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New York Baby Show Special Honorees & Honorary Parent Ambassadors

New York Baby Show Special Honorees & Honorary Parent Ambassadors

NYFB Newsletter_Honorees Graphic_600x400-01Ginger Zee & Ben Aaron
Honorary Parent Ambassadors

She’s the Chief Meteorologist for ABC News and a regular contributor to “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight.” He’s a lifestyle reporter whose antics and humor have made him a popular face on NBC’s “New York Live.” Together, Ginger Zee and Ben Aaron, as partners and parents to their adorable one-year-old son Adrian, are living their best lives. They were featured on the March-April 2017 cover of New York Family.

The MOMS: Denise Albert & Melissa Musen Gerstein
Honorary Parent Ambassadors
By keep the parenting conversation real, Denise Albert (a “happily divorced” #IndependentMom-of-two) and Melissa Musen Gerstein (a happily married mom-of-three), also known as The MOMS, have built a media mom-pire, anchored by their weekly show on SiriusXM Stars, and their celebrity town halls in which influencer moms screen family-centric films and chat with celebrities about their lives as parents. All this while Albert, with Gerstein as her supportive “#WorkWife,” has been fighting breast cancer, and using her media profile to share her experiences and inspire and inform others. The MOMS were featured on the August 2016 cover of New York Family.

Latham Thomas
Honorary Parent Ambassador
A mother, noted doula, and all-around maternal wellness guru, Thomas has been a fount of information and inspiration as the founder of Mama Glow, and as the author of Mama Glow: A Hip Guide To Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy. Last year she was named to Oprah’s Super Soul 100 list of “awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity,” and was featured on the November/December 2016 cover of New York Family.

Albee Baby

Special Honoree
A family-owned business that traces its roots back almost 100 years to when the present owner’s grandfather grew his bicycle repair shop into an emporium for baby carriages and other baby care supplies, Albee is still going strong! While it continues to be a large, thriving store on the Upper West Side, it is also popular website that stocks a huge mix of contemporary baby goods. In person, or online, the constants that Albee has always been known for are still the same: Lots of options, great customer service, and fair prices.

The Moms Groups
Special Honoree
The Moms Groups are professionally led and facilitated support groups, from bump to baby, in over 20 locations around the city. Founded by Renee Sullivan, who still leads many of the groups herself, their signature programs offer supportive conversation and valuable resources for all the common (and uncommon) parenting questions from sleep schedules to finding child care, and everything in between.

Bowery Babes
Special Honoree
It began with a small group of women taking a prenatal yoga class on the Bowery in 2005 and has blossomed into one of the largest and most active parents groups in the city (over 3,000 moms from Lower Manhattan) with essential online discussion groups, educational seminars and webinars, meet-ups, and special events. True to its roots, Bowery Babes still places special emphasis on helping new moms make the supportive connections they need to navigate motherhood and parenting in the city.

New York Lactation Consultant Association (NYCLA)
Special Honoree
The New York Lactation Consultant Association (NYCLA) is an NYC-based organization that supports the professionalism and education of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and promotes and protects breastfeeding. There are over 300 NYLCA members in the New York metropolitan area, offering private lactation consultations, prenatal breastfeeding classes, and breastfeeding support groups. Many also work in tandem with pediatricians, midwives, obstetricians, and other health care professionals to ensure mothers and babies are successful with bonding and breastfeeding.

JCC Manhattan
Special Honoree
A robust community and cultural center on the Upper West Side, the JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. Their programing for next and expectant families—as for family life in general—is especially rich, with classes (on everything from Caring For Your Newborn to Infant CPR), new mom support and breastfeeding groups, and a special semi-annual event called Bump Bash.

Gearing Up With The BabyGuy, The 2017 New York Baby Show Keynote Speaker

Gearing Up With The BabyGuy, The 2017 New York Baby Show Keynote Speaker

jamie grayson LOW RES

Jamie Grayson

For an expectant or new parent who is unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what The BabyGuy Gear Guide is all about?

My site is just an extension of my Facebook page and my life. I never wanted it to be an encyclopedia of baby products—other people can do that, I don’t care. There’s too much out there and there’s too much clutter, so having an edited site is much more efficient. If it’s on there, it’s on there for a reason—not just to be a “review.”

What really inspires you to pursue this work, and what do you love about it?

I have sisters 20 years younger than me, and I’ve always jokingly been called the Baby Whisperer because I’ve always been good with kids. I was an actor and on tour for years, as well as [working on] a few shows in NYC, but I knew that eventually when my knees gave out from doing “CATS” too many times I would go into teaching. I was fortunate to have incredible teachers growing up, so I needed to pay that back. What I do know is [this job] is a perfect combination of entertaining people and educating them. [It’s] incredibly fulfilling and I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life right now.

What’s the best way to follow you online? Do you have a favorite social media platform? On which platform are you the most informative? And which platform are you the most fun?

Social media is constantly changing, but I would say that Facebook is my primary platform—even more than my site. Facebook is where everything originates. Instagram and Twitter (both @TheBabyGuyNYC) are a bit more “unfiltered Jamie” and I find Instagram to be my place to be a bit more relaxed. If you want to keep up with me, Facebook me. Always Facebook! And if you want the more unfiltered and sassy side of me, you’ll want Twitter. I’m just sayin’.

Two years ago you launched babyguybox! It’s a monthly subscription box of baby goods that you and your sister, Jennifer, curate and offer at a discount. What else should people know about it?

