Previous IBW Award Winners

Since its inception in 2008, International Babywearing Week has honored individuals, organizations and businesses that have contributed to promoting babywearing as universally accepted practice. Awards have been given each year, except in 2011 and 2015, in the following categories:

The Jennifer Rosenberg Babywearing Advocate of the Year Award.

This award is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the babywearing field over the past year.

About Jennifer Rosenberg

Jenrose was a worn baby back in 1972, when her parents improvised with a frame backpack and towels to wear her at two months old. In 1993, she told her midwife, “I think I need a snuggli or something,” and was introduced to stretchy wraps around the time her first daughter was born. Pouches were a revelation in convenience 10 months later. Shortly after that she began the process of becoming certified as a childbirth educator and doula, while raising her daughter as a single mother. It was learning about improvised cloth carriers and traditional babywearing in 1995 and 1996 that truly turned her into a babywearing evangelist. The idea that something as simple as a knotted sling would not be taught to every new mother was both infuriating and galvanizing.

In 1996, newly hired by Midwifery Today, Jenrose started working on her first review articles. The sheer variety and beauty of carriers available was inspiring, and she started using the mantra that “Baby carriers are mama clothing” to explain to people why they might want more than one, or why their carriers should be attractive as well as functional. The fact that the prettier carriers were all more functional than the standard mainstream carriers was another inspiration to advocacy.

In 2001, Jenrose designed her first ring sling, and months later took in a foster baby. This galvanized a new round of babywearing, and the new internet babywearing communities helped her network with manufacturers and parents around the world.

In 2003, a landmark year for babywearing, was launched, and Vijay Owens helped spark the idea that babywearing needed an international organization to support groups and advocates in bringing this “lost art” back to the mainstream. Nine In, Nine Out, or “NINO,” was born.

By 2004, it was apparent that the babywearing community was gaining in strength and cohesiveness, and planning began for the first international babywearing conference. Jenrose drew on her experience with midwifery and doula conferences to take on the role of conference coordinator. In 2005, her second daughter was born, and in 2006, the Portland conference, though small, inspired the babywearing community. Since then there have been a number of smaller conferences, and in 2008, a much larger international conference was held in Chicago.

Jenrose currently lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her family, and is still active with the local babywearing group and teaches classes at a local store.

Jennifer Rosenberg Babywearing Advocate of the Year Award Recipients

2008 | Alice Hollowed of City Slingers in Chicago, IL, and the 2008 International Babywearing Conference.
2009 | Natalia Shpak of Mariupol, Ukraine.
2010 | Kristi Hayes-Devlin of Wrapsody, LLC.
2012 | Ann Marie Rodgerson and Victoria Ward.
2013 | Rachel Dreyer, MBE for North Central Illinois.
2014 | Hedwych Veeman (who blogs as Wrap you in love)
2016 | Julia Walker of World on My Shoulders
2017 | LaKeta Kemp of Tandem Trouble

The Vijay Owens Babywearing Advocacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Promoting Babywearing

The Vijay Owens Babywearing Advocacy Award for Lifetime Achievement award honors an individual who has made a lasting contribution on the babywearing community.

About Vijay Owens

Vijay was born and raised in New York City. At 17, she used to wear her baby sister around town in a frame pack not knowing yet that babywearing would be such a big part of her adult life.

When her first daughter was born in 2003, Vijay discovered that the highly structured front carrier was just not comfortable for her or her baby. So her quest began to find a more comfortable option. Jennifer “Jenrose” Rosenberg guided her to the unpadded ring sling and the stretchy wrap and a love affair with slings was born.

Vijay helped Jenrose teach a sling workshop in December of 2003 and got hooked on teaching and advocacy. Vijay and Jenrose started brainstorming that same day about an international nonprofit organization that would support and promote babywearing just as La Leche League does breastfeeding.

Even after moving to a rural area in central VA in 2004, Vijay continued to spread the babywearing love, holding monthly meetings, teaching workshops at local baby stores, and running a sling library. Highlights of the past few years include having another child, leading a few sessions at the first ever babywearing conference in Portland, and getting a part time job (in the sling section, of course) at a local natural parenting store.

Sadly, Vijay’s daughters are now so big and busy they aren’t worn much anymore. But Vijay still enjoys borrowing newly minted demo babies at her sling workshops and showing grateful parents how to do “baby origami.”

Vijay Owens Babywearing Advocacy Award Recipients

2008 | Tracy Dower of The Mamatoto Project
2009 | Jen Norton, founder of
2010 | Kristen DeRocha of Hotslings, Inc.
2012 | M’Liss Stelzer
2013 | Susie Spence
2014 | Vesta Garcia
2016 | Dr. Rosie Knowles of Sheffield Sling Surgery
2017 | Diana Rosenfield of Wrap Your Baby

The Perla Robertson Award for Distinguished Babywearing Educator

Given to those who have put in significant work to providing resources, accessibility, and work into the field of education of the babywearing community, primarily in Educating the Educator and going beyond the scope of common babywearing education to provide more in depth contributions to the field of babywearing education.

About Perla Robertson

Perla “Judy” Robertson has been an outstanding supporter of babywearing education since 2012. Her contributions to the field of babywearing education include founding an independent babywearing group and working with the educational development of new educators, establishing a Babywearing International Chapter where she worked to become a Master Babywearing Educator, the President of the Chapter as well as the Education Coordinator for her local chapter, and on a National level has held such titles as BWI Board of Directors; Treasurer, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee member and BWI Accreditation Coordinator. Perla has dedicated much of her life to education and knowledge in many forms earning a Master’s in Vocal Performance and carrying it over to homeschooling her four children and working in educational capacities in her local community as well.

