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Author Archive Babywearing in Canada

A journey to Canadian – Sunmi Cha

A journey to Canadian

Sunmi studied sports medicine in her undergrad, and was already looking to study in the United States, but then she met a Canadian….

… And then she fell in love…

Tell me about your  journey.

I was working at the time, for a company that hires English language instructors to send them to Samsung, LG, Humex, Coca Cola, we’re dealing with big companies. I got a job there to learn English before I could come to study in the US. So one of the coworkers that was working there, she was Korean Canadian. She saw me working every weekend because I wanted to make as much money as possible for my studies. Working there was good because I could study at the same time, so she saw me working and she said,

“You are a fine looking women, why are you working every weekend? You have no boyfriend?”

“No, I have no boyfriend.”

“I have a really cute friend. He’s from Toronto, he’s very good looking, he’s very sweet, he’s very cute. But he’s white.”

  So I was like, “Uh, no.” So she was very persistent for a few months, telling me and showing me his picture. She organized a gathering in a big izakaya, she invited 15 friends of hers. This would be a good opportunity to practice my English, it wouldn’t be one on one. I met Tom and he said he was going back to Canada in a couple of months, and I said there is no way I am dating this guy. He messaged me, and I messaged him back three days later and I was so not interested. But at the time, I was lonely, and I wanted to practice my English. Also I was telling myself, Sunmi, you don’t have to meet a guy who you can only get married to.You can just meet guys just for fun, even just for the short period of time. Who cares? Who knows about the future? Just let it be, just let yourself go, just go hang out with him.

Yeah, you can just go out for fun. It’s scary though, still.

I started hanging out with him for about two months, then he left to Canada. But he was visiting his family for a month, but the whole month I was waiting for him. I missed him. I was counting the days, counting the time, and then when he came back, I said okay. This is okay, it’s okay to fall in love this way, even if he is going to leave, let it be. The period of time that I am going to meet him, if I feel love, if I make good memories with him, that’s all that matters. I had two boyfriends before when I was in university and it didn’t go well even though I thought I was going to be married to them. I didn’t get married to them. We broke up. Even married couples they divorce.

That’s the thing, you’re right, you cannot predict life.

Exactly. That’s the moment that I said, let go, just don’t get obsessed with it, just enjoy, you love him now, so let’s see where this takes you.

And now you’re Canadian. Look at what happened!

Yes, now I am Canadian living in Ottawa. And then he was very interested in this health field actually, so he brought up this school of naturopathic medicine.

“What is that?” I had no idea about this.

He said, “There’s a clinic there where you can practice after you finish, you know, the school teaches you how to become a doctor without using pharmaceutical medicine.”

“Oh that sounds amazing.”

We applied together, we got accepted together, we came together, but he didn’t start. But I did.

He had an opportunity to start the business, so I said let’s put the eggs in a different basket. The school is not going anywhere, if the business doesn’t go well you can start the school anytime. To do that he moved away to Montreal and I was left in Toronto. I was so lonely, I was crying every day, I was calling him, “I don’t want to do this,” you know because it was so stressful.

We learned everything the medical school students learn on top of that, we learn all the natural remedies, botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathic is one of them and a lot of intensive nutritional courses. My English wasn’t 100%. I think I only understood 70% of what everything was said in class.

So you had to try that much harder.

So I recorded every lecture and I subscribed after and I typed the notes again. I had to work twice the amount of time that everyone else. I would miss out so much, I would think, “What did she say?” So I recorded every single lecture. And reading takes way longer time than everyone else, these guys would read 20 to 30 pages in one hour, I would take 5-6 hours. One period of time, I was sleeping with this recording file on so my subconscious brain records what is said.

Somehow, I got through it. It was four years. I don’t know how many times I cried.

I know, it’s hard.

And his business it didn’t go well, it didn’t go as he expected so after a couple of years, he came down to Toronto.  You start something, it doesn’t work well, there is a cost to it.

You paid because of the distance between the two cities, the effort to stay in contact. The cost of energy to work so much on a small business because you put in more time than at a regular job and then the actual money.

You spend your own money to survive. It costs money to maintain, for my practice, I have to pay for things that come out regularly out of your bank account.

And then he got a job at Costco and that’s why we moved to Ottawa. I finished my school and he was promoted, so he transferred to the headquarters. Timing was good, but we had to move from Toronto to Ottawa

Tom was like, “Um Sunmi, we have to move to a different city, are you okay with it?”

I told him, “I flew half the globe following you. Moving from this dot to this dot doesn’t make any difference to me.”

Even the marriage, a lot of disappointment comes from expectations about your husband or your wife. I formed that expectation in my own head without telling anyone. My husband is not a mind reader, he does not know what kind of expectations I am forming in my own head with my own laws and experiences, he is living in a different world. He is a man, he has different experiences, different expectations, different logic. When you form the story of your life with your own logic, but I expect him to know what I want without telling him “You should know what I want. Why don’t you do this that I really wanted you to do, that I never told you to do, so you should do this.” This is a conflict. I keep telling myself, “explain to him if this is what you want, explain to him. Don’t form unfair expectations in your own head and expect him to know.” Expectations forms a lot of conflicts in different types of relationships that’s why I was telling myself.

What you need to do when you come to a new situation when there is a misunderstanding is just accept that’s who they are.

What was it like to decide to babywear, was it even a question of doing otherwise?

I just feel like he wants to be carried, that’s how he sleeps the best, I feed him to sleep and I try to put him on the bed, time for me. But then he wakes up in ½ an hour, but if I carry him, he sleeps for 2 to 3 hours no problem. There must be a reason he feels more comfortable on me, that’s what I was thinking.

