"There's a spirit of ohana [family] here," says Melanie Rae Seeley, a physical therapist and, for the last decade, Maui resident. "My daughter has relatives and also hanai family [adoptive aunties and uncles] who help us raise her. I feel blessed to live in a community that's so supportive of families." Here, she shares other special things about parenting in paradise.
Tourguides: Melanie Rae Seeley, 37 and Arielle Kalia, 6 months
Cloud B's Twilight Turtle, which shines stars on the ceiling ($30), is the baby item most often shipped to Maui from Amazon.com. For cribs, "my favorite shop is the Cute and Cuddly Baby Boutique," Seeley says.
For Hawaiian babies, first-birthday luaus are the norm, as is eating poi (mashed taro root).
Maui is the birthplace of the Ergo baby carrier ($135; ErgoBabyCarriers.com). "It's hard to go anywhere without seeing a baby in one," Seeley says. "Babywearing is part of the culture. And strollers aren't practical on some jungle-like trails!"
Babies born on Maui are able to go outside no matter what the time of year. Plus, all Hawaiian beaches are public. Families swing by whenever they want!
Sarah Burns, a mom of two, blogs at TheOhanaMama.com. Things she loves about living on Maui? Wearing a bikini top as a bra, and slippas (aka flip-flops) as her main shoes.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.