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Mother Essentials: Kate Flynn of Sun & Swell

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

“Earth Day, every day” is an ethos that is ingrained in the mind—and business—of new mama Kate Flynn. After spending nearly 10 years in the consumer products world, the Harvard Business grad wanted to do something more fulfilling that would positively impact the world. Soon after (in 2017), Sun & Swell Foods was born. Co-founded by Kate and her husband Bryan, the brand’s mission is to make healthy and sustainable eating more accessible with their collection of sustainably-packaged, organic, plant-based pantry staples and snacks. Sun & Swell is the first food company in the U.S. to offer a wide array of healthy foods in 100% compostable, plastic-free packaging and the brand recently debuted a brick-and-mortar retail shop/zero waste grocery store in Ventura, CA. Naturally, many of Kate’s Mother Essentials for both herself and her 9-month-old daughter, Leila, have an eco-conscious edge. Check ’em out below! 

L’ovedbaby Clothes. “100% organic cotton and ethically made in India. These are soft and also come in a neutral, simple color pallete. This has been my go-to baby clothing brand since Leila was born.” Organic Baby Clothes & Accessories, $7 and up, L’ovedbaby.

Silk + Sonder Journal. “10 minutes of journaling in my Silk + Sonder every morning somehow makes me feel so much more in control of my crazy life.” Monthly Journal Subscription, $19.95, Silk + Sonder.

Lululemon Align Leggings. “I hate the idea of buying a piece of clothing that you wear only 3-4 months of your life (like maternity leggings)—it just feels so wasteful. I love these because they are so soft and hug your body no matter what size it is before, during, and after pregnancy! I bought 1 size up from my normal size when I found out I was pregnant, and the same pair has been my favorite pair of leggings throughout my entire pregnancy, and now approaching one year after.” Align Pant, $98, Lululemon

Untamed by Glennon Doyle. “This was the perfect book for me to listen to when going on morning walks with Leila. It left me feeling inspired and hopeful, and I had many ‘a-ha’ moments related to parenting as I read it!” Untamed, by Glennon Doyle, $25, Bookshop and Amazon.

Barre3. “Barre3 is such an important part of my life, and it has been my go-to workout consistently for going on 5 years now. I did it all throughout my pregnancy (literally, I took a class after I entered early labor!) and it was the first thing I did when I could work out again after having Leila. I love how it’s gentle on your body but super challenging all at the same time.” Barre3.com. 

Lovevery Play Kits. “I’m constantly wondering—what am I supposed to be teaching Leila now? These Montessori-inspired subscription toy kits take the guesswork out! Plus, the toys are made from sustainable materials (wood or organic cotton).” Play Kit Subscription, starting at $36/month, Lovevery.

Miir Water Bottle. “With everything on my mind these days, it’s so easy for me to forget to stay hydrated, so keeping a water bottle on me at all times is essential. I love Miir water bottles because Mirr is a B-Corp, 1% for the Planet Members, and every water bottle they sell has a unique code so you can track the positive impact made from that water bottle.” Sun & Swell x MiiR Water Bottle, $25, Sun & Swell.

Living Libations Shampoo. “When it comes to body care, Living Libations meets all the highest standards: organic, fair trade, reef safe…so I can feel good putting this all over Leila’s body! I use this as both shampoo and body wash—it’s gentle on her skin and smells so good.” Seabuckthorn Shampoo, $7, Living Libations.

Parker Clay Emma Bucket Bag. “This large purse is the perfect size to serve as a purse/diaper bag. It fits easily and comfortably over my shoulder, which is essential these days. I love Parker Clay because they’re an impact-driven brand and a B-Corp, and all of their bags are ethically made in Ethiopia.” Emma Bucket Bag, $198, Parker Clay.

Sun & Swell Lactation Cookies. “These little cookies are the perfect quick bite for snacking during your nursing time. Nutritious, delicious, and made with super clean ingredients that promote milk supply (brewer’s yeast, oats, and flaxseeds). Plus, they come in compostable packaging!” Lactation Cookie Bites, $15, Sun & Swell.

The Awakened Family. “This book is largely about self-reflection, and finding more awareness of who you are and why, and then being mindful of that as you parent.” The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children, by Shefali Tsabary, $16, Bookshop and Amazon. 

Earth Mama Diaper Balm. “I love and trust this brand for all things baby (and mama) related. They make organic, clean, and safe herbal solutions. While we don’t deal with a diaper rash often (thank you, cloth diapers!), when we do, I feel good about rubbing this on Leila’s sweet toosh!” Organic Diaper Balm, $12.99, Earth Mama Organics

Handful Adjustable Sports Bra. “Super comfy, easy access for nursing, and cute. I wore these before getting pregnant, and it’s the only bra I wore during pregnancy, and still after…just now a size larger. :) Like the leggings I mentioned, I can be less wasteful with these, as I never had to purchase a short-term use nursing bra.” Adjustable Sports Bra, $54, Handful

Headspace App. “After having Leila, I feel like my mind is so scattered. I’m constantly thinking about at least two things at once (her + something else), and as a result, I’ve become way less mindful. With Headspace, I can leave Leila with daddy for 10 minutes, stick my kawaii headphones on, and recenter myself. It helps me to feel calm and reminds me to stay present.” Headspace.com. 

Blush Bowtique. “I’m all about bows for Leila, but I’ve struggled to find ones that don’t seem uncomfortable to her. These bows are simple and stretchy, so I know they’re comfy for her. Plus, this is a super small business, and every bow is handmade!” @Blus.Bowtique on Instagram.

Staying Connected. “Texting with my mom friends and FaceTiming with family are musts for me. I don’t get to see everyone due to COVID, but it’s important for me to stay connected.”

Childcare. “I love working. love what I do, and I love the challenges it brings. So it’s so important for me to have that part of my identity intact for part of the day. Having time alone to work allows me to be more present when I’m with Leila.”

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with photographed & director Natasha Lee, best-selling author Joanna Ho, Brave + Kind Bookshop owner Bunnie Hilliard, TV personality Leslie Antonoff, author Rio Cortez, Kido Chicago owner Keewa Nurullah, small-space mama Laura Fenton, Curasalve founder Kelley Williams, Trade Street Jam Co. founder Ashley Rouse, Weelicious and One Potato founder Catherine McCord, interior designer Susan Work, author Tiffany Dufu, Les Gamins founder Veronique Nguyen, Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca Atwood, and Dana HaimOlympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, wellness influencerJoanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvetteand many, many more!

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