That is a Western thought. That you need to grow up. In order to be strong, you need to impart strength from a very early age.

That is way too early, they just came out of the womb.They trust the world better, it shapes their brain in a different way.

And what about other things, what was hard to get used to in Canada?

Metric system is a real struggle. In medicine, I use EMR an electronic medical recording system. And then would record weight in kilograms and height in inches. Stuff like that. And I don’t have sense in miles and inches and pounds.

And buying. Okay I am a big online shopper. When I was in Korea I was buying the stuff online and there you buy online, it gets to your door the next day. If it takes long, the longest time would be three days. People would get mad because Korea is such a small country. The whole size of Korea is 1/3 of Ontario, like a Giant Toronto. We have 55 million people living in a tiny country, it has good logistic systems like high speed internet because land is so small, population is so concentrated those infrastructures are so easy to layout. Subway system is like a spider web. Here I order something and “WOW it take a two weeks to get here, sometimes a month!”

What things did you find were weird about Canada and Canadians?

Not saying things that you see. I mean things that even you see obviously, like someone walking around with something on their face, you wouldn’t say anything because you were afraid of offending that person. That would be very rare in Korea, someone would definitely come up to you and tell you had something on your face and then they would just walk away. You would say, “Oh thank you!” That would be the end of it. We wouldn’t think twice, if I say this would that person be ashamed.

So the person receiving the comment, they would not get offended about that.

Some people complain about that culture too because we can be very blunt and very frank. First thing, if I gain weight, then you saw me and it’s been awhile, “Oh I see that you gained some weight!” Some people hate that. “What happened to your face, you have some acne going on. What happened.” Here they never say it, even if you have a zit right on your forehead, they don’t say a word. That’s the biggest difference I felt.

I like learning about my country through the eyes of others. Thank you very much for bringing me into your home, Sunmi, and telling me about your journey.

Sunmi and I originally met October 15, 2016, and we spoke for about four hours. This article is a condensed and edited version of our interview. Her story, like many, was so interesting it became a three part series. The first is called Growing up Korean. The second article is called Becoming Canadian, where she shares how she moved to Canada and then stayed.

Sunmi Cha is a full trained and license naturopathic doctor in Ottawa. Visit her website here.

Whither paternity leave? A father’s day lament.

Father’s day is a good time for us as Canadians to reflect on a couple of things. Like the importance of men in our children’s lives.

As women have expanded their careers and moved into the workforce, there has been a slow, but constant movement of dads increasing their roles at home. Dads, more than ever before, are involved in raising their kids and helping out around the house.

As Katherine Marshall indicates in a Statistics Canada report from 2011, “As women have increased their hours of paid work, men have steadily increased their share of household work.” Though huge gaps still remain between the amount of time spent on child care and household chores, the truth is that our men have been pitching in.1

Has our culture made space for men in childrearing, do we have policies that really support dads, to let them become nurturers and be involved in raising their children from the very first moment?

Only if you’re in Quebec.

Quebec opted out of the federal program and manages their own. They offer the best deal around when it comes to leave after a child is born. To start, they only require you earn $2,000 before you are eligible for leave. This means that 87.4% of new mothers in Quebec qualified for leave. How does that compare? If you were in the rest of Canada, only 71.9% qualified, leaving a significant gap.2 What else does Quebec do? They pay more overall, reaching 75% as opposed to our 55%. And Quebec has just announced it will be increasing their total amount before you hit the ceiling. Moreover, there are five weeks of paternity leave in Quebec. Yep, five weeks just for men. So what has this done for men? In Quebec, 78% of all men take leave in the first year to year and a half of their children’s lives. As opposed to 27% in the rest of Canada. Parents in Quebec also get to break up their leave as needed, and can opt into two plans: one at 52 weeks, or one at 70. (Taking the longer plan in Quebec means less money per week.) Other things the Quebec system does is accommodate self-employed individuals, and both parents can take leave at the same time.

Deliberate policy changes in Quebec to increase access to parental leave and to provide families with more support has worked.

What do Canadians in the rest of the country currently have?

  • Up to 55% of pay, to a maximum of $530 a week.
  • Fifteen weeks of leave for the mom, 35 of parental that can be shared.
  • Parents cannot take leave at the same time.
  • Support for self-employed if they opt into Employment Insurance.
  • Inability to split the time with work periods when on parental leave.
  • Strict rules on how much money can be earned in this time (on a $30,000 income at 55%, this matters).

So what did the federal government do for the rest of Canada?

  • Number of hours worked to qualify is still at 600 hours.
  • You can choose between a year’s leave at 55% or take 18 months at 33%.3

Be still my beating heart. How does this help families?

It is a known fact that first time parents on the current leave system rely on money in savings or on help from family members to bring them through. And they rely heavily on the income of their spouse during this time. The research is quite clear, you want to support families? Supporting childcare to allow parents to return to work is much more effective.

In an interview with Brian Russell, coordinator of Dad Central Ontario, he said:

“My big concern is that from a financial perspective, they’ve done nothing. Stretching it to 18 months with the same amount of benefits because people are losing money in the long-run and it’s a step backwards. This hurts low income marginalized families.”4

According to Jennifer Robson, in her report called Parental Benefits in Canada: Which way forward?, she outlines several important factors, which include:

  • The lack of coverage due to needing 600 hours to qualify.
  • Inadequate benefits paid to low income families (try surviving off 55% of a $30,000 income).
  • Rigid rules discouraging the sharing of leave, forcing the mother to leave all forms of paid work.5

But when we look at the current government’s proposal, do we see any support for increasing the number of parents who receive leave, to building something to support more families, and providing more income? The answer is clearly no.

