MommyCon :: Chicago

Chicago

Get Tickets

MommyCon Chicago 2019

MommyCon Chicago 2019 will take place on March 1-3, 2019 in the North and South Ballrooms of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. This is our hometown event, which means it is the biggest event of the year!

Join thousands of families who have attended MommyCon for a weekend of fun for new and expectant parents. We bridge education and learning with an interactive exhibitor hall, countless sessions and a hands-on approach to testing new products. You will meet leading experts who focus on subjects specific to parenting. Meet with one of our resident educators to try on baby carriers in-person. Learn about picky eating solutions with our feeding therapist, and help your family get more sleep with our sleep guru.

Our mission is to create a community of support, acceptance, and non-judgment for parents journeying through parenthood. We look forward to meeting you soon.

Join our MommyCon Chicago discussion group on Facebook to connect and learn more!

Ticket Options

Who needs a ticket?

All adults need to buy a ticket. Children 16 and under are always free but require a Child Admission ticket. As an adult, select from one of the following options.

VIP Admission: VIP admission is the best of MommyCon. This ticket provides the ultimate MommyCon experience! This ticket includes three-day admission (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and will give you access to all sessions (including a very special VIP only session on Friday and all DaddyCon sessions), event elements, and the exhibitor hall. All VIP attendees will receive an upgraded VIP gift bag. Price: $150.00 – SOLD OUT!

Premium Admission – Baby: Premium admission includes three-day admission (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and will give you access to sessions (including DaddyCon sessions), event elements, and exhibitor hall. Premium admission attendees will receive a premium admission gift bag perfect for those who are expecting or with children up to 18 months of age. Price: $50.00.

Premium Admission – Toddler: Premium admission includes three-day admission (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)and will give you access to sessions (including DaddyCon sessions), event elements, and exhibitor hall. Premium admission attendees will receive a premium admission gift bag perfect for those with children age 18 months or older. Price: $50.00.

General Admission: General admission includes two-day (Saturday and Sunday) admission and will give you access to sessions (including DaddyCon sessions), event elements, and exhibitor hall. This ticket does not include a gift bag. Price: $25.00

Child Admission: This ticket is for children under 16 and helps us identify how many children will be attending the event. Price: FREE

Are you or a family member in the military? Check out our Military Ticket  Program.

Would you like to attend but need a discounted ticket? Please learn about our Complimentary Scholarship Ticket Program.

Location and Directions

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
North and South Ballrooms – 2nd Floor
5555 N River Rd.
Rosemont, IL 60018
Find on Google Maps

Hotel Information

Our primary hotel block is at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago O’Hare Rosemont. Our rate starts at $125.00 per night. The block always sells out, so we recommend booking your room as soon as possible. Our group code is MOM.

Our secondary hotel block is at the Hilton Rosemont. Our rate starts at $129.00 per night. The block always sells out, so we recommend booking your room as soon as possible. Our group code is MC19.

Parking Information

Parking is available at the William Street Parking Garage for $15.00 per day. This parking garage is connected to the convention center via the Skybridge. The convention center is also easily accessible by train and complimentary shuttle bus from the Rosemont Blue Line Station.

Rental Car Discount

MommyCon is proud to team up with Advantage Rental Car! Renters will receive 10% off and no charge for additional drivers. Renters are also eligible to use our counter-bypass service which means no more standing in line! This is such a great perk, especially when traveling with kids. Use discount code MOMMYCON to start saving today.

Schedule

Friday Saturday Sunday Print

1:00 p.m.

Registration

Registration opens.
+
Description
Speaker(s)
-

2:00 p.m.

Room 1

How Onbuhimos Inspired Naked Panda Designs & Giveaway!
+
Description
Join Amanda, creator of Naked Panda Designs, to learn how the traditional East Asian Onbuhimo inspired Naked Panda Designs' Onbuhimo, adapted for birth through preschool wearing, as well as tandem capabilities. We will then dive into design and function for your growing baby and family. Then finishing off with a giveaway!
Speaker(s)
Amanda Macatol
Mother of 3, wife of a service member and owner/creator at Naked Panda Designs. Enjoys face timing with friends, snap filters and chocolate.

-

Room 2

Nourishing Traditional Diets for Health Children, presented by the Weston A. Price Foundation
+
Description
The dietary principles of our healthy ancestors should guide us in providing a healthy diet for our children. These diets were highly nutrient-dense, especially in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2. Butter, eggs, meat, organ meats, raw whole milk, seafood and cod liver oil is the modern formula for robust health and happiness in our children.
Speaker(s)
Sally Fallon Morrell
Sally Fallon Morell is founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to providing accurate information about healthy diets.  She is the author of the best-selling cookbook Nourishing Traditions, and of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care.

-

3:00 p.m.

