Meet the Experts Saturday | Meet the Experts Sunday
Jamie Grayson—known as the BabyGuy—is a nationally beloved expert in baby products and is the founder of the BabyGuy Gear Guide.
The legendary Dr. Karp is a top baby expert and one of America’s most-beloved and trusted pediatricians, and is the creator and author of the landmark books and DVDs series “The Happiest Baby On The Block” and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block.”
Chicago chef and restauranteur Stephanie Izard is an Iron Chef, as well as the first female winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef” (season 4). She’s a James Beard Award-winner for Best Chef: Great Lakes, and she owns the local restaurants Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, and Duck Duck Goat, as well as Goat Group Catering and the retailer This Little Goat. She has an adorable 1-year-old son named Ernie. Learn more about her at stephanieizard.com.
Jill Simonian is a TV personality, entertainment journalist, mother, and parenting and lifestyle expert. She covers parenting topics twice a week for CBS Los Angeles, and on her website The FAB Mom. She is the author of The FAB Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby.
April has been a CSV with Babywearing International of Chicagoland for two years. She has worn both her children from a few weeks old and loves helping caregivers wear their kiddos!
Eric Benin is a father and the blog editor/social media manager of the Chicago Dads Group (part of the national City Dads Group organization), a diverse support network for local fathers that hosts educational and community-building events for dads and their children.
Sarah joined BWI Chicagoland when she moved to the Chicago area in 2017. She’s been a avid babywearer for 10 years. With BWI she serves as a volunteer educator. She is also a CBWS trained educator.
Julie Burt Nichols is the “Wizard” behind the curtain at Twiniversity, the #1 global support network for parents of twins. She loves serving as a resource and support for new parents, soon-to-be parents, and we-want-desperately-to-be parents. Julie serves as Editor-in-Chief of Twiniversity.com, Account Manager, and Instructor for Chicago Twiniversity expecting twins classes. Julie resides in Morton Grove with her husband and 4 year old twin boys.
Melinda has been babywearing for over five years and has been an educator with BWI Chicagoland for four. In addition to being an educator, she serves as the librarian and has a special knack for being able to identify carriers of all types by sight.
Shari Criso brings 25 years of experience as a nurse, midwife, lactation consultant, and Evenflo Feeding’s national spokesperson and expert to helps moms reach their personal breastfeeding and pumping goals.
Chad Ekstrom has been changing cloth diapers for over 11 years. Father to 5 amazing kiddos has proven to make Chad a bit of an expert in the cloth diaper community. From soup to nuts, Chad has supported Julie (wife to Chad, founder and CEO of Kanga Care, and owner of multiple diaper patents) from the early days of cutting and tracing fabric while making diapers at home, to current day developing of Kanga Care’s international presence by partnering with distributors near and far. Chad is a true Renaissance man wearing every hat it takes to get the job done either at home, at work, or at play.
Jessica English, AdvCD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE Jessica English is a Lamaze certified childbirth educator, birth and postpartum doula, and owner of a doula agency in Michigan. She is the editor of the International Doula magazine from DONA International. Jessica is passionate about helping families achieve better births! In addition to her own work supporting parents, she also trains new doulas and childbirth educators to do this amazing work.
Nicole Feliciano is CEO and founder of MomTrends Media, an NYC-based company providing lifestyle content for moms. Her first book, Mom Boss: Balancing Entrepreneurship, Kids & Success, is packed with solutions for women who have big ideas, but are struggling with how to fit it all in with family.
Founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center, Deb is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, certified prenatal yoga instructor, and mother-of-two.
Melissa Gonzalez has been teaching Lamaze class in hospitals and in private in-home sessions since 2010. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, two sons, and a pitbull mix named Ruby. The owner of Mesa Birth, she is a DONA-certified birth doula, Happiest Baby on the Block instructor, postpartum doula, and placenta encapsulator. She’s also on the board of Breastfeed Chicago.
Sherry Hagerman, president, Allusion Photography, has been a professional Canon photographer for 14 years. Sherry has won several awards in her industry including, “Best in the Midwest” for the past nine years, “Best Studio in the United States” for the past three years, and as of July of 2017, one of the Top 10 Photographers in the United States. Her images have been published in multiple magazines, newspapers, and her company has been covered in both the National & International Media. Allusion Photography is currently located in Oak Brook, IL.
Janeen Hayward has been working with children and families since 1998. Early in her career, Janeen provided play therapy to young children in school-based settings. This experience solidified her passion for helping parents nurture healthy and happy children from the very start. She earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology in 2001 from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Shortly thereafter Janeen pursued Gottman Educator training to expand her knowledge around supporting couples as they transition to parenthood. In 2007 she founded swellbeing, a parenting consultancy that focuses on helping parents navigate the difficult terrain around sleep, as well as a host of other developmental issues including potty training, positive discipline and sibling preparation. Outside of work, Janeen has the delight of raising two young daughters with her husband.
David L. Hill, MD, FAAP. David L. Hill, MD, FAAP serves as Chicco’s child passenger safety spokesperson in addition to being the chair of the AAP Council on Communications and Media, a member of the AAP Children, Adolescents, and Media Leadership Working Group, and a scientific advisory board member of the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development as well as a board member of the North Carolina Pediatric Society. An adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at UNC School of Medicine, he served as the 2014 Media Visiting Professor at Duke University.
Musical Magic specializes in creating joy! We have been in operation in Roscoe Village since September 2002. We offer music and movement exploration classes for children aged newborn through four and their families and caregivers. The business was founded on the idea that children can find confidence and creativity in self-expression through music, and we’ve been helping little ones find their rhythm ever since!