And what about dad only leave? What about letting dad’s role in early childhood be recognized as important?

According to Robson, our focus shouldn’t be creating token leave for dads. She believes that dad only leave could exacerbate inequalities, making it harder for single parent families, particularly as most lone parents are still women.

Looking at the last budget though, we had line item after line item of policies structured to support the role and development of women in our country. And let me be clear, women are very much still needing the support as we are still paid less for one hour of work as compared to men. In Canada alone, women earn 87 cents for every dollar earned by men, and this is when they are working the same jobs. This is extremely problematic and cannot be ignored.6 But how are women supposed to advance if we do not allow men the space to enter in the places where we no longer want to be the only ones in charge? A mirroring has to occur.
Russell hates the word token:

“Token feels like that’s a nice thing to do, it doesn’t have substance. It might be a token thing at the beginning but behind that tokenism is something very real. And sustained by research. When dads spend time with their young kids, those kids do better. And dads do better. And families do better. What may look like tokenism at the beginning, ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road it is not a token thing. We’re not even having this discussion, it’s just a part of who we are.”

Russell goes on to say: “We have a cultural hangover that men don’t take that leave. I don’t think we should give dads more than what we give the moms. If we identify something for fathers, that encourages more father to take it. We’re trying to give dads a different opportunity than what they had in the past with their kids.”

Robson herself even states at one point:

“Previous reviews on the behavioural response of both fathers and employers to policy change suggests that, when  a  new  minimum  threshold  for  leave  is  introduced, individuals and organizations are  likely  to  respond  by  anchoring  their  behaviour  to  the  new  “normal” threshold (Robson 2010).”6

So why aren’t men talking about it?

Russell’s personal opinion is:

“From the men’s perspective, sometimes we are afraid to speak up because we are going to be seen as patriarchal and controlling. When men begin to ask for attention or to address their needs for relationship and care, the tendency is to think they are asserting their rights in demanding and patronizing ways. Attacking men like this is also very stereotypical. We treat them as emotionally immature, expecting them to “man up”, and therefore they are denied their right to their emotions.”

It could also be that men simply aren’t being asked. Brian Russell agreed to the interview because I was the first person to contact him to talk about these things.

It’s clear that the proposed changes to our parental leave system are simply good optics, nothing more:

  • It won’t help more Canadian parents access the leave. You still need your 600 hours to qualify, leaving part-time, low-income families out in the cold.
  • There isn’t more money being offered to families, leaving family to rely on other resources, provided they are available. Can you live on 33% for 18 months?
  • No true support for a national childcare policy. Pushing back leave to 18 months doesn’t address affordability. They want to encourage parents to return to work? Support daycare workers and subsidize daycare costs.
  • Lack of initiatives to support salary top-ups by companies.
  • What if you are low income, making less than $20,000 annually? There is no mention of coordinating benefits with existing social services to serve these families.

These are all things from a gender equity perspective, a lower threshold to qualify, a higher salary replacement rate, more support for low income families would benefit everyone.

But if we’re truly looking to increase father involvement? We need to have a dad only leave. How will we change the culture around childrearing without it?

Why wouldn’t the federal government just take Quebec’s model and adopt in nationally? It’s proven to work better than the current system. I’d like the answer to that one myself.

I’d like to leave you with one last thought. Russell states:
“If it’s anybody’s rights [parental leave], it’s the kids’ rights. Kids have a right to have healthy parents.  The kids are the end users in this discussion for me. The dads aren’t. I don’t support father involvement for the good of the men. All this stuff is about what can I do for my child to have the best environment possible. I support father involvement for the good of the men the kids need them to be.”

Brian Russell spoke about Father Involvement at the Second Babywearing in Canada Conference. His session is available here.

1. Katherine Marshall. 2011. “Generational change in paid and unpaid work”. Canadian Social Trendsno. 92. Statistics Canada. Catalogue no.11-008-X. (accessed July 27, 2011) Visit website here. ↩
2. Taken from a Statistics Canada report called Families, living arrangments and unpaid work. ↩
3. Globe and Mail article called Seven things to know about Canada’s new parental leave benefits.↩
4. Interview with Brian Russell, coordinator of Dad Central Ontario, April 11, 2017. ↩
5. IRPP Study, No. 63, March 2017. Report can be accessed here. Things left unsolved by both systems: Uneven access to top-ups, and poor coordination with social services. There are families who earn less than the basic income on your tax statement and once you hit $17,000 annual income you are effectively unable to take any sort of leave.↩
6. Taken from Statistics Canada report called Women and paid work. ↩
7. IRPP Study, No. 63, March 2017, Parental Benefits in Canada: Which Way Forward?, p 21. Robson continues: In some cases, this could actually lead to a reduction in the frequency or duration of leave relative to what would have happened in the absence of a policy change. I am not able to determine, from the EICS data, trends in leave-taking by fathers outside the EI system or the duration of the leave taken. But to have a large impact, a benefit reserved for fathers would have to be large enough to induce them to increase their rate of leave-taking significantly, relative to what would otherwise have occurred. One of the places we can do this is in our maternity and parental leave provisions. But if you look at the proposed changes by the federal government, not one mention of adding a paternity leave has been included.↩

2017 Award winners

You know what I realized during this whole process? Canadians really love and appreciate the support they’ve received from others in their community. First there was the nail biting vote for Canadian Babywearing Educator of the year, which came down to only a difference of a few votes for this year’s winner.


