United States Institute for Kangaroo Care Certification Course in Ohio

In addition to all of this traveling and all of these teaching events, I also registered myself at the USIKC to become a certified kangaroo care practitioner.  It is a course I have had my eye on for 2 years.  Professional development and a well rounded and updated knowledge base have been key to keeping me full of ideas about how to be an effective educator.


There was a small vending hall outside the lecture hall where I made some friends from a kangaroo wrap and shirt company called Vija Designs.

With the exception of one speaker, the instructors in the course were interesting and the information was useful.  The skills courses were even more useful and was truly my favorite part of the course.


I am so proud to have these letters behind my name, and I have been energized and my eyes have been opened to the possibilities that hospital kangaroo care programs could have on infant/parent health, and breastfeeding.

WEAR – A babywearing conference by Mommy-Con

WEAR conference in May was a babywearing centered conference hosted by mommy con in the middle of downtown Chicago that was a beautiful experience for our family.  Kyle spent some time in the nunamoochie booth with our amazing friends promoting this awesome brand and it was a highlight for us!

Together Ann Arbor Babywearers Washtenaw county Wic and myself all raised enough money to take advantage individually of the accessible educator package ticket and the ultimate educator packages that were offered in order to restock and expand the variety and currency of the carriers in lending learning and private consulting libraries. These higher ticket prices came with a full collection of baby carriers from a wide variety of brands and were worth much more than the price we paid. We were thrilled with the carriers we received and are extremely grateful to the manufacturers who donated their products.


This was an amazing feature offered at WEAR that specifically catered to unaffiliated babywearing groups and public health organizations that want to include baby carriers as a learning tool in their offices and meetings.

We also exhibited our collection of carriers from around the world and had fun speaking and teaching.


In addition Elephant Ears and Kyle and I were nominated for an award for being a special retail location service in the babywearing community which was a bitter sweet and lovely honor to the closing of our retail journey. We did not win, but we were honored to be nominated.


The selection of courses and the variety of experiences offered at WEAR conference were truly wonderful. We took and taught courses on the history of baby carriers, and learned about different wearing techniques and new brands, our WIC work, men in baby wearing and research going on around the country. As a first time event, I really can’t believe how wonderful it was and I’m eager for WEAR 2017!


Michigan WIC Conference 2016 – Update on the Movement to Provide Baby Carriers to Improve Public Health

The Michigan WIC conference is the place I go to set up and make my services and research goals known to every county in the state. 

 When I am there I have a big poster board set up explaining how I want to study baby carriers as a public health intervention, and also the classes and trainings I have to offer.   I invite questions from and reach out to WIC employees and other Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials.  


We try on carriers together, or chat, I listen to their stories from their offices and learn about their goals. We learn so much from each other about how we can help each other.  


I also always attend a few amazing talks there on counseling skills, cultural awareness, and other successful initiatives like mine and how they achieved success. It is an inspiring and uplifting place.

Shout out to the amazing washtenaw county wic staff who has supported me throughout this journey. I would never be as effective without your guidance and I absolutely credit the interest of 4 more Michigan counties in our baby carrier study to your support and guidance as well as our research partners Seffany Kerr and Stella Resko.

The BOND Conference in New York

In April I had the honor of attending the BOND Conference in Queens New York.  I was honored by sharing my apartment with my friends from Moby Wrap, and The Canadian Babywearing School.  We had a blast being in Manhattan and making our way through the subway every day and really experiencing NYC.

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The conference was also a space for a bcia educators committee meeting that was peaceful and productive.  I love and respect these women so much!

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Dr. Railene Phillips, and Dr. James McKenna, and Dr. Kirsten Moberg were some of my favorite presenters although almost every single speaker and every single speech was compelling and interesting.

We learned about the biological functions of oxytocin, as well as breast sleeping with Dr. James McKenna and since, as well as the importance of the golden hour after birth with Dr. Ralene Phillips. It fills in all of the other holes around baby wearing that are important and need to be filled in an order to have a complete view of the parents that I am working with and their children.


The conference was organized in such a fashion that made it very easy to learn without being distracted and it felt very peaceful and friendly. I especially enjoyed ending each day with a small group conversation processing the days presentations together. Including visits from the presenters themselves. Below is part of my small group and Dr. Ann Bigelow who was wonderful to talk to!


During this process I made new friends in the industry, and felt I really got to hear and take away other people’s interpretations through a sharing exercise with the information as well as taking away my own.

