Category Archives: Partner

What Are Doulas, and Do I Need One?

While doulas are becoming a more common addition to an expectant families birth or postpartum plan, many still aren’t quite sure what a doula actually does. Below is a brief overview of the ways Birth and Postpartum Doulas help the families they work with.

Birth Doulas

We recommend families start interviewing Birth Doulas during the second trimester of pregnancy. It can take a few weeks to line up interviews to find the perfect doula fit. Once hired, your doula is available to you for any questions you may have over email, phone or text. You can also expect:

Pre-birth: during the third trimester, your doula will schedule prenatal meetings. These are valuable sessions to help plan for the day of birth. Your doula will review any childbirth education classes you may have taken and answer any questions you might have. She’ll also help you make a few logistical plans for the day of birth. We never know exactly how labor will unfold, however having a few different plans for how labor may start can be particularly helpful.

Your doula will also help you practice different comfort measures for labor. This may be a combination of movements, breathing techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, massage techniques and more. She’ll help your partner be prepared for when labor starts, with some guidance on helping you during early labor when contractions are mild.

Day of: on the day of your birth your doula will be on call and ready to meet you when you need support. She can meet you either at your home or hospital, whichever works best depending on how your labor is progressing. Your doula is your guide – she’ll help you manage contractions by coaching you through breathing and comfort techniques. She’ll encourage you every step of the way. For your partner, she’ll help normalize the experience and be a reassuring presence.

At the hospital, your doula will help you settle in and be as comfortable as possible. She’ll help you dialog with medical staff and make sure you have all the information you need to make decisions should they arise. If an epidural is requested, doulas have lots of techniques to help clients rest in different positions to help facilitate the baby’s decent into the birth canal.

Every step of the way during your labor, your doula is there for you and your partner, whether it’s gathering supplies, getting you a drink of water, or offering a massage.  

Following the birth of your baby, your doula will help you with the first latch, get you settled in with a high protein snack, take some family photos if you’d like, and help you be as comfortable as possible for those early bonding hours.

Postpartum: after you’re settled in at home, your Birth Doula will return within the first one to two weeks after the birth to have a postpartum check in session. This is a wonderful time to recap the birth experience together. This is also a good time to trouble shoot any lactation, newborn care or postpartum healing questions that may have come up. Your doula will be able to direct you to community resources if they’re needed.

Postpartum Doulas

Preparing for the postpartum period, aka “the fourth trimester” is incredibly important for the whole family unit. You’ll never regret setting yourself up with help so you can rest and focus on feeding your baby during those early weeks and months.

Postpartum Doulas are available to assist families either during the day or overnight. Daytime doulas spend a lot of their time focusing on guidance and education for the new family. This might include assisting with breastfeeding and latching, teaching newborn care such as bathing, swaddling, and soothing techniques.  

In addition to baby care, the postpartum doula can also run errands, prepare meals, tidy up the home, and attend to things that help the day move forward for the household. Your postpartum doula is your guide- she’ll help you develop and strengthen your parenting confidence so that when she’s not there, you feel secure with your baby.

Overnight doulas are typically hired so new parents can get as much sleep as possible. For moms who are breastfeeding, the postpartum doula can provide support during nighttime feedings if needed. Although mom will need to wake to breastfeed, the doula handles all the diaper changes, swaddling and soothing so mom can get some much needed rest in between feeds. She can also make you a middle of the night snack, and have breakfast ready for you in the morning.

Postpartum doulas typically work with families anywhere from the first 2-3 weeks following the birth, all the way up to the first 5-6 months depending on the family’s needs. We recommend families interview postpartum doulas in the third trimester of pregnancy, though many clients hire postpartum help after the baby is born.

If you’d like to learn more about birth and postpartum doula services, or have questions about your particular situation, feel free to reach out to Baby Caravan: info@babycaravan.com or @babycaravan on Instagram.