Room 1

Pen To Paper: Write Your Birth Story
+
Description
From the author of Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family’s Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth, Brooklyn James offers an interactive writing workshop that explores the anatomy of birth stories, how they shape our existence, and the importance of documenting them. From cave drawings and over fires to digital photography and over social media, storytelling is intrinsically human. Putting pen to paper, all will be empowered and inspired through guided writing exercises to express themselves free of criticism and to find the storyteller within. Writing experience is not required. The value of a birth story cannot be measured by how “well” it is written. Birth stories are invaluable, period.
Speaker(s)
Brooklyn James
Author of Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth, Brooklyn is passionate about empowering mothers and fathers to document their birth stories as a way to process and honor how those stories shape our existence. Wife and mother of two, she enjoys moonlighting as a singer/songwriter and a good glass of kombucha. She holds an M.A. in Communication and a B.S. in Nursing where she has worked in the specialty areas of Intensive Care and Postpartum.

-

Room 2

Building Healthy Brains Are a Matter of Heart, presented by KinderCare
+
Description
Did you know that 70% of brain development happens in a child’s first 3 years of life? The relationships and attachments that children have with their parents and caregivers are critical in healthy brain architecture. Learn about the important ways to connect with your babies and help those amazing brains bloom!
Speaker(s)
Kate Jordan-Downs
With 12 years of experience in childhood development & education and a Master’s in Early Childhood Inclusive Education and Curriculum, Kate empowers KinderCare’s 26,700 teachers through curriculum development and inclusive best practices to ensure every child has access to a great education.

-

4:00 p.m.

Room 1

VIP Session
+
Description
Join MommyCon founder, Xza Higgins, for this very special VIP session. There will be fun, laughter, community, and giveaways! You must have a VIP ticket in order to attend this session.
Speaker(s)
Xza Higgins
Xza Higgins
Founder and CEO of MommyCon Xza Louise Higgins is the Founder and CEO of MommyCon, a babywearing educator and lover of healthy & happy babies. She is a former branding expert who spends her spare time with her two children, and enjoying all of the amazing restaurants the city has to offer.

-

Room 2

Delivery, Decisions, & Doulas: How to Prepare the Team for Birth Without Freaking Out
+
Description
Whether this is your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd baby, birth is something you must prepare for in order to be totally ready. No matter if you are wanting a medicated or non-medicared birth, having your team prepared will help make the big day just a bit easier. Learn how to prepare your body, mind, and suitcase for birth through practicing relaxation, writing birth plans, how a partner can best support the pregnant parent through labor and birth, and how a doula can help facilitate this.
Speaker(s)
Jennifer Moore
Jennifer Moore co-owns Bloomington Family Wellness in Bloomington, IN. She has been a doula in both solo and group practices in multiple states. She has trained with rebozos, Spinning Babies (r), and Stillbirthday to name a few. Jennifer has worked with births in multiple settings including home, birth center, and hospital. In addition to her work as a doula, Jennifer is a mom of 3 boys who keep her on her toes.

-

5:00 p.m.

Exhibitor Hall

Exhibitor Hall opens.
+
Description
Exhibitor Hall hours: 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Speaker(s)
-

8:30 a.m.

Registration

Registration opens.
+
Description
Speaker(s)
-

9:00 a.m.

Exhibitor Hall

Exhibitor Hall opens.
+
Description
Exhibitor Hall hours: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Speaker(s)
-

10:00 a.m.

Room 1

Vitamin K2 MK-4: Essential Nutrient for Pregnancy, Babies and Healthy Families, presented by Walkabout Health
+
Description
Walkabout Emu Oil is a nutrient dense ancestral food, identified as the highest food source of natural vitamin K2 MK-4, in its bioactive form, including life-giving benefits for the brain and body, and is critical for the fertility, also for proper development of the baby and essential for optimal family heath. It is estimated that 90% of the population is deficient of vitamin K2 MK-4.
Speaker(s)
Will Schlinsog DC
Dr. Will is a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic in Wisconsin and California. He attained his D.C degree in 1986. For the last eleven years he has worked with Walkabout Emu Oil performing studies and trails with a variety of patients from around the world.

-

Room 2

How to Start Solids Safely (babies 4 months to 2 years), presented by ezpz
+
Description
In this class, Ms. Dawn will teach you how to start solids using the puree method as well as the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) method. She will show you practical feeding solutions to keep babies 4 months to 2 years safe during mealtime. There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

Room 3

C is for Consent
+
Description
Come for an interactive conversation around consent, respect, and raising children who have body autonomy. Chelsea will talk about how to hear no from your child as a good thing, how to handle "that one relative" who just doesn't get it, and tools for navigating societal expectations.
Speaker(s)
Chelsea Surfus
Chelsea is lifespan a sexuality educator. She currently lives and teaches sex ed in Indianapolis. She is married to a high school math teacher and has two toddler sons to keep her on her toes.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: 0-12 Months
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will discuss what is normal when it comes to sleep for children ages 0-12 months. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

DaddyCon

Discipline Your Kids Without Losing Your S**t
+
Description
Do you want a parenting game plan that has you be more of a COACH and less of a COP? In this no-nonsense workshop, you'll learn a new approach to discipline that keeps you calm, confident, and in control. Join us and prepare to level-up your Daddying!
Speaker(s)
Laine Lipsky
Laine Lipsky is a Master Teacher (BA/MAT, Brown University) and multi-certified parent educator. Her background includes being an elite athlete, game design, yoga, all of which she folds into her unique parenting approach. She is a proud, imperfect mom of two wonderful, imperfect kids.

-

11:15 a.m.

Room 1

Building Healthy Brains Are a Matter of Heart, presented by KinderCare
+
Description
Did you know that 70% of brain development happens in a child’s first 3 years of life? The relationships and attachments that children have with their parents and caregivers are critical in healthy brain architecture. Learn about the important ways to connect with your babies and help those amazing brains bloom!
Speaker(s)
Kate Jordan-Downs
With 12 years of experience in childhood development & education and a Master’s in Early Childhood Inclusive Education and Curriculum, Kate empowers KinderCare’s 26,700 teachers through curriculum development and inclusive best practices to ensure every child has access to a great education.

-

Room 2

City Babywearing: Expectations vs Reality. Smoothing the Way for Easy Days, presented by Cybex
+
Description
Whether you live in a big city or visiting one, you will want babywearing to be a part of your routine. We will explore ways to make the most of your quick trips, all-day outings, or special events by preparing for the realities of bathrooms, diapering, feeding, temperature changes, carrier-sharing, and even avoiding muscle strain! Let's make the most of your experience!
Speaker(s)
Joanna McNeilly
Joanna McNeilly
Joanna is a mom of two spritely children who are the fuel of her life. She is the founder of the Center for Babywearing Studies and the BOND Conference. She has spent the last 12 years dedicated to learning and sharing around her love and passion for babywearing, Kangaroo Care, the NBO and intentional positive interactions. She is an engaging, fun, and responsive speaker and teacher.

-

Room 3

Groovaroo
+
Description
This interactive session will focus on the holistic health benefits for both parent and child that come from babywearing dance. Bring your partner, friends and your baby to groove with us while learning about these benefits. Like the heart to heart bond formed in the womb, babywearing dance synchronizes the wearer and the child while releasing hormones that create a strong feeling of connection and love. The other focus of this session will be demonstrating that dancing can break down walls and build community for both new and experienced parents, resulting in a fun and supportive “tribe” for your family!
Speaker(s)
April Ahlers
April, with GroovaRoo by April, started dancing at age three, and hasn’t stopped since. She loves dancing and knows how healing it can be. She has two wonderful children whom she has been wearing since birth, and still wears daily. She volunteers with her local babywearing group, and is excited to bring GroovaRoo to the Chicagoland area.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: 12-24 Months
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will discuss what is normal when it comes to sleep for children ages 24 months and older. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

ezpz Mealtime Lounge

Feeding Milestones for Baby (Babies 4 months - 2 years), presented by ezpz
+
Description
Did you know that there are feeding and swallowing milestones for babies as young as 4 months of age? In this class, Ms. Dawn will help you learn the critical feeding milestones babies should achieve in order to avoid choking, gagging, picky eating, food refusal and speech delays. There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

DaddyCon

Dads Need Support, Too! Building a Blanket Fort Support System
+
Description
Blanket forts are a fun analogy to help us remember and discuss the variety of supports needed to be a mentally healthy parent. Not only do moms need support systems. They are vital for dads, too! This presentation will answer questions such as what a blanket fort support system is and how to build one. It's time you get started building your ultimate blanket fort support system!
Speaker(s)
Michele Schroeder
Michele received her BA in Sociology from Drake University in 2002. She worked as a caseworker with youth, juvenile delinquents, foster care and family-centered for about 6 years. Michele received her MSEd in Counseling from Western Illinois University in 2010. She started her counseling career in Private Practice in 2016 and opened her own practice Quill Counseling in 2018. She has been married to her husband since 2006 and is the mother of 3 school-aged children. She stayed home with her children and worked part-time teaching and counseling in the school system until her children were school aged. She is also a certified Infant Touch and Massage Instructor utilizing techniques in sessions with new parents. Michele has written a book titled A FORK IN MY ROAD: A mother's journey raising a child with food allergies and is currently working on her next book on Postpartum.

-

12:00 p.m.

Lunch Break
+
Description
Speaker(s)
-

1:00 p.m.

Room 1

Postpartum Revolution
+
Description
Real talk about Postpartum Depression from a Mama who's been there and is back!
Speaker(s)
Jeffrey Brown M.D.
Bio coming soon!