The BOND Boutique was set up in such a way to make shopping accessible but not distracting.  It was amazing and beautiful.


Thank you to Joanna Mcneily, and the Center for babywearing Studies and the BOND conference crew for an amazing conference that I will be sure to attend in the future.  I made so many new business connections and friends!

The Season of Traveling to Teach and Learn

It been hard to keep up with the blog lately, but I’ve been wanting to, and thinking of you all!!

To start off this post frenzy, I have for you a list of things that I have been doing that I should have blogged about, and will attempt to catch you up on!  Posts will follow as fast as I can put them up.  I’m so eager to share this journey with you all, and I am making this list to hold myself accountable.

1. The BOND conference in New York
2. The WEAR conference In Chicago
3. The Kangaroo Care Institute certification course

4.  My new teaching job at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor
5. The movement to provide babycarriers to improve public health (through WIC based initiatives)
6. My trip with Carry the Future team 11 to provide refugee support to the camps in Greece
7. The International Babywearing Conference in Atlanta

At least on this list, you can see that I have been busy doing the work of normalizing the practice of baby carrying and closeness, as well as keeping up with current research and methods.

Please share my posts with people you think may be interested, and I hope you enjoy the next few days of post catch ups!

 

Flash back photo to celebrate my recent birthday!  4 years ago lion let me wrap him on my birthday and it was the sweetest gift ever.

Mommycon Chicago 2016 – Snuggybaby Love!

Mommycon is a really great way for any expecting parent to learn about the options out there for infant parenting, birth and feeding options.  I highly recommend to anyone, wether they are expecting their first, or third child, to seek out Mommycon when it comes close to you to make sure you are aware of all the options out there for you and your family!  The babywearing lounge is an especially wonderful collection of baby carriers that travels the country, has such an amazing variety and is staffed by experts there to help you explore and try on all the things out there.

Snuggybaby, an amazing midwest manufacturer of baby carriers and diapers and wet bags, was generous enough to bring me along to work with them in their both at Mommycon Chicago last weekend and I had so much fun with them helping people with their babies, making new friends, and seeing old ones!

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There are so many wonderful educators and parents to ask questions of and learn from at Mommycon.  I loved being in the Snuggybaby booth, and seeing all the other parents connecting and learning from us and eachother, and having that “aha moment” when their baby carrier finally feels comfortable!

I’m looking forward to going back to Chicago for the WEAR conference in May to teach with my husband Kyle and see the Mommycon team again.

Check out he wear conference at this link below:

Www.Wearconference.com

 

 

January Babywearing Educational Course with Becca at Jackson/Madison co. Hospital TN.

These last 2 years have been a whirlwind of trying to gain traction and notice for the public health uses of baby carriers.  2016 is proving to be a big year with many public health teaching events on the horizon for me and this first one that just passed in Tennessee was amazing.

They made this flyer blow to market it, and I wish I had known, because I would have provided my own images, but the massage was great and effective, I had over 30 attendees total!

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The attendees were not only Nurses and Lactation consultants from the hospital but also representatives from WIC and 3 other public health organizations from the area serving young families.

We had an amazing time and I really feel compelled to keep on this path of reaching into all the modalities of healing and support that contact young families and children and spread the positive effects of regular baby carrier use where there formerly was none.  Many attendees expressed to me that they thought that baby carriers could greatly influence the success of their clients.

Thank you especially to one specific WIC breast feeding peer counselor Iris, who took the time and passion to bring baby wearing education to her entire county by spreading it through the public health system via me.  I think we all had a great ole’ southern time!

I’m looking forward to my next public health adventure in Nashville, TN in April with Signal Centers of TNK an Child Care Resource and Referral.  More here as soon as I can!

 

Mommycon in Anaheim California

 

Last month I was hired by Naturepedic / Lullaby Earth to attend the Mommycon in Anaheim California and represent them and talk about their new breathable mattress cover. http://www.lullabyearth.com/products/additional-replacement-covers  and   http://www.naturepedic.com/our-products/mattresses/baby-crib-mattresses

It was something I really wanted to do because there was going to be a special surprise honoring my fellow educator and friend Laura Brown and I was eager to be involved in honoring such a hard working advocate and mama.

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Here I am! I was lucky enough during set up for Mommycon to score One of the Mommycon Babies to wear for a snuggly nap in this Tehkini Tuxedo.