3 months

About Baby Caravan

Baby Caravan provides holistic support for families, from pregnancy through returning to work postpartum. Founded in 2014, Baby Caravan’s mission is to provide families in New York City with exceptional birth and postpartum knowledge, guidance and resources through our network of professional Birth & Postpartum Doulas. We connect families with vetted doulas, to best meet their needs during this special, yet challenging time. In addition to doula services, Baby Caravan coaches moms returning to work following maternity leave to help smooth the transition back to work. 

Written by our guest blog partner Jennifer Mayer, Founder Baby Caravan

Connect With Local Moms and Dads Through The Parent Collective

Expecting moms and dads often need one common thing – support. The Parent Collective provides just that by helping to establish connections with other expecting parents through classes that minimize stress, and ultimately, make people feel like they are in this together.
We had the opportunity to partner with Jessica Hill, one of the Co-Founders of The Parent Collective, to learn a little bit more about her, her company, and what makes TPC so special.
Q: What inspired or influenced you to create The Parent Collective? 
A: I decided to start TPC back in 2016 after hearing from countless friends that they spent their early months and years with their baby feeling lonely and isolated. Because I was lucky enough to have my boys in the UK and benefit from the NCT, my experience was wildly different, and I wanted to give a similar feeling of support through education to others. Quite simply – I don’t know how I would have gotten through the early months of my first baby without my village of NCT moms who got me out of the house, listened to me vent when I was struggling, swap strategies for dealing with the latest feeding/sleeping/illness issues that crop up, and filled countless afternoons with conversation and companionship. Everyone needs that support and I hope that TPC will fill this need.
Q: What are the variety of classes that you offer and what can parents expect to learn in each of them? 
A: We offer a prenatal class series for expectant parents and after babies arrive, we offer CPR & First Aid classes, postpartum support groups as well as a wide range of workshops and online content developed in response to participant questions.
Our prenatal class, which is our core offering, is a 4-week series and in it, participants will discuss:

  • Session 1: What to expect in labor and delivery
  • Session 2: Relaxation techniques to help you through the early stages of labor, options for pain management and C-sections
  • Session 3: Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding information and advice, including latching on, pumping, milk storage, getting on a feeding schedule, and how to manage problems that may arise
  • Session 4: Newborn care

Q: How are your classes unique to the classes at my local hospital?
A: The Parent Collective offers a new style of prenatal class which is designed to provide evidence-based information, foster open, judgment-free discussion and establish friendships among couples living in close proximity and due at the same time. We see ourselves as an alternative to other childbirth education classes and hope that couples taking the series will develop a social network through participation, gather playmates for the little ones on the way and of course, provide that crucial support system that parents so need.
I am always banging on about how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours. I absolutely realize that it is hard to make friends as adults but with pregnancy as the common thread, it can sometimes be easier. Mom and dad friends at every stage of the parenthood journey are super helpful, but friends who have kids the same age as yours are essential. No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your friend who is also navigating life with a newborn. From spilling preciously pumped milk to dealing with an explosive poo in-transit. When you are in it, these feel like total disasters. However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realize another real person has experienced something similar – like, yesterday.
Parents need this camaraderie so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together. Our classes allow parents to solidify these relationships before babies arrive, so you don’t have to work so hard once they do. You can already be texting from the hospital about the terrible food and a love you never thought possible.
Q: Who are some of the facilitators that women can expect to meet in your classes (background, experience, mission etc.)?
A: All of our facilitators are nurses and midwives who can offer our expectant parents an accurate picture of what to expect in the hospital. Most are also mothers who can provide that additional layer of support having experienced first-hand what a world-rocking experience having a baby can be. Here is the background of one of our facilitators as an example but you can view all of them here.
Allegra Gatti Zemel, RN, IBCLC
Allegra is a registered nurse, Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and mother of three. She holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley in California as well as a BS in Nursing from Columbia University in New York City. Allegra has 13 years of experience in hospitals, classrooms, and in-home care and instruction around Maternal/Child Health and specifically breastfeeding. Allegra works to help each person feel equipped and ready for the wonder, transitions, and joy of a new baby with special attention to feeding and bonding.
Q: Where are your locations and how can someone sign-up to learn more about The Parent Collective or join a class? 
A: We currently host regular classes in Fairfield County, CT, Manhattan, Long Island, NY, Bergen County, NJ and we will very soon be launching in Westchester NY.
TPC will also soon be launching our prenatal series as a webinar. Watch this space!
To learn more, visit our website and sign-up for our newsletter, which offers information for expectant and new parents, as well as the opportunity to connect with parents who live local to you and have kids the same age.
Jessica Hill
Jessica Hill, Co-Founder of The Parent Collective
Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Sip Your Way to Less Stress

