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Motherly @ Work features the stories and insights of modern women growing their careers—and their families.

Corinne Cannon is one of those mamas.

Once in a while you come across someone who inspires you in so many ways. In all the ways, really: to be a better mother, a better businessperson and a better human being. Corinne Cannon is one of those people.

As a mother of three, Corinne has a lot on her plate. And yet, she’s founded and grown a nonprofit organization called the DC Diaper Bank that helps mothers during a critical time in their lives by providing free diapers and other social services. Thirty percent of American mothers cannot afford to buy enough diapers for their babies—which not only impacts their children’s wellness, but also mama’s self-esteem as well. The DC Diaper bank, which has been featured on CNN and NBC, recently handed out their 4 millionth diaper to families in the Washington, DC, area.

That’s a lot of baby bums!

It all begs the question: what motivates someone to give of their time, energy and money to help others? And more than that, what is needed to create an organization that is sustainable, growing and meeting its core values?

Corinne recently took the time to answer a few questions about how it all happened, and what she credits with her success: the village she created from within.

How did you first get the idea to start DC Diaper Bank?

Corinne Cannon: I’ve had a few moments in my life that were complete turning points. The idea for DC Diaper Bank was one of them.

My first son was a difficult baby and I had many nights with him where he cried for what seemed like hours. When he was around four or five months old we were up at 3am and he was crying inconsolably—I had tried everything and nothing was working. I remember having an overwhelming urge to throw him against the wall—it was terrifying. I went and woke up my husband and tagged out.

As I lay in bed sobbing I thought, “Oh, this is how child abuse happens.”

Here I had all the support in the world—enough money, an incredible support system of family and friends, a planned pregnancy, a stable and loving relationship—and we were still struggling.

That night I started thinking about other mothers—mothers who did not have someone to go wake up, mothers who didn’t have enough money, mothers who might not have planned to have a baby—and I started wondering what was happening to those women emotionally. I did a lot of research before coming to diapers and I often say DC Diaper Bank has nothing to do with diapers, rather it’s about supporting families to ensure they have what they need to thrive with their children.

I often say DC Diaper Bank has nothing to do with diapers. Rather it’s about supporting families to ensure they have what they need to thrive with their children.

How does DC Diaper Bank help new parents?

Corinne Cannon: Raising new people is the hardest job in the world when everything is going well. It’s nearly impossible when you’re also worried about how your family will eat tomorrow and where they will sleep. We provide diapers and other hygiene essentials to families in the DC metro area—120,000 diapers to over 4,000 families a month.

We call diapers “gateway resources” because a mom who won’t reach for food or medical attention will reach out for diapers and in reaching out she gets connected to a social service agency that offers a range of other services and supports.

When did you know that you needed to hire outside help?

Corinne Cannon: I think I knew we needed outside help from day one! I started DC Diaper Bank when I was working full time and had a one-year-old. I called it my “8pm-midnight” job! I did that for the first 2.5 years and then my husband and I realized something had to give.

I quit my paying job and started doing DC Diaper Bank full time in 2013 and realized soon after that we needed more folks involved. From the get go I’ve had the support of literally hundreds of volunteers who have made a huge difference in our impact and work.

But we needed another person who was ‘on the clock’ and thinking about this work with me. In 2015 we started to pay me a small salary and we took a financial leap and hired a part-time Program Manager—the difference between just me and me plus one other person working 15 hours a week was mind boggling! We accomplished light years more than I ever could!

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How do you determine who to hire?

Corinne Cannon: I had it easy—we’ve hired three people and all of them came to us as volunteers first! I think the biggest thing I look for when hiring is, does the person understand what we’re trying to accomplish. If you understand the mission and the culture we’re trying to create the rest can come.

During the hiring process, what would you say are the most important questions to ask?

Corinne Cannon: I think the biggest question to ask is: what does someone want to get out of the position? I ask a lot of our employees—I ask for time and passion, energy and ideas, mundane tasks and customer service—and I think that if you’re going to give all that you must get something equal in return. What energizes you? What do you want to learn that is not even remotely in your job description?

What are the most important personality attributes for a new employee to have?

Corinne Cannon: Openness. The ability to ask for help. Knowing what they know and knowing what they don’t know.

What are the challenges of delegating?

Corinne Cannon: I think the biggest challenge for me is the follow up—like the rest of the world I sometimes think that merely asking someone to do something means it’s accomplished!

What has bringing in help and “letting go” allowed you and your organization to achieve?

Corinne Cannon: Where to begin? So much of the organization lived in my head for so long—what we could become, what we should be doing—and as we added staff and those conversations moved out of my head and into the world they changed and got better.

For me it’s not ‘letting go’ it’s ‘letting collaboration work’.

It’s bouncing ideas off and then crafting something better together. We’re helping more families, raising more dollars, educating more people about this need and growing the amount of items we stock.

What does building a solid team provide?

Corinne Cannon: It provides beautiful peace of mind. If I’ve done anything right with this organization, I’ve hired exceptional people. I’ve been walking around so happy lately for a simple reason—if I were to die tomorrow I know that DC Diaper Bank would carry on and continue to do amazing work because we’ve built a solid team. Plus it’s fun to work with people you like and trust!

Personally, do you struggle with knowing you could do a task “better” or “faster”?

Corinne Cannon: I don’t anymore. I think I realized early on that while there are many things I could do faster, at least at first, I can’t do them all and I can’t do them all plus more. If you want to grow something you have to share the work freely. Doing this also allows me to focus on the areas I actually can do faster or better and the ones I can’t but need to learn.

How does being a mother affect the way you run your business?

Corinne Cannon: I think, and hope, that it’s made me a far better manager.

Having children re-prioritizes your life in a beautifully brutal way—what matters becomes crystal clear.

I love what I do, I love who I work with, and I love the community we’re helping to build—both for the families who receive our diapers and the families who volunteer with us. But it needn’t be the most important thing in my life or the others who work there—we can do this work and do it well without it taking over our lives.

Is there any one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring lady bosses?

Corinne Cannon: Determine what you want to accomplish—what change do you want to make—and then do the research to determine how to do it in the most effective and efficient way.

Often times the answer is simpler than we think but not always the answer we want.

I’ve had many women come to me who want to start nonprofits and my first question is always “What do you want to accomplish?” Once they answer, my second question is usually, “Have you spoken to nonprofit X who is doing the exact work you are hoping to do?”

What does “motherly” mean to you?

Corinne Cannon: In my mind, “motherly” has always meant stable and kind. And, as I get older, I also see those things as sexy! For me there is something incredibly attractive about those who are constant and caring—in a world that sometimes seems to have lost its center, we need more folks righting the ship and that takes consistency and kindness.

Donate to the DC Diaper Bank here, and help new mothers get the resources and help they desperately need.

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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.


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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