Toddler Tuesday: Welkin NYC

Belle Savransky and LaTonya Staubs are making sustainable clothes for the city kid in every kid.

Toddler Tuesday: Welkin NYC

When you have a new baby, the Instagram universe beckons; it’s somehow comforting to see the familiar faces you follow during those nights when there’s nobody but a tiny (crying) little human to talk to. That’s how we found two of our favorite NYC bloggers, Belle Savransky and LaTonya Staubs, whose covetable style and picturesque lives offer endless online inspiration. It turns out that these two mamas are equally stunning in real life...not to mention sweet, smart and incredibly savvy. In between bringing up their brood (Belle has a daughter Biet, 3, and son Lucien, 1; and LaTonya has a little girl River, 3, with one on the way), the duo has launched a kids’ line, Welkin NYC, whose identity is as distinctly downtown as the mamas who created it. Just about every item from the debut fall collection made us say, “I wish they made that in my size,” and we’re expecting to have a similar reaction to their summer line. We recently wandered the East Village with Belle and LaTonya -- with one of our fave photographers Lindsey Belle in tow -- to find out more about their burgeoning brand, growing families and love for NYC. What makes Welkin NYC different from other kids brands? We approach childrenswear with a really unique point of view when it comes to color and gender stereotypes. We try to honor and respect the child as an individual, while adding a bit of sophistication and humor into the clothes. The fact that most of our pieces are gender neutral is important to us. Don’t get us wrong, we love a frilly dress and little bow ties as much as the next mom, but we want to add some more diverse and edgy options to the world of children’s clothing. As two New Yorkers raising broods of little New Yorkers, we identify with and are proud of our city’s spirit and past. Our clothes are meant to be worn by city kids: adventuresome, diverse, creative outspoken, proud, ambitious, and playful kids. And we think there’s a bit of “city kid” in every kid. What inspires you while designing? We gain a lot of inspiration from cultural movements of the past and present that took place in New York City, as well as from the extensive diversity of culture and art that exists here. I find the idea of each person having their "own” New York very romantic. Everyone “belongs” in NYC, everyone can find their tribe here, and when people get together, amazing cultural phenomenons happen here. So many groups of people throughout history found or created “their” NYC: the beat poets, Warhol and his superstars, the Coney Island circus folk, the musicians and dancers of the Harlem renaissance, the Nuyorican poets of Alphabet City, the punks of the 70’s on the Bowery, the hip hop artists of the 90’s in the LES, and the list goes on and on. And it will continue to go on forever. Each of these groups had “their own" NYC for a spell of time. And then they change and the city changes, and somebody else finds a new NYC and creates something new. And yet everyone who makes anything ends up contributing the city’s constant and perpetual evolution. Tell us about the next collection. For our summer capsule collection, we are really gathering inspiration from NYC in the 1970’s: Coney Island, urban beaches, rollerskating and street performers. It’s just a capsule collection, so it will be just a couple summer staples. We’re keeping the designs really streamlined and functional, and are having a bit of fun with pattern and volume. The exact details and launch date are under wraps for now. How do you complement each other as partners? Our partnership is always evolving. Originally I (Belle) was more design-minded and LaTonya did most of the styling, but as we work together, we each take on more and more roles and sometimes flip roles completely. We are lucky in that we really complement each other when it comes to business and creativity. We keep each other in check design-wise, usually either toning down or encouraging the development of new ideas. We bounce ideas around a lot until they turn into full-fledged plans for new pieces. We also work together on each step of developing and growing our pieces. It’s really a 50/50 partnership when it comes to design, styling, PR and behind-the-scenes business work. How is the line sustainable and why is that so important to the DNA of the Welkin? Our model of sustainability is based on three really important concepts. The first is sustainable sourcing. We source much of our fabrics from sustainable mills, and use mostly recycled and organic textiles. Any crash course in what textile crop pesticides are doing to our earth will show you why its so important to us. We’re also huge fans of using leftover deadstock fabric, which would normally head to a landfill. We use it in small production runs for one-of-a-kind small runs. We use a more sustainable non-toxic printing process for our tees, and keep much of our paper packaging products recycled as well. We know that being mindful of what goes into our products can make a big difference in the world. The second concept is local manufacturing. We produce everything in NYC. We never, ever outsource overseas, which helps keep our company’s carbon footprint to a minimum. It feels good to work within NYC’s historic garment district and to help it to thrive, and it allows us to also check in at every level of manufacturing for superior quality control. We print all of our shirts in Brooklyn at a family-run printer. We try to work with other small businesses as much as possible. And third, we make sure everything is fairly made. The seamstress and workers who manufacture for us abide by fair labor laws. The team that we use is actually like a tight-knit family. They hug us when we walk in the door. They know our kids. It feels really good to work with people who love what they do, who love the city as much as we do, and who work with us face to face. What's it been like being moms and launching a business? It’s definitely a roller coaster. It’s amazingly gratifying to work in a career that is not only centered around fashion, which we love, but also, in a way, centered around motherhood, since we’re designing children’s clothes. Since we’re on similar life trajectories, we can truly relate to one another and can bring a lot of flexibility to our start-up. It’s almost as if we’re creating a brand new way of running a company -- one that works on a mom’s schedule. Some days it’s insanity. There are kids running around our feet with fabric samples as I’m (Belle) nursing a baby with one hand and finalizing pattern details with another, or we’re schlepping everyone all over midtown searching for a perfect fabric. And some days it’s just us in the studio catching up on emails and dreaming about the future. We definitely don’t run the business in a conventional way, but it works for us. It’s nice to be able to make up the rules as we go along, and it’s even nicer to have a superstar partner to do it with. How do you balance work and parenting...and life in general? Any tips? We definitely feel like we’re still figuring this one out. We have set times that are “work times” each week, and no matter what’s going on, we know that during those times we are accountable to each other and to the business. That helps a lot. We’re still shipping out orders on the way to ballet and staying up until ungodly hours emailing and editing product shots, but somehow it works. We’re navigating the infant stages of a business, and parenting our kids through their the early childhood stages, so a bit of mayhem is to be expected. It’s a lot of work, but we’re grateful to be able to do it -- all of it. What are some baby/children's brands you love and buy for your own kids? Kallio has a great vision and design. They recycle old clothing into really gorgeous streamlined designs. Nico Nico has a really understated, textural quality to their clothes. Talc makes those Parisian-style separates. Goatmilk is a go-to for basics with amazing integrity behind the brand. Dagmar Daley makes gorgeous storybook-esque pieces. Atsuyo et Akiko makes great tees. Soft Gallery has great geometric lines and collaborates with artists for one-of-a-kind capsule collections. Miller London -- gah! Even if pretty preppy isn’t your thing, you have to love everything they make. What are you fave shops around NYC for the kids? We adore the designer collaborations for the kids collections of Opening Ceremony. Darling Clementine and Sweet William are always immaculately curated. Miniluu, which is based in Manhattan, has gorgeous sustainable everything. Village Kids Footwear on First Ave. seems so unassuming, but it’s never failed for great shoes for the kids. Babesta Threads is always spot on with trendy brands. Jane’s Exchange in the East Village -- it’s all consignment and it’s great! What's ahead for Welkin NYC? For the time being, we’re sticking to toddler clothes, and will continue to release small collections as we develop them. We’ll also be rotating in a couple of new tee designs soon, as well as releasing a few limited edition accessories. With LaTonya’s new bundle arriving soon, we’ve been dreaming of dressing babies, so we’ll see where that takes us. Photography by Lindsey Belle. LINDSEYBELLE is shooting mini sessions in Central Park from May 4-10, right in time for Mother’s Day & Father’s Day. There's limited sessions available, so email [email protected] to schedule.

