How to make Mother’s Day happier for moms and babies in need

Mother’s Day is always a special time of year as it is a time for mothers to be celebrated, appreciated and loved for the endless work we do to raise, nurture and love our children. Being a mom is one of the most wonderful gifts I’ve ever received and as a world traveler and writer on global health issues, I’ve realized how lucky we are as mothers when have our health and safety--the things we need to raise healthy children.

It wasn’t until I began traveling in the developing world that I got a sense of the enormous inequities for billions of mothers and their children who don’t have access to health care, clean water and sanitation, food and immunizations to protect themselves and their families. As an American, middle class mom of two, I took all these things we had for granted until I visited India, Ethiopia, Haiti and parts of Central America where I witnessed the struggles and tragedies that many mothers around the world face. So many moms lost their lives in childbirth delivering at home with no help or lost their babies due to preventable causes. It is heartbreaking and incomprehensible.

It was while visiting these parts of the world that I realized the common bond we all share as mothers and the urgency in which these moms and their babies need our help. Although we have made a tremendous amount of progress in the area of maternal and newborn health around the world, statistics like these below must improve. Too many mothers and their babies are needlessly dying.

As mothers, we all share a common bond: We all want the best for our children despite where we live, our culture and religion or what language we speak. A mother or child living or dying should not be a matter of where you happen to be born. Instead, I believe that we all should have the same basic rights for ourselves and our children: Pre-natal and post-natal care, birth by a trained delivery assistant, access to safe water, sanitation and immunizations, and enough food to fed our families.

That is why I am a strong supporter of international non-profit organizations (NGO) that help women and girls especially in the area of maternal and infant care where we can do so much to save lives. There are amazing, innovative NGOs working tirelessly all around the world to improve the lives of women and their families. What is even more exciting is that with the power and prominence of social media there are many ways we can help.

Mothers in the western world can become advocates by signing up to receive weekly emails about women’s issues and can share information with friends on social media. Even in our busy lives, mothers can volunteer, advocate or fundraise for one of the NGOs that focuses on maternal and newborn health.

This Mother’s Day, it is my hope that more mothers would be inspired to help another mom in need around the world.

Here is a list of some of my favorite NGOs that focus on reproductive, maternal and newborn health:

  • Save the Children:A global non-profit organization that invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, Save the Children gives children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.
  • Women Deliver: A leading, global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights, and well-being, Women Deliver brings together diverse voices and interests to drive progress in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights.
  • Maternova: An organization that make it easy for doctors, nurses and midwives and the organizations that equip them to track innovation and to buy technologies and kits to use overseas that save mother and newborns lives.
  • Doctor’s without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from health care.
  • Jhpiego:An international, non-profit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University that works in over 155 countries to prevent the needless deaths of women and their families by partnering with health experts, governments and community leaders to provide high-quality health care for their people.
  • Marie Stopes: One of the largest international family planning organizations in the world that provides reproductive services to women around the globe.
  • Maternity Worldwide: An organization that works in developing countries to help women and girls access the high quality maternal health care they need to be able to give birth safely.
  • Shot@Life: Provides access to life-saving vaccines around the world to help end vaccine-preventable deaths to children.
  • WaterAid: The world’s largest international non-profit organization specifically dedicated to helping the world’s poorest people transform their lives through access to safe water, toilets and hygiene education.

What you can do to learn more:

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

Keep reading Show less

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play