Canadian Babywearing Educator of 2017

Congratulations to Cindy Larrivée, this year’s recipient of this award. Cindy has won a manduca brown baby carrier from our GOLD sponsor.

Cindy was nominated by several people in her community for this award, and you could tell they really appreciated all they did for her.


The award for best babywearing group brought out everyone. We received a total of over 19,088 votes. What I learned? Canadians love their babywearing groups and see them as an essential part of their parenting journey. To all those who volunteer to help parents, I would like to thank you.

Best Babywearing Group in Canada of 2017

Congratulations to the Renfrew Babywearing Group. You have won a manduca brown baby carrier from our GOLD sponsor for your learning library.



Diane Pepin – Presenter 2016 Babywearing in Canada Conference

Diane Pepin is from Windsor and has been working as a doula since 1998. Diane became a CAPPA trained lactation educator in 1999 and since then, has offered extensive post-partum support to parents, particularly focusing on maternal and parental confidence. This moved her to co-found the Windsor and Essex County Breastfeeding Coalition. Diane started providing babywearing instruction and support in 1999 and still offers the following today:

  • Wearing premature and vulnerable infants.
  • Down’s syndrome and other children with disabilities.
  • Parents with disabilities.
  • Babywearing and breastfeeding.
  • Post-partum support for the parents
  • The Mamatoto project
  • And much more.

Diane lives and works in Windsor and can be reached through her website, Mother’s Helper.

Diane was nominated for the Best Canadian Babywearing Educator Award in 2017. She also presented at the 2016 Babywearing in Canada Conference.

Session: Babywearing and Breastfeeding
By Diane Pepin and Débora Rodrigues

Using your baby carrier to keep baby close helps the breastfeeding relationship enormously. Reading your baby’s cues is much easier when the baby is held closer to the mother, and father. In this session, Diane and Débora will discuss proper positioning when nursing in a variety of baby carriers and they will discuss what the baby is capable of at different ages. This includes when to use a cradle carry, when to nurse tummy to tummy, and finally, tips and tricks to be an active babywearer and to keep it safe.

Official 2017 #BWICweek events

Babywearing in Canada week takes place from May 19, 2017, to May 27, 2017. Have you registered your official event? Fill out our form here!

These are the official events for 2017. Join our events page on facebook for all the latest news. 🙂

Event planners qualify entry into our giveaways – which include manduca carriers from our GOLD sponsor.

Gatineau QC
Event planner: Julie Caron
16 rue Bériault, Gatineau (J8X 1A3)
Date: May 19, 2017
Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Business: Les Mamatinées

Il vous sera donc possible de discuter entre mamans autour d’une collation, d’en apprendre plus sur le portage à travers des échanges avec les mamans, de magasiner un porte-bébé neuf ou de seconde main et même d’expérimenter un cours de Danse Portage! Une quinzaine de porte-bébés seront disponibles pour l’essaie. Entrée pour chaque adulte est $5.

(English translation: Come and snack with us while we talk babywearing! We will talk about how the various ways you can get a baby carrier trading, buying new, or even second-hand. Various carriers will be available for you to try to see what is best for you, and we’ll even try our hands at babywearing dance. Entry fee per adult is $5

Lien de l’événement (event link).

Ste-Thérèse QC
Event planner: Catherine de Montigny
Centre Culturel Thérèse de Blainville
Date: May 20, 2017
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Business: Salon du Portage

3ième édition du salon du portage

Le Petit salon du portage is a group of 4 moms Who organise babywearing events twice a year.  Our events include classes with babywearing instructors, vendors (such as Chimparoo, Dahlia Wrap, and many more), rallye, photography, Zumba babywearing dance classes, a carrier swap, a baby carrier fasion show and more! All of this happens in just one day -be sure you don’t miss it.

We have about 5oo visitors on each édition.  This Will be the third 🙂

Petit salon de portage link

Grand Prairie AB
Event planner: Teresa Donnessey
Muskoseepi Park
Date: May 21, 2017
Time: starts at 12:00 pm
Business: Momma Luvz and Carry Me Mommy

Come join Teresa from Momma Luvz and Jessica from Carry Me Mommy for a Babywearing walk around Muskoseepi park to celebrate Babywearing Week in Canada! Bring your own carrier and let’s get to know each other. If you don’t have a carrier and would like to join please send Teresa at Momma Luvz or Jessica at Carry Me Mommy a message and we’ll provide as many as we can. The weather should be nice, hope to see you there, older children welcome! Meet us at the Pavillion at noon 🙂

Event link.

Ottawa ON
Event planner: Daniela Pueyo Grande
Lansdowne Park
Date: May 21, 2017
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Business: Salsa Babies & BWIC Ottawa Babywearing Group

Join Salsa Babies Ottawa for its 2nd Annual Family dance and picnic at The Great Lawn in Lansdowne Park from 10 am to 12 pm. This year we are teaming up with Babywearing in Canada to celebrate the 6th annual Babywearing in Canada week too!! Come and meet other Salsa Babies Ottawa parents and BWIC Ottawa Babywearers and their kiddos, while enjoying the ourdoors and the beautiful tulips. Bring your blanket and snacks, we will bring carriers, the props and the music to play and dance! If you have never attended one of our classes, or gone to a BWIC babywearing group meeting this is your chance to learn more about what we do. Feel free to invite your family and friends, as this is a faily event open to anyone! See you there, Dani & Débora.

Event link.

