Like many new moms Kiki Burger and Amelia Makin thought they had everything they needed for the arrival of their babies. They’d read all the books, took the classes and outfitted their nurseries. But after their kids were born they realized that no one had told them what they would actually need—a way to heal their bodies after the trauma of giving birth.
“After our babies were born we were frantically texting each other trying to figure out which products to get to help with the immediate pain and care and we both kept saying, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell us we would feel like this?’ But unlike with everything else for the baby that was usually solved with a single click on Amazon or a stop at a local CVS, we couldn’t find the products in one place, or available without buying in large bulk amount,” Makin said. “Given that 4,000 women give birth a day, it seemed crazy to us that these products just weren’t readily available.”
For the past two years the two women have been working to launch another baby, Mor For Moms, a self care kit for new mothers that tries to address all of the issues Burger and Makin discovered right after they gave birth. The package contains maternity pads, mesh underwear, cooling pads, ice packs, cleansing bottle, overnight pads, nipple pads and nipple cream. It may not seem like a sexy gift registry addition, but the Mor for Moms package is an innovative and desperately needed addition to the baby industrial complex. In the moment, it might be nice to open yet another fuzzy blanket or Sophie the giraffe, but a fully stocked cabinet of maternity pads is actually what a new mom wants and needs during the blur of newborn days.
Makin and Burger assembled their early boxes in their living rooms and started sending early versions of the kits to their new mom-friends as gifts.
“All of the new moms kept telling us how helpful the kits were and how they felt less alone as they sat in the bathroom trying to figure things out,” Makin said. “Pretty soon, people started requesting to purchase them for their friends. We also knew we needed to create something that was purpose driven, so we established a partnership with Mary’s Center, a Washington D.C. based community health center so that for every purchase it contributes to matching kits for under-resourced moms. This is often a painful, lonely and confusing time for new moms, with 77% saying pain interfered with their routine actives in the first two months after giving birth.”
Burger noted that “millennials are currently the largest growing segment of new moms, spending an average of $10,000 from when they learn they’re pregnant until their child is one year old, for a total of $16 billion in annual spending power.” But the women’s research found that very little of that money was actually spent by the mother on self-care.
“We think that’s largely because no one has wanted to talk about what really happens to your body after birth!” Makin said.
“In our culture, this has always been taboo because so much of what we’re exposed when we’re pregnant is either all the cuteness of it all: the soft, fluffy blankets, tiny clothes, pastel colors, squishy faces. Or it jumps right to the bouncing back–the new cute moms we see and strive to be on Instagram. There’s very little realistic portrayal out there of what happens between that in those first few weeks. You see a new mom on Instagram out for a walk, but there’s no mention that the walk was really just one block because they had a big pad in and could barely move or go up the stairs in their house.”
The Mor founders underwent two years of feedback and testing to learn how new moms acquire the often embarrassing things they need in the immediate postpartum period. They found that most of the supplies were gifted by a fellow new mother who gave birth not long before and happened to have leftovers. “But those were rarely enough for what the women actually needed and then their husbands ended up going to the drug store to try to buy the largest pads they could find,” Makin explained.
Earlier this year Snap Inc., the parent company of Snap Chat signed Mor for Moms up as a new employee benefit to try to support the new mothers on their teams.
“It’s the kind of benefit all companies should offer in addition to maternity leave and benefits,” Makin said, adding that they hope to expand their offerings in the near future which will allow them to scale and be innovative around their social impact programming. “Ultimately we want to make Mor for Moms into a full ecosystem for all aspects of postpartum healing and recovery, especially for all the stuff people need, but don’t want to talk about.”
This article first appeared in Forbes by award-winning journalist, Jo Piazza. Reprinted with permission