Joanna McNeilly

Instructor and Founder, CBWS

A proven record in babywearing sales and education

Joanna has been active in the world of carrying and infant development since 2004, and she has been a professional babywearing educator for 15 years. She is a compassionate, dynamic expert who shares information in a systematic, approachable, and accessible format. 

Joanna has over 15 years of hands-on experience supporting families in bonding with, holding, and carrying their babies. Additionally, she has spent 10+ years training over 1000 graduates to be professional babywearing consultants through CBWS (Center for Babywearing Studies).

Why Joanna founded CBWS

CBWS brings together many of Joanna's passions and skills. Joanna spent years as an independent retailer of baby carriers. Together with her business partner, Bianca Fehn, Joanna ran a Manhattan boutique on Park Avenue that offered over 60 different baby carriers. Joanna hosted 7-10 in-store classes a week, and she provided private babywearing consultations for their clientele. The boutique sold over $50K each month in carriers alone.

Leaving retail aside to pursue her passion for infant touch, family connections, and babywearing education was a natural path for Joanna. Building on well-known training process, her background in adult education, and person-centered communication, she created a unique program to address the North American parenting market's specific needs.

A leader in babywearing research, development, and advocacy

Joanna has served in a variety of baby-carrier-related non-profit roles.

  • Current and founding member of the International Board Certified Infant Contact Consultant Initiative. The IBCICC is a non-governmental organization made working to create a universal, medically-recognized certification for infant carrying and contact consultants. A recognized certification will create awareness and acceptance of this profession, allowing babywearing educators to more easily share the benefits of infant touch with large organizations and other groups.

  • Current and founding board member of the Baby Carrier International Alliance. Joanna also used her business experience as the former Strategy Committee Chair and Communications Director for the organization. The BCIA is a professional trade organization that works for the advancement of baby carrier consultants, retail stores, and brand owners. 
  • Current member of the American Society for Tests and Materials since 2009. The ASTM develops the standards that the US, Canada, and other countries look to as a basis for product safety guidelines. Joanna was intimately involved in the creation of the F2907 sling standard. 

Certifications and Training

  • Certified Carrying Consultant via “Die Trageschule Dresden” and apprentice to its founder, Ulrike Hower, from 2009-2011

  • Certified Lactation Consultant via “Healthy Children”

  • Kangaroo Care for Full-Term & Pre-Term Infants Certification (CKCP)

  • Newborn Behavioral Observation training through the Brazelton Institute, in conjunction with Boston Children’s Hospital

  • Babywearing Against Aggression and Anxiety Certification (B.A.S.E ®) for Sensitivity and Empathy with Dr. Karl Heinz Brisch

  • Children’s Mental Health Program via Toronto Hospital for Sick Children

  • Certified teacher for “Unique Needs of Adults in Education and Training” course through KGCM Consulting

Keynote Speeches

  • Draagsymposium Institute for Attachment 2016; Netherlands

  • Bonding, Carrying, and Knowledge Symposia 2016; Sweden

  • International Babywearing Conference 2016; Atlanta, GA

  • Natural Parenting Stores Conference 2016; Chicago, IL

Notable Events, Speeches, and Lectures

  • NY Langone Hip Dysplasia Symposium 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022; New York, NY

  • APPPAH Monthly Series, 2022

  • Le Leche League 65th Anniversary Conference, 2021
  • Milk, Move, Mood Conference, 2021
  • WEAR Chicago 2016 and 2017; Chicago, IL

  • Babywearing Roundtable with Dr. Sears 2017; Laguna Beach, CA

  • Milk 2017; Los Angelos

  • MommyCon 2015-2019; various locations throughout the US

  • Strengthening Families Through Attachment Theory and Kangaroo Care 2015-2017; multiple locations worldwide

  • Natural Parenting Stores Conference 2014, 2015; Chicago, IL

  • International Babywearing Conference 2012-2018; bi-yearly conference multiple US locations