Kaitlin McGreyes, of Farmingdale, created the Be Her Village registry...

Kaitlin McGreyes, of Farmingdale, created the Be Her Village registry meant to give new mothers support during their birth journeys.  Credit: Daly House Photography

Before Janel Duffy had her first daughter, she created a traditional registry, asking for a stroller, car seat, crib mattress and a bevy of other baby items. But after Cora was born and the Remsenburg mother had trouble getting her newborn to breastfeed, she says she actually sold some of the physical gifts she received to pay for a lactation consultant.

So, with her second daughter, Emma, now four months old, Duffy chose a new kind of registry: Be Her Village. It lets mothers enlist support for themselves on their birth journeys, such as contributions to pay for prenatal massage or acupuncture, childbirth education classes, a birth doula or post-birth doula, lactation consultants, pelvic floor therapy and infant sleep consultants.

“Moms need to make sure they are taking as much time caring for themselves as they are planning for their baby’s arrival,” says Duffy, 34, a content writer for a website. “The idea of being able to register for that kind of support rather than a bunch of baby stuff I didn’t end up using was a huge opportunity.”

That opportunity was created by another Long Island mother. Kaitlin McGreyes, 39, of Farmingdale, founded Be Her Village featuring Long Island options in 2021. Parents can go onto the website and select services that they would like to ask friends and family to contribute toward. McGreyes says $12,000 worth of gifts were given the first year. In 2023, $150,000 was gifted; the site is now at the $264,000 total gifted mark, McGreyes says. The registry has spread beyond Long Island; more than 2,000 providers nationwide are now listed on the site from as far away as California.


When McGreyes, a former special education teacher, had her three children, now 11, 9, and 7, “I was sort of stunned by the overemphasis on things,” she says. The Be Her Village registry option launched and spread “fairly organically,” says McGreyes. The site charges gift givers a small transaction fee and transfers their gift directly to the gift recipient’s bank account so that it can then be used for the earmarked activity. Gifters can also contribute partially toward a larger gift.

What I needed is support. You can’t find that on a traditional baby registry.”

— Kimberly Behan, 39, a librarian from Brooklyn

Jessica Dennehy, a birth and postpartum doula from Bay Shore, says she was one of the first providers to join the registry site. Providers also pay a fee to be listed, and Dennehy says that helps spread the word about her business. “My skill is not technology or marketing,” Dennehy says.

Dennehy says when her own babies were born, she was affected by postpartum depression and would have benefited from the support of a professional who could have offered her advice. “It is a huge passion of mine to make the community at large aware that the things we give new parents are less valuable than being present with them … to resolve their road bumps and stumbling blocks,” she says.


Kimberly Behan, 39, a librarian from Brooklyn, registered and received contributions for infant massage class, maternity photos and childbirth education. “We didn’t need 100 different outfits for newborns; she’s going to outgrow them before we even get into all these clothes,” Behan says of her daughter, Kelly, now 7 months old. “I didn’t need all these burp cloths and stuff like that. What I needed is support. You can’t find that on a traditional baby registry.”

Duffy echoes Behan. “I don’t think moms know and talk about how tricky postpartum can be. It was quite a shock going into being a mom for the first time,” she says. “People want their nurseries to be set up and all their things ready. I thought I wanted all that stuff but found out I didn’t need it.”

For instance, Duffy says she researched crib mattresses and crib frames to make sure her choices were organic, she says. But in the end, her daughter wound up co-sleeping in the bed with her. “As far as the crib goes,” she jokes, “it ended up being a really great place to throw laundry.”


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