Hi Everyone! It’s time for Lincoln Park Moms Meet a Mom Monday! This week’s Meet a Mom feature is Rachel Harangody, RN – founder of metta baby! metta baby is Chicago’s premier infant wellness studio – dedicated to promoting early developmental activities that support motor, sensory, and cognitive skills – while nurturing secure attachment between infants and their parents.
I can tell you from experience that Rachel has created the most fantastic place for bonding with your baby! The metta baby space is absolutely gorgeous – it’s insanely warm and inviting, and she and her team are so knowledgeable and welcoming. We’ve been using the baby massage techniques we learned at metta baby throughout my son’s entire infancy, and it really has become such a cherished part of our day! Rachel is bringing so much knowledge and connection to our community, and I’m so excited to share our interview with her today!
If you are a local mom that would like to be featured in our “Meet a Mom” series, please send an email to [email protected]
Hi Rachel! Thanks for speaking with us today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Kelly ! Thanks so much for having me ! I am a Nurse, new mom & owner of metta baby infant wellness studio in Bucktown.
Where are you from originally, and what brought you to Chicago?
Grew up in the SW suburbs, been in and around Chicago my whole life.
You’re the mom of the cutest little guy! How old is he now? What is your favorite part about the stage he is currently in?
Thank you ! Brooks is 6 months now & time flies ! This stage has been so fun because he is exploring, developing & learning so quickly – and everyday brings something new!
What do you love most about being a mom so far? What has been the biggest surprise about motherhood?
The biggest surprise I have learned is that no matter your experience, background or education (mine has been babies for my entire career) the transition into motherhood is HARD and nothing can prepare you for it. But at the same time it has been my most fulfilling and amazing adventure thus far. What I love most are the smiles! When he stares at me and smiles, nothing beats that !
Tell us more about your career journey, and how it led you to open Metta Baby!
I spent the majority of my career as a NICU Nurse in the hospital setting throughout Chicago, New York & California. After working in the hospital I transitioned into a clinic setting working in a Pediatricians office. I also spent 5 years simultaneously working in the home setting with families – often caring for their newborns right when they came home from the hospital!
I have been fortunate enough to live throughout Europe with my husband and work for families in multiple countries. These experiences broadened my knowledge of infant wellness in many different cultures and was what led me to open metta baby!
You mentioned to me that Infant Wellness studios like Metta Baby are actually quite common in Europe, but are rare in the US. What about the experience convinced you to bring a studio like this to Chicago?
Similar spaces have been around for a long time in other parts of the world – including Asia, Australia, Europe & Canada. While living in Europe I realized that even though different countries and cultures have many unique practices – there was one similarity everywhere and that was a lack of socialization and support in the early stages of postpartum. It was my goal to provide that support while also engaging babies in developmental activities early on.
What can parents expect from a visit to Metta baby, as well as afterwards? I know that my little guy took the most epic nap after his soak in the infant tub!
Although we don’t promise it, sleep is definitely something we hear quite often : ) Babies will also be a little hungrier the rest of the day due to the exercise and stimulation they are getting from the water movement portion of class. When coming to metta baby you can expect an offering of unique classes that are taught by Nurses/Doulas/Newborn Specialists – specifically designed to meet the needs of new babies and new parents. We are here to support you in any way that we can !
Can you tell us more about the classes that you’re currently offering in the space, as well as what is on the horizon for Metta Baby?
We are currently offering water movement, massage instruction, baby yoga, CPR, lactation support and music class. In the future we will be adding in events, parent meet ups, a newborn education class and more! We look forward to adding in more events and classes in the future once we can safely move forward to group classes. We are currently keeping our classes very small to ensure the safety and comfortability of all guests. We also offer gift certificates for our services which is great if you’d like to give a new or expectant parent the gift of an experience with their baby : )
You’ve been taking care of little babies your whole career, has your perspective on babyhood changed at all since becoming a mom yourself?
Although I have a lot of experience taking care of infants, nothing can prepare you for becoming a mama for the first time : ) It has been so amazing to be on the other side of things now with my own kiddo and very special to connect with and relate to my metta baby clients on a whole other level!
What are your favorite things to do with your family around the city?
Walks at the lake & around the different neighborhoods. He is still young but I look forward to trying out all of the kiddos spots that Chicago has to offer !
How about without the kids, what are your favorite spots?
Sox games, hawks games & trying out new restaurants!
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve spent my whole career taking care of babies but when it comes to my own baby I still struggle and am still learning every day, just like everyone else !
Rapid Fire Round:
Go-To coffee order? Oatmilk latte
Favorite book? All the light we cannot see
Morning person or night-owl? Morning
Favorite restaurant? Sals in Lincoln Park
Best way to relax? yoga
Favorite vacation destination? Istanbul, Turkey
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Ravenswood/Andersonville