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Kevin Schwartz and Keith Garber are cofounders BabyGanics, an innovative line of natural and gentle baby products, from mineral sunscreens for kids to baby-safe floor cleaner. They shared with Motherly the story of the ‘lightbulb moment’ that led them to found their company, advice for other parent-entrepreneurs, and insight into how Millennial parents are making “green” the new normal.


Can you tell us about what were you each doing before Babyganics?

Kevin: Sure. I started my career in technology, but felt it was missing something – I didn’t feel fulfilled. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and wanted more than just the typical 9 to 5… something of my own.

It was when I got my puppy Tucker (my first “baby”) that I was tapped into that [entrepreneurial] spirit and founded a successful pet health and wellness business. It was a great eye opener and indirectly, I think helped set the stage for what would become my next business. (Also, happy to report Tucker is still part of the family and going strong at 91 - in dog years).

Keith: Similar to Kevin, I‘ve always been an entrepreneurial spirit – it’s probably why we get along so well. I actually co-founded of one of my first companies when I was still in college, which then became a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq.

I’ve built several other startups that ended up as leaders in their categories, but even with those successes, I didn’t feel I was making a real difference in the lives of others – which was always a dream of mine since I was a kid.

When I teamed up with Kevin I was finally able to combine my passion for growing a business, being a dad, and ultimately making a difference in the lives of millions of other families.

Was there a moment when you realized that you knew you needed to start Babyganics? What clicked for you?

Kevin: It’s funny – we actually call it the “lightbulb moment” in our office. My wife Ali was pregnant with our first and we were starting to think beyond ourselves— about our baby on the way.

It wasn’t going to be just us anymore, and like with most parents, it made us consider the world our child would be entering, including our home. We wanted to make sure he was going to be safe, but we also wanted him to be free to play, and crawl and explore – as babies should.

So, we started searching for products that would make our home safe without us having to worry. It was also important to us that the products we used were green, so they were not just safe for the baby, but safe for the planet too.

And, you know what? We couldn’t find them. That’s when I knew that something needed to be done. By the time Tyler was born, so was the idea of Babyganics and my mission.

It took the help of a lot of dedicated, passionate folks who share this mission, but today we’re a company run by two dads (myself and Keith) and we have a whole ecosystem of ‘baby safe’ products — from home care to skin care, from the bath to laundry to sun— that just couldn’t be found a few years ago.

And knowing that every day, new parents discover our products and join our journey to help their babies naturally and happily grow and thrive only reinforces it was the right thing to do.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Kevin: I have to say, it came from my mom. It was right before Tyler was born. She told me to enjoy every moment with my kids. She said “They grow up so incredibly fast and if you don’t make time for them when they’re young, you can’t get that time back.”

She also told me that as much as I want to protect them, I need to give them their freedom so they can find their way on their own. “Guide them but don’t hold them back.” That was something that always stuck with me.

How has fatherhood transformed your careers?

Keith: I have always wanted to impact in the lives of others. It wasn’t until becoming a dad that I realized I wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of other children and families beyond my own.

Fatherhood helped me identify my purpose. I love business and I love the whole idea of ‘family’ – being able to combine those two every single day, it’s amazing!

Kevin: I have to agree. Being able to have my work directly impact and benefit my family, and vice versa – I couldn’t ask for anything more. I think being a dad also helped me grow as a person, to be more patient and understanding.

I find myself focusing more on the important things and making sure I have balance. And this isn’t something I expect for just myself, but for our entire organization.

Family is so much a part of our culture and it’s important to the two of us, that our entire team prioritizes a healthy balance of work and family.

What’s your secret to integrating work and family?

Kevin: Family drives the passion behind what I do, but it also drives the need for what I do. Being a parent and knowing what other parents look for, what they want, I have a focus group right in my own home!

It makes my job that much easier. And again, it also helps me prioritize the important things. I believe in family first and I practice what I preach. If I didn’t, I couldn’t lead by example – which is something I take very seriously.

Keith: For me, it’s about setting the right example. It’s all about the team environment, pulling together, supporting each another. This is not only something I try to instill in my team at work but also with my family at home (we actually call ourselves Team G).

I spend a lot of time working in the community, running developmental athletic programs for kids. I believe in encouraging them and helping them find their strengths – which is something that I have learned throughout my years in business. It’s how I motivate all my teams.

What are your words of wisdom for other parents wanting to turn their passion into a business?

Keith: It’s just that – you need passion. Passion and mission, actually. Passion gives you heart and mission gives you drive and keeps you focused.

If you lack either, it will quickly turn into just another job. It’s the two that will keep you going during the hard times. And there will be hard times – trust us.

But it can’t just start and stop with you. You need to share your passion, make it infectious, so that those around you want to join your journey in creating something great!

And the second piece of that is surrounding yourself with good people. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for our team - the other fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents – all who have believed in the Babyganics mission and committed themselves to creating better choices for parents.

How are Millennial parents changing the conversation about what it means to be “green”? Is “green” the new normal?

Kevin: Millennials, more than generations before them, see “green” as almost a base line. They are more aware of labels and are searching for products that are better for them (and their families).

They also have higher expectations; they are not willing to sacrifice efficacy just because a product is green. They take an uncompromising approach to their needs and are not willing to settle – and to be honest, they don’t have to.

What are your big dreams for Babyganics?

Keith: Part of our DNA at Babyganics is about driving innovation, especially when it comes to the safest and best ingredients to use in our products.

And quite frankly, it is something that we are very proud of. As part of my dreams for future, I want to us to not only continue as a leader, but to also drive change.

Change that inspires a movement for more consumers to demand better ingredients, better choices and that challenges the status quo. Because status quo is easy, and easy is not acceptable when it comes to the wellbeing of family.

Kevin: I totally agree with Keith. If we do our job, and help parents make smarter, better choices for their families, those decisions will lead to overall lifestyle changes for the better.

My dream is for Babyganics to be the catalyst that shifts families to think differently and to make healthier lifestyle choices across the board. Not just specific to the products that we create, but to all the decisions they make in their world.

What have you learned about modern mothers and fathers through Babyganics?

Kevin: Parents today spend more time with their children than their parents ever did. Both mothers and fathers consistently say family time is more important than their job or other leisure activities.

Parenting is not seen as a burden, but a privilege and source of happiness.

They also celebrate the freedom and independence of their children, which is a view point mirrored by editorials, scientific studies and schools. Today’s parents understand that babies need to explore and satisfy their curiosity and not be kept in a bubble. This is critical for their emotional, physical and mental health.

This is what Babyganics is all about. We support this baby freedom by helping parents create a world that is baby safe for full exploration!

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

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A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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