Motherhood is hard. And so is business. When I reflect on Mama & Roo's early days, the word that comes to mind is "sacrifice."
I imagined this business during pump breaks at work. I would pump for my son, and I'd have my computer up, and I would be studying and writing. I started the business as a childbirth educator, and so I had to get my certification first. Over time, I added doula services, and then I started selling products. My first few orders were shipped from my employer's mailbox because it was the perfect size for the boxes I used. I would stay up late working on the site, responding to customers, and nursing my son, and then I'd be up early for work the next day.
I spent a lot of time while my son was little building this business. For you. To help others experience what I felt while wearing my child in a carrier, while taking control of and creating a life for my family, by our choice. By our design.
Mama & Roo's founder Alexandra smiles and wears her son on her back in the tester Preschool Carrier.
You see, between my husband and I, we had been laid off 4 times in 10 years. And that had been really hard. And then on top of that, when our son was born, we weren't blessed with the idyllic newborn stage that some have. It was ROUGH. My son had a difficult time transferring milk, by breast or bottle. Nursing sessions were hours long, and he was never satisfied. He wasn't gaining weight. We had a brick dust diaper (translation: dehydrated) our first day home from the hospital, and from there things really spiraled. Because on top of this, he had an undiagnosed tongue tie, undiagnosed reflux, and more. And this poor little soul didn't sleep. Between all the struggles he was having, he would be tired but couldn't lay down and rest.
So out came the carriers! We had several and we borrowed more. And these beautiful wraps and backpacks tied and buckled around our sweet boy would give him the courage to close his eyes and rest. Even if it was for a short time. Even if I still had to nurse him while he was in the carrier. Even if it didn't solve everything, it was meaningful, and it helped. Because the agony of chronic low milk supply, when I was doing everything right and getting bad advice left and right, it was too much. And holding our baby in the carrier made it just a bit easier. And made us feel like at least we were doing this one thing right.
Mama & Roo's owner & founder Alexandra posing in original storefront space; photo from Oct 2019.
I didn't want other parents to suffer like we had. I wanted to do something to reach families and make a difference in their lives. Ultimately, I decided to focus on babywearing because it's something that transcends so much of motherhood. You can babywear a breastfed or bottle-fed baby. You can be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom. You can be at home or on the go. You can be any kind of parent, anywhere, and you can hold your baby in a carrier. You can have your arms free, but keep your heart full.
I could only reach so many people with teaching local classes. I wanted to be there for you. And for the many parents to come after you.
I believed that this vision was worth sacrificing for. I could have stopped. I could have said, this is too much. But I wanted to build something meaningful out of my pain.
So I added carriers to the store and cut everything else. They had to be ethically made, safe for parent and child, and joyful. That's important to me, to have products to bring you joy.
From there, I've grown this business that can support my family. So we don't have to worry about the next thing going wrong. Because I'm here, serving you, and that is going to keep us moving forward. And I'm grateful to be here for you.
After all of the sacrifices I've made, I've found some amazing carriers to make life a little easier.
Of all the carriers we've tried, here are my favorites:
- For the tearful nights: a long woven wrap
- Going to the store: a soft structured carrier
- The "up/down stage": a ring sling
- For a walk (and my overall favorite): a meh dai (wrap strap)
Mama & Roo's founder Alexandra wears her son in a wrap strap meh dai on the front. Photo shows the nicely laid cross passes over baby.
Thanks for being here. Let's build a more joyful world together.