What if I told you that you could reduce the amount of stress in your life by sipping a natural and truly healthy beverage? Have I got your attention?
Sweet Reason Beverage Company introduces a sparkling water with hemp CBD, so everyone can achieve an easier and more seamless lifestyle. Learn more about the awesome product below through our Q&A with the team.
Q: A big part of Sweet Reason’s mission is to make life easier. To slow things down, relax, and pursue a life well-lived. How does your sparkling water help implement this lifestyle?
A: CBD helps calm and focus the mind. I find it takes the edge off of my anxiety, makes me more present and allows me to concentrate on the task at hand. To me, that is a life well-lived.
Q: Tell us more about CBD: What is it? What are its benefits? And how is it used in Sweet Reason?
A: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that can either be extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, so as the hemp plant and all of its extracts become legal (thank you, 2018 Farm Bill) you’ll see many other cannabinoids with a wide range of health benefits hit the market. CBD helps calm the mind, reduce random stress and ease discomfort. If that sounds vague to you, it is because companies that are making over-zealous health claims are getting in trouble with the FDA, so we like to encourage consumers to try CBD themselves. CBD affects everyone differently, and pure CBD is a safe to consume (see World Health Organization’s Critical Review of CBD in June 2018, which notes that CBD is, “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”), so experiment and see how you feel. Sweet Reason is the perfect beverage for the CBD-curious, because it is delicious and at an approachable dosage (7mg). At Sweet Reason, we believe in creating beverages that are truly healthy (aka no sugar or sweeteners and simple ingredients), so that you don’t have to think twice about getting your daily dose of CBD.
Q: Your packaging of Sweet Reason alone makes me want to buy it. Where and how can people go about getting Sweet Reason in their lives?
A: Sweet Reason is in over 150 stores in New York (check out the map on our website for where to find us), including Dean & Deluca, West Side Market and Westerly. And if you want it to come right to your doorstep, order online! We even have a subscription program for the people who want to drink it all day, everyday (like me).
Q: What was the biggest inspiration for creating a product like Sweet Reason? How has it impacted your life for the better?

A: I started Sweet Reason because I couldn’t stop thinking about the future of cannabis beverages and how they will change our culture and social interactions, and challenge deeply held beliefs around cannabis. When I learned about CBD and discovered that it helped take the edge off of my anxiety, I couldn’t resist starting Sweet Reason. Sweet Reason has made my life better in so many ways (where do I begin?), but mostly because it allows me to share the health benefits of CBD with so many different people.
Sweet-Reason
Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

It's Time to UP the Way You Fly

Are you ready to escape the winter blues and head for the sandy beaches? What if you could get to the sand stress-free and with one of the most trusted private aviation teams in the business? You’re in luck with our awesome partners at Wheels Up.

Turn your travel time into quality time 

An innovative membership-based company, Wheels Up provides the most trusted and intelligent way to fly private for all your personal and business travel needs. When compared to aircraft ownership and jet card programs, Wheels Up greatly reduces the upfront costs of private aviation—while increasing flexibility and efficiency, so you and your family can fly comfortably on your own schedule and enjoy more time at your destination.
With a Wheels Up Core Membership, you will receive guaranteed access to the members-only fleet of 90+ aircraft, including the exclusive King Air 350i and the Citation Excel/XLS—up to 365 days a year, with as little as 24 hours’ notice. Through the Charter Marketplace, you’ll also have unlimited access to a network of 1,000+ Wheels Up safety-vetted and verified aircraft, including many options that can be booked instantly, for travel to almost any destination worldwide.
As a Core Member, you and up to 3 guests will be able to attend dozens of unique experiences and celebrity meet-and-greets around the country each year, in addition to the world-class Wheels Up signature event activations at the Super Bowl, The Masters, and Art Basel. And you’ll also receive over $35,000 worth of lifestyle and hospitality benefits.