Angelina Spicer
Comedian, Creator and Activist Angelina Spicer has built an impressive online presence with her viral comedy sketches. It began as she portrayed Tyra Banks, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj on the Disney webseries Electric Spoofaloo. Her viral success catapulted her career from phone screens to the silver screen, when she's appeared several episodes of hit talk show THE REAL as the "Deal Diva". Many of her sidesplitting skits have featured on Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, WorldStar Hip Hop, Essence magazine, and been tweeted by countless celebrities including Shonda Rhimes, Taraji P. Henson and Taylor Swift.

Sheehan Fisher
Sheehan Fisher, PhD is an Assistant Professor and clinical psychologist at Northwestern University. His research and clinical career focuses on the effects of both maternal and paternal perinatal mental health on infant/child health outcomes.

-

Room 2

Raising Socially Conscious Children
+
Description
We all want our children to be “good people”-but how can we do that in a world with so many current issues of violence and injustice? Gabrielle, Founder of BirthRight Doula Company, a nonprofit seeking social change for families of color, families identifying with the LGTBQ Community, and other “minority” communities and their allies, and a mom of 5, will guide the audience through steps on how to implement socially conscious in their day to day lives. Using her degree in Mental Health Counseling and experience of her own grassroots efforts, cultural awareness, acceptance of others, and techniques resulting in social impact within their family and community will be discussed using developmentally appropriate wording for a variety of parenting stages at home. This is meant to encourage, motivate, and excite families to go out there and make a difference, while raising the next generations to do the same or better!
Speaker(s)
Gabrielle Smart
Gabrielle is the Founder of BirthRight Doula Company, a nonprofit providing doula and family resources to families in major US cities. Using her Counseling and Social Work background, she is dedicated to improving the experience of parenthood within underserved communities. Most importantly, though, she is the mom of 5 amazing people.

-

Room 3

Babywearing 101: From SSC's to Wrapping, presented by Ergobaby
+
Description
Babywearing 101 is a comprehensive overview of baby carrier safety and an assortment of carriers including the meh dai, soft structured carrier, woven wrap, stretch wrap, hybrid wrap, ring sling, wrap conversion, and custom carrier options.
Speaker(s)
Niki Hughes
Niki Hughes is Buyer and Shoppe Manager for MommyCon. With a background in early childhood education, years in the trenches of the vintage and antiques business, and a passion for keeping ugly baby crap out of her small city house. She is the perfect woman to go to with rants about the trials and tribulations of parenthood, support for children with mental health issues, and advice on how to nap anywhere/anytime.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: 24+ months
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will discuss what is normal when it comes to sleep for children ages 24 months and older. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

ezpz Mealtime Lounge

Got a Picky Eater? (Babies 12 months - 8 Years), presented by ezpz
+
Description
In this session, parents will learn 20 practical tips to decrease picky eating in a fun and humorous way that will empower them at mealtime! In addition, Ms. Dawn will teach four common mistakes parents make that can cause food refusal and teach tips to help your child learn to try, eat and enjoy a variety of foods! There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

DaddyCon

Fatherhood: Birth, Feeding, Wearing, & Beyond
+
Description
Owning our roles as Dads in this parenting world in ways we never thought possible.
Speaker(s)
David Brown
Dave Brown is a Babywearing educator and Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). Since 2008, he has transitioned from Editor/Producer to homeschooling stay-at-home Dad to 4 children. When not at Disneyland wearing babies, he’s riding Vespas and dancing to the Ska.

Mat York
Texas native, bearded travel addict, and wearer of babies and plaid. Mat has a genuine passion for guiding parents in this meaningful season of life and for fostering healthy, happy families through positive education, and honest, light-hearted speaking events. Mat's experience in retail, product training, as a Babywearing Educator through CBWS, and CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) have all fostered these passions.

-

2:00 p.m.

Exhibitor Hall

Shopping Break
+
Description
Grab those last minute items before the Exhibitor Hall closes at 3:00 p.m.!
Speaker(s)
-

3:00 p.m.

Room 1

I’d Strap That: Keeping Your Child Safe in the Car (Without Using Duct Tape)
+
Description
Join Stephanie, CPST with Red Barn Basics, at an interactive car seat presentation. You will test your car seat knowledge with a fun game and leave with valuable information about keeping your child safer in the car birth through booster. There will be time for questions and answers. No Duct Tape will be used during this session.
Speaker(s)
Stephanie Hopkins
Mama to two young children, wife, and special education teacher, Stephanie runs her business as a Parent Resource Consultant in her free time. At Red Barn Basics she supports caregivers with car seats, babywearing, CPR and now GroovaRoo babywearing dance classes. She shares tips about those areas as well as informative and real-life parenting posts. She believes we are all making this up as we go along and lifting each other up makes us individually stronger.

