Holly Springs mom builds community, education programs for parents with The Nurtured Nest
Posted December 29, 2019 8:16 p.m. EST
Kathryn Dunn has worked as a teacher and in sales for small companies. And today, she's combining her experience as an educator with her background in business to build The Nurtured Nest, which offers classes and programs for parents and families.
The Holly Springs mom of two shares more about the business and her vision for it in this Q&A.
Go Ask Mom: The Nurtured Nest started because of your own personal experience after the birth of your second child. Give us the back story.
Kathryn Dunn: It all came together after my second child, but really the Nurtured Nest's story began with my first child. She was a dairy intolerant, tongue-tied, colicky baby. My journey led my to many specialists in our area and I learned so much but it took so much work. After I had my second child the journey continued but the specialists I encountered were more for me than baby. Over three years, I had quite the list of folks that had helped me and I knew not all parents had these resources. I became determined for my journey to benefit and better the parenthood experience for others.
GAM: Why did you want to start Nurtured Nest?
KD: I wanted to start the Nurtured Nest because I think Triangle parents, myself included, deserve better when it comes to support and education throughout their parenting journey. As I mom, I felt the only postpartum resource readily available were fitness classes to help get my body back. Parents and caregivers need fitness but they also need help meal planning, organizing, and managing their dog and new baby. They need help addressing baby sleep issues, breastfeeding concerns, and how to navigate their career after children. I knew our area had a lot of great resources for parents in all of these areas and I had experience with many of them! I just knew there was no central spot for finding them all and often times it took a long wait to get in and a high dollar payment.
I saw other large cities with similar operations to the Nurtured Nest, but they mainly dealt with expectant and brand new parents or specifically moms. I knew the expectant and early parenthood phase was important and something I needed to address but my goal is to meet parents when their journey begins and be a resource through all the stages.
I also knew that educating just moms would only further the mental load they already bear. I wanted to create education and an environment where men and women, parents and other caregivers could benefit from relevant content they could immediately apply to their lives. I may not know what all the needs are because my children are young but I know they are there. I have learned quickly that parenting doesn’t necessarily get easier as your child grows, it just changes.
GAM: What all do you offer?
KD: We offer relevant information to caregivers, so they can feel confident making decisions that affect their family. Right now, our classes are heavy in the expectant parent stage, because that’s where it all begins. We have expectant parent cohorts. Oh Baby School offers five of our classes bundled together (Preparing the Nest- physical prep for birth and postpartum, Beyond Birth- preparing mentally for birth and postpartum, Feeding your new baby, Infant Safety and CPR basics, and Rest in the Nest- baby 0-4 months sleep) and an in-home visit from our Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner in the early weeks postpartum prior to your six-week check.
In addition to the cohorts, we offer all of the cohort classes a la carte as well as a classes. They include Toy Story about toy storage, rotation, and minimalism. Feeding the Family is about meal planning for real families. And we have Infants, Toddlers, and the Family Dog; Picky Picky about toddler feeding; and Solid Start, an introduction to solids and baby led weaning. There's also Rest in the Nest Part 2, sleep for older babies.
We are working on a class that will explore School Choice in our area as well as a Transition to Toddlerhood that will address potty training, toddler behaviors and the transition to a big kid bed.
We offer our classes to the general public (for purchase on our website) as well as through several local preschools and OB/GYN offices.
GAM: Parenting is hard, and there are a lot of answers about it on the internet. What's so powerful about the face-to-face education and community you're building?
KD: You're right: parenting IS hard! Early parenthood, especially, is such a vulnerable time. When parents and caregivers are making decisions that affect their family, they need fellow humans who're also in the trenches--not paid social media influencers, not faceless "mom-versation" on forums, not endless scrolling with conflicting information.
Trying to find answers on the internet can be confusing, discouraging, and emotionally exhausting, even if you're a pro at discerning what's reliable information. In-person classes, on the other hand, reassure parents they're not alone in the tough stuff ... and the joyful stuff. People learn from each others' questions. They make connections that extend beyond the classroom. And our community of expert educators makes sure parents get the most up-to-date information and get all their questions answered - no scrolling and second-guessing required. Bottom line: We want parents to feel confident making decisions, and we believe that happens best in person, in community, alongside an expert.
GAM: What are your hopes for the future of Nurtured Nest?
KD: The big hope is that we can change the culture of parenting in the Triangle. We want to spread the message that parenting is one of life’s great equalizers and no one is immune to the inadequacy that it sometimes brings. We want parents to know there are resources in our area that can help them through and they aren’t behind a screen. We also want to make sure we are reaching all of our population. With financial assistance and free seats being opened in each class, we want people to know that finances shouldn’t keep them from receiving the best information for their families. We also want paying class participants to know that some of their class cost is going towards assisting fellow caregivers who need financial support in this season.
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.