Expert Interviews

  • Baby Food by Stage

    Happy Family’s founder shares some of her favorite recipes for baby.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Baby’s first feeding is a huge milestone. And while we know it’s fun and exciting, it’s also overwhelming and sometimes even nerve-wracking. It’s not always easy to create healthy, nutritious meals when we’re busy or distracted or simply trying to adjust to a picky palette. But, what your child eats during those first few months and years has the potential to impact him for his entire life.

    Nobody knows this better than the founder of Happy Family Brands, Shazi Visram, who’s been helping moms provide healthy food for their babies for 10 years. “From the moment you conceive through your child’s second birthday is a vital period where everything you feed yourself and your child will ultimately shape their healthy eating habits,” she says. “Tastes develop in the womb and these seemingly small decisions will result in big outcomes for your child’s future.”

    Shazi’s celebrating Happy Family’s 10th anniversary in a big way — she just published The Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook For Baby & Toddler, with more than 70 easy-to-prepare recipes made with wholesome and easy-to-find ingredients for children from 4 months and beyond, AND gave birth to her second baby, Asha (son, Zane is 6 years old). Below, Shazi shares some insights on balancing her babies, business and book, and provides 3 easy recipes for your baby, no matter what his stage.


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  • Working Moms: General Public Goods

    Instagram is a place for inspiration and information, as well as camaraderie and community. Many a thumb-swipe have yielded a great friendship or business partner, two people that may not have ever found each other otherwise if not for a follow and a like. Such is the case with Alexis Sassard and Randee Shields, co-founders of one of our favorite new lines of new mama must-haves, General Public Goods.

    These two Texas mamas have reinvigorated the postpartum wardrobe, with simple, classic hand-made pieces. Like the perfect V-neck top. A cardigan you’ll reach for on the daily. And a ring sling that’s comfortable and chic from your baby’s infancy through toddlerhood, with genius details like a pocket on the tail.

    Now that both are expecting their second babies, they’re bound to have even more insight into the postpartum market.

    Read more here

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  • The Nursing Bra You Need: Interview With Au Lait Founder Emily Hsu

    Finding nursing bras that make breastfeeding easy and don’t compromise on comfort can feel impossible to find, but Au Lait has you covered! We sat down with Au Lait founder Emily Hsu and discussed the inspiration behind her line of unique nursing wear. The Au Lait line provides privacy, comfort and support through design and materials that are safe for you and your baby – which is why we’re so excited to have them as our newest addition to The Covet Shop!

    1) What inspired you to start Au Lait? 

    I had a really hard time trying to sustain my breastfeeding efforts while traveling for work.  I was not comfortable with exposing myself especially while I was on business flights and conferences.  Au Lait’s styles are made for the nursing mothers on the go, while providing 360 degrees of privacy.

    2) How are your clothes different from other nursingwear brands?

    Au Lait combines timeless style with a focus on fabric and feeding technology so that breastfeeding moms are not restricted to nursing tops that are overly casual.

    3) Tell us more about the nursing bra. How did you design it? Why is it special?

    I suffered from repeated bouts of mastitis while I was breastfeeding Avery.  The doctor told me to not wear a nursing bra to help prevent future occurrences but as any nursing mom knows, not wearing a bra is not really an option unless I just stayed home all day and even then, I wouldn’t want to be in a wet shirt all day!

    So while designing a new nursing bra, I had two goals in mind.  I need a bra that grew and shrank with me throughout the day (and especially nights) and also, a bottom band that provided support but did not “pinch” my milk ducts as my doctor told me was one of the possible causes of mastitis.

    Our Seamless Lounge Nursing Bra utilizes an ultra fine spandex spun just for our bottom band so that it sits against your rib cage but does not restrict or roll.  The bra has a crossover design on both the front and back so it truly expands and shrinks with your every change.

    I added special pockets to hold removable cups because I personally can use the shaping help and also, I was so sick of dropping and picking up my reusable nursing pad everywhere.  So you can tuck your reusable nursing pads into the special pockets to keep them in place as you go about your day with your little one.

    4) You don’t have a white bra. What is the reasoning behind your color selections?

