Babywearing educators are a wonderful asset to the babywearing community. Their experience, knowledge and passion for babywearing can help caregivers overcome challenges, find solutions, and gain confidence in wearing their baby. We appreciate the role that babywearing educators play in our community and we are excited to celebrate their role through this series of babywearing educator spotlights.
Our first Babywearing Educator spotlight is on one of our favorite local educators, who we have personally seen in action and admire! We asked Kat Picson Berling, of Crispy Bata, to answer some questions about herself and her role as an educator.
Where are you currently offering your services?
San Diego, California
Tell us about your babywearing related business?
I started Crispy Bata, my babywearing consulting group about 2 years ago. I started offering private consults because I saw that there were parents and caregivers who couldn’t attend our nonprofit babywearing group’s weekday morning meetings for one reason or another, or they wanted the baby’s other parent to be present, or they were shy in large groups. At first I started with an afternoon playdate so that parents could come at the end of their workday, and some people were able to attend those meet-ups. But there was still a lot of parents who expressed the desire to learn how to use their baby carriers, but just needed some individual help. So I started consulting to fill a need in the community. In the past few months, I have also expanded my business to include small weekend and evening classes, as well as carrier sales.
How did you first get involved with babywearing?
My first child, Gavin, was born in 2006. He is and was a very cuddly child who did not like to ever be put down! I was active on my online birth club at the time, and someone suggested NINO (Nine In, Nine Out, the precursor to Babywearing International). I found that the group had a chapter in San Diego and started attending meetings while I was on maternity leave. My first carrier was the dangerous pouch sling that was recalled! I bought another pouch sling from a work-at-home mom, and then a mei tai. I wore him regularly until he was over a year, and sporadically until he was over 3 years old, which everyone thought was so radical at the time! I began teaching in 2012 when my second child, Audrey, was almost a year. Our local babywearing group leader asked me to help out, and I happily said yes. Since then, I helped in our transition from an independent group to the San Diego chapter of Babywearing International. It has been a joy to watch the group grow and to see the members spread the babywearing love in San Diego. The first meeting I attended had 5 or 6 moms. These days, there are 20 to 100 caregivers at our meetings. Nine years ago, it was rare for me to spot another babywearing family out and about. Nowadays it is rare for me not to!
What do you find most rewarding as a babywearing educator?
It is a small, simple thing. But sometimes I’ll help a caregiver place their baby in a carrier, and their shoulders just relax, and they smile to themselves. You can just see in their eyes the freedom they are anticipating just from being able to attend to their child’s needs in such a simple manner, and maybe getting one other thing done at the same time. Most moms just want to be able to go to the bathroom for 30 seconds without having to hear their baby be upset. Or to get 5 minutes to help their older child tie his shoes and put on his jacket. Babywearing will allow them to do that, and so much more.
What is one important tip you like to share with new or first-time babywearers ?
This is hard for me to answer because certain moms and caregivers need to hear different things because they employ the skill of babywearing for various reasons. But for the most part, I like to tell everyone that babywearing isn’t something you learn just once and you’re good at it. We as new parents are learning a bunch of new things all at once, and it’s okay to say we’re not good at something from the start. Babywearing is not necessarily instinctual; it’s not something that we all just know how to do. Everyone was a beginner once. A client who happens to be an accomplished musician told me, “You make it look so easy.” I told her, “You make playing the piano look easy. But I know you’ve had years of practice. I’ve had 9 years of practice in wearing my children, and at first I thought it was hard, just like you. You will make it look easy if you keep trying.”
If you would like to nominate babywearing educator to be featured on the Tula blog and Facebook, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MXmdmoof68jhHn6n547gd-9iUJLNBj46kQhYlrtPzbQ/viewform
If you would like to nominate yourself to be featured in our Babywearing Educator Spotlight, visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IMF9cr6on1G64nBCArY2Vih1kI1cP9K7LVNWRUBtjAM/viewform