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Ever wonder where all those fun, innovative, ingenious parenting and baby products come from?


The Parent Co. team recently returned from the JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturing Association) Baby Show in Anaheim, CA. All the major brands in the baby-parenting space were represented, showing off their most innovative products to media and retailers. A slew of new, rising brands were also on display, looking to make their mark on the booming industry.

Nearly every company we engaged with was born out of personal need by parent entrepreneurs. Here’s my list of 10 companies to keep an eye on. I think they’ve got something special going on:


BumbleRide

This San Diego-based stroller company is an alchemist in the stroller market, incorporating the active and luxury lifestyles their home city is known for directly into their products. With so many stroller brands to choose from, the features become less important to consumer choice than feeling a personal connection to the brand.

Bumbleride steps up to the plate with an adventurous attitude and plenty of eco-friendly, feel-good vibes. Committed to functional performance, their line of strollers aim to deliver the ride of your life.

Cool Feature:

Mini Board – Skateboard-style toddler board that attaches to the back of the stroller. Rad!

mifold

At first glance, the mifold grab-and-go car booster seat doesn’t look like it could pass a standard car seat safety test. Yet with advanced engineering, this iPad-sized booster is redefining the industry by being 10 times smaller (10” x 5”) and just as safe, complying with the most universally accepted global booster car seat regulations for child restraint systems.


How does it work? Traditional boosters lift a child up to be in the position of an adult. The mifold does the exact opposite. Instead of lifting the child up, it holds the seatbelt down. Genius.

Throw the mifold in your four-year-old’s backpack next to a stack of books and some snacks, and she has everyday car travel protection anywhere she goes, with or without you. Think playdate pickups, soccer carpools, airport rentals, etc.

Award Winner:

mifold won “Best in Show” and the “Parent’s Pick Award” at JPMA’s Innovation Awards.

SimpleWishes

As a dad with his first kid (now six months old) covering the show, I felt inspired after meeting an entrepreneurial family both transforming and educating the breastpump and nursing industry.

Four sisters (each sporting their brand’s seamless SuperMom all-in-one-bra…or so they told me), manage the business side of things, while their brothers, operate the manufacturing operation. This family team utilizes decades of personal experience and empathy for mothers in their approach to design and customer service.


As a consumer, it’s vital to feel good about a brand when purchasing intimate products. The team at Simple Wishes works hard to support women during their breastfeeding journey, giving them confidence in their ability to provide for their families and themselves.


New Product: SuperMom All-in-One Bra – A maternity, nursing, and hands-free pumping bra.

Seahorses PDX

Many companies in the parenting space focus their marketing efforts on mothers, who are the primary peer-to-peer recommenders of retail stores, gear, apparel, and food/drink categories. Don Hudson, from Seahorses PDX, has a different perspective.

He believes the parenting space is missing an opportunity to advertise and sell specifically to the dad market. I caught up with Don and learned about his commitment to create a community and shopping experience where all dads not only feel welcome, but also find cool, practical stuff they need.

Don’s shop, Seahorses PDX, is brick-and-mortar retail, but also offers a popular, hand-curated selection of products available online. He’s co-authored a new book, “Dadly Dollars”, and will host the 2nd Annual Dadiator Games in June.

Interesting Dad Product: One of the best-sellers at Seahorses PDX is Yoee Baby, an interactive developmental baby toy designed to connect you and your baby from day one. Check it out here: www.yoeebaby.com

Kiddiwink

Transitioning a four- to six-month-old from being sweetly swaddled in their bassinet to less cozy crib sleeping can be exhausting, for you and them. As you work through the sleep regression, you’re also faced with a battery of dos and don’ts around crib safety.

For example, what’s the deal with the crib bumper? They look nice, but AAP highly recommends against them for SIDS protection. Enter Kiddiwink.

Designed by a scientist mom, the Kiddiwink all-in-one crib bedding solution is a standard bed sheet with an attached, breathable muslin bumper. It is safer, simpler, and more functional than any other bumper alternatives. It keeps arms, legs, loveys, and pacifiers inside the crib and prevents wedging between the crib and mattress. Also, they’re super cute.

Fun Fact: This new-to-market brand just launched at JPMA and is currently taking pre-orders.

 

Doddle & Co.