It’s a blast. It’s an insane amount of work, but it’s fun. We launched it in summer 2015 and the first month sold out in three minutes. It was nuts. We like to think of it as a “boutique in a box” because not everyone has access to cool specialty stores to find items. So we find them for you. It’s been interesting, as is launching any small business, to say the least. We have a few changes coming soon, so pay attention!

Your next big adventure is a website called Parental Guidance. What’s it all about?

This is gonna be huge. My sister, Jennifer (who works with me), and I have been chatting about this idea for quite some time now. We basically wanted to combine something visual like Pinterest with a review platform and social media platform. Think of it as a LinkedIn for parents. You can find reviews, but it’s more user-based. We have about 300 people beta-testing it now and will launch later this year.

What can parents expect from you at the 2017 New York Baby Show? You’re the Keynote Speaker each day. What topics will you cover? You’re also doing a separate talk both days with Shari Criso, a well-regarded expect on child birth, breastfeeding, and baby care. What will those chats focus on?

The Keynote is going to be an hour of me chatting car seat safety, strollers, babywearing, and other products—and full of Q&A. And I am very excited to be doing a Q&A with Shari Criso. I’ve known her for years and we do a monthly Q&A live on my Facebook page where we answer anything and everything that pops up. She’s a wealth of information, we get along famously, and I trust her. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and I’m proud to count her as a friend. In fact, she and I will also be part of a panel of Parental Guidance experts at the upcoming New York
Baby Show.

Babywearing is one of your big passions—tell us why.

I love babywearing. Love it. I could give you a giant list of reasons why, but it’s truly a game-changer for urban parents. As much as I love strollers, they can be a giant PITA on subways and buses. Wearing your baby makes navigating the city much easier. Don’t get me wrong, there are definite pluses to having a great stroller, but babywearing is just easy.

We know of no other baby product expert whose motto is “Conquering Baby Products & Life One Cocktail At A Time.” So we have to ask: What’s your favorite cocktail?

I love a great IPA. Or wine. Or bourbon. Or anything. I’m not picky. But I am a giant beer nerd, so my recent move to Denver has been a glorious thing for many reasons.

You can learn more about Jamie Grayson at Facebook.com/TheBabyGuyNYC, and more about his monthly subscription boxes at babyguybox.com.

Ginger Zee & Ben Aaron: All’s Fair In Love & Broadcast

Ginger Zee & Ben Aaron: All’s Fair In Love & Broadcast

By Mia Weber

Photo by Lindsay May for Classic Kids Photography. Hair by Juanita Townsend; makeup by Lisa Hayes; styled by Jamie Lauren Salazar. Ginger Zee wears a Rent the Runway tank top, J Brand jeans, Gabriel & Co. jewelry, and a Tiny Tags necklace.

Ginger Zee and Ben Aaron’s love story reads like a romantic comedy about opposites attracting in the Big Apple. She’s the Chief Meteorologist at ABC News (and a regular contributor on “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight”); he’s a reporter for NBC’s “New York Live” known for his big personality and goofy on-screen antics. She’s a transplant from Michigan; he’s Rockland County born and raised. She’s a thrill seeker; he’s admittedly neurotic. She was a finalist on “Dancing With The Stars;” he’s the star of a viral video about a faux fitness trend called “dance-walking.” And to tie it all up in only-in-New-York fashion: They met at a SoulCycle class.

Though they occupy different niches in broadcast and serve as yin-and-yang to one another, personality-wise, the telegenic pair are on the same wavelength on the most important things in life. For starters, they’re both obsessed with “Beverly Hills 90210” reruns. But beyond that, they’re in sync enjoying a happy marriage, their adorable 14-month-old son, Adrian, and flourishing careers in TV.

“I wonder [what it would be like] if I married someone who wasn’t in the business, because they wouldn’t get it. They’d be so sick of hearing about it, but for us, it’s fascinating to each other because we come from different worlds,” Aaron explains, adding with laugh: “Ginger’s a scientist; I’m an idiot.”

“In this business, there are going to be times when one person has a really crazy moment, and then you kind of settle down, and then somebody else [has their moment],” Zee adds. “It’s not competitive. It’s supportive and helpful.”

The pair have plenty to support each other on. Last year, soon after the couple welcomed their son, Zee, 36, embarked on her successful DWTS run with dancing partner Val Chmerkovskiy. In 2016 she also wrote and hosted a series for ABC News Digital called “Food Forecast” (which is about to enter its second season) which gives viewers an in-depth look at how weather and climate impacts food in specific locales. Zee is also currently writing a book about her life and a children’s book trilogy, both slated for release in 2018. Meanwhile, Aaron, 35, serves as a notably hands-on reporter for NBC’s “New York Live.” In fact, he writes, hosts, and edits all his segments singlehandedly, and he’s popular for his spontaneous and zany persona.

Coming up in June, Zee and Aaron have a four-episode series called “Renovation Realities: Ben & Ginger” airing on the DIY Network. Viewers will watch the couple bring their respective renovation talents to transform a house in Westchester that they intend to use as a weekend retreat or to potentially flip. Judging by the couple’s banter about what’s in store, it’s sure to be a hoot.

