Take Root, the theme for our new AW21 collection designed in collaboration with Clare Therese, honors this season of nurturing and the sacred responsibility of a caregiver to establish roots for their little one. Let’s dig a little deeper into what that means to Solly Baby Founder Elle Rowley (and find out her favorite colorway from the collection.
 


 

What does “taking root” mean to you in relation to motherhood/parenthood?

Love. Predictable, I know, but no less true. Love is at the root, or at the foundation, of all things meaningful and it is definitely what makes mothering and parenting verbs. Otherwise we’d just get their little bodies out of our bodies, take a shower, and move on. It’s the love that creates the connectedness. It’s why I love babywearing so much. They are a part of us for this little sliver of time, right on our chests as our feet are rooted in the ground until they can walk on their own, feeling our love that gives them the confidence to one day root themselves.

But I also believe stories matter.

Years ago I read a NYT article about a study that had been conducted, showing how connected the stories that we tell our children from our past and our ancestral past are to their own sense of resiliency, confidence, and belonging. What struck me was how it was important that we tell them stories of trials that ended in triumph (“this was hard but we overcame it by…”) rather than just positive stories (“we did it all right and we lived happily ever after…”). The study found that purely positive stories were harmful and, as you might guess, negative ones led to unhappiness as well.

I thought it was fascinating that the positive stories functioned only slightly better than the negative ones. I love it because it validates, just a little bit more, the uselessness of perfectionism. We think we’re helping the world and ourselves by doing it all just right, but it’s actually destructive. Our little ones seeing our flaws and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to own those flaws and work through them, out in the open, is actually helping them gain confidence and skills to overcome the difficult tests that they will most certainly face in their own lives.

What type of “roots” do you hope to give your baby/children?

Stories rooted in love that tell of courage tested and challenges overcome. I want those stories to act as roots stretching deep in the earth and shooting right out of the ground for them to grab hold of, giving them the confidence to climb to higher and higher branches and to grow their own, knowing that those stories from the people who have come before them will be supporting them.

If you’re up for sharing, what’s something you’re working on beneath the surface?

Oh man, so many things! Validating my own feelings has been something I’ve been working on. It’s easy to judge myself when I feel negative emotion so I gloss over my own feelings often to get to the more “favorable” or “acceptable” ones. The other day I was upset about something, but all day I tried to be positive about it, without even realizing it. Finally that evening while talking to my husband it hit me and I said, “I’m really mad at this person.” And then I just sat there. Not stewing over the anger, but just letting myself feel it without judgment. Then, within about 20 minutes, it was totally gone and I could handle it from a much more peaceful place. But I had to have that moment of total presence with how I felt before I could get there.
 

Share an example of how you’ve grown stronger through motherhood.

There was a piece on NPR comparing early motherhood to torture tactics used in the military and it was the most validating thing I’d EVER heard as a mom. I mean, we should all be taking notes on our daily lives and submitting them to the military for ideas, right?? Stuff like, “Keep them up for three days straight with a crying baby who they feed every 2-3 hours from their bodies, then have them bake and decorate 24 butterfly sugar cookies for a kindergarten class party, come up with and present five new campaign ideas to their boss, and then, right as they’re finally falling asleep, poop all over them.” I guess what I’m trying to say is: strength is motherhood. We can’t do it without it.

What’s something you do to nourish yourself?

I’m already boring myself with my answer but it really is my daily routine. It seems like it’s an above-the-surface thing (and I get real bored by details and logistics), but I can’t deny how much the rest of my life falls apart when I’m not doing the little things. So I guess that means they’re beneath the surface, right? For me the little things are: sleep, drinking lots of water, prayer/meditation and really moving my body every day (code word for exercising). When I’m doing those four things then my emotional and physical bandwidth is expanded exponentially and I can pretty much handle most things that come my way. But when I drop them it’s an uphill battle all day.

What color or print from our AW21 spoke to you most and why?

Without a doubt it’s Harvest. I’m endlessly obsessed with florals and foliage in nature and in art and my wardrobe is really simple so I love a wrap that pops. But there’s also something deeply beautiful to me about wearing a mother’s art on a wrap created by another mother that is then worn by a mother to hold their baby. Lots of good vibes there.
 

Shop our AW21 Collection.