Saskatoon SK
Event planner: Fred Berry
Kinsmen Park
Date: May 22, 2017
Time: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
Group: Saskatoon Babywearers

Enjoy a great day of babywearing!

Saskatoon Babywearers is hosting an event to celebrate Babywearing In Canada Week. We will meet in the picnic area of Kinsmen Park at 10:30 am for a babywearing demonstration from Saskatoon Babywearer’s certified babywearing educators. There’s always something cool to learn at a demo, even for experienced wearers! A few minutes past 11, we will cross Spadina and walk eastbound on the beautiful Meewasin Trail. Walks are a fun way to talk with friends and meet other babywearers.
We will return to the park around 12 for a picnic lunch. Bring your lunch and picnic blanket! Stay as long as you’d like to have fun at the park with your family. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, and water! Strollers are also welcome. If your kids are past the wearing stage, just come on out for a walk and picnic with friends. We’d love to see you! If you have a specific babywearing question or concern you would like help with at the demo, or would like to borrow a carrier for the walk, please message the page to make arrangements.

Saskatoon Babywearers is a volunteer organization, independent of any commercial business.

Event link.

Richmond BC
Event planner: Rachel Pang
Private home (Claudia Chan)
Date: May 22, 2017
Time: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Small playdate to discuss new carries, wraps, and trying different things.

Thornhill ON
Event planner: Inna Chesnokova
Golden Line Gymnastics, 55 Glen Cameron Rd. unit 3 (L3T 1P1)
Date: May 23, 2017
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Business: Dancing Mom and WithMyBaby.com

Celebrate it with us to our 2-hour event!

  • Mommy and Baby Barre Class: Put your little one in a sling and imagine you are a real ballerina! Babywearing Barre is a great workout that will wake up your muscles, make you feel great, and help you prepare your body for summer! Challenge your body, get ready to move, sweat like a dancer, and loose lots of calories.
  • Mommy and Baby Salsa Class: Enjoy great music and comfortable moves of Salsa that will bring your baby back to the time she spent in your belly. Combine a great time with your baby and your new amazing workout.
  • Babywearing Consultations and Chat: Whether you are a practicing babywearer or just a beginner, you are welcome to socialize with like-minded parents, chat about kids, try some slings, ask any questions.

Limited spaces, registration is required. Event link.

Rockland ON
Event planner: Erin Vanasse
Morris Village Park
Date: May 23, 2017
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Business: Salsa Babies & BWIC Ottawa Babywearing Group

Babywearing in Canada is hosting their “6th Annual Babywearing in Canada Week”, so what better time to host another babywearing meet-up!?! Super excited to host another Babywearing Meet-up in Rockland for all the local moms (and Dad’s!) to come out and chat about the benefits of babywearing! This event will be held at the Parc in Morris Village (weather depending). Bring your picnic blankets, little pop up tents, whatever you like! It will be a potluck, so please comment in the event to let us know what you would like to bring. People had a great time trying on different wraps and carriers at our last meet-up, so please bring whatever you think pepole might like to try out!

Event link.

Charlottetown PEI
Event planner: J.C. Martin
Date: May 23, 2017
Time: 10:00 am
Group: PEI Babywearing

PEI babywearing play date. We’ll go for a walk, head to the playground and have a picnic if you want to hang out longer. The ice cream shop will be open. I’ll bring all the carriers so we can geek out. Prizes pending. Raindate May 24th

Event link

Grande Prairie AB
Event planner: Jessica Matwiiw
Muskoseepi Park
Date: May 25, 2017
Time: 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Group: Grande Prairie Lending Library

Grande Prairie Babywearing Lending Library will be hosting our 3rd Babywearing in Canada Week play date. Come out to Parent Link on May 5th from 10:00am-11:30am and join in on the fun. Grande Prairie Babywearing Lending Library will be giving away a year membership at our play date. Everyone is welcome to join us!
Come out and learn all about Babywearing. Try out all the carriers the library has to offer, get help with your personal carriers or just come out and meet new people.

Event link

Milton ON
Event planner: Cindy Black
Centennial Park, 50 Martin Street
Date: May 25, 2017
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Business: Birdies Room

Come and celebrate Babywearing in Canada week by joining us for a social in the park followed by a walk along the pond and trails. We will meet at the gazebo off of Martin Street at 10am. Bring your blankets and partake in a casual social from 10am-11:30am where you can see, feel and try on Didymos carriers. We will then hit the trails around the pond at 11:30am-1pm. We hope to see you there!

Event link.

Orangeville ON
Event planner: Jill Bailey
Rotary Park
Date: May 26, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 11:00 am
Group: Orangeville and Area Babywearers

May meet up and hike. Event link.

Brighton ON
Event planner: Carrie Hutchinson
15494 County Road 2
Date: May 26, 2017
Time: 11:30 – 1:00 pm
Business: Eco Kids

Eco Kids Babywearing Picnic. Lets celebrate Babywearing In Canada Week by having a babywearing potluck picnic and enjoy the company of other fellow babywearers!

Event link.

Chatham ON
Event planner: Teresa Corso
36 Parkview Court N7M 6H9
Date: May 26, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 12:00 pm
Business: Bear Bums

It’s Babywearing Week!

Join Catherine O’Halloran of Mama Connection and Tamara Corso of Bear Bums for an informative introduction to babywearing. We will take you through different types of carriers and great options for various ages and stages.

Come on by to chat and connect with local mamas, and bring your carriers with you if you have questions about the size or fit. We are not babywearing educators, but we can guide you through the basic fit of ring slings, soft structured carriers, mei tais and wraps.