“I pitched a show called ‘Ben Sucks At Everything,’” Aaron explains with a smile, but in all seriousness. “We had been talking socially about buying a house—and [someone who knows him well] said: ‘That’s the show!’” Zee adds. “I had done houses before…but he’s never lived outside an apartment and never touched a hammer.” Aaron doesn’t miss a beat in corroborating: “I’m just this really frail, wussy New Yorker and I’m using these table saws.”

As the LOL-a-minute duo prepare for their close up, they’re also savoring the moment as new parents and keeping their eyes on the horizon professionally. We sat down with them on that one super-warm day in February (which, as a meteorologist, Zee assures was not actually a sign of the impending end of the world) to learn all about it.

When Ginger was pregnant, the two of you did an on-air gender reveal on GMA. Ben also includes Adrian in videos often. What’s it like to have such personal aspects of your life play out publicly?

Ginger Zee: I had fun and I enjoyed it. And you know what? I’ve never had more positive feedback than when I was pregnant. People love babies. There’s no happier joy in life than life.

Ben Aaron: I’ve been doing videos with Adrian since he was born, because he’s fun and because it’s just so enjoyable. People see him and every comment is “day made!” or

Adrian is 14 months old. What’s he like right now?

GZ: He’s very affectionate. It’s almost scary—because he’ll go to the library and he’ll kiss every kid, every dog, every everything.

BA: He smiles constantly, he’s always laughing. He’s the coolest kid to hang out with. You can hang out with him and it’s like hanging out with someone that’s your age… He’s my only friend. We had him so I could have friends.

What have the joys and challenges been in your first year as parents?

GZ: I’ve been so happy about how settled into it we’ve become very quickly. The first couple months are always hard when you’re figuring out a baby. That age is just hard. I don’t think anyone is like: “You know what? This is outstanding!” After that, you now have another love, another person that you interact with every single day, and a person that drives everything you do.

BA: But having time for yourself and disconnecting from the kid [is important]. And you might feel horribly guilty, and you will because you’re like: “I should be living for this kid!” But you need time with your significant other… And by yourself, as well! It’s really difficult because you feel so selfish, but meanwhile, if 99 percent of your day is dedicated to the kid, you have to take that moment for yourself where you either go to dinner with your loved one, or you just sit in a room and listen to Enya. Which I do. All the time.

Was there anything that surprised you about parenthood?

GZ: When they put that kid next to my cheek—I had a C-section so I couldn’t hold him—and when I felt his skin, that image and that feeling haunts me. It does. I think about it every day. It’s almost too much, too much love pouring out.

BA: The one thing that I didn’t expect, speaking of that moment—when you first see your kid, everyone’s always like: “Oh my God!”—well, they had a sheet covering Ginger’s lower half because they were operating and then they’re like: “Here he is!” And they lift Adrian over and he’s covered in everything, and it’s like: “Ugh!”

GZ: He looked like a really sad old man.

BA: He looked like Wallace Shawn from “The Princess Bride.” He’s like: “Inconceivable!” then he went back down.

GZ: He was so smooshed!

BA: But the love you feel—I always listen to my parents talk about unconditional love for my sister and I, and I was always like: “Okay, that’s great. I love you guys too.” But when you’re constantly afraid, every second of the day? Any time I’m away from him, I’m like: “What if there’s a strong gust of wind and he flies out of his stroller?”

What’s your parenting partnership like?

GZ: We haven’t gotten to the discipline stuff yet, so I don’t know how that will go… But I think we’ll complement each other well.

BA: [Ginger is] the good cop… I’m 100 percent bad cop. [Ginger is] definitely going to be calm and easy, and it’s going to be like: “Oh, don’t make me tell your father about that!” I’m going to be that guy. But right now, we have such a system, because he’s so scheduled, and with Ginger’s schedule and my schedule—we just have such a system with it.

GZ: The moments that I miss, that I’m always jealous of though, are the moments when Adrian wakes up…that’s when he’s so much fun and I’m gone already. On the weekends, I can’t wait. I get up before he wakes up. I’m just staring at him like: “Hello! Do you want to wake up now?”

Working in the same industry, how do you support each other’s careers?

GZ: I bounce ideas off of Ben all the time, I get ideas from him, I steal ideas from him all the time!

BA: Mind you, she’ll do it 40 times better than I do.

GZ: But it’s nice, too, because he understands it…and even though it’s not as fun, he understands my passion for meteorology—if there’s a big storm tomorrow and I have to leave…he gets it. He knows that’s important to me and he supports me through that.

Ginger, what do you enjoy most about your job at ABC?

GZ: [I love] the opportunity to do what I love and chase storms still. When I went to college, I was going there because I wanted to be a meteorologist. I thought I was going to be in the field and I thought I was going to be in storms, and then I started in television… TV often boxes you into a studio, but what GMA allows me to do is to explore the world. And I’ve been able to use that also as a platform to communicate science… At the end of every segment or every “Food Forecast” or anything I do related to ABC News, I want someone, especially young women, to be inspired about science and to learn.

BA: Ginger’s going to change the world.

Ben, tell us about your work with NBC and “New York Live.”

BA: I get into work and if I don’t have something planned I come up with an idea by 8am, I write it by 8:30am, I shoot it by 9:30am, and then I edit it by 11:30am. I do it all myself—I have a shooter with me, but everything’s done on the spot usually. It’s featured reports—so it’s anything that’s lighthearted and fun or social commentary.

GZ: It’s all the stuff that I think other people try to do, but Ben does it in a completely unique and funky way that nobody can do… It’s really cool and it’s all him, that’s the thing that nobody does. Nobody edits their own stuff except Ben.

