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 next Babywearing Educator spotlight is on a passionate long tine educator from the Knoxville, Tennessee area. We asked Mary Rodio, of Fairy Tales Doula and Education Services, to answer some questions about herself and her role as an educator.
Tell us about your business?
I have been working as an Educator, including Babywearing Educator for about 7 years now. During those years I also worked to become a birth Doula through DONA Intl. At which point I started focusing more on independent consultations and clients versus classes. However, I still teach classes and workshops occasionally. A lot of my consultations are for newborns and with new wearers or those with special needs, either the caregiver or the child being worn so I tend to keep a lot of carriers in my teaching stash to help as many people as possible. In addition to the babywearing education I help with other parenting needs such as cloth diapering, natural menstrual products, building birth plans, child birth education, gentle potty learning tips and more. My passion for community and the caregivers of my community has led me to also spend a great deal of time working as a volunteer with different organizations throughout those same 7-8 years and right now I’m focusing on a fairly new Tennessee based nonprofit group, the East TN Valley Babywearers in which I work on the Board of Directors as the Director of Education. The community support in the new endeavor has been amazing! Within the last year I’ve been nominated for several Educator Based Awards which is an amazing thing to be able to see how much love the community wants to extend to the work I do!
How did you get involved with babywearing?
My mother was actually a babywearer! She had several style of carriers and would often pack up myself, my older sister, her two dogs and some gear and go out camping in the Alaskan Wilderness! When I had my first child, who is now 18, it was just a very natural progression of going out to find carriers without really even questioning, much like people just assume you need a stroller. My second child was born ten years later and I knew I wanted to wear her as well but the exciting part at that time was that there were so many great options on the market I started getting really into it very quickly! Having been an educator and a natural seeker of information, I shortly started helping others with their carriers and then helped with a small, independent babywearing group. Once I started working at a local natural parenting store, the world of carriers really became my oyster because I was able to try out and play with so many things in order to test them for the store that I was able to have a lot of information about babywearing quickly.
What do you find most rewarding as a babywearing educator?
There’s so many moments that keep me doing what I do! My favorites are those moments when the caregiver is unsure of wearing or if it will help with a specific need that they have rather it’s a newborn with colic, or tandem wearing, or a child with special needs and all of a sudden things click into place right and everyone just relaxes and settles into the carrier with that peace coming over them. It’s that moment, of, “Oh, THATS what this is all about!”. There’s so many reasons for wearing and some many needs it can help that the most rewarding thing to me is when you really are able to help that person find that right thing, for that need or reason and just open so many doors for them.
What is one important tip you like to share with new or first-time babywearers?
Listen to yourself and your baby first of all. If you put a carrier on and everything feels right, comfy and baby is happy then you are most likely doing great! Baby wearing can have a bit of a learning curve at the beginning but the pay off is totally worth it! There’s always differing advice on what worked best for someone else but finding what works for you is most important. There isn’t one way to wear! Finding a sling library or an educator to work with is a great way to make friends and learn new carries!
To connect with Mary, visit her Facebook page: Fairy Tales Doula and Education Services.
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