The Perla Robertson Distinguished Babywearing Educator Award will be awarded to the person who has shown dedication to providing education and support above and beyond in the field of babywearing education and has shown a clear path to finding support for those wishing to pursue this path.

The Perla Robertson Distinguished Babywearing Educator Award Recipients

2017 | Amy Rainbow of Amy Wraps Babies

Award Recognizing Outstanding Diversity and Inclusiveness by a Babywearing Educator 

Diversity can be observed in the varied backgrounds and experiences that make up the fabric of the babywearing community, including, age, citizenship status, class, color, disability, gender expression, gender identity, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. The diversity of a community strengthens it.  Inclusivity is the action of embracing diversity and making sure a community actively works towards dismantling systematic challenges that prevent diversity from thriving.  Diversity is the goal and inclusivity is the action that makes it a reality.

This awards seeks to recognize individuals in the babywearing community who have furthered diversity and inclusivity through programs or actions which systematically reduce inequities in the their local communities or the babywearing community at large.  Recipients have had at least one tangible project that has found success which will be evidence of their hard work, something that has effected inclusivity within their organization or community.

Outstanding Diversity and Inclusiveness Award Recipients

2017 | Brittany Brown Marsh

Best Babywearing Outreach Program (Vendor or Business)

The babywearing community is full of groups and individuals who have made “giving back” the centerpiece of their work. These awards honor two outstanding outreach programs that provide baby carriers and/or education to parents and caregivers in need. One award will be presented to a vendor or other for-profit business (including professional babywearing educators) and a second award will be presented to a non-profit organization or individual volunteer (including BWI and non-BWI babywearing groups)

2008 | HUGS: Help Us Give Slings Tsunami and Earthquake Relief for Mothers in Indonesia
2009 | Tingly Toes
2012 | Winner: Portabebés AYU c/o Valeria Calderon
2013 | The Happy Baby Project
2014 | Rockin’ Baby
2016 | Soul Slings
2017 | Bijou Wear

Best Babywearing Outreach Event or Program (Non-profit or Individual)

The babywearing community is full of groups and individuals who have made “giving back” the centerpiece of their work. These awards honor two outstanding outreach programs that provide baby carriers and/or education to parents and caregivers in need. One award will be presented to a vendor or other for-profit business (including professional babywearing educators) and a second award will be presented to a non-profit organization or individual volunteer (including BWI and non-BWI babywearing groups)

2008 | Klub Kangura​
2009 | Beltway Babywearers
2012 | Sheffield Slings
2010 | Organization Maternal and Child Circle Mallorca
2013 | The Happy Baby Project
2014 | Lift Me Up: Babywearing to Thrive and Uzazi Village
2016 | The Carrying On Project
2017 | World on My Shoulders

Best Blog or Website Maintained by a BWI Chapter

A good blog or website not only records a group’s activities but also can provide ongoing education for new and veteran babywearers alike. This award honors a group who has created the most exciting, engaging, and informative website or blog over the past year.

2012 | BWI of DC/MD/VA
2013 | BWI of North Central Illinois
2014 | BWI of Greater Austin
2016 | BWI of Atlanta
2017 | BWI of Portland

BWI Outstanding Educators

Educators are the heart of BWI chapters. They lead, they teach and they inspire others to do the same. We want to know about your leader and how they have made babywearing better where you live. Up to three outstanding educators will be selected to receive this recognition.

2012 | Heather Magrow
2013 | Laura Stieglitz
2014 | Heather Snaman Frech of Babywearing International of Greater Austin; TaiLeah Madill; Sara Stephenson of Babywearing International of Chicagoland
2016 | Kathy Low, BWI of Grand Rapids
2017 | Kat Chaffin, BWI of Portland; Samantha Reddy, BWI of Portland; Ricki Franklin, BWI of Olympia

BWI Outstanding Chapter Supporter

BWI groups could not survive without the support of volunteers. This award honors the non-educators who make our groups function. Consider nominating that incredible a volunteer who has gone above and beyond for your local chapter (CSV) or for the national organization (NSV).

2014 | Alli Novak of Babywearing International of the Bay Area!
2016 | Joey Morgan, BWI of Olympia
2017 | Cynthia Soliz, BWI of Greater Austin; Stephanie Lu Sinclair, BWI of Twin Cities; Kassandra Coxson, National Support Volunteer

Past Awards (Retired)

Best IBW Publicity Campaign

2008 | Moldova and the former USSR​
2010 | Babywearing Calgary
2012 | BWI of Greater Boston
2013 | Circulo Materno

Best Babywearing Outreach Program to Women in Need

2008 | Magic City Slingers Slingfest​
2009 | Ashtabula County, Ohio, WIC Program
2010 | Babywearing Calgary
2012 | Portabebés AYU c/o Valeria Calderon

Best Babywearing Advocate in the Healing Arts

2008 | M’Liss Stelzer​
2009 | Mandy Welch
2010 | Dr. William Sears

Bruce C. Rosenberg Award for Outstanding Babywearing Father

Bruce Rosenberg, @LordOfTheSlings, a beloved member of TBW community, passed away on March 12, 2012 after battling metastic melanoma. Each year on March 21, Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is held in his memory.
2012 | Corey King
2013 | Karl Dreyer