It was 2am and I was sitting on a toilet seat in an airport bathroom, crying as a noisy machine sucked breastmilk out of me. I had a three-hour layover and I was pretty sure my boobs would pop if I didn’t pump. But, the only private space (that also had an outlet) available to me was the dingy handicap stall in the public bathroom. I felt ashamed and embarrassed over the 20-minutes I was sequestered in that stall – especially when someone pushed on the door or commented on the sound of my milk sucker.
Luckily, the ingenious ladies at Mamava saw me. Well, not me specifically, but all the women like me who are forced to submit themselves to embarrassing conditions each time they need to pump in public.
Their solution? Mamava Lactation Suites, which provide private, comfortable, and sanitary spaces for lactating ladies to feed their child, or drain that milk. The use of the pods is complimentary, as they’re purchased by the facility that’s offering the pod. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the founders of Mamava, Sascha Mayer, about the rights of breastfeeding women and how the pods can help.
Bailey Gaddis: What inspired the idea for Mamava?
Sascha Mayer: I was inspired by an amendment to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act that protected working moms from having to use their breast pumps in a bathroom. [According to the Mamava website, “The law mandates that employers provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space this is not a bathroom.”] We were also continuing to see women struggling with finding clean and comfortable spaces to breastfeed when they were out of their home and I just said, “this is broken and I have to fix it.”
Bailey Gaddis: What are features of the Mamava pods that make them so conducive to pumping and breastfeeding?
Sascha Mayer: The pods were designed with our two audiences in mind – the pumping mom and the breastfeeding mom. Moms want privacy, so the pods have a locking door. We also have an app that women can use to locate and unlock the pods. Inside, it’s very much like a kitchen with a bench, good lighting, and a fold down table that’s easy to wipe down. There’s also an outlet for the pump and a USB charger, because so many moms are multi-tasking. While the pods were specifically made for pumping moms, they’re also a nice private space for moms to breastfeed.
We also wanted to make sure that the pods made it easy for facilities to do the right things and provide this space for moms. So, they’re easily placed and can be installed in 2-3 hours, can be rolled to various locations, and are low maintenance.
Bailey Gaddis: Can you tell me more about the legal rights of breastfeeding mothers?
Sascha Mayer: The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act is a mandate that states that if you’re an employer with more than 50 employees you have to provide a space that isn’t a bathroom for women to use a breast pump. Some of the more progressive states have richer legislation that protects a breastfeeding mom’s rights even further. In San Francisco, for example, businesses have to provide a lactation room.
This is so important because now, moms don’t always have to be advocating for themselves. It’s hard enough if you’re a mom that has to go back to work – it’s important to have legislation that protects your rights.
Bailey Gaddis: How do you hope the Mamava pods shift the conversation around breastfeeding?
Sascha Mayer: We hope that our Mamava pods create more of a conversation around the lines of “oh, breastfeeding happens!” We want moms to feel celebrated and supported through these pods.
I hope our units being out and about also sparks a dialogue about the choices moms have in feeding their babies. If their choice is to breastfeed, they should be supported in that. Moms should do what they feel most comfortable with. And, we don’t want women to feel like they need to pass on the option of breastfeeding because our culture doesn’t make it easy to do when they are out of their homes.
Bailey Gaddis: What advice would you give to breastfeeding mothers who work in a space without a comfortable and private space to pump, who would like to broach this subject with their employer?
Sascha Mayer: I think it’s important for women to remember that it’s in their employer’s best interest to keep them healthy and happy, rather than risking the potential of losing them and having to find a replacement. So, women should feel confident that it’s within her rights to feel comfortable talking about it and asking for what she needs. It’s also important for women to remember that they’re not alone and can find support through places like Facebook groups. Over 3 million women are breastfeeding every year – there’s a lot of support our there.
Bailey Gaddis: How do feel that millennial moms are influencing the conversation around lactation rights?
Sascha Mayer: We’ve found that millennial moms are driving the conversation around lactation rights. They’re very different from Gen X moms and are empowered by the Times Up mentality. And, millennial moms speaking up about their rights inspires facilities to purchase Mamava pods.
Remember summer brain? That mental phenomenon where all the lessons learned during the school year slip away? And then bam. It’s back to school and our poor kids get a rude awakening as they try to get their brain back into gear after two to three months of lounging on the couch, bleaching their hair with sun and chlorine, and watching too much screen time after wearing their parents down.