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Tags : Home + Family , Wellness

To the Mama just begging her baby to latch.

To the Mama scrolling through feeds and seeing how beautiful a journey it is for others, how bonding an experience between mother and child, but looking at their own and seeing anxiety, pain, and frustration. 

To the Mama whose mental health is suffering. 

To the Mama researching the best supplements. 

To the Mama feeling rejected by her baby.

To the Mama sore with engorgement.

To the Mama switching from cradle, to football, to sidelying, to cross cradle.

To the Mama whose relationship is struggling. 

To the Mama searching how much coffee she can safely consume without it affecting her baby.

To the Mama who feels guilty she’s still trying. 

To the Mama haunted by growth percentiles. 

To the Mama feeling shamed for her choices. 

To the Mama who doesn’t have access to a lactation consultant. 

To the Mama cursing at the nipple shield.

To the Mama who feels like she’s failing her baby. 

To the Mama who wants to feel like her body is her own again. 

To the Mama who is tired of trying. 

To the Mama crying over spilled milk.

To the Mama anxiously leaning over her baby listening for swallows. 

To the Mama washing endless pump parts. 

To the Mama who has changed her entire diet. 

To the Mama stressing about her supply. 

To the Mama who feels under supported.

To the Mama using donor milk. 

To the Mama who is juggling a difficult decision. 

I see you, I feel you, I am you. 

It’s not just you, Mama.

 


 

Despite how isolating it can feel, I hope you find solace in the fact that you’re not alone in this. If no one has let you know just how common this is, let me be that for you.

My breastfeeding journey started with a breast pump. A nurse showed me how to use it in less than a minute. By her memorized and robotic movements, I could tell she’d done the performance countless times before. She was in and out before I could even grasp what I’d be doing. For the next 16 hours, I practiced pumping instead of nursing. We delivered labeled vials of freshly pumped colostrum to my son down the hall in the NICU until the next day. A lactation consultant came to assist us for our first try, and it was tricky but she said it would be. I honestly didn’t think much of it. 

I believed my experience with the pump would end at the hospital because I was so determined to breastfeed my son. I thought that was the magic thing that strengthened a connection between mother and child. I had no idea just how difficult it would be. I couldn’t possibly imagine that three days of pumping would lead to six months of it. I didn’t realize the journey to nursing could ever be that rocky.

There is no pain like feeling rejected by your baby. My son would fight me from pure frustration— scratching at my breasts, flailing his body, and screaming were all common occurrences at every feed. In addition, a sobbing me and a very concerned but supportive daddy. My partner would encourage me until I surpassed my limits, then he would warm up pumped milk, and calmly take our son while I collapsed into despair. 

“I can’t do this.” 

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Why doesn’t he want me?” 

“I’m starving my son.”

“I’m a terrible mother.”

“If I stop, I’m giving up on him.”

“Remember: ‘breast is best.’”

“I’m a failure.”

The negative thoughts consumed me. The weekly doctor’s appointments and growth charts, the pumping six+ times a day, the raw nipples, the seven lactation consultants, the scale I bought to weigh the ounces after every feed, the pang in my gut every time someone called my baby, “tiny.” It all led to a very significant postpartum depression and anxiety diagnosis. I still suffer from it 14 months in, but the bad moments come and go. In hindsight, ironically this thing that I thought would create such a bond actually cultivated resentment and disconnection. I love my baby more than anything else, but I found nursing him so dreadful. Those two things can co-exist. 

If I could go back to the beginning, I’d wrap my arms around me and say what I say to you: 

Give. Yourself. Grace. You are an incredible mother and I’m proud of you. Your dedication is admirable. Breastfeeding is HARD, it is not as “natural” as it’s made to seem. You’re both learning something new, this takes time, practice, and consistency. Rejection is not an easy feeling to feel, but you are your baby’s whole world. I promise they aren’t rejecting you, they just don’t understand. The screaming is unbearable, but remember this is the only way babies know how to communicate their frustration. You are not starving your baby, language matters, they’re hungry but not starving. It’s okay to need help, there’s a reason lactation consultants are in business. Yes, breastfeeding is a wonderful bond to share with your baby but if it’s taking away from your ability to be a whole and healthy mother, it is no longer wonderful. One of the things that make you an incredible mother is your ability to show up for your baby and want the best for them— if you’re so depressed you can’t get off the couch, it’s taking away from your ability and it is not worth it. You both deserve a healthy you. This is not giving up, this is choosing yourself as well as your baby. 

