Itapira Karen has a background in Human Nutrition and Public Health and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2015. Karen works closely with local health professionals and Children’s Centres and runs Kent Sling Library as a Community Interest Company under the umbrella of PSBreastfeeding CIC.
Having trained breastfeeding peer supporters since 2015, it seemed the perfect opportunity for Karen to become a babywearing peer supporter trainer herself in 2020.
Karen lives in West Kent but her babywearing journey began in the US in 2007 with a baby shower gift from a work colleague, friend and Lactation Consultant (Flossie) who gave her a Maya Ring Sling. When Karen’s son was a few weeks old and couldn’t be put down, Flossie showed her how to use that Ring Sling and it transformed her ability to meet his needs. Karen’s journey continued with the birth of her daughter in the UK and she had the chance to use that same Ring Sling again from day 1. Babywearing enabled Karen to stay close, keep her daughter calm, exclusively breastfeed on demand, start a business and also volunteer as a breastfeeding peer supporter. In 2015 as the volunteer coordinator for the breastfeeding support programme in Kent, Karen received grant funding in Sevenoaks to have 12 breastfeeding peer supporters trained as babywearing peer supporters and started Kent Sling Library in September 2016. A year later (2017) Karen received more funding in Dartford and more peer supporters were trained. In the same year Karen also trained with the School of Babywearing as a babywearing consultant. In 2018, Karen then completed a 5 day course with Je Porte Mon Bebe becoming a l’ecole a porter trained consultant.