Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wear? Who? Where? When?

by Tami Grosset

The babywearing community of Ottawa is exceptionally lucky! There are a couple of expert stores to help babywearers pick out and learn to use the perfect carrier for them and there are some great volunteer mamas who work as admins and hosts for OBG meets and on the Facebook page. This post should help you recognise our local babywearing rock stars and figure out where you can go for assistance.

Ottawa Babywearing Group 

The Ottawa Babywearing Group holds several meet ups each week. There are small local meets on Monday mornings in Vanier, on Tuesday mornings in the Meadowlands area and on Wednesday mornings in Kanata. Each Friday morning there is a meet whose location rotates from Kanata to the central area to Orleans. Details of all upcoming OBG events can be found on our Facebook page

Andria is our Meadowlands host
I have been hosting meet ups since June, and love it.  I love helping other people learn to wrap, or get to try a new carrier or carry.  When I learned it was a struggle, I had YouTube and a mirror, there was months of tears and frustration.  If I can help some one get through that part of wrapping and carrying quick that totally makes my day.   When I read a thank you later that day it bring me joy!
I started babywearing (and use the term loosely) with my first child  5 years ago.  When had a Snugli, a bag sling (now recalled) and a frame pack from MEC.  While I used them for the convenience they gave and enjoyment of keeping baby close, they where uncomfortable.  I then read about woven wraps, which were not as easy to find back then!  So it wasn't until I had my second 3 years ago that I learned more about ergonomic carrying.  I got to try woven wraps just before my third was born and I continue to use all sorts of carriers with all my kids.  5 minutes in a carrier/wrap can change a child's attitude for hours!  They are magical :). That is why I enjoy sharing with other moms (and dads). My kids and I looks forward to meet ups every week now.

Shelley is our Vanier host
I’m Shelley, a stay at home Mum to a 2 year old girl and 6 month old boy. My partner works in the fitness industry and so has non-traditional work hours, leaving me alone with both children for most of the day. I started babywearing in my first days of motherhood – I loved being able to hold my daughter close and meet her needs while I went about my day. With my son, he has been worn since he was just hours old, truly a necessity with them being only 19 months apart. By wearing one (or both!) I’m able to meet their needs – whether that be being able to make lunch, help with play at the park, nursing, making silly faces at my little or covering them with kisses. I’ve been part of the OBG since it started, we love going to the meetups where I’ve been able to explore new carriers/carries and develop friendships with like minded mums. I’ve been happy to help out with the Vanier meetups recently, and pass on my knowledge and experience.


Aline is our Kanata host, group admin and COTW mistress!!
I'm Aline Kelly and have been a member of the OBG since summer 2012, becoming at admin in early 2013. As the mother a deeply curious and sensitive toddler, babywearing has helped us bond, share experiences, and stay alive - many, many meals have been made with a tiny human strapped to me! We also bus and walk absolutely everywhere, and babywearing makes this much more practical. Several times we've had people stop us and say, "I see you all over town with your baby!" My husband is a happy babywearer as well. I truly can't imagine our parenting journey without it.

There are 5 general admins who are involved in the running of the group and will be seen frequently at official OBG meet ups. Aline is one with the other admins being...

Photo by Jenna Sparks Bradbury
My name is VĂ©ronique and I am the mother of 8 children ranging in age from 17 all the way down to 2 year-old twins. Babywearing since 1996, my husband and I have used all sorts of carriers, from a $25 Fisher-Price carrier, to a vintage 70's framed back-pack and everything in between. I discovered woven wraps after my twins were born and it was love at first sight! I became involved in the Ottawa Babywearing Group early in its existence and I host meet-ups at my house once or twice a month. Helping mothers find joy in nurturing their children and discovering the freedom that babywearing offers is one of my greatest motivations. People often ask me "how I do it with 8?" and the answer is simple: babywearing! If I had to choose one carrier to take on a deserted island, it would be a wrap conversion ring sling. When I am not cooking and cleaning for a crowd, I write on my personal blog  or on my babywearing blog.

Julie is a group admin and arranges the Friday meets.
I’m Julie Duncan and have been a member of the OBG since it’s inception in March of 2012. In June of 2012 I started organizing the (rotating) Friday meet ups which gave me a more hands on position within the OBG. Some of my closest Mommy friends have come about through friendships forged helping new babywearers wrap or adjust a carrier whilst chasing our own children on play structures, wading in pools or building sandcastles. 
I have two children (born 16 months apart) who have been worn since they were hours old. My mom was a babywearer and I remember loving the photos of her wearing my sister and I in an old school Snugli as well as in a framed carrier. As a nanny in my early 20s I bought a stretchy wrap and used it often with the young (under 1 year) babies that I was looking after. When our daughter was born we started right away with a Sleepy Wrap (now Boba) and never looked back. Babywearing has been foundational in our parenting from the day our daughter was born. Having two children so close together meant that it also became a survival tool. I believe in babywearing in the very depths of my soul. Wearing my “babies” (now 3 years and 19 months) has been one of the best parts of my day for the last 3 years. We have shared so many special moments wrapped closely together. I am lucky enough to get to share this passion with the customers of Milkface during my two shifts there every week.