In This Article


    When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

    In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

    With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

    Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

    Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.


    Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

    There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)


    Breast Milk Storage Bags

    With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.


    Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

    Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.


    Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

    No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.


    Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

    With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.


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

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    7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

    Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

    When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

    Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

    1. Prep snacks on Sunday

    This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

    2. When in doubt, go for fruit

    Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

    3. Pair snacks with a dip

    Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

    4. Have high-protein options readily available

    Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

    5. Always keep the pantry stocked

    Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

    6. Make cracker tartines

    I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

    • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
    • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
    • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

    7. Pre-make smoothie pops

    The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

    Family Foodies

    15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Stomp Racers

    As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.


    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)


    Secret Agent play set


    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Stepping Stones


    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.


    Sand play set

    B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

    For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.


    Sensory play set


    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Foam pogo stick


    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.




    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.


    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.


    Pull-along ducks


    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Rocking chair seesaw


    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


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


    Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

    Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

    MoMo Productions/Getty Images

    If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

    But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

    Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

    In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.

    The correlations between screen time and children's health

    But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

    Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

    It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

    Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

    "When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

    A novel look at screen time in adolescents

    The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

    Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

    Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

    The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

    Children's health

    Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

    The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

    Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

    Motherhood knows no bounds.

    When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

    The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.

    Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

    Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO)

    Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

    Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

    "When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

    We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

    Our favorite viral mama + kid videos