April 26, 2011

A Bigger Bite!


Originally Focused On New Moms Lunches, Baby Bites Has Bloomed Into A Trusted Resource For Support And Education For Mothers With Children Up To School Age

By Chandni Rathod


After
having her first child, Laura Deutsch found the transition from career
track to motherhood difficult and overwhelming. Lonely and stressed, she
envisioned a way that new moms could easily meet, mingle and build a
sense of community. Taking matters into her own hands, Deutsch launched
BabyBites in 2006, with its very first luncheon on the Upper East Side.
BabyBites received a tremendous response and Deutsch was inundated with
emails from fellow moms who wanted BabyBites meet-ups in their
neighborhoods. “Being a mom clearly helped me come up with events,” says
Deutsch.

Three
years after that first lunch, Heather Ouida joined the BabyBites team
with her own questions and ideas about raising kids. She thought
motherhood would get easier as her sons (Christopher, 8 and Nicky, 5)
got older. But as the kids outgrew diapers and milk bottles, Ouida
learned that children have many stages of growing pains. Inspired by her
own experiences, she helped create KiddyBites, a support group for
parents with kids over the age of three.

“I
like to use my personal stories to show everyone that motherhood can be
hard,” Ouida explains. “Sometimes kids do put stress on our marriages,
and sometimes we all feel like we’re not being a good enough mom.”

Today,
BabyBites has grown into a social and educational parent network with
events in Brooklyn, Westchester and Manhattan, as well as an active
online presence. Deutsch and Ouida have expanded BabyBites to include
various live seminars, classes, support groups, an interactive weblog,
videos and a talk radio show.  

In
addition, the BabyBites nanny listings page has attracted a lot of
interest from mothers. Past employers can post recommendations about
their nanny for potential employment. Also, due to popular request,
BabyBites has added baby nurse and babysitter boards to the website.
“It’s an interesting concept and it speaks highly about moms and their
caregivers,” says Deutsch.

Today,
Deutsch lives with her husband and children, Ava (5 %uFFFD) and Jacob (3),
in Summit, NJ. After living in the city for several years, she and her
husband felt they needed more space.
Ouida
lives with her family on the Upper East Side.

“I feel so lucky,” says
Ouida. “I love the vibe of the city. All the unexpected moments, the
street performers, and the diversity of human beings. Everybody’s story
is unique.”

At the same time, she feels the pace of Manhattan and being overcommitted is the most difficult aspect of city living.

“I
have to remind myself to slow down the pace for the kids,” explains
Ouida. “Kids should have time to do nothing, and it’s important to be
completely present.”

Catering
to their own specific mom needs, Deutsch and Ouida say that the best
part of the job is still being able to have a mom schedule. The
BabyBites network plans its meetings around their kids’ lives, even when
it means meeting at eleven o’clock at night.

Rounding
out the BabyBites team is Renee Sullivan, the director of the Manhattan
support groups, who has become known for her ability to run several
support groups at a time and still have all the answers mothers are
seeking. Similarly, Ronni Soled is the director of the Manhattan
Luncheon Division, and can often be found helping other moms set up play
dates.

As
the BabyBites crew continues to grow and focus on moms living in the
city, Deutsch and Ouida haven’t ruled out expanding beyond New York. In
fact, the team anticipates making a few big announcements at their
second annual MommyBites Summit on May 19, so stay tuned!


For more information, visit babybites.com.

Photo: BabyBites moms Renee Sullivan, Laura Deutsch, Elise Jones, Tanya Charney, Chana Balk and Heather Ouida.


The Mommybites Summit: The Ultimate Moms Night Out

Babybites invites city moms (and dads and even grandparents!) to their annual MommyBites Summit: The Ultimate Moms Night Out, happening May 19 at the Columbia Faculty House. It’s an evening to meet other parents; enjoy wine and snacks; check out a variety of cool kids’ products and services; and hear from notable parenting experts, including keynote speaker and “ScreamFree Parenting” author Hal Runkel, Cool Mom Picks publisher and CEO Kristen Chase, and Emmy-winning producers Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo. All attendees will be entered to win incredible raffle prizes and will leave with a gift bag. To learn more, visit babybites.com.


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