Babywearing education has always been paramount to us at Birdie’s Room. We value and respect the wonderful individuals that selflessly devote their time and energy helping new parents and caregivers learn how to wear their babies and children in carriers.
We have started a campaign to give a huge shout out to the Babywearing Education Community. Without this education, modern babywearing would not be be where it is at today. We are continuing the recognition of Babywearing Education this week by featuring Jill Bailey of the Orangeville Babywearing Group. Jill is also a Babywearing Educator certified by the Canadian Babywearing School and a practicing Family Doctor.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a mom of 4 boys and a family physician. My husband and I have lived in Orangeville Ontario for 11 years. We love living in the downtown area of a small town. We get the benefits of being close to coffee shops, bakeries, and the farmer’s market but we’re just a short drive away from nature!
How did you embark on your Babywearing journey?
My oldest son is 10 years old. We planned to cloth diaper and went to a Toronto cloth diaper store to get some advice. The sales person showed me the “cuddly wrap” and I was instantly smitten with the idea of wearing my baby. He loved it! I just wish I’d have know about woven wraps and other options for older, heavier babies at that time. My 2 youngest children are 18 months apart and it was with the birth of my youngest that babywearing became a necessity for survival. The baby lived on my chest! He still loves being worn at 12 months and his older brothers have experienced more cuddles wearing him as well (with supervision of course).
How did Babywearing let you carry on your everyday life as a parent?
Being able to wear my 4th son I was able to play with my toddler, tidy the house, go for walks and not worry about nap schedules. He would just sleep on me whenever he needed to! It helped me find more joy in parenting 2 small children so close together without always being upset with my adventurous toddler.
What do you love most about Babywearing?
I love the feeling of getting a wrap on *just* perfectly comfortably, feeling my baby snuggle in and knowing he is safe and secure. The oxytocin is just flowing!
What Groups do you lead and/or volunteer at?
“Orangeville and Area Babywearers” is the group I founded, I also help admin an online babywearing community for physician moms.
Why did you become a Babywearing Group Leader?
In 2016 as I became more interested in all the different carrier options I realized that there were babywearing groups that met to help parents with carriers, but there was no group in my small town. It just seemed natural to then start one to spread the babywearing love! I took the Canadian Babywearing School course and started a Facebook group with the help of another local mom.
What made you decide to become a Canadian Babywearing trained Educator?
I knew that as a mom of 4 I had lots of experience with babywearing but not practical teaching skills. Arie from CBS is an amazing educator, she taught me to ensure a baby is safe in a carrier and I have learned lots of troubleshooting tips to make parents more comfortable too.
How has your babywearing journey as a leader, educator and a babywear influenced other areas of your life such as your lifestyle, career etc.?
I think I now look at clothing differently, I often think “that print would make a great wrap!” Lol. As a family physician I often recommend babywearing to new parents as a tool for bonding, helping with reflux and sleep issues.
Tell us more about the Orangeville Babywearing Group!
I founded Orangeville and Area Babywearers in the fall of 2016, we now have more than 250 members! We meet to try on carriers and socialize with like-minded parents. I have enjoyed making new friends through this group!
Do you have a teaching and/or lending library?
Teaching. We are so appreciative of the generous donations from Birdie’s Room!
What do you love most about teaching babywearing?
I love it when another parent, after getting their baby snug in a carrier, leans into their baby’s face and says “This feels so good!”. Then I know I have been successful 🙂
How has teaching enhanced your life?
Learning about the physiology of babywearing (oxytocin and the calm and connected response for example) as well as meeting new friends in my area.
When a new parent asks why Babywear, how do you explain it to them?
Babywearing is an ancient practice that is good for the baby and the caregiver in so many ways. I wrote a blog post about this very topic for a local mom’s group:
How do you determine what is the best carrier for people that come to your meetings?
It’s all trial and error. Most parents in our group bring their own carrier that they want help with. Otherwise, I often suggest a stretchy wrap or ring sling for a newborn, and woven wrap for when babies are getting too heavy for the stretchy. There are so many buckle carrier brands I don’t like to pick one and usually just tell parents to try before they buy. Carriers that don’t require an infant insert are easier to use.
What are your core teachings to new wearers?
Safety first. Visible and Kissable, chin off chest, never cover baby’s face. This is especially important for newborns who are unable to protect their own airway (ie 0-3 months).
Do you have a personal preference for a style of carrier and why?
I love woven wraps! I love how they are infinitely adjustable and so versatile: one piece of material can be a front, hip or back carrier in a variety of different carries.
How has Birdie’s Room assisted in your wearing and teaching experiences?
Birdie’s Room generously donated wraps and a ring sling to our group to enhance our learning library. Cindy from Birdie’s Room also organized the Canadian Babywearing School Level 2 course I attended.
Any other words of wisdom for a new wearer?
If you don’t think babywearing is for you then it’s probably just because you either don’t have the right carrier or the right adjustments. Seek help from an educator or experienced babywearer. Soak in those baby snuggles and don’t believe anyone who says your baby will become “clingy” or “spoiled”. By wearing your baby as often as he/she likes you are fostering in them a secure attachment that will last well beyond the baby years.
If you know an educator or group that you would like to see featured in our newsletter and blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!