-

Room 2

Managing the Motherload
+
Description
With humour and practical advice, Julie Cole shares her tips and tricks for busy moms and how she has survived raising six babies while blogging and running a business.
Speaker(s)
Julie Cole
Julie Cole
Julie Cole is a recovered lawyer, mom of six and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular television contributor, a sought after speaker and emcee and a digital influencer and blogger.

-

Room 3

Turning Red to Green – A Menstruation Workshop on Making the Switch to Reusables, presented by Diva Cup
+
Description
Check your skepticism at the door for this workshop on switching to reusable fem-care by self-proclaimed #vagangelist Kim Rosas. Whether you are cup or cloth curious you will find answers to your most TMI questions about what it’s really like to go green on your period. Kim will be giving a live demo of a menstrual cup insertion and removal using “Virginia,” a clear vagina-like tube. For cloth curious mamas she’ll go over the basics so you’ll be prepared to make the switch. There will be a Q+A at the end. Bring a good sense of humor plus an open mind and you may just become a #vagangelist too!
Speaker(s)
Kim Rosas
Kim Rosas
It all started in 2009 with an idea to film modern cloth diapers to help educate confused parents. Today, Dirty Diaper Laundry is the leading cloth diaper resource! No longer changing diapers, Kim has added #vagangelist to her resume as she proselytizes and spreads the gospel of reusable menstrual products.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: All Ages Q&A
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will open the floor for all of your questions regarding is normal when it comes to sleep for children of all ages. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

ezpz Mealtime Lounge

Feeding Tips for Children with Sensory Issues (Babies 6 months - 8 Years)
+
Description
In this course, Ms. Dawn will provide practical strategies to help parents find sensory solutions for infants and children during mealtime. She will also discuss the five senses and how they relate to eating, plus the bonus two senses parents don’t know about that can cause mealtime battles! There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

DaddyCon

The Baby Games, presented by Dyper
+
Description
Are you ready? The Baby Games presented by Dyper will be the ultimate head to head challenge for dads to test their skills when it comes to diaper changing, diaper bag packing, stroller folding and baby carrier wearing. Hosted by Xza Higgins, Angelina Spicer, and John Siefert.
Speaker(s)
Angelina Spicer
Comedian, Creator and Activist Angelina Spicer has built an impressive online presence with her viral comedy sketches. It began as she portrayed Tyra Banks, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj on the Disney webseries Electric Spoofaloo. Her viral success catapulted her career from phone screens to the silver screen, when she's appeared several episodes of hit talk show THE REAL as the "Deal Diva". Many of her sidesplitting skits have featured on Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, WorldStar Hip Hop, Essence magazine, and been tweeted by countless celebrities including Shonda Rhimes, Taraji P. Henson and Taylor Swift.

Xza Higgins
Xza Higgins
Founder and CEO of MommyCon Xza Louise Higgins is the Founder and CEO of MommyCon, a babywearing educator and lover of healthy & happy babies. She is a former branding expert who spends her spare time with her two children, and enjoying all of the amazing restaurants the city has to offer.

-

8:30 a.m.

Registration

Registration Opens
+
Description
Speaker(s)
-

9:00 a.m.

Exhibitor Hall

Exhibitor Hall Hours
+
Description
Exhibitor Hall hours: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Speaker(s)
-

10:00 a.m.

Room 1

Cloth 101 and So Much More!
+
Description
Come learn about cloth diapering from this locally - based wealth of knowledge, Andrea Haggard. We will go over why to use cloth diapers, the different styles, the basics of a wash routine and when to use a service! You will walk away with the confidence to effectively cloth diaper.
Speaker(s)
Andrea Haggard
Andrea is passionate about sharing its environmentally-friendly method of caring for baby's essential needs, while delivering exceptional customer service and unprecedented product quality.

-

Room 2

How to Start Solids Safely (Babies 4 Months - 2 Years), presented by ezpz
+
Description
In this class, Ms. Dawn will teach you how to start solids using the puree method as well as the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) method. She will show you practical feeding solutions to keep babies 4 months to 2 years safe during mealtime. There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

Room 3

Pen To Paper: Write Your Birth Story
+
Description
From the author of Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family’s Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth, Brooklyn James offers an interactive writing workshop that explores the anatomy of birth stories, how they shape our existence, and the importance of documenting them. From cave drawings and over fires to digital photography and over social media, storytelling is intrinsically human. Putting pen to paper, all will be empowered and inspired through guided writing exercises to express themselves free of criticism and to find the storyteller within. Writing experience is not required. The value of a birth story cannot be measured by how “well” it is written. Birth stories are invaluable, period.
Speaker(s)
Brooklyn James
Author of Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth, Brooklyn is passionate about empowering mothers and fathers to document their birth stories as a way to process and honor how those stories shape our existence. Wife and mother of two, she enjoys moonlighting as a singer/songwriter and a good glass of kombucha. She holds an M.A. in Communication and a B.S. in Nursing where she has worked in the specialty areas of Intensive Care and Postpartum.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: 0-12 Months
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will discuss what is normal when it comes to sleep for children ages 0-12 months. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

