it unlikely for the adult and child to bang heads — it is also unlikely that the child would be wearing a helmet.” 3

So to go back to my initial question, should I babywear and cycle in Canada? My answer is NO.

Should you cycle with your babes? Absolutely YES!

There are many great ways to cycle with your kids. You can use a trailer until they are old enough to sit unsupported, at which point you can move to a bike seat, as Lauren has with her child here. Lauren lives in Ontario.

Trailers can be be found for affordable prices on second hand boards, and now is the time to start looking. Often, you can buy a trailer or bike seat and then use the money from the resell to by your children their first bike.

 

 

Thank you to Kendra from FullCircleFeeding.com for providing us with her expertise for this article. The follow up piece is called Babywearing and cycling abroad.

 

____________

Footnotes
1. This website tracks all bicycle helmet laws from countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. You can check it out here. For more about bike helmet legislation in Canada, visit the Canadian Pediatric Society here.
2. Kendra is the owner of Full Circle Feeding, a business that helps families with breastfeeding, chest feeding, and just feeding their babies. They specialize in working with traditional and non-traditional families. From her website, “Non traditional family unit? Grandparent feeling out of touch? Nervous new father feeling left out?” Visit their website for more information.
3. To read more about what iBike has to say about early helmet wearing and babywearing while cycling, visit this page here.

2018 BWICAwards – Nomination time

 

It’s time to CHOOSE your favourite babywearing educators for this year’s awards!

Have you been helped by someone in your babywearing journey and you’d like a chance to thank them? Nominate them for the 2018 #BWICAwards!!!

Submit your chosen favourites for any of the following awards! Each bullet point is a link to the nomination form, click on the underlined section to get to it. You can nominate to multiple categories.

1. Best babywearing educator.
2. Best Canadian babywearing group: In your opinion, which is your favourite babywearing group? One that holds the best meetings, offers the best support, or the most interesting conversation?
3. Best Canadian blogger, best videos, anyone you enjoy following on the internet.
4. Best Retailer / store.

Soyez à l’aise. Je suis complètement bilingue et incrivez-moi en français. Je fera la traduction pour le vote.

Nominees will be chosen by committee using these criteria:

  • How they have helped people in their community.
  • If they have behaved with complete professionalism.
  • Have actively worked or supported the babywearing community in the past 12 months within Canada.

BWICweek 2018 is COMING

BWICweek is full of fun this year, and includes the return of the Babywearing in Canada educator awards – do you have an event you’d like to register? Register it today! Events must take place between May 18-26, 2018, to qualify.

Check out last year’s official events: 2017.

By registering an event that takes place anytime between May 18 to May 26, 2018, you are entered into our prize draw.

Events can include:

  • A walk or hike
  • A picnic
  • Going to a community event or festival
  • Playgroup
  • Group gardening
  • and anything that has you enjoying your community with a group of like-minded babywearers.

Officially register an event  using the contact form below, up to three events are allowed per planner, and each event will qualify you for an entry into our giveaways.

Your Name*

Your Email*

Province, territory or region of the event

Babywearing group or business name, if applicable

City* (write internet if internet only event

Event name

Event date*
BWICweek runs from May 18-26, 2018

Event location & time (small events with friends count!)

Details about your event!

Website or event link

Last minute shopping

Are you still looking for that last minute gift to give? Or something to suggest to someone else?

Consider taking a look at these carriers I explored this past year that are new to the babywearing world.

Looking for something unique in Canada? The LennyLamb Up is perfect, a blend between their baby and toddler sizes, this will meet your needs through out your entire babywearing life. See the featurette I did below while attending the Babywearing Conference in Poland. Want to learn more about LennyLamb, read this article about my visit to their homebase! Lenny Lamb can be purchased in Canada at Lollipop Sky, specializing in many baby carrier brands.

 

There’s also the Sleepbelt or JoeyBand. Though not a baby carrier, it is a great gift to give to new parents who are expecting, and can be easily added to the birthing bag for home, hospital or birthing centre. Perfect to keep the baby on you while seated, it is also very useful to help attach the baby to the mom after a c-section.

 

Here’s the Flexia by Babylonia Slen. It is a structured carrier with an interchangeable body so it can grow as your baby grows. Extremely innovative and comes in some classic colours. It can be ordered from any of their stores, like from HetKnooppunt.nu in the Netherlands or directly from Babylonia itself.

Or know someone who is expecting twins? Consider the innovative twin carrier by MiniMonkey.

And finally, the newly redone toddler flip by Kokadi.