The choice to continue or to stop has always been yours, and no one else’s. No matter what you choose, it does not define your motherhood, you do.

Olivia Tokunbo is a writer and mother of one. A friend of Solly, she’s also shared her experience giving birth during Covid-19 and her babywearing journey.

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Tags : Baby , Wellness

mothers day rest

The overwhelm of the past year (and young parenthood in general!) has left us feeling a need for less rather than more as we consider how to celebrate and honor ourselves on Mother’s Day this year. Rather than going big after a year of juggling so much, we have put together a list of ways to care for your mind, body, and soul (possibly alone?) with mild to minimal effort required.

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Tags : Food , Home + Family , Wellness , Uncategorized

Each of these parents had a baby during a global pandemic. All of them have a story to tell. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing how Covid shaped their pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences—and the silver linings that brought unexpected glimmers of light to darker days.

We hope you’ll be as moved by their strength, devotion and grit as we’ve been, and if you feel up for it, we invite you to share your own Covid stories in the comments below or with #sollysilverlinings on Instagram. It’s common to feel isolated postpartum during “normal times,” and that’s only amplified in our current circumstances. But by telling our stories + listening to one another’s, we believe we can grow more connected and less alone.
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Tags : Home + Family , Wellness

Each of these parents had a baby during a global pandemic. All of them have a story to tell. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing how Covid shaped their pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences—and the silver linings that brought unexpected glimmers of light to darker days.

We hope you’ll be as moved by their strength, devotion and grit as we’ve been, and if you feel up for it, we invite you to share your own Covid stories in the comments below or with #sollysilverlinings on Instagram. It’s common to feel isolated postpartum during “normal times,” and that’s only amplified in our current circumstances. But by telling our stories + listening to one another’s, we believe we can grow more connected and less alone. 

(more…)

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Tags : Home + Family , Wellness

Each of these parents had a baby during a global pandemic. All of them have a story to tell. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing how Covid shaped their pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences—and the silver linings that brought unexpected glimmers of light to darker days.

We hope you’ll be as moved by their strength, devotion and grit as we’ve been, and if you feel up for it, we invite you to share your own Covid stories in the comments below or with #sollysilverlinings on Instagram. It’s common to feel isolated postpartum during “normal times,” and that’s only amplified in our current circumstances. But by telling our stories and listening to one another’s, we believe we can grow more connected and less alone.

 


The restaurant I worked at closed down in March. At that time my husband worked for an essential business and we knew little about the virus so he cut his hours since I was pregnant and I was considered high risk. This was hard on us financially with my job gone and him losing hours. It’s devastating that this was the reality for countless other families as well. My sister had been living in Australia and she wasn’t able to travel home when she wanted due to flights being canceled. I worried she wouldn’t make it back in time for the birth and I really wanted her here. There was just a lot of immediate change and unknown in the beginning that caused stress, fear, and disappointment.

I tried to tune out the news and just focus on myself and my family. I listened to a ton of positive birth stories via podcasts. I also read a bunch of birth stories. I practiced my breathing and tried to keep imagining and praying for the most positive birth experience. I never cared to prep in this way for my first birth so it was really special for me to prepare my mind and body this way. It helped me to feel in control while everything else going on felt completely out of control.

No matter what comes our way, as mothers we do whatever we have to in order to fight for and protect our babies. The stories I heard and read of mothers just bearing down and doing what they had to despite insane circumstances encouraged and inspired me. I know nothing fiercer than the love of a mother. Pandemics have nothing on us.

Jordyn gave birth to Jetson on July 30.

I am enough for my baby. She doesn’t need to go anywhere or do anything extravagant right now to be happy. She just needs love, attention and interaction. And she is thriving! … I have to be okay with not being in control sometimes. Some things are out of my control and all I can do is do my best to ride the wave and keep afloat till the storms pass … because they *will* pass. 

Amber gave birth to Nala on March 28.