Take advantage of Bear Bums Babywearing Week in Canada Sale and get 15% OFF ALL CARRIERS! Tamara will have Tula, Chimparoo “Trek”, and Beco “Gemini”, “8” and ring slings available to try on or for purchase!

You won’t want to miss this!

Event link.

GOLD Sponsor – BWICweek 2017

Babywearing in Canada is very proud to announce that manduca1 is the GOLD sponsor for the 6th Annual Babywearing in Canada week which is from May 19 -27, 2017. Have you registered your event yet? Do it today – follow this link.

The company behind manduca was founded in 2002 and is located in Germany. From the very beginning manduca’s focus has been to inspire parents to wear their children by offering practical, beautiful products that parents enjoy using.2 manduca has always striven to be innovative in their carrier design. Starting with their first carrier, their original soft-structured carrier:

  • It allows babywearing right from birth because of the infant seat (baby insert).
  • The insert is thin and minimizes the amount of material between the baby and the parent’s body, increases the benefits of wearing. It is also easily rolled up and tucked away.
  • Their SSC has an innovative panel extension, allowing parents to have as long of a babywearing journey without needing to rely on upgrading as their child grows and changes in size. Easy to use, you simply unzip and voila! You have a larger carrier.
  • It was the first carrier to include so many features to adjust the carrier, from the dual adjustable straps on the bottom, the three way buckle at the waist, increased adjustability on the straps just above the panel to reduce or prevent stress on the parent’s body from babies who like to lean out.

Parents choose manduca because they also want a baby carrier made of organic fibres.  Sustainability, organic materials and fair production continue to take priority in everything they make. Nearly everyone who works at manduca is a parent, they are mums and dads, too. They know exactly how important it is to master the challenges parents face every day, all while keeping your hands and minds free of worry. Safe babywearing is their ultimate priority, as is peace of mind. manduca products are designed with all this without sacrificing beauty, comfort, or the environment.

The manduca baby carrier enables parents to keep their hands free, is made sustainable, offers ergonomic positioning for the parent and child, is extremely comfortable and versatile without sacrificing style.


1. Visit the manduca website to see more of their collection. And like their Facebook page!↩
2. More information on manduca can be found here on their blog. ↩

2016 Conference FAQs


When and where is the second Babywearing in Canada Conference?
It is part of Babywearing in Canada week and takes place Friday May 20, 2016, to Saturday May 21, 2016, at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre (OBWC).  The OBWC is at 2260 Walkley Road, at the St. Laurent intersection.

Purpose of the conference?
The conference is part of Babywearing in Canada Week (#BWICweek) which runs from May 21 – 28, 2016, and its focus is on community support and the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. The first day’s theme, breastfeeding, will feature speakers who will speak to the importance of what families need for breastfeeding success. The second day’s theme is father involvement and focuses on the importance of including both parents in the raising of the baby. Geared toward professionals, service providers, and parents hoping to improve their baby carrying skills, attendees will participate in understanding the impact of birth on women and families post-partum in a uniquely Canadian context. To see a full copy of the program, click here.

How long will it be?
Seminars will be offered all day. Registration starts at 8:30 am and closing remarks are at 5:30 pm.

Is there parking available?
Yes, there is parking on site both in front, and alongside the building. Parking is free.  Parking is also available along St. Laurent Boulevard.

Is the site accessible?

Yes, the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre is wheel chair friendly, there are no steps, the doors are automated and no special accommodations are needed for you to participate.

What buses pass by?
You can take the 112, 114, and 148.  Nearest transit station is at Elmvale Mall, which is roughly a 20  minute walk in good weather.

How much does the ticket cost?
Early bird passes are on sale until April 23, 2016. HST is extra.

  • Early bird rate: 2 day pass May 20-21, 2016 will be $240.00
  • One day pass May 20 or 21, 2016: $130.00

Ticket prices increase April 24, 2016. As of April 24, 2016, prices are as below. HST is extra.

  • 2 day pass May 20-21, 2016 will be $265.00
  • One day pass May 20 or 21, 2016: $145.00

It is a great deal – during the conference you will be able to choose from 16 different seminars – for a maximum of 10 total. At only $26 a seminar, that is a steal!  Not only do you get expert babywearing technique and healthy & wellness information for the post-partum period, you get to meet and network with other members in your community.

Are meals included and are there restaurants nearby?
Yes, meals and snack breaks are included as part of the conference fee.  Should you like anything extra there are lots of options near St. Laurent and Walkley: A pizzeria, a Chinese take-out, and a Metro grocery store with hot and cold counter.  A bit further down the way is the Elmvale Mall, which also has quite a few options.

Can I bring my baby?
Yes, babies and nurslings are welcome.  There are some great benches just outside the main rooms where you can take care of their needs in case you need to duck out for a little break.  We ask that babies older than 6 months and that toddlers stay at home because they might not let you listen in and enjoy the full conference experience. It also impacts the recordings for those tuning in through the webcast.


I bought a ticket and changed my mind. Can I request a refund? A partial refund can be provided up to May 14, 2016. A processing fee of $40 will be retained. Tickets can be resold to someone else, as long as you tell us who will be replacing you before May 19, 2016.

Are there giveaways and a conference kit?
Yes, they will be announced starting in May. Those who plan #BWICweek events also qualify for giveaways.  Sign up here to become an official celebrant.

How can I find out more information?
Stay-tuned and use the #BWICweek hashtag to follow us on all social media.  Also check back in regularly as more information is posted to the website.


