Today’s mom is Sandie Trombert who started the non-profit Little Essentials a community-based organization that helps keep families together by providing free baby and toddler (to age 4) clothing, gear, toys and other essential items to Brooklyn families living in poverty. This organization has become a force in Brooklyn and we are thankful for Sandie seeing a need and doing something so big for these families.
Name. Sandie Trombert
Hometown: I was born in Brunoy France (near Paris) but my entire family is from Brittany (both sides). We moved to the Upper West Side of NYC when I was 6 years old.
How long have you been living in Brooklyn/NYC? Since 2008 - 2 years in Vinegar Hill and 3 years in Fort Greene.
When did you first become a mother? July 13 2009, then again on October 14 2011.
Was the reality close to your personal image/idea? It is lot tougher than I ever imagined, rewarding of course, but incredibly challenging.
Before becoming a mother what did you know about motherhood? Not much at all. I’m an only child so I have no younger siblings or nieces and nephews, and none of my friends had children at the time.
Can you describe your first year? Learning, failing, learning, succeeding, all while sleep deprived. The biggest stress came during the first few weeks of motherhood. My son cried non-stop and was losing weight. I received a lot of advice – he’s allergic to your breast milk, it’s colic, gas and so on, but it turned out to be hunger. The pediatrician had encouraged me to feed him formula but I was so against it and determined to breastfeed that I didn’t listen. We of course hired a top lactation specialist who suggested a frenectomy, different positioning to breastfeed, herbs and other remedies. Finally, a friend suggested I pump and when I saw with my own eyes that I was producing practically no milk, it was only then that the hard reality hit me, my baby is hungry and I’ve been starving him for 6 weeks. I was devastated, angry at myself for failing to see something so obvious, and disappointed at my body for not doing what it was supposed to do. This was very big lesson and it taught me to be more open-minded and flexible when it comes to raising my children.
Do you have family nearby? What was your means of support if you need it? We do not have any family that lives nearby. My parents live in Switzerland and my husband’s family is in Connecticut and Philadelphia. When my eldest son was first born, I didn’t work for a year and now he’s in pre-school four mornings per week and we hire sitters as needed for the youngest.
Tips for new moms? Do not get upset by anyone who suggests that your baby isn’t rolling over, sitting, crawling, walking, or talking “on time”. Parents can be competitive and I’ve seen comments like these distress many new moms, including yours truly. If you’re concerned that your child isn’t reaching a milestone, talk to your pediatrician. And remember, we all end up sitting, walking, talking and no one cares when it first happened. Trust yourself, you know your baby best.
You started Little Essentials only 3 years ago & it has plays such a vital role in the Brooklyn community. Can you please share more info about Little Essentials? How can people get involved & help out too? Little Essentials started in June 2010 when I noticed a post by a doula on the Fort Greene Babies listserv desperately looking for baby clothing for a low-income mother she was working with through the “By My Side” program at Healthy Start NYC DH & MH. I decided to take action and contacted the many people who had posted free baby items - the response was overwhelming. Everyone gave more than they had listed, they told neighbors – all of them so moved to know that their precious baby items would be going directly to another baby in urgent need of them and that I was going to pick it all up from their house. I ended up with a mountain of clothing and gear in my living room! I called the Health Department to see if they could use the donated items and they took it all. From then on, I began receiving calls from them, and other Brooklyn organizations, hospitals and city agencies when a baby was in urgent need of clothing and gear. The rest is history.
By the way, did you know that Greenpoint/Willliamsburg has the highest child poverty rate in all of NYC with 55% of the children living below the poverty line (that’s an income of $23,550 per year for a family of four)? There’s a lot of need out there and we’ve helped over 2000 Brooklyn babies and toddlers, but we need funding to grow so we can help many more of these children. Did you know that a newborn baby can be taken away by the ACS if the family doesn’t have clothing and other essentials for the baby? This year, thanks to the generosity of Brooklyn parents, Little Essentials was able to provide clothing and gear to three families whose newborns were in danger of ending up in foster care.
How can you help us help more Brooklyn children in need? Donate money, volunteer to sort donations in our warehouse, donate your services (e.g. fundraising, event planning, website re-design, marketing, legal, financial). For more information, visit our website. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Comments will be approved before showing up.