    The process of making a garment white involves both bleaching and the application of optical whiteners.  Synthetic fabrics that are widely popular these days due to their more technical nature (good stretch, and wicking) requires 2 processes in order to achieve a true white. The kind of white that I know your brand new baby reminds you of: pure, untainted, cloud-like cleanliness.

    Due to the fact that reductive bleaching and optical whiteners both use fluorescents to achieve the clean white that we so love, I had to make the call and err on the side of caution as I slept in my nursing bras.

    In fact, except for when I was showering, I lived in my nursing bras 24/7 for as long as I nursed Avery.  I am sure that 99% of the chemical traces are washed off eventually and I know even our laundry detergents have traces of fluorescents in it to make “our whites white and our brights brighter!”

    However, I had to think about the tired, desperate, first-time mom with aching boobs, who just wants to pull on the bra right out of the package.  I have to think about her and what is best for her and her baby.

    5) What’s your favorite Nine Naturals product?

    I have been using the Natural Pregnancy Belly Oil religiously since its launch!  It is so luxurious and easy to spread around my belly.  I use it twice a day and I haven’t gotten the belly itches yet and I’m due this week!

    Born into a family dedicated to designing and creating the highest end performance textile products, Emily H. has spent over a decade in crafting fit, design, and production for the performance sports industry and working with the world’s most innovative brands in textiles and garment construction technology.

    While breastfeeding her daughter Avery, Emily was constantly frustrated and shocked at the lack of clothing options for breastfeeding women. Although comfort is very important, it should not be a hindrance to pursuing style and functionality. Utilizing her knowledge in fabrics and garment construction, Emily decided to solve the two biggest issues with nursing and breastfeeding tops: privacy for the nursing mother and designs that avoid the drab look that nursing tops feature today.


    5 Tips For Buying The Nursing Perfect Bra
    Mastitis and Breastfeeding
    How to: Nurse (Discreetly) at a Restaurant

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    • Toxin-Free Nail Polish With A Story: Interview With Founder Of Trust Fund Beauty

      We are so excited to introduce Trust Fund Beauty as our first curated addition to The Covet Shop. We sat down with the founder of TFB, Samara Granofsky and learned what inspired her to create a high-quality line of fun nail polishes that are safe for you and those you love. With Trust Fund Beauty, you can look fabulous without compromising your health.

      1) What inspired you to start TFB?

      My mother was going through chemotherapy and wanted a safe, non-toxic nail polish. The non-toxic nail polishes she found had limited colors and weren’t fun or didn’t have cool names. Inspired by my mother, years later I put her want and our joint sense of humor into creating Trust Fund Beauty, a luxury line of high-end, collection-themed, toxin free polishes.

      2) We (and I’m sure other women as well!) love the playful nature of the names of your polishes. What inspired these names?

      The names were inspired by my life and the pop culture we all live in. Every name has a meaning behind it – for example, the story behind the Rich Bitch nail polish is “Self-explanatory. You get what you want, because you can. And you do it with style.”

      3) What are the chemicals you want to avoid in nail polishes? Why are they harmful?

      We formulate our nail polishes in accordance to FDA regulations and David Sazuki Foundation guidelines, in order to eliminate the chemicals that are deemed toxic while still producing a quick drying, durable and long wearing polish (thank you science!).

      4) Tell us more about TFB formulations. What makes them unique to other brands?

      Our nail polishes are actually 7-free (meaning free of parabens, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde and resin - editor's note: TFB is now 10-free!), but we do not use it in our marketing because the term hasn’t caught on just yet. The polishes are still quick drying, long wearing and super pigmented. It just goes to show that you don’t need chemicals to have a great product!

      The polishes are also cruelty free to both humans and animals (no part of our product is made in a country with questionable human rights records or labor laws).

      5) What’s your favorite/go-to TFB nail color?

      It depends on my mood, but I love Rich Bitch. For me, it’s the perfect red! And sometimes I break a nail and have to file the rest down short to match and it also looks good on both long and short nails.

      As a lover of the finest things life has to offer, Samara Granofsky created Trust Fund Beauty out of a desire to bring out the rich bitch in everyone. A skilled shopper who never denies herself the pleasure of “one in every colour”, Samara is a self-proclaimed polish addict so the idea to start a 7-free luxury line of high-end, collection-themed polishes was a no-brainer!