Webcast tickets STILL available. Webcast is posted until Saturday May 28, 2016
Internet broadcast (webcast) agenda is here.

WEBCAST ONLY: HST is included. The webcast is available for viewing for ONE week after the end of the conference.

  • TWO day pass: will be $240.00 (approx. $186 US dollars, 165 Euros)
  • One day pass May 20 or 21, 2016: $140.00 (approx. $110 US dollars, 96 Euros)

Full conference
BF day
Father Involvement


Thank you to our sponsors:
GOLD: Pure Natural Newborn Photography
BRONZE: BCIA, WithMyBaby.com, KneadedTouch, and Boutique Bummis

IN PERSON attendance:

  • 2 day pass May 20-21, 2016 will be $265.00 + HST
  • One day pass May 20 or 21, 2016: $145.00 + HST

Babies in arms are more than welcome to attend with their parents, but if you have a toddler, please consider attending via webcast. Thank you.

For more answers, like how to get the conference site, please visit our FAQs.

Thank you to our current sponsors:
GOLD: Pure Natural Newborn Photography
BRONZE: BCIA, WithMyBaby.com, KneadedTouch, and Boutique Bummis



Kathy Venter – BWIC Conference

kathy bio picKathy Venter is a registered nurse and a retired midwife, and has been certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 1990.  In 1991, Kathy became a WHO/UNICEF trained BFHI assessor through IBFAN Africa. Come and listen to Kathy speak at the Babywearing in Canada Conference – tickets available here.

She was also the past Chair for the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC), as well as working as the past chair of the BFI assessment / education committee of the Baby Friendly Initiative in Ontario.

Currently Kathy works as a :

  • BFI Lead Assessor – BCC Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Assessment Committee
  • Lactation consultant at the breastfeeding clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
  • Breastfeeding educator and BFI consultant.

Kathy has received the Canadian Lactation Consult Association Award for Clinical Excellence first in 2010, and then again in 2013.

Come listen to Kathy speak at the Babywearing in Canada Conference at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. Ticket are available here. Follow this link for more information about the conference program.

May 21, 2016, at 1:00 pm.
Supporting Maternal Confidence

There are many factors which can influence successful outcomes in a breastfeeding relationship. Factor like what is normal in your community of support which can include:

  • What stories have you heard about breastfeeding success, and failure?
  • Resources in your hometown, like breastfeeding clinics.
  • Medical professionals who can provide good and timely help, or know where to send you to get it.
  • The community of support available to the parent.
  • Advertizing influences, and more.

In this presentation, we will look at the factors for breastfeeding success by examining one family’s journey through pregnancy and breastfeeding.

For more information about the conference, our program is here.

2016 Conference Program

May 20, 2016:Breastfeeding Success Day
(jump to May 21, 2016: Father Involvement Day)

Time: Main Hall Speaker: Main Hall Presentation: Main Hall Time: Room 2 Speaker: Room 2 Presentation: Room 2
9:00 Р10:00 am D̩bora Rodrigues Opening Remarks & Speech: It takes the village
10:15 – 11:30 am Stephanie George Breastfeeding our children for the health of our nations
11:30 am – 12:45 pm Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 pm Kathy Venter Supporting Maternal Confidence 1:00 – 2:00 pm Danielle Stehr Post-partum doulas help you find your groove
2:30 Р3:30 pm D̩bora Rodrigues & Diane Pepin Breastfeeding and Babywearing 2:30 Р3:30 pm Diane Dauphinais Attachment and Infant Sleep
4:00 – 5:00 pm Rick Goodwin Counting us in: The case statement for fathering 4:00 – 5:00 pm Panel Breastfeeding mothers
5:00 Р5:30 pm D̩bora Rodrigues Closing remarks

It takes the village.
By Débora Rodrigues, President & CEO, Babywearing in Canada Inc.

We all know what happens when you have a baby, the mother and father find themselves in a new reality that people rarely talk about. You have now entered “parenthood.” Please leave yourself at the door, right? It’s all about the baby. Most mothers feel a great sense of beauty, joy, and wonder at the arrival of their new child. And yes, what few acknowledge is that they also feel isolated during their maternity leave. But that’s okay. Afterall, isn’t the mother the natural biological environment for the baby? Doesn’t she simply have to set her mind on what she wants, and just do it? We pretend like the community doesn’t matter. We act like our neighbourhood resources have little impact on the success or failure of the family, from big moments to small.

Let’s stop leaving it just to the mother. We have had 15 years of a shared one year maternity leave in Canada. SHARED. It takes the village to raise a child. Let’s stop ignoring the value that fathers can bring to breastfeeding, and family attachment. In Débora’s speech, we’re going to acknowledge the importance of family support, community resources, and public policy to a family’s success. Babywearing is about connection: To community, to friends, to family, to the village. And should be done in support of the family by anyone who cares for them and makes them feel safe.

Post-partum doulas help you find your groove.
by Danielle Stehr, National Capital Doulas

Post-partum doulas are often the lesser known side of support that we can find in our communities. What is a post-partum doula, what benefits do they bring, to both mother and father as they more from birth and beyond. The type of support families need can vary widely and is often dictated by their birth experience, older siblings, partners work schedules and of course the mother’s postpartum recovery. Having a professionally trained doula can help with breastfeeding support, family relationships, as well as the mother’s postpartum recovery.

Breastfeeding and Babywearing.
by Diane Pepin, owner at Mother’s Helper and Débora Rodrigues, President and CEO, Babywearing in Canada Inc.

