Growing Up: Baby – A Podcast with a Local Connection

  • Music & Arts   Wednesday, May 11, 2022   Lauren Eedy

By Lauren Eedy
They say it takes a village to raise a child: but what if you don’t have one? Hayley Zimak has created a solution to that.
Growing Up: Baby is a podcast created by a local digital creator, communications expert and new mom, Hayley Zimak. This is a podcast geared specifically toward new parents featuring guests, and topics that coincide with her son, Silas’ development. The catalyst for this podcast as Zimak explains is that although Google is a great resource, new parents often want and require more information. Episodes featured contain an expert voice as well as personal shared anecdotes from guests.
LE: What prompted you to create a podcast, specifically geared towards new parents?
HZ: “As a first-time mom, I had (and still have) so many questions. I was looking for a deep dive into certain topics and wasn’t finding what I needed. I thought: why not connect with baby care professionals to get the information directly… and then share it? If it’s on my mind, it must be on others’ too! Having a baby is so all-consuming and complex; there will never be a shortage of valuable conversations or topics to cover.
This podcast has helped me in two significant ways:
• I’ve been able to seek answers to questions I’m genuinely interested in. Sharing that information on important issues such as, postpartum depression and sleep training have been extremely rewarding.
• It feels really good to put my broadcast journalism skills to work again. I’ve been a TV/Radio host, producer and reporter. I love interviewing people and editing audio — so this mat leave passion project is something for “me”, even though it’s all because of him! (My son, Silas).
LE: What topics with experts have you found to be particularly helpful and educational? Specifically, your highlights?
HZ: Picture Perfect: Newborn Photos:
Nina Polidoro is a lovely person and the best at what she does, so she was an obvious choice for this segment. I remember being a bit overwhelmed when trying to take those ‘Instagram worthy’ newborn photos, and so I didn’t. I regret that — and don’t want other moms to feel the same way. Nina reminded us that those ‘perfect’ social media pics usually have multiple people involved, and not to overthink it. She explains how to do a sweet and safe shoot from the comfort of your own home using natural light and simple outfits and textured materials.
- Saving Baby: “It happened on a Tuesday.”:
This is the most downloaded episode and one I get the most feedback on. Please note it can be difficult to listen to. Claire recounts in vivid detail the terror she felt when her baby boy choked on a coin. Her harrowing story has a happy ending — but it’s a stark reminder to learn First Aid. This episode also features a step-by-step guide on how to administer CPR on a choking infant.
- Flying with Baby (semi) post pandemic:
We just got back from London, England and I was so nervous to travel with our 7-month-old. The good news is it’s truly not as bad as you think it’s going to be. This episode features a travel writer, as well as a few moms I met in line at Pearson airport. My new favourite hack: Ask if there’s an extra seat so you can bring the car seat on board; this really frees you up to eat and relax. As well, most airlines let you travel with two out of the three items, free of charge: stroller, car seat and pack and play. Also, some airplane bathrooms are bigger than others. You’ll want to know this when changing diapers
LE: Please elaborate on the issues of accessibility for new parents and uitilizing this podcast as an alternative tool to aid in their new roles.
HZ: It’s important to recognize that not everyone has the resources or ability to participate in certain activities or connect with consultants. I was lucky enough to take Silas to a baby spa; that episode (Best Life Baby) includes massage techniques you can do at home, or ways you can exercise your baby in your bathtub. In another episode, (All day with baby: time well spent) an ECE shares free and fun ways you can stimulate your little one. (Starting Solids: When & How) gave me the confidence to introduce solid foods. It’s like I needed to talk it through before I could start! It’s my goal that each episode is not only enjoyable to listen to, but parents also walk away with tangible tips and advice they can use. (Paediatrician 101: Need to Know) focuses on developmental milestones and potential red flags, which I personally needed to learn, as this is our first baby.
LE: Where do you see this heading in the future? Evolving with Silas or continuing to focus on baby/toddler topics.
HZ: That’s a great question! As you know, it’s called Growing Up: Baby, but it can transition to Growing Up: Toddler, etc. I’d love to continue with the podcast, mirroring topics alongside Silas’ growth and development as there’s certainly no shortage of material! I also hope that new parents will get in touch with questions they have or conversations they’d like to hear.
It was a listener who alerted me to ‘PURPLE Crying’, a term I was only vaguely familiar with. I produced an episode on that (Coping with PURPLE Crying (Colic) in hopes that they and others would find support and reassurance, as PURPLE Crying is difficult to deal with. I’m always open to topic and guest suggestions: I’m grateful to those who listen, download and share.
LE: Why did you choose podcasting as a medium, versus blogging, or creating reels?
HZ: I love listening to podcasts because you can do it hands free when you’re walking, cleaning, or feeding baby. As other new Moms can probably attest to, lack of sleep and early mornings means tired and sore eyes. Feeding (bottle especially) and picking up and carrying your baby can lead to carpal tunnel, as can scrolling on your phone. (Seriously, I got to physio for this now). I chose this format because its easy listening- ears are usually our least abused body part!
Segments are intended to be relatable and relevant and it’s always so reassuring to hear someone else who has gone through the same experience you have.
“As busy as being a new Mom is, I also love the opportunity this time has given me to get back to my creative roots. Booking guests and editing reminds me of the ‘old me’ as I celebrate all these fun baby milestones and questions I have [pertaining to being a new parent], so why not share the info and answers?”
You can check out Growing Up: Baby which is featured on all major platforms: