Mamas Unite!

During the government shutdown and beyond, there’s moms and babies who need our help.

Mamas Unite!

When you’re living in babyland, or preparing for the little one to arrive, the world outside can turn into a blur...and sometimes disappear from your consciousness altogether. You trade in your newspapers for baby books, and bookmark Babycenter instead of CNN. But if there was ever a reason to snap back to attention, the government shutdown was it, especially since there were critical programs affecting mamas and babies that could have lost funding in the coming weeks.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (known as WIC) is one such program, and without it, nearly half a million low-income women, infants and children across New York wouldn’t get food vouchers for baby formula and healthy food, or breastfeeding support and nutrition classes.


Even if the government gets back to work sooner rather than later (UPDATE: As of Oct. 17, it has!), there are always mamas and babies in need. So sign out of your registry and pick up your pocketbook -- it’s time to buy a present for someone else’s baby.

Here’s a few ways you can support your fellow moms and moms-to-be….and set a good example for that little baby of yours, even if he’s still inside.

Baby Buggy

A lot of us know Jessica Seinfeld’s Baby Buggy as the place to donate gently used clothes and gear. But the nonprofit also collects baby food and formula, and distributes it to more than 50 community based organizations. Founded in NYC in 2001, Baby Buggy is now national, and supports thousands of families in domestic violence shelters, and anti-poverty, fatherhood and educational programs. You can drop off baby food and formula (that won’t expire for at least three months) at the Baby Buggy offices in midtown, or donate online. 306 W. 37th St., 8th Flr.

Food Bank for New York City

One of the largest food banks in the U.S., Food Bank for New York City’s signature orange has never been more stylish. Get together a group of able-bodied (even if they’re pregnant-bodied) ladies for a food drive, and Food Bank for New York City will pick up your bounty, as long as it’s 100 lbs. or more. Food and products -- including diapers, baby formula and other baby goods -- go to a network of 1,000 community based organizations throughout the five boroughs. Although the organization does not accept individual donations, a few dollars can go a long way: for every $1 donated, Food Bank can help provide 5 meals, so think of how that translates for the littlest people. To organize a food drive, contact Lee Cheney at 212-566-7855, ext. 2250, or donate online.

City Harvest

The City Harvest trucks are as much of an institution on NYC streets as taxis, but they’re doing a whole lot more good. The organization helps feed the more than 1 million hungry New Yorkers by collecting millions of pounds of excess food from the food industry, and delivering it to 400 community food programs free of charge. City Harvest’s annual holiday food drive runs from October 24 to January 10, when donations -- including baby food and formula -- are accepted at any NYPD or FDNY location, as well as at Modell’s stores. If you want to donate food and formula immediately, or keep on donating after the holidays (you go, girl!), organize a food drive and City Harvest will pick up 100 lbs. or more. You can also donate online.

Local Food Pantries

There are tons of food pantries and family shelters across New York City, and most would be happy to see your lovely face (and receive your generous donation). Your neighborhood listserv is a great way to find recommendations of where you can do some good, or rally others for a food drive. There’s also state-specific information on locations accepting baby food and formula donations at The Feminist Hulk.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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