Wheels Up Bell Family exclusive benefit

Bell Family clients receive a $9,000 flight credit with the purchase of a Wheels Up Core Membership for $17,500.

To learn more and redeem this benefit, please email us today! 

 WheelsUP
Wheels Up does not operate aircraft; FAA licensed and DOT registered air carriers participating in the program exercise full operational control of all flights offered by or arranged through Wheels Up. For on-demand flights and shuttle flights operated as scheduled service, Wheels Up acts solely as an agent for Wheels Up members and guests in arranging these flights on their behalf. For shuttle flights operated as Public Charter service, Wheels Up acts as principal in offering these flights subject to the DOT’s Public Charter rules contained in 14 CFR Part 380. All aircraft owned or leased by Wheels Up are leased to the operating air carrier and are operated exclusively by that air carrier.

Meet Our Friends at Village Obstetrics™

We want to introduce you to our friends at Village Obstetrics™ and the wonderful support and care that they provide their patients. We partnered up with them for a Q&A to give our readers an opportunity to learn more about their impressive work.
Q: A big part of Village Obstetrics™ mission is to follow a minimally invasive approach. Why is practicing this important to your mission, and what have you seen as benefits for your patients with this approach? 
A: We see newly pregnant couples who are concerned about interventions meddling in the natural process of pregnancy and birth. And it’s true that the medical profession has become concerned about the high rate of unnecessary c-sections. So, our approach is one that respects the natural process but uses modern medicine and technology to check and see how the natural process is unfolding. If everything looks good, our job is to stay out of nature’s way, but if there’s a storm brewing our job is to figure out together with our mom what the best course of action is. Minimally invasive obstetrics is doing the least necessary to get the job done and it yields low rates of c-section with well-informed satisfied moms.
Q: What are the benefits of unmedicated v medicated birth or c-section? Is there a time in the birthing process where its too late to get an epidural?
A: Birth has lots of variables – the size of the baby, the individual pain tolerance, the length of the labor, the strength of the contraction, head position and on and on. So, it’s fair to say that keeping an open mind is especially important as you approach birth. In general, for first time labor we have seen great benefits from trying to get as deep into labor as possible before getting medications for pain relief. At that stage if you want an unmedicated birth we see how much further you have to go and if its not too far, you typically will make it without medication. Alternatively, if you are at the end of what you can manage and you still have a long way to go, or if you plan on an epidural, that’s a great time to go ahead and get relief.
After you’ve already had a vaginal birth and you are in labor with the next baby, then you need to decide sooner if you want an epidural or not. Probably when your pain is still manageable but now starting to get your attention (say a 6 out of 10 on the pain scale) then it’s time to either get the epidural or commit to finishing it as an unmedicated delivery. The last part of labor could be very fast with second or third babies and there might not be enough time to get an epidural if you wait until pain is an 8 or more out of 10. With the first vaginal birth however, its almost never too late to get an epidural because the progress of labor is much slower usually. Many of our moms now also consider using Nitrous Oxide which is available at our hospital as an alternative to epidural or to maintain control until getting the epidural later.
Q: New patients have lots of questions both pre- and post-birth. How do you help new moms and dads with the transition of becoming parents?
A: One great new addition to the information for new moms and dads is Dr. Worth’s new book, “The New Rules of Pregnancy: What to eat, do, think about, and let go of while your body is making a baby”. We are so proud of her! So many of the existing guide books are so packed full of information that they can be overwhelming and even scary. We needed an expert to sift through those big books and pull out the key information and present it in a format where you can take in a little information at a time while keeping it positive and with beautiful uplifting illustrations that provoke imagination and calm. Dr Worth made that happen and we hope you give it a read. Beyond that we intentionally structured our practice for only pregnancy and birth care. We unapologetically exclusively devote all our time and talents to this important field of obtetrics. Not doing gynecology and well woman care allows us the time to really get into questions and controversies in our office visits. We also hold our own free of charge birth class for our clients that we call our “Pregnancy Chit Chat” – it’s a group Q&A with their doctors. We also reply to our clients e-mails and we try and provide continuing community education speaking, blogging and posting whenever we are invited to by groups involved in pregnancy and birth care.
To learn more about Village Obstetrics,™ click here.
VillageOB
Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