BA: We did a piece about this guy who walks up and down the street and he dances… I was shooting another piece and he came up to me and started dancing and went on his way. Three days later, my boss was like: “We have a huge gap in the show and we need something.” So I’m like: “Alright, let’s make up this fake exercise [dance-walking]. Remember that guy we met?” And it went crazy epic. It changed my life. It went viral beyond viral. On Facebook, it has like 470,000 shares, which is like Justin Bieber numbers. And I still get, to this day, [people from] 70-80 different countries sending me their dance-walking videos that they do for charity.

GZ: You’re changing the world, too!

BA: Well, not intentionally…I do stupid stuff.

GZ: But it’s not stupid. The messages he gets are from people who have cancer who haven’t laughed in three weeks and his piece brought them joy. He gets those daily. He affects people in positive ways.

What can we expect from “Renovation Realities: Ben & Ginger” on DIY in June?

BA: This house sucks. It has nothing in it, the septic was bad, the well was bad, there’s an oil tank buried in the front yard. There’s no heat, and the electricity was absolutely God-awful… It smelled like a fish. So, we bought it and we had the best guys with us and they helped us and we did it all together and it was really special… We’re really experiencing it, and we’re screwing up.

GZ: That’s the fun of the show. There are a lot of people like Ben who have never touched a hammer.

BA: Ginger has a mind for [renovation]. She says things and the contractors are like: “That’s a really good idea!” So it’s a dichotomy of Ginger being so logical and understanding the technology behind building a house, and me just being a pillow with a jacket on.

Photo by Lindsay May for Classic Kids Photography. Hair by Juanita Townsend; makeup by Lisa Hayes; styled by Jamie Lauren Salazar. Ginger Zee wears a Rent the Runway tank top, J Brand jeans, Gabriel & Co. jewelry, and a Tiny Tags necklace.

Ginger, you also have some books in the works. A memoir, and a trilogy for middle-schoolers called Ginger Zee’s Storm Chaser.

GZ: I’m not important enough for a memoir and I’m way too messed up for a tell-all, so this is somewhere in between. It’s called Natural Disaster—I cover them and I am one! I don’t know how I got to this place because I’ve had a lot of crazy things happen. My career has been an outstanding ride but my personal life hasn’t always matched it. It’s a look into [my] life that would hopefully help someone else who’s maybe having a low point… But the other book, that’s the one that’s been even more challenging and more fun, because it’s for middle school-aged kids, and it’s a trilogy… It’s going to be all about the hyper-reality of a young woman who falls in love with storm chasing. It’s semi-autobiographical, obviously.

How are you feeling about life now as a family and as professionals? Are you focusing on goals or living in the present?

BA: We both live in the moment, but at the same time, you can’t help but look to the future… It’s not just us, like: “We’ll be fine. We can stay in this apartment for the rest of our lives!” No, we need space for Adrian to play and hang out.

GZ: I’m trying stay more in the moment… But I can’t say that my mind isn’t constantly thinking. Like right now, I have two episodes of “Food Forecast” to write and I have to go through the edits to my book. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do all that. I wouldn’t be the best mom I could be to Adrian, and I wouldn’t be the best wife to Ben. I keep being me, but being me with even better people flanking me.

BA: Flanking! We try to flank at least twice a week. You can put that in the magazine…I just stand alongside of her, fully clothed.

Tune In To Ben & Ginger:

ABC World News Tonight abcnews.com/wnt
Good Morning America goodmorningamerica.com
New York Live nbcnewyork.com
Renovation Realities: Ben & Ginger diynetwork.com

Check New York Family’s March/April cover with Ginger & Ben on “EXTRA!






With Birth Focus, The Focus Is Always On You And Your Baby

With Birth Focus, The Focus Is Always On You And Your Baby

Birth FocusWho wouldn’t want an educated and experienced childbirth educator to support you, and see you through your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and beyond? Of course, most everyone would, which is why doulas have become such a vital part of a birthing plan. Birth Focus has over twenty years experience in taking care of mothers-to-be and employs a group of doulas that will support you and your individual birthing goals.

What’s more, they will be at the New York Baby Show on May 20 and 21, at Pier 94.

The nation’s largest show for expectant and new families, the New York Baby Show is a wonderful family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler. From top products to trusted parenting experts, the New York Baby Show welcomes thousands of expectant and new parents from New York City, the Tri-State area, and beyond!

Tickets to the New York Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the Birth Focus team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the New York Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with Birth Focus, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Our company’s mission is to provide agenda-free care to everyone who wants to be supported by a doula. We offer birth and postpartum doula care, breastfeeding support services, placenta encapsulation services, and education on topics like childbirth education and baby wearing.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

BirthFocus was founded in 2001 by Illana Stein as an outgrowth of Beth Israel Medical Center’s childbirth education department. When she tragically lost her battle to cancer, she passed the practice on to Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach one of her mentees. It has grown and spread to the point where our affiliated doulas practice in all 5 boroughs and wherever our clients give birth. We offer many doula “speed dating” events throughout the city where you can meet up to 4 doulas in your price range and available for your due date in one setting. Many people hire their “dream doula” from that one meeting!

Elizabeth has moved on to parenting her two babies and her work as a social worker, and Meredith Coronato (a tier 6 doula) and Sara Dick (the current director) are working as a team to launch Birth Focus into a new era to better serve the NYC parenting community. We are looking forward to expanding our practice in many ways including corporate education and doula speed dating events in your workplace!

