maternity- baby

Resources and Teachings

Links and Online Resources

Northwestern Health Unit (Parenting and New Parent resources and supports)

Having a Baby – A guide from the Government of Canada. Covers topics such as maintaining a healthy pregnancy, maternity and parental benefits, registering your baby, the Canada Child Benefit, and more!

Early Child Development – Learn about programs in Ontario that can support your child’s growth and development from birth until school age.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network

Breastfeeding Matters – Click here to access a free PDF guide to breastfeeding for both women and their families. This resource is also available in 17 other languages.

My Breastfeeding Guide – Click here to access a free PDF booklet that has information and answers questions expectant or new parents may have about breastfeeding. This resource is also available in 17 other languages.

Breastfeeding for the Health and Future of our Nation – Click here to access a free PDF booklet that supports Indigenous women who are thinking about breastfeeding or who are currently breastfeeding. It provides information about Indigenous traditions around breastfeeding, how the teachings of the Medicine Wheel support the teachings about breastfeeding, why breastfeeding is important, how to get started and continue to breastfeed. This resource is also available in Cree and Ojibway.

Printable Pamphlets

Odis-shiiwash – Teaching of the Belly Button Bag

A Bimaadiziwin Teaching- a Teaching that has been orally handed down throughout the generations. Written by Renee Southwind, SLMHC

There is a belief and teaching amongst the Ojibway and Oji-Cree people about the “odis,” the belly button.

When an unborn child is in the comfort of their mother’s womb, they are connected to their mother by the umbilical cord. It is through the umbilical cord that they get their nutrition and oxygen. Once they are born, the umbilical cord is cut and the baby is able to breathe on its own and so begins to feel their new surroundings.

Days later, the umbilical cord is dry and will fall off as now they have a belly button formed underneath. The dry piece is then placed in a small beaded pouch with a short braided strap called a “odis-shiiwash,” and is securely sewn up. The odis-shiiwash is then hung or safely pinned on the baby’s tikinagan, moss bag, or close to their crib. The child at a late age is taught to keep their odis for the rest of their life.

The teaching is that the odis is a reminder to the child to always stay close to their mother and have a good relationship, and therefore is symbolic of staying connected to Mother Earth, the provider of all goodness.

It is also used to teach a child to “not always be digging around” for things, but to be of sound, peaceful behavior and character.