All Aboard the Motivation Train

The motivation train is here ladies, with special thanks to the awesome women behind the void. Their platform helps to motivate, inspire, and empower women through life experiences and music, and they’re my new MUST follow on social media.

We had the chance to get to know more about the void and their amazing women-run team through the Q&A below. Take a read, and be on track to a more confident and stronger you.

Q: Bell Family is a women-run business, so we love hearing about initiatives that encourage women to support other women. How does the void help inspire and motivate this sense of community among women?

A: the void was conceived with the sole purpose of women helping other women. We feel, along with many other women, that there is “a void” in the global conversation in terms of hearing the important, and sometimes difficult, experiences that women often go through to achieve success. Our answer to that was to develop a platform where our female followers can be inspired by the raw, honest, and very real journeys of other women, who may or may not be just like them – whether it be through attending our gatherings and interviews, book and music recommendations, or a little daily fun (and sassy) inspo on social media.
Sharing authentic stories by women of different backgrounds is a way to support each other and show that “you” are not alone. We want the void to be a place where strong women are heard and their words are used to inspire.
It’s important to remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable and it’s okay to have tough times, because those are the moments that make you bold, strong and uniquely you, and we think once we all embrace that, that is when the magic happens.
Q: We are in a day and age where social media rules the world. How can women learn and feel empowered simply through your social media presence?

A: We really hope that women relate to what we are saying on social media, but also feel empowered by what we’re posting. To be completely honest, most of the inspiration we share consists of stories or words that impact us personally at that moment in time. We hope that someone feeling a similar way or going through a similar situation is influenced positively by our posts, just like us.

On top of that, we want the void to be your BFF! You know the one… with the sometimes sassy advice, the one that will always tell you the truth (even if you don’t want to hear it), the one that can make you laugh until you cry but you can also have a real convo with.

Q: Tell us about your “gatherings.” Who are some of the speakers that have attended, and what are examples of some of the topics discussed at these events? How can people sign-up to be apart of the conversation?

A: Our “gatherings” are the void’s intimate experiential events that center around honest conversations with badass women from all walks of life. The reason we coined our events “gatherings” is because they are just that – an event that gathers women from all over to engage in some real-talk in a safe space.
Something unique about our “gatherings” is that no matter where they take place, we always make sure that the room is set up in a circle. This is extremely important to us because it creates no barrier; the conversation isn’t an “us” and a “them” but rather an open and in-depth dialogue among everyone in the room.
We have been so lucky to have the most incredible women – both as speakers and as attendees – at our “gatherings.” We have featured: TODAY Show contributor, Jill Martin; co-founder of Derek Jeter’s The Players’ Tribune, Jaymee Messler; Creative Executive at Bumble, Liddy Huntsman; Life coach, co-founder of the Handel Method and best-selling author, Lauren Zander; CEO of MNDFL Meditation, Ellie Burrows; Former Executive Editor at Glamour & author of The Fifth Trimester, Lauren Smith Brody; y-7 Studios co-founder, Sarah Levey Larson and many more!
We are so grateful for all the women who have joined us, supported our message and fostered our community – and we can’t wait for what the future has in store (you can head to our website to check for future events and sign up for gatherings!).

The-Void

Follow the void: instagram: @thevoid_nyc | twitter: @thevoidnyc | facebook: /thevoidnyc | website: www.the-void.com

Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media at Bell Family

Let's Hear It for Women Entrepreneurs

I was destined for success in a conventional track. I would work hard in grade school, get into a good college, and graduate with a great job in graphic design that would sustain me for decades. Yes, the product of two business owners, hailing from a long lineage of innovators, entrepreneurs, and scrappy survivors looked forward to a nice, stable, corporate career.