 

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I ran into this mama wearing Twingo, the carrier I reviewed in my previous post and she was so happy i recognized it and was loving it as much as my customers and clients have been!

 

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The new Lullaby Earth Breeze mattress cover really is breathable, but some people have to test it for themselves. I admit I did the same thing when I first saw it at the ABC baby products show last october.

 

As a side note, I am collecting an awesome amout of Mommycon Gear.  There are so many awesome designs!!!!!

As a side note, I am collecting an awesome amout of Mommycon Gear. There are so many awesome designs!!!!!

Shop at : http://mommy-con.com/shop/

 

I hope to be at MANY more Mommycon events in 2016!

Right now I am a confirmed speaker at WEAR a Mommycon hosted Babywearing Conference in Chicago in May.  Thank you Mommycon staff!!  I had a wonderful experience!!

http://mommycon.ticketmob.com/event.cfm?id=110129&cart

An Inspiring Detroit Twin Mama, a Light Twingo Review, and little Social Justice Commentary.

 

twin girls 9 months adjusted in a twingo baby carrier

This Mama has 5 children, the newest of which are these twin girls, born 3 months early. Here she is wearing the New and amazing Twingo, the newest addition to my teaching and lending library.

 

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The Twingo carrier is color coded, and works with twins and close age babies, like mine were!!! Can you imagine all the trouble that I would have been saved by having this 5 years ago!!?!

Here I am tandem wearing a ton of different ways in this old post.

https://closeathandbaby.wordpress.com/2011/04/

I see looking back how many moms were coming to my group to learn tandem wearing, and how I ended up focusing on that in my private practice these days.  Man I would have rocked a Twingo so many times a day, like this mama above did to vacuum!

Because of the twins being 3 months premature this mama encountered a lot of barriers to breastfeeding and bonding with her babies in their early days.  Wearing the babies brings them back together and reclaims some of that time together lost to the hospital stay.

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The whole Family is really interested in using the carriers and participating with the Babies.

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The Twingo was cool to the older siblings because they saw their mom use it all as one carrier for both babes, and then they broke it down and were both able to use it to put the twins on their backs while they went back to their business.   These baby girls are sweet natured and aren’t prone to long bouts of crying, so the carriers were mostly interesting to this family for their hands-free benefits.

 

babywearing in a mei tai style baby carrier

When working with twins, especially on a third visit, I often have the opportunity to grab a snuggle.

 

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This mama is still healing from the trauma of the premature birth experience.  We discussed wrapping one twin on the front in her preferred single baby carrier,  The One Love Wrapsody Hybrid, for at least one hour a day and just singing and rocking and hugging and holding each other.  This creates some of the chemical reactions that take place during breast feeding which will hopefully help to speed up some of the emotional healing needed after a journey like this.

Ultimately I left totally inspired by this mama and her older children and their home that they have created.  I hope that this visit finally addressed how this family really wanted to use baby carriers.  I think I had gone in assuming the first and second time that the babies must be needing to be carried more or one must have hight needs, but the truth here is, that the Wearing in this case is mostly for the healing of the older members of the family, especially the mama, and that the babies are already doing optimal and amazing and are content and sleep regularly and don’t cry regularly for any reason.

It really was amazing to hear this mama’s birth story, and it reminded me that Systemic Racism is real ( http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1114:racial-discrimination04&catid=88&Itemid=274&showall=&limitstart=4 ) , and that I want to change the public health system so that everyone has access to a baby carrier, because closeness is a powerful and healing  right, not just for the financially privileged.

 

Look at this Twin Mom on the Go – Don’t Feel Tied Down by your Stuff!

at home, this twin mom has a special nursing pillow, but it doesn't mean she NEEDS it to nurse every time, check her out on the go below!

At home, this twin mom has a special nursing pillow, but it doesn’t mean she NEEDS it to nurse every time, check her out on the go below!

She was in Elephant Ears the other day and just grabbed the nearest chair and pillow and fed her babies like she should.

She was in Elephant Ears the other day and just grabbed the nearest chair and pillow and fed her babies like they wanted her to.

Then we enjoyed a wrapsody Alyssa to sleep in a pocket wrap cross carry loaded double.  This carry is for advanced experienced wearers, or to be practiced under the supervision of a babywearing expert until you feel you have mastered it.

Then we enjoyed a wrapsody Alyssa to sleep in a pocket wrap cross carry loaded double. This carry is for advanced experienced wearers, or to be practiced under the supervision of a babywearing expert until you feel you have mastered it.