DaddyCon

It Happens to Both of Us: Helping Moms and Dads Understand and Overcome Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
+
Description
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders affect 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men. This session will provide information about PMAD signs, symptoms and treatment options. The session will focus on helping men identify symptoms in themselves and their partners and how they can seek help and support their partners.
Speaker(s)
Beth Ahlin
Beth is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois. She has worked as a counselor in various mental health settings for the past 8 years. She currently works for a semi-private practice and specialize sin maternal mental health issues. Beth has been married for three years and she and her husband have two daughters, one year old dog, and one not so old cat.

-

11:15 a.m.

Room 1

Preparing for Your Postpartum Period
+
Description
It is common for expecting moms and families to spend time focusing on their baby registries and birth plans, but do not take the time to prepare for the fourth trimester. Studies show that if new moms take the proper time to rest and heal during their postpartum period there are fewer instances of complications such as postpartum mood disorders. America does not make the postpartum period a priority so expecting moms do not know where to begin to prepare themselves for when they return home with their newborn. The Postpartum Plan Workbook is a tool to help guide families in creating a postpartum plan so they can focus on rest and healing. This session will walk you through how other cultures around the world prepare and honor the postpartum period, a review of some common postpartum mood disorders, and highlight some major portions of The Postpartum Plan Workbook.
Speaker(s)
Erin Huiatt
Erin Huiatt, CPD is a Certified Postpartum Doula through CAPPA. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband and two young kids. Erin has been helping expecting moms prepare for their postpartum period and supporting them after the birth of their children for about 4 years. In April 2018 she published The Postpartum Plan Workbook which is a resource to help families create a postpartum plan and is available on Amazon. Erin is a trusted and reliable source within her community and is passionate about being a support system for women after birth.

-

Room 2

City Babywearing: Expectations vs Reality. Smoothing the Way for Easy Days, presented by Cybex
+
Description
Whether you live in a big city or visiting one, you will want babywearing to be a part of your routine. We will explore ways to make the most of your quick trips, all-day outings, or special events by preparing for the realities of bathrooms, diapering, feeding, temperature changes, carrier-sharing, and even avoiding muscle strain! Let's make the most of your experience!
Speaker(s)
Joanna McNeilly
Joanna McNeilly
Joanna is a mom of two spritely children who are the fuel of her life. She is the founder of the Center for Babywearing Studies and the BOND Conference. She has spent the last 12 years dedicated to learning and sharing around her love and passion for babywearing, Kangaroo Care, the NBO and intentional positive interactions. She is an engaging, fun, and responsive speaker and teacher.

-

Room 3

Groovaroo
+
Description
This interactive session will focus on the holistic health benefits for both parent and child that come from babywearing dance. Bring your partner, friends and your baby to groove with us while learning about these benefits. Like the heart to heart bond formed in the womb, babywearing dance synchronizes the wearer and the child while releasing hormones that create a strong feeling of connection and love. The other focus of this session will be demonstrating that dancing can break down walls and build community for both new and experienced parents, resulting in a fun and supportive “tribe” for your family!
Speaker(s)
April Ahlers
April, with GroovaRoo by April, started dancing at age three, and hasn’t stopped since. She loves dancing and knows how healing it can be. She has two wonderful children whom she has been wearing since birth, and still wears daily. She volunteers with her local babywearing group, and is excited to bring GroovaRoo to the Chicagoland area.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: 12-24 Months
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will discuss what is normal when it comes to sleep for children ages 24 months and older. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

ezpz Mealtime Lounge

Feeding Milestons for Baby (Babies 4 Months - 2 Years), presented by ezpz
+
Description
Did you know that there are feeding and swallowing milestones for babies as young as 4 months of age? In this class, Ms. Dawn will help you learn the critical feeding milestones babies should achieve in order to avoid choking, gagging, picky eating, food refusal and speech delays. There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

DaddyCon

You Need a Group
+
Description
Join Eric Bennion, with the City Dads Group, for a discussion on why Dads should have a support network, and how to find or build one.
Speaker(s)
Eric Bennion
Eric Bennion lives with his wife and two boys in Chicagoland area (the suburbs). He writes his own blog, DiaryDad’s Dadventures and produces the But Daddy Why podcast. He is also a contributor to The Good Men Project and Life of Dad.

-

12:00 p.m.

Exhibitor Hall

Lunch Break
+
Description
Speaker(s)
-

DaddyCon

City Dads Group Meet-Up
+
Description
This is a meet-up for members of the City Dads Group.
Speaker(s)
-

1:00 p.m.

