Q&A with Montessori/OT Mama, @bringingupbabe!
As many of you guys know, I not only work as a Birth and Postpartum Doula, but also as a Montessori Guide at a local Montessori School. My undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education with a specialization in English. Yet, upon discovering the Montessori method after graduating from college, I began training to become a Certified Early Childhood Educator with a Montessori program in New York City. (I guess you can say I just really like being in school!)
The training I have received has been instrumental in the ways that I have approached parenting my son from birth. However, all of my training was for school-aged children. I was pretty clueless about what to do with a newborn! While I was pregnant, I researched the Montessori methods to implement starting at birth. I learned that there is so much parents can do to create an environment that is rich in meaningful experiences and language for their babies! Creating a beautiful environment to absorb, communicating respectfully, and providing a few natural materials (like a Montessori mobile, a grasping toy, or an engaging play gym,) are just a few ways that parents can begin to implement Montessori ideas at birth.
In doing all of this research, I started following some inspiring Montessori-based social media accounts, like @themontessorinotebook, @montikids, @our.montessori.journey, and one of my personal favorites, @bringingupbabe.
I have enjoyed following @bringingupbabe because this account is run by a super creative occupational therapist mama with a babe the same age as my son, Zion. Momma of Babe (who chooses not to use their real names for confidentiality reasons,) posts lots of Montessori-inspired content on an almost daily basis. She posts Babe doing “Tasty Tuesdays” (food prepping,) tips for toilet learning progress, practical life activities, and indoor/outdoor gross motor ideas. Seriously, stop reading this right now and give her a quick follow - even if your child is not the same age as Babe, her account is sure to make you smile!
I am so happy to have been able to get in touch with Babe’s momma, who so graciously did a little Q&A with me. I was curious about their daily routine, the inspiration behind her activities, and her Instagram partnerships.
Ann: "How long have you been posting Montessori-inspired content?"
@bringingupbabe: “I started in July of 2019! At first, it was just a way to document my own journey of learning and implementing Montessori with Babe. It has slowly morphed over time to become a mix of all sorts of content, with a Montessori flair. I’m an occupational therapist by trade and many of my DIY activities are influenced by my time working with pediatric clients.”
Ann: "How do you come up with all of the creative, age-appropriate activities?"
@bringingupbabe: “As stated above, I have experience working with kids as an occupational therapist. So many of the things I post, I’ve done before with them! When I was getting my Masters, my pediatric class professor would lay a bunch of random materials on a table and we’d have to create activities with them targeting different skills. I kind of do the same thing now - I don’t plan an activity and then gather materials for it. I see what I have and think of what I can do with it! I save a lot of our empty containers, toilet paper rolls, etc and then build off them using other materials I already have.”
Ann: "What inspired you to begin sharing Babe doing activities?"
@bringingupbabe: “At first, I just wanted to document our own journey. Then my page got shared by a larger page and my growth went crazy. Almost 100,000 follows in just about 10 months. It morphed into sharing DIY activities because that’s what people liked the most and it was fun for me! Sharing different activities keeps Babe entertained and helps so many parents set up fun stuff for their kids. Parents who don’t have the time to research activities or parents who think they aren’t creative enough. I mostly use simple materials from around the house because those activities are the most accessible to everyone. The messages of gratitude I get are so nice and really keep me going. Also, it’s a fun way to stay creative and use my OT skills while I’m not officially working.”
Ann: "What advice would you give to a parent just starting out with their Montessori journey?"
@bringingupbabe: “Don’t compare your child to other children. Don’t overthink every little aspect to try to get everything perfect. You don’t *need* tons of expensive wooden toys or a perfectly setup functional kitchen in order to implement a Montessori lifestyle for your child. Follow your instinct, follow your child. Also, my answer to almost questions: model, model, model! Your child is always watching from you and learning by what you do!
Oh, and read The Montessori Toddler!”
Book linked here.
Ann: "What does a typical day look like for you and Babe?"
@bringingupbabe: “We wake up around 7 and have breakfast. While I clean up, she plays independently with her toys - most recently her dollhouse or pretending to bake at her kitchen. I’ll join her with some play, set up an activity for her at her weaning table, or we will cook/bake something together! It’s snack time around 10, followed by getting out of the house. This used to mean going out to a store or visiting friends but lately it means playing in the yard or going for a walk. Lunch is at 11:15/11:30. Naptime is currently at 12 and she usually sleeps until 1:30-2:00. The afternoon is similar to the morning. We don’t really have many structured activities but it includes independent play, reading, art, going outside, and playing with me or my husband. I try to get housework done throughout the day while she plays alone, or she joins me to help! Snack is somewhere around 3:30. Dinner is at 5:30 or 6, she usually helps Dad cook while I relax for a little bit. After dinner, it’s bath, teeth, books, and bed! Lights out at 7:45.”
Ann: "Do you get approached by brands or do you normally reach out to brands that you want to work with?"
@bringingupbabe: “Both. I end up turning down most brands that approach me because I only want to partner with brands that I know and trust. As much as I hate the term, my page is an “influencer” page and people have grown to trust my recommendations. Therefore, my partnerships and affiliations are with brands I know. I research, read reviews, talk to other people who have their products, and really make sure it’s something that I will stand behind! Only after I’m totally sure of them, will I reach out with a proposal for a partnership!”
Thank you again to Mom and Babe for answering some questions! Have you been interested in introducing Montessori principles in your home? Or do you have questions about the Montessori approach to toilet learning? I would love to chat with you and put some of my training to use! Comment below or message me through my site or my Instagram account, @annmorrisdoula.