So, what’s a parent to do? How do we create an epic summer for our kids while also stoking their brain with undercover learning? I asked my husband who is an educator in early elementary. His answer? Trick em’ into learning. That’s right, engage in some good natured trickery by mixing fun activities, laced with learning, into your child’s lazy summer days. But, because I can only come up with about three such activities on my own, I set out to find a resource – beyond my much beloved Pinterest – that would make things easy for me.
Enter, Education.com, a website I’m not being paid to promote – I just think it’s really helpful. While there’s an endless supply of learning resources on the site, all organized by age, my fave section is the activities. I checked off the preschool box and viola, I was met with enough activities to last all summer.
My son’s favorites have been making a city out of cereal boxes – an activity that can promote creativity and offers an opportunity to learn about recycling – and crafting “community helpers” out of paper bags, and other simple supplies, conveying the message that there are numerous types of people that keep the cogs of a community turning (this led to a one-hour convo about whose job it is to deal with all the poop, and if there is a poop fairy. Bless you sewage treatment plant operators.)
So, make your kid’s summer brain a little less mushy, while also creating sweet opportunities for bonding, by checking out Education.com
I would love to hear how it works for you, and what resources you tried (or the resources you skipped because you, like me, can only handle activities that require six or less materials.)
Here’s to a super chill, yet mind-stimulating summer.
Over the past year I’ve had more and more clients report issues with their children experiencing cyber bullying, and have even had some of my younger clients relay their first hand experiences with it. So, I’m happy to publish this guest post from Anna Blake who recently released an educational children’s book on Internet safety.
How to Prevent Cyber Bullying
By: Anna Blake
Cyber bullying is becoming an epidemic and it has a serious impact on the mental health of both children and adults. You or your child can fall victim to cyber bullies at any time, even if you did not in any way engage with the perpetrators or provoke the attack. It is important to know how to prevent cyber bullying before it gets out of hand.
You should actively monitor your children’s online activities, so you can identify possible cyber bullying situations. The internet provides a level of disconnect that emboldens cyber bullies to say and do things they wouldn’t do in the real world. Your child may not know how to handle these attacks, so it is up to you to step in and handle the situation for them.
Make sure to take screenshots and save any audio or video messages, if you can. If the cyber bullies are known to you or your child, take appropriate action to report their behavior. For younger kids, you can inform the school, as most districts have a proactive policy that aims to stamp out cyber bullying. Otherwise, you may need to contact the police and determine whether the issue is within the realm of their cyber bullying unit, or to ask for a referral to a local organization that can help.
Tell your child not to engage with the cyber bullies and block them once you have enough evidence of potentially unlawful activities. It is also essential you protect you or your child’s personal information, as cyber bullies will use it as a threat or means to intimidate. Ideally, you will have had a conversation with your child about not sharing personal information in group chats, forums, or social media platforms that they wouldn’t share in the real world.
Signs of Cyber Active Bullying
If you notice your child does not want to spend as much time online, it may indicate she is being cyber bullied. Handle the situation gently and discuss reasons why she does not want to go online. You cannot help your child resolve the issue if there is a barrier to communication. Cyber bullying can cause a child to feel embarrassed and weak, so an understanding and empathetic approach is ideal.
Look and listen for signs of cyber bullying when your child is online. Preferably, online devices should only be used when you are in the room and able to effectively monitor what is going on, without encroaching too much on your child’s internet time. If a child is making a conscious effort to hide the device screen, it should set off alarm bells that something is not right.
Children are not as equipped to handle conflict as adults are, so monitor your child’s emotions while online. If she seems angry or upset, there is a very good chance it is due to cyber bullying. Encouraging your child to discuss their problems at this stage may prove difficult. However, you need to establish what is going on in order to help.
When a child changes her name on social media or creates a completely different account for no apparent reason, she is likely being stalked and tormented by cyber bullies. If you ignore these signs, the issue will only escalate to the point where your child feels there is nowhere left to turn. She will become withdrawn and emotionally distressed in social situations. This is the time where you must let your child know you are a trusted ally who will stand by her side.
Due to the fact that cyber bullying has become such a serious problem, there is plenty of support available for parents and kids. If you are finding it difficult to help your child, don’t be afraid to reach out to schools, public authorities, and any local support groups that are involved in combating cyber bullying.
About Anna Blake
Anna is a stay at home mom, wife and owner of very demanding cat, from sunny Chatsworth, California. When she is not busy chasing her 2 year old around, you can find her trying out new salad recipes or re-watching favorite chick-flick movies.
