Print Friendly and PDF

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!

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Thanks for subscribing!

Check your email for a confirmation message.

There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.


"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!


In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.


Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]


Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."


Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).


Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.


Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.


A fellow mama

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.