      The Covet Shop is a curated collection of beauty and lifestyle products to help you discover the brands we Love + Trust + Covet.


      The Top 5 Spring (Pregnancy- Safe!) Nail Polish Trend
      Pregnancy-Safe Aromatherapy
      The Bump : 10 Safe Skincare Products to Use During Pregnancy

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      • healthy mama Founder Rachel Katz-Galatt on Baby #2 and Pregnancy-Safe Remedies

        healthy mama® is the first brand to offer pregnant and nursing mamas a complete line of safe* and effective wellness solutions for those times when mamas feel a little less than “glowing.” The entire healthy mama® line has been created in partnership with major health organizations, OB/GYNs and nutritionists to ensure it contains the highest quality, safest* and most effective solutions for all of mama’s common pregnancy and nursing needs.

        How was Healthy Mama conceived and how has it been received by mamas-to-be?

        I founded healthy mama® out of my own real life experience of being confused and frustrated when trying to find a safe remedy to help alleviate my dreaded constipation during my first pregnancy. Feeling particularly uncomfortable one night, my husband David and I paid a visit to my local pharmacy in search of an over the counter remedy, but with the aisles full of pills and potions, I wasn’t sure what was safe to take and neither was the pharmacist. Needing to ‘get things moving’, I unknowingly selected a remedy that I later learned was deemed unsafe for use during pregnancy and was in fact, cited to cause uterine contractions. Sometime shortly thereafter, I delivered my oldest daughter, Mia, at just 24 weeks!  I spent the next five months watching Mia fight for her life in the NICU. It was there that I made a commitment to help other women avoid the same plight.

        How many pregnancy concerns addressed by Healthy Mama did you experience during your own pregnancies? Which existing Healthy Mama products do you most wish you had back then?

        The most disruptive concern I had was constipation–I had never had that ailment before and it was quite uncomfortable. If you ever get into such a bind (pun intended), you will know that Move it Along! Constipation Relief is the safest product to take during pregnancy to alleviate your ailment effectively. Boost it Up! Protein Energy Drink contains 3g of fiber to avoid constipation too. Be Well Rounded! Prenatal Vitamin and DHA supplements have a special non-constipating iron, a mineral pregnant women need but many don’t take due to side effects. I wish I had these 3 products mentioned to safely avoid and remedy constipation with peace of mind during my pregnancy!

        What was the biggest difference between your first and second pregnancy?   

        We tried so hard to get pregnant the first time around. My second pregnancy was actually not planned… we had just come home from being in the hospital with my first child and recovering from a very traumatic event when we discovered we were pregnant. We were shocked and nervous but also so excited!

        Do you have any advice for those of us that may be thinking about having #2?

        You are a bit more knowledgeable and experienced the second time around… there are always new products available and more convenient ways to do things, but you have more control of the situation. It’s a bit more laid back. Enjoy the ride. Ensure your body is prepared to be a host for the little munchkin by maintaining a healthy weight and taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid at least 3 months prior to conception.

        How do you balance being a mother-of-two and CEO/Founder of a such a fast-growing and successful brand?

        Not easily quite honestly. I like to do everything at 100% and that’s just not possible. I try to prioritize and get all my work complete during work hours so that I can get home to spend time with my two beautiful girls in the evening. I am blessed to have an extremely supportive husband who takes on additional responsibility when necessary. He gets up in the morning to make them breakfast and get them dressed for school and helps them brush their teeth and put them to bed at night when I am away on a business trip or need to spend extra hours at the office. Everyone has different measures of success–I wouldn’t be successful in life if I let them grow up without me being there, even if I had the most successful business.

        We love what Healthy Mama has come up with thus far. What’s next for the company?  

        We have some really exciting products on the horizon! We are about to launch an amazing product to help alleviate one of the most uncomfortable symptoms, morning sickness. Nip the Nausea! organic morning sickness capsules contain organic ginger and vitamin B6 which are clinically proven ingredients to help eliminate the need to pray to the porcelain god.  It will be launching on February 1st and at select GNC stores March 22nd.


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      • Fashion Find: Mitera Collection

        A chic collection of nursing dresses to ensure you have one less obstacle postpartum.