Keeping baby close helps the breastfeeding relationship enormously. Reading your baby’s cues is much easier when the baby is held closer to the mother, and father. In this session, Diane and Débora will discuss proper positioning, what the baby is capable of at different ages. When to use a cradle carry, when to nurse tummy to tummy, and finally, tips and tricks to keep it safe.

Anna Godbout Pinck
Bernadette Betchi
François Lavallée

Attachment and Sleep.
by Diane Dauphinais, Sound of Sleep

Diane will talk about how sleep looks different for each family. There is a journey each of us chooses for valid reasons, and they include bed sharing, room sharing and independent sleep. To understand which is your journey, Diane will start with how newborn sleep works, identify the various reasons that families seek their own path to sleep which may include helping with postpartum depression and when parents return to work. Diane will also discuss one family’s decision-making and journey.

Breastfeeding panel.
moderated by Diane Pepin, Mother’s Helper

The panelists were chosen to reflect a wide variety of breastfeeding experiences. In this panel we will hear from a variety of mothers and discuss their breastfeeding journey. Was it easy? What complications did they face? Were they able to access the resources they needed during the tough times, and what was it that helped them make it through. Also on our breastfeeding panel, is a father. We will ask him about his wife’s journey, what he felt was his role, and how he feels he contributed to his family’s breastfeeding success.

May 21, 2016: Father Involvement Day.

Time: Main Hall Speaker: Main Hall Presentation: Main Hall Time: Room 2 Speaker: Room 2 Presentation: Room 2
9:00 Р9:20 am D̩bora Rodrigues Opening Remarks
9:30 – 11:30 am Brian Russell The Father Factor 9:30 – 11:30 am Diane Pepin Effective latch and making a difference in the first days
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Lunch
12:30 – 2:00 pm Rick Goodwin All father’s are sons: Examining the integrity and legacy of fatherhood 12:30 – 2:00 pm Krista Lynes Post-partum recovery
2:30 – 3:30 pm Panel Dad’s panel 2:30 – 3:30 pm Daniela Pueyo Grand Happy Family: The benefits of dance, music & babywearing
4:00 Р5:00 pm D̩bora Rodrigues & Jen Wadleigh Babywearing for Fathers 4:00 Р5:00 pm Gesa Harmston Parenting without guilt
5:00 Р5:30 pm D̩bora Rodrigues Closing remarks

Effective latch and making a difference in the first days.
by Diane Pepin, Mother’s Helper

Breastfeeding, it should be easy right? It’s natural and it should all come together easily, except that it’s not always that simple. That is why Diane will take us through some important factors to consider in the early days, such as examining our breastfeeding expectations, the importance of touch, and skin to skin contact. From there, Diane will discuss how to overcome difficulties in the first days after having a baby and a baby should be held in order to get a more effective latch. This includes a discussion of the stress of birth on mom and baby and how birth impacts the breastfeeding relationship. Therapies like chiropractic, massage and osteopathic therapies will also be discussed.

Post-partum recovery.
by Dr. Krista Lynes, Chiropractor

Dr. Krista Lynes go over how the body works, and teach participants how to strengthen and protect the low back while recovering from pregnancy and labour. The goal of this session is to teach different ways in which baby carriers can be used to protect the low back during day to day activities. Participants will learn simple abdominal and core strengthening exercises that can be performed while carrying a baby in ones arms or in a carrier.

Dad’s panel.
moderated by Débora Rodrigues, President and CEO, Babywearing in Canada Inc.

Débora will admit that she is quite excited to get her burning questions answered on the topic of fatherhood. Like did these dads take parental leave and what influenced their decisions? How did these dads help in the raising of their new babes? Did they really just sit around and lift their feet when the vacuuming needed doing? How were they viewed by their community and what comments have their heard in their parenting journey? Which are the things they have enjoyed the most, and liked the least. And finally, how do these dads feel like they helped their partners learn through the parenting journey, and how do they feel they were supported in turn?

Chris Farley Ratcliffe
Matthew Ryan
Ivan Petrov

Babywearing for Fathers.
by Débora Rodrigues, President and CEO, Babywearing in Canada Inc. with help from Ivan Petrov from Kallababy.com

A baby carrier has to be thought of as not just a parenting tool, but as something akin to clothing. It fits one person very differently than another. And what works for the mother may not work for the father. We will take a look at what influences comfort for dads when babywearing, and how their shape and size will impact their babywearing experience. Proper positioning will also be addressed.

Happy Family: The benefits of dance, music, and babywearing.
by Daniela Pueyo Grand, Dancing Mama

Description: Movement and music are so important to our well-being, and can be used to develop the bonds between all members of the family (not just for moms and babies). Daniela will show how dance, music and babywearing can help increase the overall wellness of a family, both physically and mentally, during pregnancy, postpartum and the childhood years. Daniela’s presentation will have a particular focus on mom’s wellness during the pre and postnatal stages. More importantly, there are ways to integrate music into our parenting skills for mom, dad, and baby.

Parenting without guilt.
by Gesa Harmston, Life Coach

Becoming a new mother is one of the most wonderful and rewarding changes in life, and it also happens to be one of the most overwhelming. In between the moments of joy can hide feelings of isolation, exhaustion, and self-doubt. Far too many women suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety.

In this presentation Gesa will discuss the importance of postnatal depletion and the need for self care, boundaries, embracing change, reconnecting with ourselves and our community. The amount of physical and mental support that is needed to bring the mother through the stages of pregnancy, birth and postpartum recovery is greater than we realize. With more resources focusing on the mother’s recovery as the number one priority, the whole family and entire community wins.