What are the most popular and/or newest programs from Birth Focus ?

Our most popular offering is our birth doula services package. You can hire a newly trained doula or a doula who has 20+ years experience, based on your price range. Regardless of the tier, our birth doula package includes 2 prenatal visits in your home, virtually unlimited email, phone and text support from the time of hire, continuous support during your labor and a follow-up visit in your home. We also offer postpartum doula care, placenta encapsulation, in-home childbirth education and lactation support by both certified lactation counselors and ICBLCs.

What sets Birth Focus apart from other prenatal/doula services?

One unique thing about Birth Focus is our monthly Meet the Doula speed dating events. We currently hold 4 of them a month, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about doula care in general and to meet up to 4 doulas in your price range and available for your due date. It’s a fun, low-pressure event and we literally set a timer and you get 10-15 min to meet with doulas that Sara has preselected for you, based on your preferences and due date.

However, the biggest thing that sets us apart is we strive to offer agenda-free support. What that means practically is we don’t come to your birth with our own goals; we come to your birth embracing your goals. We want you to have as close to your ideal birth as possible, but also recognizing that life is messy and often doesn’t follow a prescribed plan. We are there to walk you through and keep you informed about your choices in real-time. A real-life example of this is your decisions on pain management. Many people go into their labor with a strong opinion one way or another on epidurals. We believe that you should go into your birth holding your birth preferences in open hands knowing that things can change. Our doulas are with you every step of the way, navigating your labor with you. We are here to help you experience your baby’s birth as a positive, life-changing event, with strategies to help you have the type of birth that you desire.

What can parents expect from Birth Focus at the New York Baby Show?

We are so excited to be there! We will be having doula “mini-mingles” through out the two days, where you can stop in and mingle with doulas of various tiers. The schedule will be posted in our booth. We will also be giving away a complimentary tier-1 doula package, lactation counselor visit and a postpartum doula care package. Our doulas work in every hospital and with many of the OB practices, so stop by for a chat if you are looking for an OB practice and would like some great recommendations. If you are interested in how doula care can support you and your family during this life transition, we would love to chat with you.

To learn more about Birth Focus, check out birthfocusnyc.com.

The Decision To Go Natural With A Twin Birth

The Decision To Go Natural With A Twin Birth


Shauna Mei

By Shauna Mei

My husband Sachin and I found out we were having twins at our eight-week check-up, which took both of us by great surprise. We had just gotten married in Jaipur, India, a few months prior (in April 2016) and while on our honeymoon in the beautiful Maldives, my much-dreaded and ill-timed period never came. We were barely over the shock of realizing we were about to become parents when we got back to New York to have another total shock to the system: Twins! Two girls and two thriving heartbeats.

After the initial shock subsided, we learned we were having identical twin girls that were mono di, meaning, they share the same placenta but were each in their own individual amniotic sacs. This automatically put me in the “high risk” pregnancy category. There’s way too much information available on Google about this, and most of it causes great stress and apprehension. Because they share the same placenta, statistically speaking, it is safer to get them out faster than to risk the placenta deteriorating in the final weeks, and thus risk a stillborn. The recommended delivery, I was told, is 36 weeks, basically one month from the full term of 40 weeks.

I had always imagined having a natural birth, and with only one child, birth options are pretty flexible. I am a fairly spiritual person and the idea of my babies determining their own birthdays was quite important to me. My husband and I believe in this power of conscious intention. So much so that we founded AHAlife.com (our life passion and company) to curate high-quality lifestyle products for consumers who want to purchase consciously, and with greater intent and purpose than just buying, buying, buying. We believe that life should be lived with intention and we strive to live our lives as naturally and consciously as possible. So when time came to determine our birth plan, it seemed like a no-brainer to apply this same mantra to the miracle of bringing life into this world.

As one can imagine, with mono di twins, going forward with a natural birth plan is a lot more complicated. The majority of mono di twin births are done via C-section. In fact, the United States has more C-section deliveries than any other Western country in the world. C-sections are absolutely necessary in many situations and, in emergencies, have saved so many lives. However, there is a trend, especially in Manhattan, of elective C-sections because of their purported ease and efficiency. Knowing all this, and still feeling inclined toward natural birth, I turned to my dear friend Latham Thomas (the founder of Mama Glow), an amazing doula known for her work in natural birth coaching. Latham educated me on the beautiful hormones that are created in a natural delivery. Oxytocin, often referred to as the love hormone, kicks contractions into gear. So the more safe and loved you feel, the more oxytocin your body generates, which in turn naturally induces labor. At the point of delivery, your body also excretes DMT, a chemical found naturally in the pineal gland in the brain, which is activated at birth and death. You may have heard of DMT before, as it is the main substance people ingest during ayahuasca tea ceremonies, which are known to cause spiritual awakenings. I didn’t want to deny my babies and myself of this beautiful and spiritual experience, so I started meditating and manifesting that my girls would naturally enter the world on a day and time of their choosing.

