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Babywearing Educator Spotlight: Tiffany Brooke Johnson

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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 dedicated educator that volunteers for her local babywearing group. We asked Tiffany Broke Johnson, of Tulsa Babywearing Support, to answer some questions about herself and her role as a babywearing educator.

Where are you currently offering your services? 

Tulsa, Oklahoma and surrounding areas.

Tell us about your babywearing related work? 

I joined my local group about three and a half years ago, when there were a few hundred members and meet-ups of less than 20. Since I became a leader in the group the entire babywearing community has exploded! Our facebook group now has over 6,500 members and our meetings can be 100 or more people! Our community is incredibly active and I am so thankful for that!

I have been doing private consultations and classes for about the same amount of time that I have been an educator in my group. I have only, very recently, started making a landing pad for that aspect of my life on the internet. I had always just relied on word-of-mouth, which I very much continue to do, but I have decided I need a more focused outlet for the directions I want to grow and explore. I have started giving presentations in the past year, such as at the International Babywearing Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in July, and am really enjoying that. This has really influenced my focus in teaching. I have always been drawn to special needs wearing or special circumstances, but I have really started making this more of a priority in MY education and research. The life-changing impacts of wearing are really what drives me to continue outreach and support in my community.

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How did you get involved with baby wearing? 

Ten years ago my husband and I adopted a 10 month old little girl. Because of her traumatic early months, I knew I wanted to do everything I could to help positively impact our attachment and bonding. My research quickly led me to Attachment Parenting and Dr. Sears. That was about the time Dr. Sears endorsed a sling. I bought that and a stretchy wrap. Being able to wear her during the day really impacted my understanding of the benefits of babywearing and it just really felt authentic to my parenting style.

About 3 years after that, I became pregnant with our first son. I have scoliosis and had a 5 level spinal fusion when I was 16. At some point during my pregnancy, 4 levels of my fusion collapsed. The hardware is resting on nerves and is inoperable at this point. I had always had “back pain” to some extent but after my son was born the pain was worse than I had ever experienced it. I could barely hold him in my arms without tremendous pain and was scared to walk very far with him – I was terrified I would drop him. I continued my wearing with him, primarily, out of necessity. It literally allowed me to parent my daughter and keep my son safe at the same time. I could accomplish daily tasks and parent him the way I felt drawn to. I also learned how different carriers, and carries, can impact my body and pain level.

Our second son was born 3 years after that and, by that point, I had been on “The Babywearer” and other forums and was really involved with the babywearing world. I bought my first woven wrap, a Kokadi diorite stars, found my local group, and the rest was history!

Those experiences, of needing to wear out of necessity, really showed me that there is more to babywearing than a “trend” or “fad.” I fundamentally understand how life saving wearing can be in some circumstances and I’m driven to help people with similar situations make their lives a tiny bit easier.

What do you find most rewarding as a baby wearing educator
Making people smile. Whether it is suggesting a carrier that works well, getting them their desired lending library assignment, finding a carry that helps alleviate pain, or helping a NICU mom directly impact her child’s growth and healing, that moment when the other person’s face lights up and they smile, that’s the best part for me. I have always been drawn to the role of an educator. I am also an Attorney and have been drawn to similar aspects in that sphere. Even though I am not currently practicing, that part of my life really taught me that I love teaching and am drawn to opportunities to give back. I enjoy making a tangible difference to people. I donate a large amount of time to my local group as an educator and the lending librarian. It is an easy role to get “burned out” in and a lot of educators “age out” and lose interest in wearing as their kids move on to preschool and beyond. I just don’t see that happening – while I do sometimes get overwhelmed by how much needs to be done and how time consuming it is, the rewards are so great. I love snuggling all the babies at the meeting and educating new wearers, I honestly see this being a part of my life for many years.

What do you find most rewarding as a babywearing educator?

Making people smile. Whether it is suggesting a carrier that works well, getting them their desired lending library assignment, finding a carry that helps alleviate pain, or helping a NICU mom directly impact her child’s growth and healing, that moment when the other person’s face lights up and they smile, that’s the best part for me. I have always been drawn to the role of an educator. I am also an Attorney and have been drawn to similar aspects in that sphere. Even though I am not currently practicing, that part of my life really taught me that I love teaching and am drawn to opportunities to give back. I enjoy making a tangible difference to people. I donate a large amount of time to my local group as an educator and the lending librarian. It is an easy role to get “burned out” in and a lot of educators “age out” and lose interest in wearing as their kids move on to preschool and beyond. I just don’t see that happening – while I do sometimes get overwhelmed by how much needs to be done and how time consuming it is, the rewards are so great. I love snuggling all the babies at the meeting and educating new wearers, I honestly see this being a part of my life for many years.

What is one important tip you like to share with new or first-time baby wearers
Don’t give up! The world of babywearing can seem very overwhelming to new wearers, especially first time parents. They are inundated with what they “should” be doing or using or buying, and it is all ridiculous for the most part. It really doesn’t matter WHAT carrier you pick. It doesn’t matter how often you wear or for how long. Whatever makes YOU feel like a better parent, that’s what you should be doing. Don’t get overwhelmed by people telling you what you need. Don’t think you need to own the “best” carrier or most expensive thing on the market to be a good parent. You don’t. If you are starting to wrap, pick one carry and focus only on that. It doesn’t matter if you ever learn another one. Do what is best for you and your family and trust your instincts. If you have a not so positive experience at a meeting, online, or from people in the community, know that it is not all like that. Find the people that will support your parenting choices and lift you up. If you struggle finding a community or resources, know there is an entire network online willing to help. Don’t give up! The joys and benefits of babywearing far exceed any feelings of frustration or of being overwhelmed, and can even help!

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What is one important tip you like to share with new or first-time babywearers?

Don’t give up! The world of babywearing can seem very overwhelming to new wearers, especially first time parents. They are inundated with what they “should” be doing or using or buying, and it is all ridiculous for the most part. It really doesn’t matter WHAT carrier you pick. It doesn’t matter how often you wear or for how long. Whatever makes YOU feel like a better parent, that’s what you should be doing. Don’t get overwhelmed by people telling you what you need. Don’t think you need to own the “best” carrier or most expensive thing on the market to be a good parent. You don’t. If you are starting to wrap, pick one carry and focus only on that. It doesn’t matter if you ever learn another one. Do what is best for you and your family and trust your instincts. If you have a not so positive experience at a meeting, online, or from people in the community, know that it is not all like that. Find the people that will support your parenting choices and lift you up. If you struggle finding a community or resources, know there is an entire network online willing to help. Don’t give up! The joys and benefits of babywearing far exceed any feelings of frustration or of being overwhelmed, and can even help! 

To connect with Tiffany, visit her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Tulsabwsupport/).

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

 

 

The post Babywearing Educator Spotlight: Tiffany Brooke Johnson appeared first on Baby Tula Blog.

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