Each class begins with a circle-time welcome song, with a teacher leading the musical journey and setting the pace for the class. After the initial welcome, the children are encouraged to interact with the environment. They spend time exploring the colorful, muraled studio, meeting and greeting the various stuffed animals, and learning how to shake a tambourine to the beat! Also, for so many children, our classes are their first social environment–we love being able to provide families with a safe, positive, and entertaining atmosphere where kids interact and socialize freely with other young children, set to a singable soundtrack!
Owner, Katie Jeep, will be leading a Musical Magic class at the Chicago Baby Show on both Saturday and Sunday… Come jam with us!
Alex Kaslowitz is a father, babywearing consultant and co-founder of XOXO Baby Carrier. With 10 years of experience and 110 percent of enthusiasm, Alex’s passion for babywearing is contagious. He strives to help make life easier for all parents and caregivers through safe and comfortable babywearing.
Stephanie has worn both her 3-year-old and 6-month-old since they were born. She has been an educator with BWI Chicagoland for almost two years and has served on the Board of Directors for one. She loves working with caregivers who are wearing for the first time and seeing them get comfortable and confident with wearing their babies. She is also a CBWS trained educator.
Rebecca Michi is a Children’s Sleep Consultant, who prides herself on becoming the youngest Childcare Manager in the United Kingdom for a national childcare chain by the age of 23. Since then, she has worked in a number of different childcare settings with children between the ages of 6 weeks and 8 years old, quickly advancing from Nursery Nurse to Officer in Charge (Manager).
Candie has been a volunteer with BWI Chicagoland for two years. She is a professional nanny and has worn many many babies in five years. It’s one of her many nanny tools and her favorite part of wearing is the bond it helps create.
Katrina Pavlik founded Breastfeed Chicago, a local non-profit, with the vision of making Chicago the most breastfeeding-friendly city in the country. After the birth of her first child, she realized that success in breastfeeding is just like success in anything else – it requires a supportive community and the help of smart people who know what they’re talking about. Breastfeed Chicago supports families through a moderated online support group, a website with evidence-based resources and connections to help, and small grants and projects for local businesses and organizations. Katrina has presented at breastfeeding conferences and trainings throughout the city, including the Chicago Area Breastfeeding Coalition, the Chicago Region Breastfeeding Taskforce, the Neighborhood Parents Network, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago’s Children, the Children’s Home + Aid Society, and CEDA WIC. In addition to running Breastfeed Chicago in her spare time, Katrina has worked as a teacher, a non-profit manager, and a postpartum doula, but her favorite job has been mothering her two curious and energetic boys.
Hillary Scharmann, of HEART Birth & Baby, is the vivacious DONA International trained Doula and Perinatal Educator of HEART Birth & Baby. Since 2012, she has helped over one hundred families to have empowered and informed pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences. Hillary’s small volume practice focuses on individualized and comprehensive care, priding herself on creating bespoke experiences for families from all walks of life. Hillary is a mother-of-two, and lover of hot sauce and anything mid-century. When Hillary is not working, you can find her dancing way past her bedtime.
Alina Slotnick and Rainbow Partridge are the Co-Founders of MamaTribe Chicago. They started MamaTribe Chicago to connect—sharing laughs, frustrations, insights, resources and offering support to each other and a few close new mommy friends. Six years later, MamaTribe Chicago has grown to over 27,000 members becoming the largest and most active mommy Facebook community in Chicago. With a unique mission of providing unbiased and authentic, locally relevant information, support and connection to Chicago moms and those expecting, MamaTribe has galvanized a legion of wise women to be an on-demand resource on almost every conceivable parenting topic. It’s the essential hub of expecting women and moms – where they go to have a giggle, lend a helping hand, share an experience only other moms would understand and get answers to questions they can’t find anywhere else.
Diana Spalding, Birth Expert and Digital Education Editor at Motherly, is a midwife, pediatric nurse, and Motherly’s Birth Expert and Digital Education Editor. She is also founder of Gathered Birth in Philadelphia. She loves all things birth, and is passionate about empowering women to trust themselves and embrace their inner rockstar. Diana lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three amazing, goofy kids.
Dr. Unger is a pediatrician at Northwestern Children’s Practice. She graduated from Tufts University and Rush Medical College. A Board Certified physician for more than twenty years, she completed her pediatric training, as well as a fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics, at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Northwestern School of Medicine. Here interests include well infant and child care, family fitness, childhood nutrition, obesity and obesity prevention and adolescent health.
Lisa has been an integral part of the FIT4MOM community for over 9 years. Starting as a client in 2008 and instructor in 2013, Lisa quickly blossomed into the management role with one of the top two franchises in the nation. In 2016, she took over FIT4MOM Chicago which offers moms in all stages of motherhood a safe place to exercise and find their village. Lisa leads the way in regional initiatives while maintaining her unofficial role as the Midwest ambassador of FIT4MOM. Lisa is wife to John and mom to Jackson, Mackenzie and Greyson, who are the driving force behind why she has embraced her role in a community supported motherhood all the while empowering other women. Lisa has a background in financial services and has lived in several pockets of the country prior to settling in the Windy City.
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist, feeding specialist, and co-author of the book Making Mealtime ezpz. She is also the Clinical Director for Spectrum Speech & Feeding, LLC and a feeding consultant for several baby/toddler brands. She has over 22 years of experience treating children with feeding disorders and picky eating behaviors.
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