I spent the better part of my employment feeling like a square peg in a round hole. Not only was I an entrepreneurial female at heart in a male-dominated industry, but also, I am someone who values good work in addition to hard work.

In hopes that it would provide me with better opportunity, I exited corporate life to work in startups. During my tenure I did time as a designer, software developer, and product manager. Five positions later, I finally figured out what role I was intended to fill: business owner. Shocking, right?

My favorite part about being a business owner, aside from the obvious of setting my own hours, and taking calls #inmyCalvins, is the same thing that drove me to starting my own web development and design business. As an employee of other companies, I found myself constantly frustrated having to sacrifice quality in favor of getting things out the door rapidly. So, the greatest perk of being my own boss and running my own operation is having total autonomy to set and adhere to my own high standards, and treating each project with care and attention to detail.

When I first set out, I was a diehard member of the “Ya Ya WomenInTech Sisterhood”. I was frustrated with the way I was treated as a female in a male-dominated industry. I felt singled out and demoralized by what set me apart. I was disenchanted with being the only female manager in a room of C-level men, so I left, and sought opportunities and partnerships where I could leverage what made me different.

Women bosses, nay, women EMPLOYEES are important because we bring something different to the table; women tend to be more empathetic, pay closer attention to detail, and even problem solve differently (not necessarily better, just different) than their male counterparts. Research shows that gender diversity isn’t just good for moral, it’s good for the bottom line too! Gender diversity is a crucial ingredient when it comes to true innovation. Women and men are objectively and fundamentally different, but it’s not a bad thing. While some may refer to this as “an inability to see eye to eye”, I see it as a great opportunity for collaboration.

I practice what I preach at my business Stacks and the City. We believe in diversity, but not without the advocacy of women in tech and leadership.

I’m no stranger to being the odd person out, and while I resisted it for a long time, learning to grow and accept unconventionality as a superpower is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my career. It’s important for us all to reward each other for what makes us different (not just in terms of gender), for the future of innovation as well as acceptance.

Rachel-Stakin

Written by our guest blog partner, Rachel Shatkin, Founder of Stacks and the City