        Mitera Collection

         Article & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

        When Yoko Shimada gave birth to her son Hugo in 2010, she was in a state of euphoria as many of us new moms are. But, “there is another side of motherhood that no words can describe,” she remembers. “Nobody really tells you how truly challenging it can be. Sleeplessness, hormone-induced sweating, post-pregnancy excess weight and saggy stomach, postpartum hair loss, lack of time for any form of self-care like showering, putting on decent clothes and exercising.” Sound familiar?

        She struggled with breastfeeding, and when that got easier, she struggled with breastfeeding in public. And then she struggled with pumping when she went back to work as a global public health exec. She had to look professional, but also needed easy access to her breasts for pumping. Dresses were impossible. “I had to completely undress, or at the very least, undress from the waist up (if there was a zipper in the back) in order to pump. If someone were to walk in the door while I was pumping, I would look completely naked.”

        And so she dreamed up Mitera Collection, a beautiful, functional and practical line of versatile nursing- and pumping-friendly dresses. Three years and one more baby (Emmeline) later, it came to life. The inaugural collection launched this spring and includes 6 styles that range from casual to professional to party. It reflects the sensibility of an urban mom, who Shimada says, “is not just a mom, but a woman who wears many different hats.” Mitera is also committed to newborn and maternal health; a percentage of revenue will support organizations working in that space.

        Below, Shimada talks about the journey to launch Mitera, and how it’s helping solve at least one challenge we all face postpartum: what to wear.

        Mitera Collection dress

        Tell us about your own breastfeeding experience.
        Society expects and everything in the media tells you that you are supposed to be HAPPY to be a mom. But having done it twice now, it is not that simple. I admit that the first three to four months into my postpartum period was both the happiest and hardest time of my life. As a global health professional who specialized in maternal and child health, I knew the benefits of breastfeeding and I spent my career educating women in different parts of the world about the importance of breastfeeding and its benefits for both the baby and mom. But when it was my turn, I realized how hard it actually was. My nipples cracked and bled and they hurt for a good month and a half (with both kids!). Constant breastfeeding sessions every few hours = no sleep, no rest. Pumping sucked. Period. But after persevering through a few problems for the next two months, I was successfully breastfeeding and came to really enjoy it.

        How did that experience plant the seed for Mitera?
        Just when I had gotten used to the breastfeeding process, I encountered another problem – breastfeeding in public. On top of already feeling unattractive, I could not really wear clothes that made me feel somewhat normal. Instead, I was wearing ‘nursing’ friendly clothes where I could easily and ‘discreetly’ pop my breasts out for feeding my son or lift a shirt exposing my midriff, the most vulnerable part of my postpartum body to nurse. Both of my babies were extremely unhappy with the nursing cape that they constantly batted away, every time I tried to cover myself. When my son was 3 months old, we took him to Japan (my home country) to introduce him to his extended family. In addition to the stress of traveling internationally with my newborn son, it was also a struggle to feed, pump and store milk at the airport and in the economy seat of an airplane. It was messy and I felt uncomfortable, frustrated and miserable.

        Mom Fashion - Mitera Collection

        What about your back-to-work experience?
        Four and a half months after Hugo was born, I went back to work. The lactation room in our building was located in a dark basement. After trying to pump there a couple of times, I started pumping in my office with a big sign on the door saying “DO NOT ENTER.” I pumped while checking emails. I pumped while eating lunch. I pumped while on conference calls. I pumped all the time.

        This is when I ran into yet another challenge – my wardrobe. Since my days were so busy with no option to stay late, I had to be ultra efficient while accommodating my pumping schedule. My attire had to be in line with the professional look of the World Bank, but also make it easy for me to quickly access my breasts for pumping.

        Out of necessity, I started sketching my ideas out for nursing dresses nice enough to wear to the office. Initially, I never really thought about making them. But, then I realized that I couldn’t find anything in the market that really worked for me. I found a patternmaker in Japan to make the prototypes and had a tiny factory in Kobe produce the first samples of my breastfeeding dresses. I wore them all myself out of necessity and also to test them. It was not long until other moms started noticing them and asking me where I got the dresses. So, I continued working on the design in the evenings after I put my son to bed, while holding down a fulltime job that required constant international travel. It took me another three years and one more baby to decide to develop my idea into a business.

