Founded in 2008, Love Bug Bundles strives to support mothers in need and make each newborn's introduction to the world one complete with basic necessities that promote safety and well-being. Our programs improve outcomes for these families by providing education and resources that help alleviate the stress of poverty and prevent family crisis.

Love Bug Bundles is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

In Texas, 25% of children live in poverty.
In Texas, 1 in 10 children lives in extreme poverty.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Olivia Wilde Is Every Mother

Social media is abuzz over actress Olivia Wilde, who posed breastfeeding her infant son Otis in photos taken for the September issue of Glamour Magazine. Although the artistic photos received a glowing reception from Wilde's Twitter followers, an onslaught of negative comments ensued as they went viral. The backlash reflects our culture's skewed view of femininity, which ultimately stigmatizes the most natural maternal behaviors. Despite all of the attention on breastfeeding, the controversy distracts from the important issue of creating meaningful policy changes to support families, including women who are trying to breastfeed.

Wilde addressed the heart of her message on Twitter, posting, “Thanks @glamourmag for knowing there’s nothing indecent about feeding a hungry baby.”

One stunning image of Wilde partially exposed nursing her unclothed infant son inspired some to call her "my hero." Still many others accused her of being inconsiderate of onlookers, calling her actions "disgusting" and admonishing her to "just please be discreet" and cover herself in public. One medical expert went so far as to suggest Wilde was inflicting psychological harm on her own child.

Wilde honestly shared the beauty and intimacy of her experience, telling Glamour, “Breastfeeding is the most natural thing....I don’t know, now it feels like Otis should always be on my breast....Being shot with Otis is so perfect because any portrait of me right now isn’t complete without my identity as a mother being a part of that.”

This week marks the 22nd World Breastfeeding Week. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF, promotes the health benefits of nursing in 175 countries around the world as "key intervention for improving child survival... improv[ing] newborn care, and reduc[ing] neonatal mortality." The message is especially critical in developing nations, where breastfeeding actually reduces the risk of malnutrition and disease.

While applauded for championing maternal health around the world, Wilde is now seen in America as one of the Hollywood celebrity moms who "glamorizes" breastfeeding—a shallow media-driven perception that seems out of touch with reality.

Although naturally beautiful, breastfeeding is hardly glamorous. It is doubtful that any woman who has experienced breastfeeding would view Wilde as any different, a loving mother.

Wilde herself did not seem to focus on the glamour. "I certainly don't really look like that when I'm [typically] breast-feeding," she acknowledged in regard to the Robert Cavalli dress and Prada heels worn in the photo shoot. "And there's usually a diaper involved."

Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusively breastfeeding an infant for the first six months of life. Yet, in America, social stigma and lack of policies to support mothers remain major factors that hurt breastfeeding outcomes. In addition to these systemic and cultural barriers, breastfeeding does not come easily to every woman and in some cases is not possible.

Even for the most successful nursing mother, breastfeeding is a commitment that is almost certainly exhausting, occasionally painful, and at times alienating. Devoting her body to provide her child's sustenance is a loving sacrifice that comes with sacred reward. Whether for three months or three years, breastfeeding is a labor of love.

A mother of young children needs self-care while nourishing, bonding, nurturing, and imprinting with love, but she is bombarded with expectations and judgments that cause her to question her very worthiness.

The early decisions and struggles of motherhood are often a deeply spiritual journey in acceptance and letting go.

Within our mainstream American culture, we trivialize the maternal experience through disrespectful social debate and stigma. Our collective consciousness reinforces messages that quiet the spirit of the mother and separate her from her child, who still desperately needs her. Our misguided attitudes ignore the critical importance of attachment, which helps children become secure, resilient, compassionate individuals in society.

No matter her situation or circumstances, all mothers are vulnerable and in need of unconditional loving support. Halting our tendency to doubt, judge, criticize, or condemn, we must show genuine human compassion.

"These are the moments a mother lives for," Wilde noted. "Breastfeeding should not be taboo—and bottle feeding should not be judged—it's ALL fun for the whole family."