Room 1

Discipline with Dignity
+
Description
Wouldn't it be great to have a parenting game plan that actually works? In this practical workshop, we'll explore an approach to help you handle discipline with more calm and confidence. Join us and get ready to level-up your parenting!
Speaker(s)
Laine Lipsky
Laine Lipsky is a Master Teacher (BA/MAT, Brown University) and multi-certified parent educator. Her background includes being an elite athlete, game design, yoga, all of which she folds into her unique parenting approach. She is a proud, imperfect mom of two wonderful, imperfect kids.

-

Room 2

Potty Training Basics, presented by Leaps and Ladders
+
Description
There is no part of raising a child that parents fear more than potty training. Join Ashley Newcomb, of Leaps and Ladders Child Development Consultants, as she breaks down the basics of potty training! Learn how to tell when your little one is ready, and what methods you should use for your child's personality. If you prepare yourself, potty training doesn't have to be a four- letter word!
Speaker(s)
Ashley Newcomb
Ashley Newcomb, the founder of Leaps and Ladders began her 16-year career as a nanny while still in high school. She has always been passionate about caring for children, supporting families, and serving the community. Born in Chicago and raised in Oklahoma, Ashley attended Saint Louis University earning undergraduate degrees in Exercise Science, Spanish, and Psychology before ultimately deciding to focus on her original love, working with children. She returned to her Chicago roots to attend Erikson Institute, where she earned her Masters Degree in Child Development. While her career has taken her on a journey through schools, daycares, preschools, hospitals, and family homes Ashley has always felt called to empowering, supporting, and educating families throughout pregnancy, birth, and the first few years of family life. She has helped thousands of families throughout her career, and looks forward to working with yours. Ashley believes that there is no one right way to parent, preferring to get to know each individual family and their unique needs.

-

Room 3

Babywearing 101: From SSC's to Wrapping, presented by Ergobaby
+
Description
Babywearing 101 is a comprehensive overview of baby carrier safety and an assortment of carriers including the meh dai, soft structured carrier, woven wrap, stretch wrap, hybrid wrap, ring sling, wrap conversion, and custom carrier options.
Speaker(s)
Niki Hughes
Niki Hughes is Buyer and Shoppe Manager for MommyCon. With a background in early childhood education, years in the trenches of the vintage and antiques business, and a passion for keeping ugly baby crap out of her small city house. She is the perfect woman to go to with rants about the trials and tribulations of parenthood, support for children with mental health issues, and advice on how to nap anywhere/anytime.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: 24 months +
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will discuss what is normal when it comes to sleep for children ages 24 months and older. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

ezpz Mealtime Lounge

Got a Picky Eater? (Babies 12 months - 8 Years)
+
Description
In this session, parents will learn 20 practical tips to decrease picky eating in a fun and humorous way that will empower them at mealtime! In addition, Ms. Dawn will teach four common mistakes parents make that can cause food refusal and teach tips to help your child learn to try, eat and enjoy a variety of foods! There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

DaddyCon

The Art of Making Memories
+
Description
What turns a regular event into a lifelong memory? Learn about the psychology behind the act of remembering and how to make positive lasting memories with your kids.
Speaker(s)
Mitchell Stern
Mitchell Stern is an entrepreneur from Northern California who founded Single Dad Club in order to address the need for community among single fathers. Mitchell Stern began his career as a TV news producer and holds a B.A. in Communications from American University.

-

2:00 p.m.

Exhibitor Hall

Shopping Break
+
Description
Grab those last minute items before the Exhibitor Hall closes at 3:00 p.m.!
Speaker(s)
-

3:00 p.m.

Room 1

Saving Tiny Lives One Drop At a Time
+
Description
Non-profit human milk banks offer carefully screened, pasteurized donor milk for babies throughout the nation. This heartwarming session will explore the benefits, safety, and accessibility of this lifesaving resource. All babies deserve the best start in life, and every family should be able to choose the feeding option that best fits their needs. When mom's own milk is not available, health organizations worldwide suggest pasteurized donor milk as the preferred alternative. As the Program Coordinator of our local Illinois and Wisconsin milk bank, Susan will provide a "big picture" look at how non-profit milk banks work. She is also happy to answer any questions!
Speaker(s)
Susan Urbanski
After several years as a volunteer, Susan was proud to become a part of the team when Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes began processing milk in January of 2016. She has since worked directly with each one of their 1100 plus approved donors. She is particularly grateful for the opportunity to engage with the strong mothers who choose to donate milk after the loss of their baby. She lives in Chicago with her 4 rambunctious kids, and craves live music whenever possible.

