UP 2017

UP 2017 Guest speakers:

Harlan and Madison Kingfisher have been babywearing since the birth of their oldest son Prosper, nine years ago. As a Cree father, Harlan is passionate about traditional First Nations parenting practices that focus on honouring and cherishing children. Babywearing is one thing Harlan is particularly enthusiastic about. With Madison’s help, Harlan has been working to develop a program on his reserve that helps his community return to these traditional parenting practices through babywearing.





Ratsamy Pathammavong is a cis, hetero, Lao woman and mother of a toddler. A long-time ‘social justice warrior’ and advocacy facilitator/trainer, baby-wearing and gentle parenting fit her personality and values. When she’s not chasing her toddler, she is a volunteer administrator for All Things Woven Wings, one of the larger Facebook woven wrap company fan groups, and knitter. Her out-of-home responsibilities include managing the health equity and diversity portfolio for one of Canada’s largest charities.







Marley Clark is a twenty something mother to three boys living on the prairies of Alberta, Canada. She is the face and photographer behind the social media accounts of Prairie.Rebel. She started babywearing as a way to meet her autistic toddler’s sensory and emotional needs. While documenting their wearing journey she found that continuing to take selfies led to higher levels of self-esteem and body acceptance, as she was continually in the frame instead of intentionally leaving herself out as in the early days of parenthood. Through the emotional roller coaster of surprise twins continuing to photograph the journey has left Marley with a firm perspective that all caretakers deserve to have focus on them and not just the children they are raising.

“In Focus: Self-love and Body Acceptance” will be about the importance of the babywearing selfie, keeping ourselves in the frame regardless of how we have changed through parenthood. It will also outline how we as a community can encourage more participation and what role businesses can play in this.




Kayla Dixon is a visually impaired babywearing educator in Edmonton, Alberta. The isolation she felt while caring for her newborn was compounded by her struggles to navigate the cramped stairwells of her walk-up apartment with a stroller and a white cane. Babywearing gave her the freedom to get outside and reconnect with her community. Both exploring her neighbourhood and connecting online with other parents who loved babywearing curtailed her solitude. Now that her daughter is a toddler, her public transit adventures take the two of them to Kayla’s work at Two Mothers, a local babywearing store, as well as to consultations and workshops to help local families babywear safely and comfortably no matter their ability.

“Accessibility as Inclusion: Disability in the Babywearing Community” will discuss how the babywearing community, both online and off, can be a more inclusive space for parents with disabilities. We’ll focus on why accessibility is a concern, and who benefits from improved accessibility. We will examine common strategies for inclusion, including image descriptions, video transcripts, and typed emojis, as well as common pitfalls, including inspiration porn and ableist language.


Session Speakers:



Mum of 2 boys, Azizah Stephen Attard who lives in London, is passionate about natural parenting and baby

wearing. A babywearing consultant and Peer Supporter Trainer, Azizah busies herself between her UK sling clinics and libraries, which are run as not for profit community interest companies. Wherever possible she tries to ensure Bébé Sachi give back to her local community in the United Kingdom as well as the communities in Malaysia and Bangladesh.






Esther América is a former dancer with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Through babywearing dance, she found a way to continue sharing her passion for the art of movement, all while enjoying motherhood more.

During this workshop, Esther will share her story. It is a story that also belongs to other moms for whom babywearing dance became a way to forget doubts and frustration, and even overcome obstacles. The presentation will be followed by a short demonstration.


(A black and white image, featuring a mother with brown hair, wearing an infant in a carrier. She is in movement and looking down from the camera. A logo featuring a dancing mother with baby and the text “Esther American Danse/Dance” appears in the upper left corner of the photo).


Esther Beaudry  is a babywearing educator since 2016. Mother of 3 childrens, she is babywearing since 2010. Esther is also a breastfeeding coach with Naissance-Renaissance Outaouais since 2011 and has 42 months of experience with breastfeeding.

She is teaching babywearing workshops in Ottawa and Outaouais and is offering weekly advice to mothers who are dancing with their babies in one of Esther America’s babywearing dance class.







Andria Bell is a Babywearing Educator, Doula and Yoga teacher in Ottawa, Ontario. She came to Babywearing out of necessity with two children and a baby born with a congenital heart defect. Babywearing went from making life easier to a coping technique. She wore her first and second often and began learning about carriers. Once her third came along she needed to learn how to carry a baby in comfort all day, and care for two older children.

Being part of the Babywearing community gave her friends who have become like family! The support she received from the community is something she wanted to give back. Starting with volunteering for the local Babywearing Gr

oup and a meet up host, taking the Babywearing Educator course with CBWS was a natural progression. At the same time she took her Postpartum Doula Training, followed by Birth Doula Training and Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. She started helping clients with navigating baby carriers, hosting workshops for parents and doulas. Being a Wrapsody brand Ambassador is a pleasure, spreading the word about these easy to use and comfortable baby wraps has been easy. Even before she became an ambassadors she was spreading the Wrapsody love. She has since added a forth baby to her family and continues working in the community supporting safe Babywearing practices and helping families.


Jill Bailey is a mother of 4 boys and a family physician. She is passionate about women and children’s health. Jill has had the privilege to attend the births of many babies and has always been in awe of of the magical connection between parent and child.

Babywearing became a beautiful necessity for her when her fourth son was born just 18 months after her third. Realizing there was no

babywearing group close by, she took the Canadian Babywearing School Educator course in 2016 and started a group in her small town.