The most challenging part of having a baby during a pandemic has the been the overwhelming feelings of isolation and loneliness. After the birth of our son we had numerous follow up appointments, and he required occupational therapy as well as specialty referrals—adding more trips to the doctors every week. It was so hard being a first-time mom, having a crying baby, having to pump in between appointments, be mentally prepared to ask the right questions and learn the care my son needed all by myself. 

The hospital would only allow one person with a child, and so it was just me. My husband was not allowed to attend any of his doctor appointments. The extra hands and emotional support would have been a game-changer. I remember either crying or almost crying at every appointment because I just felt so overwhelmed and exhausted. I needed the help and just the relief to know I had someone there for me.

Salena gave birth to James on May 21.

Covid has brought about a lot of scared energy, though I have not been known to live in fear. I have taken safety measures seriously. However, I do not let it hold me back from living a powerful life that I design. 

I will be the first to admit, sometimes I forget about my needs as I care for my newborn baby. She is my first child, my first pregnancy, my first love. When I hear her cry, I am immediately in nurture mode. I have to remember, at times, that I cannot feed her before I feed myself. I cannot bring her joy before I cater to my own happiness. It is not selfish for me to put myself first. It is actually what’s best for my baby.

Tiara gave birth to Zenaia on July 27.

The hardest part is my family not being able to meet this new and sweet babe. We have always welcomed our babies with only our family. When our first was born, it was just George and I in the room, and with each new baby, we always spend a week or two with just us and the boys. So the first few weeks felt normal once we got home. Our baby is almost four months old and this is the oldest any of my children have been without meeting my parents or my sister-in-law. It hurts my heart that this is the reality of our situation. I am just hopeful they get to meet him soon. 

Additionally, my dad had a seizure a few months ago that led doctors to discover a brain tumor. He has had surgery and it went well, and now he has started radiation and chemo. It is so hard that I cannot be there right now. Even with a new baby, under normal circumstances I still would have been on the next plane to Colorado. With the way things are now, flying is not a viable option and driving all the way to Colorado by myself with a young baby is not practical either. Being seperated from family by thousands of miles is normally not as difficult as it is right now. 

Catrina gave birth to Leif on June 17.

A week into lockdown, my husband was let go from the job he’d held for the past nine years. I am a SAHM and was two months pregnant with our second child in an unprecedented situation, terrified about what the future held, not sure he’d be able to find another job in the murky climate of the times. 

I have a mom friend who I met right after I had my son a couple years ago. She checked in on me one day, and I totally unloaded on her. Instead of trying to solve my problems or liken her struggle to mine, she just listened, told me, “Wow, that sounds so hard. I am here and will never judge you.” I instantly felt comforted and heard, and now I know how to be a good friend. I am eternally grateful to have found her. I have some of the best and most supportive friends and am determined to be just as supportive to my chosen family. 

Ashley gave birth to Mazzy on August 10

Being in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a lot of sitting around, watching TV, and holding a sleeping baby. At first I had insecurities and doubts about my body and I questioned if I was enough to be Paisley’s mother. Sometimes I made excuses—we’re in a pandemic and I could be doing other things if this wasn’t happening. I wanted to indulge in things that I thought would make myself feel better but actually made myself feel worse. I fell into laziness because I couldn’t go out. I had to listen to my body and listen to the truth: that there was no one better than me to be Paisley’s mom. After allowing my body to heal from the amazing things that it did to bring Paisley into the world, I’ve invested my time in counseling, friendships, dates with my spouse and even a fun workout class! I called up my other friends to go on walks with our little ones and started to just get out and enjoy the outdoors more. In the journey of motherhood, I have realized that if I take care of myself first, I will be a better wife, mother and friend.

Heather gave birth to Paisley on April 2.

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You know the level-headed friend who keeps it real about the challenges of motherhood while somehow also taking the time to appreciate the beauty of each fleeting moment? The one who helps you keep everything in perspective and reminds you to take care of you? Writer/wordsmith and mama of two Ka’ala Byndon is our online version of that friend, filling our feed with daily inspiration, encouraging us to focus our lives around what matters most, and touching our souls with her words of wisdom. Below, she shares a spoken word piece that’ll feel like it was written for you, realistic self-care practices for postpartum mamas, and the motherhood mantras she has on heavy rotation.

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Tags : Tips + Tricks , Wellness