-

Room 2

Let's Talk About Sex (After) Baby
+
Description
Join Carrie Koziol, Women's Health Physical Therapist and Prenatal/Postnatal Pilates Specialist, for a stimulating discussion on reasons women don't want to have intercourse or don't enjoy intercourse after the birth of a baby. Learn the causes of discomfort and what you can do about them. Explore the emotional roadblocks and how to scoot around them. Combat low self esteem about your body or the feeling of being "stretched out" down there. Practical and realistic solutions will be offered along with a healthy dose of humor!
Speaker(s)
Carrie Koziol PT
Carrie received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy in 2001 from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and has been specializing in Women's Health for over 10 years.

-

Room 3

Turning Red to Green – A Menstruation Workshop on Making the Switch to Reusables, presented by Diva Cup
+
Description
Check your skepticism at the door for this workshop on switching to reusable fem-care by self-proclaimed #vagangelist Kim Rosas. Whether you are cup or cloth curious you will find answers to your most TMI questions about what it’s really like to go green on your period. Kim will be giving a live demo of a menstrual cup insertion and removal using “Virginia,” a clear vagina-like tube. For cloth curious mamas she’ll go over the basics so you’ll be prepared to make the switch. There will be a Q+A at the end. Bring a good sense of humor plus an open mind and you may just become a #vagangelist too!
Speaker(s)
Kim Rosas
Kim Rosas
It all started in 2009 with an idea to film modern cloth diapers to help educate confused parents. Today, Dirty Diaper Laundry is the leading cloth diaper resource! No longer changing diapers, Kim has added #vagangelist to her resume as she proselytizes and spreads the gospel of reusable menstrual products.

-

Sleep Consultations

Sleep Consultation: All Ages Q&A
+
Description
During this session, Rebecca will open the floor for all of your questions regarding is normal when it comes to sleep for children of all ages. There will be time to ask Rebecca all of your questions related to normal sleep, gentle sleep training and ways to get the best possible night’s sleep.
Speaker(s)
Rebecca Michi
Rebecca is a gentle sleep consultant who truly believes that some children need a feed during the night until they are 12 months old, a fan of bedsharing and attachment parenting. Not one to judge you on your parenting choices, instead she supports you as you help your child learn to sleep more independently.

-

ezpz Mealtime Lounge

Feeding Tips for Children with Sensory Issues (Babies 6 Months - 8 Years)
+
Description
In this course, Ms. Dawn will provide practical strategies to help parents find sensory solutions for infants and children during mealtime. She will also discuss the five senses and how they relate to eating, plus the bonus two senses parents don’t know about that can cause mealtime battles! There will be a Q&A at the end of the session to ask Ms. Dawn any questions related to feeding.
Speaker(s)
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn Winkelmann
Dawn is a Speech Language Pathologist, Pediatric Feeding Specialist and co-author of MAKING MEALTIME EZPZ. She works for ezpz designing their feeding products and providing feeding advice for families. Ms. Dawn has a private practice, Spectrum Speech & Feeding, where she teaches her Baby Led Weaning (BLW) courses and provides feeding therapy for infants, toddlers and school age children.

-

DaddyCon

The Year of the Dad: The Rise of the Nurturing Father
+
Description
Dads, it’s our time to shine. We can raise our kids and support our parenting partners along the way. We have all the skills and knowledge accessible to us, and now it’s time to implement them. The parenting culture is changing for men, and you’re at the forefront. Get great practical lessons in being a dad and learn how to promote positive fatherhood everywhere you go!
Speaker(s)
Maurice Vernon
SuperDad is a proud father of four. He encourages all dads to be super by maintaining an active role in their kids' lives and working with their parenting partner to raise a happy, healthy family.

-



Exhibitors

FAQ

Food options

The convention center will have a variety of food options available for sale. Items include sandwiches, salads and hot food. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own food and snacks. Click here for a few ideas for inexpensive, family-friendly eats near MommyCon Chicago.

Registration

Show us your ticket on your phone, or as a print out, and we will get you your badge at registration. You can come and go as you please once you have your attendee badge. These badges have space on the front to write in your name and a little bit of info about yourself. We’ve found this is a great way to break the ice and meet other attendees.

Gift Bags

If you have a ticket type that includes a gift bag, you will be given a wrist band that you will then trade in when you pick up your bag.

Giveaways

And let’s not forget the giveaways! Make sure to check the back of your attendee badge. If it says “You’re a Winner!” head back to registration later in the day to claim your prize.

Who should attend

New and expectant parents and those that have toddlers. Our sessions focus on the first five years of a child’s life and advice for parents of every stage.

Stroller Policy

Strollers are welcome at the event. However, we will ask for strollers to be folded if crowding becomes an issue.

ASL Interpretation Services

If you are in need of ASL interpretation services or any other accessibility accommodations, please email info@mommycon.com with your ticket information 60 days prior to the event so we can discuss details with you.

Please remember that you will be receiving emails leading up to the event with more details and please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates! You can find us on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

Tickets are non-refundable, but can be transferred at any time by emailing your e-ticket to the new attendee.