 

I’ve been trying to raise my first child with the relaxed and comfortable attitude of a dad who’s on his third. Let’s just say it’s easier in theory than in practice. I still worry about all sorts of things.

When my daughter’s pacifier ends up on the ground, I quickly analyze the environment for cleanliness. Are we indoors our out? Are we in public or at home? Is there any visible residue on the nipple of the pacifier? Is she currently screaming and in need of a pacifier? Did I pack an extra?

JPMA Innovation Award category winner, Doddle & Co., takes the stress out of this game, allowing me to adopt more of that relaxed dad-on-his-third-kid attitude. Disrupting the pacifier market with their patented “Pop”, this cleaner, silicone pacifier nipple pops back into its own self-protective bubble when it drops. Every time. I tested it.

Shout out: Mothers and Founders of Doddle & Co., Nicki and Janna, get a high-five from the team at Parent Co. Affordable. Effective. Stylish. Way to go!

Bambino Mio

Did you know disposable diapers account for eight billion pounds of non-biodegradable waste each year? A single child will use over 8,000 disposables before they’re potty trained. Wow.

My family uses disposables. We had the cloth diaper conversation, but it just seemed inconvenient, impractical, and really messy. We made an all-or-nothing decision about what I thought was an all-or-nothing choice.

At JPMA, I met Kelsey and Joreen from Bambino Mio, who expressed to me that parents interested in cloth need not go all-in. There’s a middle ground that leads to a financial and environmental ROI by using even just one cloth diaper each day.

Kelsey and Joreen wanted me to give it a try, so I went home with a cute panda bear cloth diaper. Incorporating this diaper into my daughter’s life has been a simple shift in mindset. Completely unsolicited, I have to say it’s a breeze to put on, comfortable for my baby, cute as can be, and easy to clean. Two thumbs up.


Hit the Beach: Bambino Mio also has a popular line of hard-to-resist baby swimwear. Check ‘em out.

Attipas

After reading the inspirational barefoot running book, “Born to Run”, I trained for and ran a marathon in a pair of those silly looking Five-Finger barefoot shoes. I’d raced marathons in traditional runners as well and can say that, while barefoot running is not for everybody, they do offer a true sense of heightened body awareness and connection to the earth with just the right amount of protection.

This toddler shoe brand takes that body awareness and earth connection in a similar direction. JPMA Innovation Award nominee, Attipas (Atti meaning “My Precious Friend” and Pas meaning “Step”) is redefining the toddler shoe market with their clever, sock-style, slip-on shoe.

In collaboration with The Cognitive Behavioral Development Center, Attipas applied biomechanical knowledge of brain development to create a shoe that evenly distributes foot pressure, allowing toddlers to feel the sole of the shoe and move their toes freely.

Bonus: Choose from dozens of really fun designs. All are lightweight, breathable, and non-slip.

JuJuBe

With dozens of diaper bag companies on the market, how does one brand stand out among the rest? At JPMA, JuJuBe proved it has the secret sauce.

No, they’re not made from the JuJuBe fruit, which when consumed, is believed to effectively prevent cancer and heart disease. But you definitely feel good doing business with a company that contributes a portion of your purchase to Breast Cancer research and awareness centers.


Yes, the bags are really nice, hit the right price point, and have unexpected features like Crumb Drains (little holes at the bottom of the pockets, so crumbs fall out). But I am especially impressed with this brand for nurturing a space for parents to connect and learn from each other in a self-moderated, self-run online community. Get involved via the JuJuBe Community tab on their website.   

Doin’ it right: CEO Joe Croft, coming from the action sports industry, is enthusiastic and approachable. He and his team turned a traditional trade show booth into the place to be, serving up great music, concert lighting, and spontaneous rounds of Family Feud for passers-by.

Baby Buddy

Chances are you’ve used (or will use) dozens of products by Baby Buddy over the course of your child’s life. Over the last decade, this company has been leading the way for children’s oral hygiene.


What I love most about Baby Buddy, however, is their commitment to encouraging healthy habits for kids. Their original children’s book, “Sugar Bugs”, is the perfect introduction for kids to understand the importance of taking care of their teeth. It’s whimsical, graphically pleasing, charmingly irreverent, and it de-mystifies the spectre of going to the dentist.


Personal note: The line of oral care products aimed directly at teething babies has been a personal life-saver, not to mention the best hearing protection I’ve ever purchased.

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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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