        Tell me about the Mitera aesthetic.
        Contemporary, Sophisticated, Modern, Chic, Urban, Simple, Inspiring and Empowering. I designed all the dresses from the point of view of a woman who is a mother. Our dresses are designed to be first and foremost beautiful and then functional and practical. I want women to feel like they are done the minute they put on our dresses (as moms, we are always short on time, right?). All of our pieces are designed to be versatile – from day to night, brunch to dinner, playdate to cocktail, office to evening, and kids birthday parties to weddings.

        Mitera maternity dress

        How are they functional for breastfeeding and comfortable for postpartum?
        All of our dresses have the patent-pending hidden zipper system which allows for discreet feeding and pumping. Three out of the six dresses have what we call a modesty bra, which is a thin lining or a loose sports bra offering extra protection when the zippers are open. All of our dresses are machine-washable and several come with huge pockets for essential mom items like keys, pacifiers and toy cars. I know how messy mommying can get, so I envisioned those days when I might be nursing a baby while dealing with a toddler covered in Nutella or some other sticky substance! With our timelessly chic design, completely hidden zipper access and practical luxury afforded by details like pockets and washability, our pieces are meant to be worn through pregnancy, nursing and well beyond, through the joys and challenges of motherhood. I wanted to design dresses that women would want to wear even if they are not pregnant or nursing.

        What kind of fabrics do you use?
        We use only high quality durable and washable fabrics made in Japan. This has practical and ethical reasons. We searched high and low for luxurious yet durable and washable materials for our dresses. While it would be nice to wear a silk dress, it is not practical when you have small children and cost of dry cleaning could be prohibitive. I personally source fabrics from Japan and we know where our fabrics are manufactured and feel confident about their quality, as well as traceability.

        Why is wearing a nursing-specific item so important for a breastfeeding mom?
        Most dresses do not allow easy access for discreet breastfeeding. Most of the time actually, wearing a dress as a breastfeeding mom means taking it all off or becoming half-naked if there was a zipper in the back, in order to nurse. It is just not practical. There are great designs like the classic V-neck dresses or crow-neck dresses where you can access your breasts for feeding or pumping, but the problem is that these designs are fairly limited. I wanted to wear dresses to go to the office and needed something that was professional as well as elegant and something that allowed me to easily access my breasts for frequent pumping while I was on a conference call or typing an email. I could certainly not wear a deep V-neck with my protruding lactating boobs (lol!).

        Postpartum fashion - Mitera Collection

        What can we expect in future seasons from Mitera?
        We might be adding fun colors to add to the existing line and our second collection is in the works. We are thinking a jumpsuit, maybe a top and more! We also have plans to design nursing bras and accessories all with the same Mitera aesthetic.

        Tell us more about the mother-to-mother program.
        Because of my background in global public health, I have always been passionate about issues surrounding maternal and child health. When I became a mother myself, these issues became even more personal. Pregnancy and childbirths should be the one of the happiest times of a woman’s life, yet the reality in the most of the developing world is different.

        Each year around the world, 2.9 million newborns needlessly die within their first month and an additional 2.6 are stillborn. One million babies die the same day they are born. Furthermore, approximately 290,000 mothers die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Over 90% of the deaths occur in the developing world, and 90% of them are preventable. While great strides have been made in reducing global child mortality, newborns now account for 44 percent of all childhood deaths. That is why we decided to focus on newborn health.

        With our Mother to Mother program, our intention is to help bring innovation to affect social change – in this case, to improve maternal and newborn health. Our focus is to identify innovators and market disruptors who are working to improve maternal and newborn health and partner with them in our program.

        Our first partner will be D-Rev, a San Francisco based non-profit product development company dedicated to improving access to world class medical technologies for the population living on $4 a day. We chose to partner with them because 1) they focus in particular on newborn health through their device called ‘Brilliance’ to treat neonatal jaundice, 2) they are innovative in how they aim to achieve their goal of radically improving accessibility to health technologies that can save and improve people’s lives, 3) all of their products are designed to scale on the market, not through donations or subsidies, 4) they are committed to transparency which is important to us in terms of showing our customers where our donation goes.

        Mitera white dress

        This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.


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