We were blessed to have two wonderful doctors, Dr. Mussalli and Dr. Worth, who were willing to work with us to fulfill our birth plan. My birthing experience was truly magical and I learned the amazing power of intention through this experience. Throughout the pregnancy, we were visiting the doctors every other week to every week to check the growth and fluid levels of the twins. If at any point there are complications, one has to make the decision to get them out early. which is why many twins often spend time in the NICU. We were blessed that the girls were tracking great with no issues other than a slight but normal range growth discordance. I had also developed gestational diabetes so I was monitoring my sugar intake and blood pressure daily to ensure that the womb was a safe environment for them. I made a conscious effort to remain always positive and block worry and negative thoughts from my mind. I believe that the power of intention and positive thinking made a huge difference in my ability to carry the twins to full term.

After much consideration, we decided on a plan to go into labor naturally and deliver in hospital. Our doctors were wonderful and performed a procedure called “membrane sweeping” when I hit the 36th week to help my body naturally go into labor. That procedure was not a walk in the park, but very effective in getting my mucus plus out and helping to catalyze my contractions. I was also taking primrose oil (a natural induction remedy that’s anecdotally know to soften your cervix) and staying as calm as possible. Sachin showed me love and care beyond my imagination during this whole process. One night I had a dream where I saw their faces just after birth. It was so clear that their beautiful eyes were etched in my memory—when they were actually born, those faces I visualized exactly matched theirs. It was an amazing and miraculous experience.

I look forward to sharing with you my actual birthing experience in the next installment of this series. I believe it’s important for more women to share their positive birth experiences. Prior to being pregnant, I always regarded the birth experience as a scary thing women had to endure as some sort of right-of-passage. I can attest to you, my experience was quite the opposite and I hope that sharing this will help more woman feel proud of their bodies and look forward to this wonderful journey. Thank you reading and sharing this experience with me.

Shauna Mei is an MIT engineer turned commerce and media industry expert and the founder and CEO of AHAlife.com (a global e-commerce marketplace powering over 4,000+ designers and artisans from 45+ countries). Mei’s mission is to create a global community that supports independent brands on a content meets commerce platform featuring quality objects for every aspect of life.








Enjoy Handcrafted Baby Goods With Kristaben Baby

Enjoy Handcrafted Baby Goods With Kristaben Baby

Kristaben Baby2Handcrafted baby products provide high quality apparel for infants and toddlers as well as some very special memories. Whether you are buying an item for your own baby or a gift for a friend, Kristaben Baby offers timeless and elegant clothing and goods.

What’s more, they will be at the New York Baby Show on May 20 and 21, at Pier 94.

The nation’s largest show for expectant and new families, the New York Baby Show is a wonderful family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler. From top products to trusted parenting experts, the New York Baby Show welcomes thousands of expectant and new parents from New York City, the Tri-State area, and beyond!

Tickets to the New York Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the Kristaben Baby team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the New York Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with Kristaben Baby, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Kristaben Baby’s mission is to offer, elegant, upscale hand detailed products to the baby market place.  We use only the highest quality fabrications available and the detail work is superior for the families that appreciate classic and traditional items.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

The company has been around for about 20 years. We have owned it since July 2015, and will continue to bring the timeless styling that it has been known for.
What are the most popular and newest products from Kristaben Baby?

Kristaben Baby offers layette through 24-month sizes.  The collection consists of classic bubbles and dresses, smocked items, pima knits. We also offer gift items, such as bib/burp combinations, blankets, and pillows. Bedding is part of our core group with accessories such as moses baskets and matching accessories.  Our most popular items are Brenda Bubble for girls, Brandon Bubble for boys, and Dottie Knits for both.

What sets Kristaben Baby apart in the baby marketplace?

We are currently focusing on the end user by reaching out to the direct consumer.  Kristaben Baby will continue to offer our classic styling and also evolve by adding different elements that coordinate with our core groups.  We are also developing a Baby Box that will be a gift item which will deliver four boxes a year to the gift recipient, and correspond to the appropriate season and age of the receiver.

What can parents expect from Kristaben Baby at the New York Baby Show?

The New York Baby Show attendees will be able to see the quality and value of our products. We will be placing orders for products that will be shipping immediately.  We will also be offering free shipping on those orders.

To learn more about Kristaben Baby, check out kristabenbaby.com.

BabyCenter Provides Trust and Support To Over 400 Million Parents Worldwide

BabyCenter Provides Trust and Support To Over 400 Million Parents Worldwide

Baby CenterNew parents and veteran parents have one thing in common: they are always searching for answers to pressing questions revolving around their child. Often those questions loom heavy during the night, which is when moms and dads scour the Internet searching for support. BabyCenter has been providing support and information to over 45 million parents since 1997.

What’s more, they will be at the New York Baby Show on May 20 and 21, at Pier 94.

The nation’s largest show for expectant and new families, the New York Baby Show is a wonderful family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler. From top products to trusted parenting experts, the New York Baby Show welcomes thousands of expectant and new parents from New York City, the Tri-State area, and beyond!

Tickets to the New York Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the BabyCenter team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the New York Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with BabyCenter, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

BabyCenter is the world’s #1 pregnancy and parenting brand, chosen by over 400 million parents and world-be-parents worldwide as the most trusted resource for support and guidance. We create and deliver the best medically-reviewed content and support a community of millions to educate, inspire, and improve the health of pregnant women and new families globally.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

BabyCenter was founded in October 1997. Twenty years later, we continue to provide new and expectant parents with trusted information, advice from peers, and support that’s remarkably right at every stage of their child’s development—in nine different languages. Our products include websites, mobile apps, online communities, email series, social programs, and public health initiatives.

What are the most popular and/or newest programs from BabyCenter?

