Sen. Bernie Sanders answers our questions on paid leave, childcare + maternal burnout

We asked the candidates for answers and the Sanders campaign was among those to respond.

Bernie Sanders paid family leave

After Motherly's second annual State of Motherhood survey revealed that 85% of moms feel society doesn't understand or support mothers, we knew we needed to reach out to all presidential candidates with a series of questions on behalf of America's mothers.

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.

That's why we are demanding change in 2020, standing with organizations and advocacy groups fighting to get American mothers the support they need and deserve and declaring this the #yearofthemother.


Sen. Bernie Sander's campaign was quick to respond to our questions. Read on to see how he plans to address our demands.

How Bernie Sanders will bring paid family leave to America:

The evidence is clear: doctors, the World Health Organization, parents around the world and other experts recommend at least six months of paid leave. As President, Bernie will guarantee six months paid family leave. The U.S. must end the national disgrace of being the only major country in the world not to offer paid family leave. We will guarantee all workers paid family and medical leave, paid sick leave, and paid vacation, and ensure survivors of domestic violence receive paid leave as well.

How Senator Sanders will ensure the maternal health crisis is addressed:

Black women are three and a half times more likely to die from pregnancy than white women and almost twice as likely to be uninsured.

In 2017, 14% of African American women were uninsured. The research from experts is clear: to solve our maternal mortality crisis, we need to address insurance. We will enact Medicare for All, which will guarantee health care, including quality maternal health care, as a human right to everyone in America, free at the point of service.

We must not only guarantee health care to all as a right, but end the long-standing disparities which exist within the health care system. Under Bernie's plan, we will work to guarantee every pregnant Black woman access to treatment by culturally competent health care professionals as the baseline standard.

In addition to ensuring all providers receive training to provide culturally competent care, he will address the need for more black doctors, more black dentists, more black nurses, and more black psychologists who can provide culturally competent care in their communities by massively expanding the National Health Services Corps and Teaching Health Centers.

We will work to guarantee every pregnant Black woman treatment by culturally competent health care professionals as the baseline standard.

How Bernie Sanders will ensure better maternal mental health support:

We are experiencing a crisis in mental health treatment in this country. While there has been much talk about mental health parity in our health care system, we are not even close to achieving it. It's past time for a serious discussion about treating mental illness and ensuring access to care.

Bernie's Medicare for All plan would address this crisis by providing comprehensive coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment services as well as prescription drugs. Mental health care, under Medicare for All, will be free at the time of service, with no co-payments that can be a barrier to treatment.

This country has a serious shortage of mental health practitioners. We will address this health workforce shortage crisis by increasing funding for the National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan repayment to clinicians working in underserved communities. Through Medicare for All, we will bring more providers to underserved communities by increasing federal funding for community health centers, which currently serve nearly 30 million people in underserved communities.

Bernie's Medicare for All plan requires an evaluation of health disparities, including racial and geographic disparities, and a plan for addressing the disparities found in the evaluation. It creates an Office of Primary Health to figure out how to increase access to care, including how to train the workforce we need to address these disparities. Under Bernie's Medicare for All, mental health care will be just as important as physical health care.

How Senator Sanders will support mothers in feeding their babies:

We must end hunger in America and guarantee all communities healthy and nutritious food, and ensure every mother and child in this country is food secure. To do that, Bernie will expand the WIC program for pregnant mothers, infants, and children. He will raise the eligibility to age 6 and allow WIC certification to apply for the first two years of a child's life and increase outreach to eligible families to increase take-up. Currently, only 50 percent of eligible pregnant women participate in the program.

He will pass the Universal School Meals Program Act to provide universal, year-round, free breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at school, eliminate all school meal lunch debt and end "lunch debt shaming," and expand Summer EBT across the country to ensure no student goes hungry during the summer.

He will expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $311 billion to increase the benefits from the "thrifty" plan, which provides inadequate benefits, to the more accurate "low-cost" food plan to include those with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line. He will remove punitive work requirements, remove barriers for college students to access SNAP, and ensure people are not denied benefits due to past interaction with the criminal justice system, allow SNAP recipients to purchase hot and prepared foods with their benefits. allow SNAP and WIC recipients to use their benefits to purchase food through online grocery shopping and delivery services.

Bernie will raise the minimum wage to a living wage of at least $15 an hour, expand Social Security, and enact Medicare for All — putting money back in the pockets of mothers to feed their children. He will also support grocery stores with local, healthy, affordable options with a $14.7 billion investment in cooperatively and community owned grocery stores.

How Bernie Sanders will create affordable childcare solutions:

The ages 0-4 are the most important years of human development. In America today, we have a dysfunctional childcare and pre-K system. It is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in our children's healthy physical, social, educational, and cognitive development. We need a revolution in this country in terms of how we provide child care and pre-K education. Bernie will guarantee universal childcare and prekindergarten to every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents more easily balance the demands of work and home.

How Senator Sanders will work to change the cultural expectations that contribute to maternal stress in America:

When it comes to supporting mothers, the United States lags behind virtually every major country on earth. We are the only advanced economy that doesn't guarantee its workers some form of paid family and medical leave, paid sick leave or paid vacation time. That will change when Bernie is President.

Bernie is deeply committed to working with and creating an America that empowers women of color, indigneous women, the LGBTQ+ community, and women across this nation. The issues of paid leave, equal pay, representation and accountability are vital steps we must take to create an America that works for everyone.

Bernie's vision for this country is to ensure everyone in our country has basic economic rights – the right to quality health care, the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society, the right to a good job that pays a living wage, the right to affordable housing, the right to a secure retirement, and the right to live in a clean environment.

We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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