Together with her hubby they educate kids and adults about internet safety through their website and recently created an educational children’s book Internet Kids – Road Trip.
As a kid, I would flip through my baby book, hoping my mom had filled in some of the blanks while I was sleeping or at school. But every time I took the book off its shelf, I saw the same barren pages between the faded pale yellow covers. Listed were the date and time of my birth, my birth weight, a lock of hair from my first haircut … and that was all. I promised myself that if I ever became a parent, I wouldn’t start a baby book if I couldn’t commit to the project. As an adult, I know that I’m amazing at starting projects. But finishing them? Not so much.
This is why I’ve never owned a baby book.
It turns out, I’m not alone. In the age of the smartphone, many parents are finding the traditional baby book just doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t mean those of us who are sans baby book aren’t capturing the important moments. There are plenty of ways to hold onto the milestones, the mispronunciations that are too cute to correct, and everything in between – while letting go of the pressure to fill in the blanks.
. . .
4 | Film them
There is nothing quite like a video to preserve a moment. At the end of each year, Bailey Gaddis, the Ojai, California mother and author of “Feng Shui Mommy,” creates a “Year in Review” video montage of all the short takes she’s recorded of her four-year-old son throughout the year. Not only does the video showcase milestones and random sweet and funny moments, Bailey loves that they double as holiday gifts for the grandparents. As an added bonus, videos won’t create clutter.
Sometimes, it takes a natural disaster to make things clear.
When an out of control wildfire chars over 242,000 acres, destroys 972 structures, and forces 88,000 people out of their homes, many couples are forced to come together in ways that leave lasting imprints on their relationship.
My husband and I spent a week holed up with our four-year-old in a hotel room escaping the flames and smoke of the Thomas Fire while obsessively checking our phones for updates and praying that our house survived. Our relationship was tested, but we came out of it with an appreciation for how we were able to show up for each other when things got real.
We were not the only ones. Many of the couples I spoke with post-fire reported significant shifts in their relationships after the shared experience of a natural disaster.
My main issue with the classic Ergobaby carrier was that I could only (comfortably) have my son facing my chest. As he grew older, and had a desire to check out the happenings around him, he would get peeved when he was stuck looking at me (unless he was in the mood for some boob.) So, I’m happy to report that the Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier solves that problem and allows your babe to comfortably be carried in pretty much every position you can imagine: forward facing, outward facing, on the hip, and on the back.
And, there are other perks attached to this updated Ergobaby:
The structured bucket seat allows baby to sit in an ergonomically-friendly position, in all positions, minimizing “my crotch hurts” fussiness.
There’s also goodies for the adult. The crossbale shoulder straps and lumbar support allow you to go for hours with your child strapped to your body without feeling like your back is being slowly tortured. I would know – I went on a four mile hike with this carrier (and my child) and I could have gone further.
You no longer have to worry about losing that bulky newborn insert. You can now simply adjust the leg width and wa-lah (!), newborn ready.
It’s more comfortable for dads. My husband, who is a lot a bit larger than me, had problems adjusting our original carrier to suit his wider and taller frame. The Omni 360 carrier is so versatile and easy to adjust he gets a little twinkle in his eye when he gets a turn with it.
While I was already a devotee of Ergobaby before this new beauty was released, the Omni 360 is such a champ I’m now that mom who accosts people at the park telling them how they MUST get an Ergobaby Omni 360 in their life.
P.S. Dear Ergobaby, could you please figure out a way to add a cup holder and wine dispenser to your next model? Please and thank you.
What better way to start this new chapter of your life than with a crisp white slate, set in a whimsical winter woodland?
Winter weddings offer many advantages (like better rates!) but one of the brightest aspects of a wedding during this chilly time of year is the cheery, loving, and fresh-start vibes reverberating through the season. Oh, and there are few things as romantic as cozying up by the fire with celebratory champagne and your sweetheart, while snow gently coats the land. The following destinations offer the best in winter wedding venues.
1. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe – Incline Village, NV
Whether you want the backdrop of the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, an intimate mountain lodge, or the grandeur of the Lakeside Ballroom the Hyatt can deliver a wedding even more spectacular than all your Pinterest wedding boards combined. As you near the big day, the Hyatt will help calm your nerves with sunsets that make you forget to breathe, a spa full of magic-hand masseuses that melt your stress, and nearby tree-lined slopes that offer endless exploration.