From the same people that brought parents the “My baby is the size of a…” fruit and vegetable comparisons, addictive weekly emails, and an award-winning app, comes My Pregnancy – the first pregnancy skill for Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, and the newest way for expectant parents to get the best information for their pregnancy.

Powered by BabyCenter, My Pregnancy brings medically reviewed information and real-world tips together to create a unique journey through the most important months of a parent’s life.

What sets BabyCenter apart from other parenting/baby websites?

BabyCenter is there for today’s parents when they need us: online, on the go, and up all night. We know that a good laugh is always welcome. But what parents really need is good advice from people who know what they’re actually talking about. That’s why over 45 million parents around the world come to BabyCenter. We’re there when they need us, connecting them to the answers, advice, and parental camaraderie when things get real.

What can parents expect from BabyCenter at the New York Baby Show?

Parents will let out a sigh of relief when they realize that their most trusted source is at the New York Baby Show to guide them through the seemingly infinite options of brands and manufacturers competing for their attention.  BabyCenter will help parents find exactly what they are looking for — safe, easy to use, and tried and true products through our easily identifiable Moms’ Picks seals. Over 40k BabyCenter parents voted on these products so that parents at the New York Baby Show know exactly which brands deserve to be a part of their parenthood journey.

To learn more about BabyCenter, check out babycenter.com.

HelloBaby Blends Unique Design With Excellent Technology In Audio And Video Baby Monitors

HelloBaby Blends Unique Design With Excellent Technology In Audio And Video Baby Monitors

HelloBabyBaby monitors can be the lifeline of new parents, allowing them to move freely around their home while still keeping a close eye (and ear) on their newborn. HelloBaby recognizes that fact, and offers their customers a high-quality audio and video baby monitors.

What’s more, they will be at the New York Baby Show on May 20 and 21, at Pier 94.

The nation’s largest show for expectant and new families, the New York Baby Show is a wonderful family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler. From top products to trusted parenting experts, the New York Baby Show welcomes thousands of expectant and new parents from New York City, the Tri-State area, and beyond!

Tickets to the New York Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the HelloBaby team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the New York Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with HelloBaby, how would you describe the company’s mission?

Our mission is to provide high-end products for mom and babies, to make the life more comfortable and easier. Our core offerings include a pleasant user experience, unique design, and excellent product quality as well as faithful and effective service.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

Our company Shenzhen Videotimes Technology Co., Ltd. was established in 2005 in Shenzhen, China.

In 2014, we entered into the line of baby monitor, and the following year, we created the HelloBaby brand. Last year, we entered Amazon, as one of the top three companies for baby monitors.

What are the most popular and/or newest products from HelloBaby?

Our most popular products are our wireless video and audio baby monitor, breast pumps and fetal doppler devices.

What sets HelloBaby apart in the baby marketplace?

Our products have unique fashion design combined with the latest technology to offer a positive user experience.

What can parents expect from HelloBaby at the New York Baby Show?

HelloBaby will bring the latest baby monitor, breast pump and fetal doppler items for you to see, and we will also have a great giveaway!

To learn more about HelloBaby, check out videotimes.com.hk.

The Benefits Of Independent Childbirth Education

The Benefits Of Independent Childbirth Education

056a771f154aea7c44f6a5eca5a83b2c_f1110By Debra Falshenberg

Since I first opened the doors for Prenatal Yoga Center, childbirth education classes has been a staple of our foundation and offerings. For years, thousands of couples have attended these classes in preparation for their upcoming birth. From time to time, there will be an inquiry as to what the value is of taking a childbirth education class outside the hospital. For those who are contemplating which class is best for you, here are some points to think about.

Independent education is not based on policies, but on the best care practice for you: While the World Health Organization (WHO) supports the practice of intermittent fetal monitoring and studies have shown a lower rate of false-positives and lesser incidence of intervention, many hospitals have instilled a policy of full time fetal monitoring. This policy is more adventitious for the hospital if they face legal issues, not for the mother who many want to decrease her chances of a lower intervention birth. This is just one of many examples of hospital policy taking priority of best care practices for the mother.

Some hospital-based educators are told what they can and can’t teach: While for many the idea of a hospital is a place where you go for medical support, a hospital is a business with rules and protocols and the desire to get people in our and as soon as possible. Especially for crowded cosmopolitan hospitals, there is a push to get the mother to clear her labor and delivery room swiftly. The discussion of labor inducing drugs or drugs to accelerate labor may not be discussed to their fullest. While the student may learn of their existence, the risks versus the benefits of these interventions may not be allowed to be extensively explored because it may create backlash by the laboring mother. Hospital educators may be restricted in what information they are able to give in fear that it may clash with hospital rules and protocols.

You will learn more tools and options for natural pain relief: Since more than 80 percent of births in the US are medicated, there may not be much time dedicated to discussing natural coping skills. As a birth worker, I make it a main focus to give women a fully stocked tool kit for pain management, even knowing that the majority of women use pain medication. You may ask “why?” If a woman does not have the skills ready, she will not have confidence that her body is capable of moving through labor, and the fear of labor could be paralyzing. Also: Not everyone gets pain medication when they first desire it. There may be a wait to receive pain relief and is it best for mom and baby that the woman has coping skills. Approximately 12 percent of epidurals did not function properly. In those cases, women will need natural pain relief at their ready.

