Mama Seed owners Anne Rust, Michelle Bennett and Megan Winfield.
The business of helping expectant and new mamas is a serious one for a group of hardworking Lexington moms.
Michelle Bennett, a full-time pediatrician; Megan Winfield, a full-time software project manager; and Anne Rust, a full-time business owner, all are married with two children each. In their almost nonexistent free time, the trio recently launched Mama Seeds.
“If you e-mail this group at 1 a.m., you almost always get a quick response,” said Winfield, 36, about the Mama Seeds owners’ crazy schedules.
Created to “empower the modern mama with strength, flexibility, support and inspiration from mama experts who’ve been there,” Mama Seeds was a concept that unfolded after more than two years of planning among the three women. Rust, 43, is owner of Lexington’s Baby Moon. She needed the help of Winfield and Bennett, 40, to get out her message of encouragement and education to moms around the country and the world.
“Anne and I had been talking for a long time about how what she does is so unique to Lexington, and Michelle and I had been talking for a long time about how it should be more available,” Winfield explained. “So all three of us got together and decided that, between the three of us, we had the skills and the know-how to do it. So, doing what moms do, we started meeting at 8 p.m. at night on weeknights.”
She added that participating in fitness and educational classes at Baby Moon, which has been open since 2004, during and after her pregnancy “really transformed her experience.”
“And Michelle has a similar background,” she said. “We actually met breastfeeding at a party. Both of us were on a couch, nursing at the same time, and our babies were almost exactly the same age. We got to talking, and we found out we had a common connection to Baby Moon.”
After months of hard work, the trio combined their expertise with Mama Seeds and entered the marketplace in February.
“We felt like fitness and yoga and those types of support classes are good places to start,” Winfield said, adding that mamaseeds.com will be almost like a virtual experience of Baby Moon — a community for women to talk about their own experiences, a collection of well-researched information from experts, mama journals, a multitude of videos on topics like infant massage and prenatal yoga, and products that the three founders thought were particularly helpful in their own mothering experiences.
“It’s an easy entry point for mamas and something that they might be doing anyway, but might not be able to do as much as they want to,” Rust said. “We hope to expand into a lot of online support classes, eventually having birth education classes, breastfeeding education classes — all online, all videos.”
For $7.95 per month, members at mamaseeds.com receive advertisement-free benefits, but the group acknowledged that cutting through the maze of free online information will be challenging.
“We felt like there was a lot of stuff out there, but we see ourselves as curators of what is the best out there,” Winfield said. “We are really careful about information that we put on our website, probably to a point of fault.”
“We’re going to need to get less careful,” Rust said with a laugh, as they work to regularly update the website and blog.
The group also puts effort into maintaining their video-production quality, and having a pediatrician on board affords the group more medical credibility for moms all the way from pregnancy through the infant stage. Bennett said she often serves as fact checker.
“We are trying to keep, from a medical perspective, the information that we are posting valid and up to date,” she said. “We really do check our facts very thoroughly.”
That is helpful in an age of online “data dumping,” as Rust called it.
“Pregnant women suffer from information overload,” she said, adding that Mama Seeds provides more streamlined information from like-minded women.
Bennett added, “We give specific examples of what brands we like, since we want to save new mamas searching online at one in the morning to figure out what the best product is.”
Also, Mama Seeds is launching a printables section, with hospital checklists, questions to ask doctors, and other prenatal organization must-haves.
Each of the women have unique, and sometimes challenging, birth stories.
“[When] I had my son, I had a less than desirable experience, where afterward I thought that every single thing I learned in medical school was done to me in the process of delivering my child,” she said, adding that her perspective as a pediatrician changed since becoming a mother.
“I realized ‘Oh my God, I’ve been lying to mothers all these years as a pediatrician,’” she said with a laugh. “Once you do it yourself, you realize how hard it is and every child is different.”
And though her background is in technology and website design, Winfield has been a strong advocate and spokeswoman for the cause of empowering women in the birthing process.
“I felt like when I was going to Baby Moon and when I was pregnant, that process was really transformative,” she said. “I wanted to tell everybody everything I have learned. I just felt like, ‘How come everybody doesn’t know this and how can I tell them?’ ... So Mama Seeds was a way for me to combine what I’m good at with that information that I just thought I needed to shout from the rooftops.”
Eventually the trio would like to expand its video offerings, offer Mama Seeds retreats and open Mama Seeds franchises that would follow a model similar to Baby Moon and train Mama Seeds-certified educators and fitness instructors.