Last Wednesday, September 29th, was our first ever Best for Babes Benefit to Beat the Booby Traps at the very posh Deva Spa in Soho, New York City! Fit Pregnancy, Big City Moms and Deva Spa hosted the evening and it was a huge success!
During the event we had an unexpected revelation. We had been promoting the event for weeks and figured that it would attract expecting moms who planned to breastfeed and wanted to get the skinny on how to get their best game on and navigate the breastfeeding booby traps.™ Providing a fun, luxe, pampering event with spa treatments, goodies, and giveaways that “nurtured the nurturer” fulfilled our vision of bringing breastfeeding into the mainstream. We wanted to show these moms that they deserved to be celebrated, coached and cheered on; that ALL moms, including those who make the commitment to breastfeed and get through the breastfeeding learning curve, deserve to be rewarded with a massage instead of kicked out of a restaurant or airplane for nursing their babes. We were incredibly grateful that Fit Pregnancy organized the event as a fundraiser for us. What we didn’t expect though, was when we asked the question, “how many of you are planning to breastfeed,” less than half the hands shot up.
Mind you, this was New York City, not West Virginia where the breastfeeding rates are abysmal. New York City, where most people assume that all expecting moms want to or try to breastfeed! We realized in that moment that we were accomplishing exactly what we had set out to do when Danielle and I founded Best for Babes. We have always wanted to reach out to women who are on the fence or nervous about breastfeeding, or who are not being reached by traditional breastfeeding advocacy.
We believe that a large portion of moms who are determined to breastfeed have a pretty good chance of finding their way to La Leche League, Kellymom.com, Breastfeeding.com or an IBCLC—even though they are often being boobytrapped and suffer unnecessarily, many persevere, and there are actually a lot of resources for those moms that are resourceful. ( Best for Babes also works very hard to raise awareness of all the fantastic resources available to breastfeeding moms.) But what about the moms that are not making it to the breastfeeding support groups, who don’t have peers, family members or health care providers who are nudging them along, or who are actively undermining them? These are the moms that are falling through the cracks; either they don’t even try to breastfeed or if they do, they throw in the towel because they are being overwhelmed by the barriers–including false advertising and aggressive marketing of artificial breastmilk substitutes–in the first few days and weeks. Our vision, which was realized at the event, is to “woo and wow” those moms. We attract these moms through our mainstream images and branding that they can relate to, through positive, gentle, non-judgmental and encouraging messaging and easy-to-digest breastfeeding info, and by reaching them in their comfort zone, under the umbrella of the familiar and well-oiled marketing machine of the maternity industry.
So, our guests were treated like royalty, with luxurious mini massages, facials and manicures—one mom raved it was the best ever—and enticed with delicious food (thanks to the generosity of Fit Pregnancy, who donated a feast of healthy snacks and beverages, and Milk Makers, who donated tasty cookies). Peg Moline, the stylish and fabulous Editor-in-Chief of Fit Pregnancy, spoke candidly about nursing her own children until they were 3, and delivered very practical and useful tips for nursing on the go, setting a great example as a powerful, successful woman who made it work. Our phenomenal, persuasive lactation consultants spoke on topics of great interest to moms:
Shari Criso, IBCLC reassured moms on the fence; Laura Keegan, RN, FNP explained how to get a great latch; Heather Kelly, IBCLC gave moms a preparation to-do list of just three things, and three things to look for to know that breastfeeding is going well, and Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC spoke about perceived low milk supply, separating myth from fact. The most exciting part of the evening was watching moms chat with lactation consultants, including Beth Mylar, IBCLC, over appetizers, getting their questions answered and their fears addressed . . . we literally watched them go from “no thanks” to “I want to breastfeed!” It was truly exciting to know we were making a difference. We could not have reached these moms without the help of Fit Pregnancy, the #1 mainstream pregnancy magazine, and Big City Moms, the premiere social event group in NYC bringing moms seminars, family fun days, mommy and me classes, and expectant events. Special thanks also to the Yummy Mummy store, the Holistic Moms Network of Greater New York and Healthy Child Healthy World for helping us get the word out!
At the end of the evening fabulous prizes were raffled off and guests left with stylish Fit Pregnancy diaper bags in black linen with blue ticking stripe lining, stuffed to the top with goodies courtesy of our sponsors. Our premiere sponsors Stokke, Pumpease, Motherlove, MobyWrap, Earth Mama Angel Baby, and Lansinoh—all WHO-Code Compliant sponsors—donated raffle or goody bag items and made a substantial donation to Best for Babes. Thank you so much for your leadership and for making this event possible! Also donating to the raffle and goody bags as well as making a generous donation to Best for Babes were Milkstars, Pumpin’ Pal, Balboa Baby, Hadley Stilwell, Laura Keegan, Belly Armor, Shower Hug, L’arrivo, Milkmakers, Posh Pads, The Bump Brooklyn, and Melinda G. For the rest of the goody bag and raffle sponsors, see Fit Pregnancy’s announcement of the event. Finally, all of our guests got a copy of the Best for Babes Guide to Beating the Breastfeeding Booby Traps, 31 pages of evidence-based info geared to getting moms off to the best possible start with their babes, and the design for the booklet was generously donated by Earth Mama Angel Baby and Fit Pregnancy. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated and made this a night to remember.
We think this is the beginning of a great new era for breastfeeding. This benefit will be our prototype for BYOBoobz™—reaching expecting and new moms through parties in homes or spas across the country, and raising funds to build the mother of all causes! With your help and the help of our sponsors, we’ll bring together inspiring information, giveaways and new gear to try out, and prepare moms to navigate and put pressure on the boobytraps. We can’t wait to get our next party started—we are already lining up great sponsors and have a list of volunteers ready to host! Stay tuned!