You will learn how to prepare your body for birth: The idea of physical preparation for labor is relatively new in childbirth education. More traditional curriculums may not take into consideration how the mother’s body and the baby’s position has a direct relationship with the functionality of the birth. Classes led by certified childbirth educators with additional training as a doula, massage therapist or yoga teacher, brings another aspect to how to help the mother physically and emotionally build stamina and learn to surrender to the labor pains as well as how to create balance in the pelvis and pelvic muscles and ligaments. When a baby and a mother’s body are well aligned, there is more likelihood for a harmonious birth. Also childbirth educators who are also doulas can pass along some tricks of the trade since they are attending births on a regular basis.

You will learn how to navigate the system and self-advocate: Since the independent childbirth educator does not have to adhere to following a curriculum approved by the hospital, there is more opportunity to learn to about the bigger scope of birth, how to work around obstacles, self-advocate for your wishes and you will not hear things like: “This is how we do this,” or: “We do that only.” You will hear from an independent teacher: “One option may be,” along with the risks versus the benefits of procedures and interventions for making educated, informed decisions.

Part of navigating the system also involves knowing your rights as a patient. It is likely not going to be shared with you, that you have a right to keep your birth as intimate as possible and ask not to have students present at your birth or involved in medical procedures. You may also not learn that you can ask for the attendant to administer an epidural and not the resident.

Help see birth as a natural process, not a medical event: Hospitals are a place to go when you are ill or in need of medical attention. So it is no wonder that since birth has moved into the hospital setting in the early 1900s, that there was a shift in perception of birth from a natural process the body has the capacity to do without much external intervention, to birth being viewed as a medical event that needs constant monitoring and management.

Also, consider the effect of the surroundings on the subconscious for accepting birth as a medical issue if you are actually in the sterile, medical environment learning about birth compared to that of being in an open, spacious “every day” surrounding.

Voices from the community: I asked the students at PYC why they chose childbirth education classes outside their birthing hospital. Here is what they said:

“I felt at odds with a lot of the things happening in the hospital. And my OB practice turned out to be far more interventionist than I was comfortable with. However, my husband is always on the side of western medicine. So when looking for a childbirth education class, I wanted it to be skewed more on the natural side so he could shift his view towards birth doesn’t necessarily need to be heavily managed.” –Second-time mom at PYC, Jessica Kaufman

“I did actually call the hospital to inquire about their birth classes. But they took a really long time to reply. By the time I heard back, I discovered other options. In that time I learned about hypnobirthing. The philosophy and methodology resonated with me.” –Second-time mom at PYC, Michal

“I didn’t want to do a childbirth education class that was based on hospital procedures. I wanted the focus of the class to encourage me to be completely in touch with my body during labor and not disconnected and medicated.” –First-time mom and PYC teacher, Lynn

“I trusted my yoga center to be aligned with what I wanted to learn versus a more general hospital-based course” –First-time mom at PYC, Joy Chang

The partner focused and natural birth method- the Bradley method, fit with the kind of birth I wanted. At the time, Bradley was not offered at the hospital. I went through my doula who happened to be teaching the class.” –First-time mom at PYC, Kat Shields

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!






92Y’s Parenting Center Supports Families

92Y’s Parenting Center Supports Families

92YNew moms can pick and choose from among a myriad of local parenting centers to educate and offer support in their new parenting endeavor. The emergence of parenting centers all started right here in New York City. The 92Y’s Parenting Center was the country’s first parenting center back in 1980. Today, it still holds the same mission: to be a supportive, encouraging, and positive place for new and expectant families. It offers both new classes and old favorites in their parenting repertoire.

What’s more, they will be at the New York Baby Show on May 20 and 21, at Pier 94.

The nation’s largest show for expectant and new families, the New York Baby Show is a wonderful family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler. From top products to trusted parenting experts, the New York Baby Show welcomes thousands of expectant and new parents from New York City, the Tri-State area, and beyond!

Tickets to the New York Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.


We spoke with a member of the 92Y team, to learn more about the brand and what new parents can expect at the New York Baby Show.

For someone unfamiliar with 92Y, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

92Y’s Parenting Center has been a supportive place for new parents and expecting families for over 30 years. With experienced teachers and an incredible roster of classes, it’s a mecca for families. It’s a place for parents and parents-to-be to be part of a vibrant community and make lasting friendships.

Tell us about the organization’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

92Y’s Parenting Center was the first in the country, beginning in 1980, and has been a model for parenting centers around the country. It was at the forefront of women returning to the workforce in ever-increasing numbers, and was a place for mothers to connect with other parents. Since then we’re greatly increased the number and types of programs we offer. We’re a place for families – moms, dads, caregivers, grandparents, etc.

What are the most popular and/or newest programs from 92Y?

Popular classes include New Parent Get-Togethers, a drop-in class that focuses on a new and vital topic every week; the New Mother, New Baby support group, for intimate group discussions; Parent/Infant Observation, to deepen your understanding and awareness of your child’s temperament and behavioral cues; and Caregiver Connection, for caregivers to get support and information.

We’re also introducing postpartum exercise classes.

What sets 92Y apart from other community centers?

You can be here as a newborn and continue at 92Y as you grow. There are learning opportunities for toddlers, classes in music, dance, art, and fitness; summer camp; then you can come back as a parent for classes with your own children, support groups, etc.

What can parents expect from 92Y at the New York Baby Show?

Parenting Center Director Sally Tannen will discuss ways to join a community of other parents, and offers support and advice.

To learn more about 92Y, check out 92y.org/parenting.