Jenny Best spent two weeks awake at night in 2019, but it wasn’t because she was exhausted from caring for her toddler and twins of four months.
Brooklyn-based public relation consultant and former New York City Ballet ballerina, the Brooklyn-based Brooklyn resident couldn’t fall asleep because of her “really big” idea.
She created a Wikipedia of Baby Food, an online database that will help parents provide solid food for their children.
The idea was to free up such a resource. From there, her plan was to develop a link app and website which would allow users access to a wide range of nutritious baby food recipes.
How can she make dads all over the globe aware of her work? She used the help of a nutritionist to post her journey in feeding her children and weaning them.
Video clips of Ms. Best’s twins trying out new foods quickly earned her a huge following.
There was no business plan. I had zero investors,” she says. But, when I put it out into the world, I received a lot real-time feedback form mums.
Flash forward to March 2020 and she launches her app, Solid Starts. This website also contains the First Foods food database.
“At the beginning, I was devastated [by the bad timing]. “How do you start a business during a pandemic? says Ms Best. Ms. Best says, “But we engaged was insanely high because everyone was at their homes on their smartphones.”
Solid Starts reached one million Instagram followers by October 2021. The app was downloaded by thousands across 180 countries.
Solid Starts hopes to become a global leader in infant feeding. Ms. Best adds that you should never underestimate the power of a mother in an epidemic.
Although “mummy bloggers”, which document family life and have been an integral part of social media, are still very popular, it is becoming more common for dads to share aspirational content.
The goal is to provide sage advice and support in one particular area, like childbirth or toddler behavior. Then, they can create a related business.
Solid Starts, a parenting Instagram account that Bridey Wood (from Melbourne, Australia) follows, is only one of many. After having her child at the beginning of 2020, she turned to Instagram as a way to find information from previous generations that might not have been available in printed materials or handouts.
“[Being a new mum]”It’s a time where you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do,” says Ms Wood. I wanted to be able to get information quickly and easily from someone.
Mallory Whitmore (a Nashville-based mother of two) says that due to the pandemic, many young parents had limited contact with loved ones and health professionals. According to Whitmore, social media and particularly Instagram became a more popular way for them to connect and get information.
She says that new mothers are always on their phones, particularly in the middle-of-the-night. You can find an answer fast on Instagram, which is available 24-7
Ms. Whitmore left her education research career to become a certified infant feeder when the pandemic struck. Ms. Whitmore launched The Formula Mom on Instagram in August 2020. She offers breastfeeding advice as well as formula milk recipes. The Formula Mom also launched a Facebook page.
Whitmore says, “I really just wanted to help people.” She saw a need for reliable, non-judgmental information about baby formula.
Her own postnatal depression experiences and stigmas from when she tried to breastfeed are shared by Whitmore regularly. Ms. Whitmore says traditional channels like doctor visits can seem “intimidating”.
Formula Mom is now a partner with many baby milk companies and also sells digital breastfeeding guides on its website. Ms. Whitmore claims that her current salary is twice the amount she earned in her last salaried full-time job.
Kristin Galant, parent coach and Deena Margolin child therapist also had a great time during the pandemic. The pair quit being inspired by the “perfect” Instagram influencers and launched Big Little Feelings for toddler parenting in March 2020.
We thought, “It’s the pandemic.” I am hungry and tired. My house is in disarray and I’m not wearing any makeup. Is that your mum?’,” says Ms Gallant.
Big Little Feelings is now followed by more than 2.1million people and has a related online parenting course called Winning the Toddler Stage.
Florida pediatrician Mona Amin is the one behind the PedsDocTalk Instagram account. She has a wealth of clinical experience and extensive knowledge in child health. She is also open to sharing relatable moments from her daily life with her husband, toddler, and family dog.
She says that it’s great to be able to look up and see other people who have the same struggles as you. You feel less lonely in your parenting journey.”
Dr Amin is now selling an online course, The New Mom’s Survival Guide. Affiliate links are also available to favorite baby and parent products. A PedsDocTalk podcast is also hers.
Social media has made information easier to access for people with limited time and money. She warns that well-meaning influencers could spread misinformation or incorrect information to those who are loyal to them.
She says, “I feel that I have to protect parents against this misinformation. I know they can fall down a rabbit hole and believe they’re making a mistake, or are terrible parents.”
Parents of young children should not hesitate to contact their doctor if they are concerned about their child or themselves.
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Solid Starts founder Ms. Best highlighted another logistical problem: social media can make it so easy for followers to feel connected with their favorite content creators and become increasingly dependent upon them for help and education.
She says, “I used sit in bed at 4am and answer every direct message.” There were initially 50 and then there was 100. Then I realized that I had been doing it for over four hours.
She started using software to reduce her sleepless nights and filter the 100,000 weekly direct messages Solid Starts receives.
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