Tonia Eden Mayton
Volunteer Babywearing Educator
Name/Ages of children:
Adrian 7 years, Gabriel 3 years
When/with what did you start wearing?
I began wearing my first son in a Hotsling pouch when he was just a week or two old back in 2008. He was a high needs baby, so wearing him allowed me to be able to get things done. He had a hard time sleeping in his crib/bassinette, but would often nap on me. I believe babywearing helped me with Postpartum Depression and also facilitated the successful breastfeeding relationship we shared.
How did you first hear about/what brought you to BWI Birmingham?
I think a few moms in the cloth diapering group I joined before my second son was born told me about the local BWI chapter meetings. I bought an Ergo, but joined BWI soon after he was born to enjoy the benefits of the large lending library and the camaraderie. I stuck around and became interested in teaching when I saw the need was there. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences with others.
Favorite part of volunteering with BWI?
Being able to help a very frustrated caregiver troubleshoot their own personal carrier, or helping them find a carrier that fits both caregiver and child well is a great feeling. It can be challenging when a caregiver or child has certain physical limitations, but I like to problem solve so that they too get to enjoy the many benefits of babywearing.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell all new babywearers?
Different carriers are helpful at different ages. For example, ring slings are excellent with the newborn to around 3 months of age. A mei tai can be a good carrier to bridge the gap between 3-6 months because the waist can be rolled and the body can be cinched to accommodate a growing infant. Heavier/older babies fit well in buckle carriers, and they distribute the child’s weight more evenly for the caregiver, in my opinion. That’s why it is hard to recommend just one carrier to buy!
If you could have only one carrier what would it be?
A well-made wrap conversion buckle carrier is just my favorite.
Most, in your opinion, underrated carrier in our lending library?
That would have to be the Baby Bjorn One carrier. This is a newly redesigned carrier that allows ergonomic positioning for front facing in and out and even back carries! The slide locks are cool and the fit is so much more comfortable than the old style. This is NOT your mama’s Bjorn.
Favorite thing to do while babywearing?
Hiking. My 3 year old likes to walk part of the trails, but still needs up when his little legs get tired.
You have a 2 week vacation with the kids. Where do you go?
We have actually thought about this a lot! We want to drive out to Arizona in a few years when the boys are a little older. We plan to show them where we were married in Sedona, where we went to school in Tempe, the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, Saguaro National Park, Meteor Crater, and other neat places to visit there. That’s our Disney!
If you had to teach one subject in school, what would it be and why?
Photography. I have a B.F.A. in Art with a concentration in Photography from Arizona State University. Just simple documentation of life can be so rewarding. I try to take photographs at all the meetings and events so we can see the benefits babywearing brings to all walks of life.