Providence Baby Gear Company Kowalli Seeks to Help New Moms Avoid PPD

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Kowalli LLC has connected with Families First RI to offer mentorship as well as free baby products to those receiving treatment for Postpartum Depression, a common complication of childbirth.

Supporting new mothers is central to Kowalli LLC Founder Alizah Holstein

I hope that in some way my products might help mothers of infants who are struggling to feel confident or positive about their new role in life.

Being a new mom can be scary. Even more so if you're at risk for Postpartum Depression,(PPD), reported to be the number one complication of childbirth. To help support women experiencing a difficult transition to motherhood, Providence RI-based baby gear company Kowalli LLC has donated $500 worth of fleece baby gear to local non-profit organization Families First RI. The organization pairs mothers of infants with highly trained volunteer mentor moms in the effort to avoid or reduce the effects of PPD.

Kowalli makes a natural partner for Families First RI. Its best-selling product, the Kowalli Baby Carrier Cover, is a fleece garment worn over a parent and baby together that allows them to share body heat and remain close in any weather condition. Says Kowalli Founder Alizah Holstein, “Our products make it easy for moms to bond with their babies and to stay closely attuned to their needs. Knowing that your baby is warm and close can go a long way in reducing anxiety for a new mom, especially in colder months.”

It is widely thought that the practice of babywearing can help mitigate the symptoms of PPD. A recent study in Pediatrics concluded that babywearing for three hours per day reduced infant crying by 43%. Other studies have also shown that physical contact between mother and child leads to an increase in levels of oxytocin, a powerful chemical that, when released in the brain, results in an overall calming sensation. The result: less anxiety and better mother-infant bonding. By donating Kowalli Baby Carrier Covers to Families First RI, Kowalli hopes to encourage babywearing and the mother-child intimacy that can lead to a better state of mind for both. The Kowalli Baby Carrier Cover fits over any brand of soft-structured baby carrier and will fit most adult sizes.

In addition to donating products, Holstein joined on as a volunteer mom in fall 2012 and currently serves as mentor to a local mother of an infant. "As mom to two boys under five," she said, "I felt I would be able to relate to the challenges of being a new mom. Being a mom is just about the hardest job on the planet." For Holstein, the idea of giving back had been central to her business mission since she founded Kowalli in 2009. "It took me a long time to find the right organization," she explained. But Families First RI, with its dedication to moms in need of emotional and social support, seemed like a perfect place to start.

Holstein is just one of many volunteers taking part in the Families First initiative. Founded in 2007, Families First RI is a grass-roots non-profit organization whose mission is simple: provide support, mentoring, and education to new mothers who are referred to them or are seeking support. Trained volunteer mentor moms offer non-judgmental guidance and support during weekly visits with the new mother with whom they are matched. Services are free of charge to families throughout the state, regardless of insurance status.

In addition to the one-to-one peer mentoring program, Families First also hosts social and educational gatherings. The next Family Gathering is scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 10:30-noon at the Trinity Church, 139 Ocean Ave in Cranson, RI. To be a volunteer mom, or to find out how to receive support for yourself or a loved one, go to or contact: Sally Harrison, Clinical Program Director at (401)383-9933 or sally(at)familiesfirstri(dot)org.

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