Photo by Jenna Sparks Bradbury
Hi, I'm Nancy! I've been a member of OBG since 2012, shortly after our son was born. He was a snugly and needy newborn, and my husband and I quickly learned the benefits of Babywearing. We were able to carry on with daily activities such as walking our dog, cooking dinners together, even going out to restaurants and family parties, all while wearing our new babe! Now, at 15 months old we still enjoy babywearing for several hours a day; in the mornings before school/daycare/work, and after we're all home together in the evenings. I can't imagine not having babywearing and OBG in our lives now, it's made us better parents and has been a great way to connect with like minded families.

I'm Tami Grosset. I have been an admin of the OBG since it's birth back in March 2012. I have two children both of whom have been worn since newborn days. Rose, my youngest, is still worn when she's tired, sick or if we're off on a long adventure. As a very independent 28 month old she usually prefers to walk! Babywearing has been a huge part of my mothering. It has helped me keep my sanity at times, as well as enabled me to care for my children, pets, house, husband and my own needs!

We have two stores in Ottawa who have been instrumental in creating the Ottawa babywearing community. Milkface and Extraordinary Baby Shoppe are our local experts and retailers. Both stores are staffed by mamas who have worn their babies and can speak from experience. They also know their stock super well and are trained to help parents work their way through the sometimes overwhelming amount of choices to find the carrier that will work for you and your needs.

Milkface

Milkface has two locations (Churchill Ave North in Westboro and Bank Street in Old Ottawa South) and can be found online at www.milkface.com. Britt Pegan is the owner of the wonderful Milkface company and was instrumental in creating a babywearing community here in Ottawa.

It's hard to believe it's been 12 years since I started Milkface. Milkface was born 6 months after my oldest daughter, Maryn. I was living in Toronto and couldn't find nursing clothing or baby slings in local stores. Ordering from the States was a pain so I came up with the idea for Milkface. We started as an online only store and moved to a brick and mortar location a few years later. We're thrilled to now have 2 locations in Ottawa as well as our online store.
From the beginning, Milkface has been focused on providing parents with education and experience as well as products. We now have 15 local moms on staff - all of whom have breastfed and worn their babies. I've taken a very active role in the babywearing industry. I was a founding Board Member of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) and currently serve as it's Chairperson. That role has offered me the opportunity to attend conferences and meetings on babywearing internationally, to influence babywearing advocacy (did you see our fantastic joint project with Health Canada featuring the OBG's own Tami Grosset?) and to meet some of the babywearing greats!

When you come into Milkface, you can expect a wide variety of a babywearing options and staff who are able to break down your needs and get you in the right carrier! Babywearing is riding a high in Ottawa right now and Milkface is grateful to be a part of that.


Extraordinary Baby Shoppe

The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe has one location in Ottawa, and another in Waterloo and can also be found online. Susie Pearson is the owner of EBS and has also been an Ottawan babywearing pioneer.

I started Extraordinary Baby Shoppe in 2003 when I was a mother of one; now a mother of four children, I have seen the business grow from a weekly Flea Market stall to two locations in Ontario, currently employing 13 mothers who often bring their young children to work with them. Extraordinary Baby Shoppe can be found at both 1131 Wellington Street W, Ottawa, ON and 24-26 Regina Street N, Waterloo, ON. When I started out in 2003, the Internet was still blossoming, and it was hard to source natural parenting products such as cloth diapers and baby carriers locally. I felt strongly that more parents would use cloth diapers, etc. if they could see them in person, or in the case of carriers, try them on. Our first carrier was a Snugli! We were the first of our friends to have a baby, and it was the only brand I had heard of. I saw my first ring sling at an Early Years Center playgroup, and from there, I dove into the world of babywearing. I loved wearing my newborns in a stretchy wrap and a ring sling, a soft-structured carrier for 4+ months. My all-time favourite was our Manduca carrier which I used daily with our youngest until she was 4 years old. My advice for any parents to be is to wait until your baby is born so you can try out different carriers with your baby before committing to a purchase – you may use your baby carrier for hours a day so waiting to purchase the carrier after your baby is born ensures you’ll find something you both like.

We hope to see you at an OBG meet up soon, or at either Milkface or Extraordinary Baby Shoppe and we look forward to helping you find the perfect carrier for you and your babe!





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