Finding Life Balance as a Mom

This week we present a guest blog writer, Jolynn Jaekel, who tells her story about becoming a mom, and her journey of balancing life and motherhood. Read her relatable and impressive story below!
Our mom was home with us while our dad went to work until I was in high school and even then, we had our grandmother to take care of us when mom went back to work. I grew up thinking that’s how it was done, but not certain that’s what I’d choose. Nothing about my path was traditional.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version… graduated college with a journalism degree; moved to Los Angeles and became an entertainment publicist; loathed LA; moved home to New Mexico; moved to New York City for a PR stint and confirmed I didn’t love PR but I did love New York; moved back to New Mexico to “figure it out;” rediscovered my love of acting; and then moved back to New York and became a professional sometimes working actor who taught fitness for survival. Whew!
So, when I finally got married and pregnant, I was hustling hard and knew no other way. BUT the second I looked into my daughter’s baby blues, everything changed. And it kept changing.
Before she arrived, I “knew” I’d be a better mommy if I was working out of the house. But then she came, and I realized I “knew” nothing. When I returned to work after my eight weeks of unpaid maternity leave, I couldn’t stand being away. I raced home as soon as I could, eliminating all non-parenting activities. It took both my husband and I plus two part time childcare providers to cover our crazy schedules with no family around for support. So, we moved to just outside of Washington, D.C., where one of my sisters lives.
We decided that initially, I would be home with our daughter. This was what I had been longing for, to be present for every single moment. At first, I reveled in the stay at home mom culture. We were busy with playdates, story time at the library, exploring every museum, farm, nature center and kids’ music performance, and finally making the crafts I’d pinned long ago. I got to be with my baby girl all the time. I was also alone with my baby girl a lot of the time. My husband’s hours had always been long, but now I was keenly aware of how long. My husband was receiving well deserved accolades at work but at home no one cheers you on for doing a great job cleaning a dirty diaper or gives you a promotion for keeping your child alive and well fed. It is the hardest job you’ll ever love. And I LOVED it, but I had no balance. I had cut myself off from everything I had known before motherhood and I began to notice.
I also began to realize it was time to go back to work because living on one salary in a city just as expensive as New York would not cut it, but where to begin and how to make it work? Fitness seemed like the most flexible place to start. I developed a mommy & me fitness program that let me teach a few classes with my daughter by my side. I eventually became a group fitness director at a local boutique gym which had on-site child care. It felt good to be back in the workforce without compromising my time with her. Then the gym eliminated child care. Time for Plan B.
We needed an additional income and I needed something of my own. I took a leap of faith with something I knew nothing about and previously had no interest in trying;  a home-based sales business. Turns out, what I had prejudged as totally wrong for me, was the perfect solution to my complicated equation. It gives me the flexibility to maintain our mommy & me adventures, while I get to flex my atrophied mental muscles AND bring in a salary. It’s given me something else I realized I desperately needed, a community of like-minded women who are courageous, smart, inspiring and supportive of my journey no matter how many twists and turns it takes.
Here’s what I know for sure. I AM happier when I have something to focus on that inspires me outside of the incredible gift of our daughter. I AM a better mommy when I have balance. I DO love my job as her mommy and am so grateful to not have to miss a moment, but I’m glad I’ve found a way to have some moments of my own too.
Jolynn Baca
Written by our guest blog partner, Jolynn Jaekel
Photo taken by Shauri Dewey

Moms + Yoga – The Perfect Combination

We all know the cold and dreary winter days will soon be upon us, and finding motivation to get out the door gets more and more challenging. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right activity to give you that extra push, and for me, that activity is yoga.
Meet Allegra McBane-Sanchez, a certified yoga teacher in the Greenwich, CT area who specializes in prenatal, postpartum and mommy and me yoga, as well as vinyasa and gentle practices for moms and non-moms alike. She teaches group and private sessions at various local studios, and partnered with us to share her yoga-knowledge through the Q&A below.
Q: Yoga is a great resource for moms and soon-to-be moms to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy. What are some benefits of prenatal yoga for soon-to-be moms? 
A: Pre-natal yoga can be a highly beneficial part of pregnancy. The physical benefits of practicing poses that offer a supported way to open up, to stretch, and also to strengthen can help your body more comfortably grow for your developing baby. The mental benefits of connecting deeply to your body and to your breath can help you to more peacefully navigate pregnancy, birth and new motherhood. In prenatal yoga, we focus a lot of awareness on breath work as a tool for expectant mothers to stay present in their bodies throughout their pregnancy and as an integral tool in the labor and birth experience.
Q: Why is it important to continue to practice yoga post-birth? 
A: A postpartum yoga practice can help reconnect new moms to the changes they have experienced in their bodies through pregnancy and birth. A thoughtful postpartum yoga practice can help moms regain strength in their cores, pelvic floors, and throughout their bodies; it can reconnect them to their breath and to their own innate strength; and, it is also an opportunity for a new mom to check in with her body, mind and breath as she adjusts to the demands of new motherhood.
Q: How does mommy and me yoga help bond mom and new baby? 
A: Mommy and me yoga is one of the most rewarding classes to teach. Offering a space for moms to be with their little ones while also caring for themselves is a very beautiful thing to witness. Babies enjoy the touch of their moms as they gently massage and stretch the babies, and moms enjoy incorporating their babies into movement and poses that benefit their physical and mental health. The babies respond positively to calm breath and gentle movements – it brings them a sense of calm as well. It’s also a really nice opportunity to meet other new moms and find a community while doing something good for yourself and your baby.
Q: What are some things you’ve learned from practicing yoga? 
A: This is hard to answer because, really, yoga has changed my life. It has changed the way I view my own body, my own relationship to my child and the way I interact with others. I have had a yoga practice for nearly 20 years but it was only after I gave birth to my son, that yoga became something more than a chance to stretch and strengthen. The challenges that many new mothers face: hormonal changes that impact our mental health, physical changes that impact our ability to do what we previously did, and the profound shift when we become responsible for another person’s life, can take its toll. I turned to yoga as I navigated the transition to new motherhood and not only did it provide me with more physical strength and flexibility than I have ever had before, but the focus on breath work and the practice of being present in my body in the moment that I am experiencing has taught me how to be a more engaged and conscious parent and has taught me how to view my life through a lens of gratitude and patience.
Allegra Sanchez 
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Own Unique Artwork With Help From Sugarlift