“The Physiology of Babywearing”

Intuitively as parents and caregivers we know that carrying our children is a good thing. We feel calm and connected when snuggling with a little one. This session will explore the body’s physiological response to carrying and the many emotional and physical benefits for both the caregiver and child.

Jill is excited to continue to share her passion for babywearing at the Up conference in September.

(image features Jill, with her son Nico on her back, kneeling beside her son Asher who is wearing his “baby” as well)


Kim Lacroix Bélanger has been a babywearing educator since 2013. She loves to share her passion for babywearing and help parents see how using baby carriers can make their lives easier. She gives babywearing workshops upon request, when she is not giving altogether different types of workshops at her day job.





Session: Portage et diversité culturelle: mon parcours, mon héritage

My name is Bernadeth Betchi and I am 29 years old. I have been living in Canada for over twenty-five years but I am originally from a beautiful country in Africa called Cameroon. I was brought up in baby-wearing culture, a culture where wearing our children is natural and has been done organically for many many centuries. It is part of who we are and how we go about our daily activities.

Babywearing is part of my DNA and my identity. It has been passed on from generation to generation. I have vivid memories of wearing my younger brother when he was a baby. My mother taught me how to wear him on my back. I would use my mother’s pagnes to wear my brother and go about my day. Baby-wearing is about connection, an intimate relationship between two souls. It establishes a space where the parent and the baby are able to share experiences while creating a sense of security.

After having children, I re-discovered the joy of babywearing. I find myself looking in the mirror and imagining all of my ancestors doing the motions of wearing their children. I thank them for such a beautiful cultural practice. For the richness that it brings on a spiritual and emotional level.

Image credit to Sarah Scott Photo.

(Image features a scene of mothers, wearing infants, who are in dancing positions in the background in an outdoor setting. Bernadeth is pictured in the front and in the centre of the image. She is smiling at the camera while wearing a sleeping infant in a front carry).



Hi! I’m Chelsey Chichak and I’m a Speech Language Pathologist with specialized training in Early Childhood Development and Intervention as well as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. My client base is mainly made up of 0-5 year olds with speech and language delays and non-verbal children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
After the birth of my first child, I became interested in babywearing and language development. I started to notice how the proximity to the parent and their face allowed for increased language and speech sound bombardment. I enjoy using babywearing as a way to increase and introduce language in babies and toddlers. I’m extremely excited to join UP! and share developmental speech/language information, as well as tips and strategies and on how to use babywearing as a tool in your child’s life!



Amanda DeGrace, Mom of 3, lover of yoga, fine wine and everything pelvic floor, business coach and type A personality, is the owner and founder of Little Lotus Yoga (LLY). LLY was founded 14 years ago out of Amanda’s love for working with children and all things yoga. LLY now offers many public and private classes as well as specialty workshops and teacher trainings across Canada. Amanda also owns DeGrace Energetics, a Business Coaching & Strategy company, that helps small businesses and solopreneurs wade through the business world so they can meet (and surpass!) their business goals without sacrificing everything else in their life.



After the birth of her first son, Libby Henderson became interested in babywearing, but it wasn’t until just before her second son was born 16 months later that she realized she really needed to make babywearing work for her. Once Libby found her local and online babywearing communities it all clicked beautifully into place as she also discovered woven wraps.

Libby started babywearing with machine woven wraps and was overwhelmed by all the options, so turned to blogs and reviews and was then inspired to start her own blog, Carried Kisses where she has posted both machine woven and handwoven wrap reviews from makers such as Zee Zen Woven WrapsPavo TextilesSling StudioHandwoven Melodiesand many more.

Currently an admin for both Loom to Wrap and Sling Studio Squad Facebook groups, Libby can also be found blogging at carriedkisses.blogspot.ca and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carriedkisses

Libby is on the schedule both days, Saturday on the panel for Travellers, Testers, and Beyond: Getting Started with Babywearing Reviews, and Sunday hosting the Handweaver Roundtable.

[Image: a White presenting Cree woman wears her sleeping blond toddler in a mint green woven wrap using front wrap cross carry. They are outside with a wooden bridge and greenery in the background.]


Can babywearing increase attachment? Come to this session to learn how research has shown that babywearing increases attachment and bonding and can be used as an intervention. Dr. Lela Rankin Williams will show videos that she has collected of mothers and babies interacting with each other at 6-7 months of age. Mother’s and infants who were randomly assigned to a “babywearing” condition had better attachment and bonding compared to

mothers and infants in a control condition.







The stigma of self care: How taking care of one’s self while caring for others improves mental health

Cindy Wolfe is a clinical social worker with more than 17 years experience. She is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers. She obtained her Master of Education (Counselling) degree in 2003 after receiving degrees in Political Science and Social Work. She has held positions in child welfare, outreach counselling, research, and treatment for trauma following motor vehicle collisions. For the last year, Cindy has worked in private practice, primarily working with clients struggling with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Prior to that, she worked for 11 years as a crisis counsellor with the Ottawa Police Service working with victims of crime and tragedy as well as their families.

As a mother and reluctantly “former” baby wearer (who does still wear her 5 year old on occasion), Cindy recognizes the stigma many caregivers place on themselves, often not acknowledging their need to protect their own mental health in a quest to be the ‘perfect’ parent. During this talk, Cindy will discuss the stigmas we face as caregivers, and what we can do to help break these stigmas and care for ourselves as we care for those around us.





(below follows the logos for our sponsors, vendors, and supporting business partners).  






































Are you a business owner or vendor who may have missed grabbing a space at this year’s conference? We have a few remaining partnership opportunities open, in a large price range. Send UP a note at [email protected]com  to find out more about partnering with us.