Olivia Wilde is every mother. While the images are stunning, her words are just as powerful. Hopefully, her statement helps spark action that supports mothers. In both public discourse and in public policy—whether breastfeeding or not, covered or not—we must respect every mother.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Now Is Always the Time to Give Love

As I celebrated my birthday six years ago on February 28, 2008, six weeks after the birth of our first child, I had an idea about love. At a small birthday gathering, I asked guests not to bring gifts unless they were to bring newborn items for babies in need. Soon I had one-hundred donated items.

Still not yet sure of how I could meaningfully serve others, I prayed on my birthday and for the next six days. On March 6, while rocking our newborn to sleep in a dark nursery, I felt overwhelmingly grateful for our love bug. In that gratitude, I found a name for my mission, Love Bug Bundles.

Over the past six years, we have worked to give love to families in need. With the tremendous support of the community, we have been able to do big things like host fundraisers for newborns while we still had newborns ourselves and even collect 13,408 diapers in one morning. We have also done very small things like give a one-year-old a winter coat just in time for last week's harsh weather in Houston and send a safe stroller to a grandmother caring for her new grandson in the very south of Mexico.

There is no measure for these big and small efforts to serve others. In all these ways, my only hope has been to make life better for others and my only regret has been that this work is still insufficient. I am truly grateful we have accomplished the big and small things, but I am most grateful to feel a sense of insufficiency. Although I believe even the smallest act of kindness is worthwhile, I pray that I always see the work we have done as not enough. There is so very much more to do in this world, there are so very many in need, we have so great a journey to one peace.

I am grateful for another unexpected part of Love Bug Bundles...the collective work of all our babies, our smallest supporters. In the earliest days, our two-year-old son helped me prepare newborn bundles for what he called "the babies" and precariously transport infant bath tubs that were practically his size. For our Fair Day, many young children brought diapers and participated in the kick ball tournament with their families. At our art gallery soirée, two poised young women presented a stunning South Indian classical dance performance for our guests. And one spring, a local Brownie Troop earned their baby shower badge by collecting donations for three mothers and babies.

Our children need to see that compassion is everything and they see best by doing.

I thank you for every way you have supported me, our board, and the people Love Bug Bundles serves. We are all one. We must remember our humanity. Remember compassion as our purpose. Take responsibility for the pain we see in our world.

As we celebrate our sixth anniversary, I ask you to always see now as the acceptable time to give love. Help your children live out compassion. And, whether you can give something big or small, always pray. The world needs you. Thank you for everything. Hope to see you soon. xoxo

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Once upon a silent night five years ago...

Once upon a silent night five years ago, within a dark nursery, on a soft brown chair, wrapped in his mother's loving arms, a seven-week-old Love Bug fell peacefully asleep. Savoring the warmth of her child's little body, feeling their hearts beating together, the mother realized the name for an idea that had been stirring inside her since his birth. Love Bug Bundles. 

My vision for Love Bug Bundles was to build a movement to support mothers and make each newborn's introduction to the world one complete with basic necessities that promote safety, well-being, and loving bonds.

As a new mother myself, I knew the time surrounding pregnancy and childbirth represents one of the most vulnerable yet rewarding periods in a woman’s life. Ensuring her physical and mental well-being helps ensure the well-being of each newborn baby. No matter the circumstances of her pregnancy and delivery, every mother deserves compassion and support.

Over the past five years, we have worked to help mothers and their newborns start their lives together in positive ways. We are deeply grateful for all of the special, generous, encouraging, and compassionate people who have given their support and talents to Love Bug Bundles.

From the first guests at our Launch Party who generously embraced a new cause, to the families who rallied to collect 13,408 diapers for Fair Day—you amaze us with your ability to rise.

From the moms' and church groups that organized their own charity baby showers, to non-profit groups that have become partners—you amaze us with your commitment.

From young professionals who opened doors to valuable resources in their fields, to business leaders who sponsored our events—you amaze us with your talent and generosity.

From a special family welcoming twins to a sweet group of girls in Brownie Troop 25346—you amaze us with your compassion.

To our dear board members—you amaze us with every way you have shared your time, money, talents, and hearts.

We thank each and every individual who has helped us fulfill our mission. We hope you know how much you give a mother and child when you share just a little love.

Since 2008, core to our founding mission to serve mothers and babies in need has been the desire to spread love in the smallest ways. We embarked on this mission with these inspiring words:
"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. 
Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home."
—Mother Teresa
Thank you for being a part of the journey, and we look forward to continuing forward with you!