Looking to jazz up the walls in your home? Imagine having unique and original artwork that no one else has had their hands on. Talk about a conversation topic for your next dinner party!
Our friends at Sugarlift help to find the best emerging artists to fill up those empty walls that have been staring blankly back at you. Read our Q&A below with the Sugarlift team to learn more!
Q: Finding the perfect artwork for your wall can be time-consuming and challenging. How does Sugarlift help simplify the process?

A: Finding the perfect art is actually much more complicated than it used to be. Collecting art was once done by a smaller group of connoisseurs who were spending much more on acquiring art from galleries or auction houses. The rest of us were living with framed posters (think Martini and Rossi or Dark Side of the Moon) or paintings done by our friend’s cousin.
Today, a myriad of online options bring art to a wider audience. But endlessly browsing online presents its own challenges. Our clients come to us after spending hours and hours scrolling through websites and still not finding something they love. Or they find an artist they like but don’t see any pieces that fit their space. In addition to that, framing and hanging art can be difficult if you don’t work as a part-time art-handler.
We designed Sugarlift to simplify the whole process. Clients who are looking for art are connected with a human art advisor who helps them navigate all of the options and decisions along the way through a free and fun service. We not only recommend hand-selected artists to fit your aesthetic tastes, we consult on the appropriate size, hanging, and even help with executing custom commissions. It’s our mission to help more people live with great art!
Q: What are a couple unique options for artwork in a child’s bedroom for someone looking for something a bit different?
A: The most important thing to know about the process of finding the right art is that it’s very subjective. What you like may be the opposite of someone else, and that’s okay!
When I think of children’s rooms, the go-to artwork seen across the Instagram universe often features photos of baby animals or illustrated prints. These can be fun, cute and playful, which is usually the feel people are going for in kids’ rooms—so they work!
We’ve had clients who want to replace pieces like these as their kids grow up. For example, we had a client replace baby animal photos with a large crashing wave taken by Brooklyn-based surf photographer Matthew Clark. Her nine-year-old picked it out himself! Another fun idea is creating a gallery wall of both contemporary artists and works made by the kids. Art doesn’t have to be so serious, and whose children aren’t making amazing abstract paintings?
Q: The playroom is an essential and frequently used space in a family’s home. What types of artwork would look or work best in that room?
A: This is definitely a question for someone not New York-based! In our apartment, the playroom doubles as the living room, dining room and part of the kitchen. And I thought we have a pretty comfortable apartment!
In a dedicated playroom, it’s fun to think about uplifting artwork. It’s an art and a science to determine which artwork will be energizing, but you can typically count on bright colors and dynamic compositions to achieve this goal.
Some unique options would be to include art by street artists like Eelco van den Berg or fun prints by collaborative artists such as Chiaozza or Gentleman’s Game. These artists incorporate play into the process of making the art, and why shouldn’t that idea translate into the space?
Q: Some people have a clear idea of the artwork they want and others need a lot of direction. How do you guide customers to find the perfect piece(s)?

A: This is very true. Some of our clients start without any idea of what they want. It’s our job to show them options and listen to their feedback. We don’t all have the vocabulary of an Art History PhD, so it’s important for us to listen and continue to refine the options we are showing.
What is also true is that when you find the right art for you, you don’t need an art history degree to know it. Living with art you love is an uplifting experience and should be accessible to all!
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell