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Posts Tagged ‘Baby and Toddler’

Free Car Seat Safety Check: Columbia, SC

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Need to have your child’s car seat checked in Columbia, SC? It’s true what they say, “You can never be too safe,” especially when it comes to your children! And car seat safety is absolutely no exception!

Columbia, SC Car Seat Inspections

Car Seats in South Carolina: Things to Know

Need help finding the right car seat? Or just need some guidance on getting started? The US Department of Transportation has a great resource to help you choose the right car seat and learn how to install it. (We still recommend having your car seat installation checked.)

If you want to freshen up on South Carolina’s car seat laws, be sure to read South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s guide to Child Passenger Safety. Or check out this helpful video from DHEC.

And, of course, when your child has outgrown their car seat, or when the car seat has expired, you can trade it in at Target. Target will recycle old, expired, or damaged car seats and give you 20% off another car seat, a stroller, or select baby gear. Read more about Target’s Car Seat Trade-In Program.

Statistics shockingly estimate around 80% of car seats are NOT correctly installed. Now is the perfect time to make sure yours isn’t one of them.

Where to Get a Car Seat Installation Check in Columbia, SC

Items needed when getting your car seat installation checked:

  • the owner’s manual for your car (if available)
  • the owner’s manual for the car seat (if available)
  • your vehicle
  • your child

We’ve listed the inspection stations near Columbia by county below.

Where to Get Your Car Seat Installation Checked in Richland County

City of Columbia Police Department
1 Justice Square, Columbia
By appointment only

Irmo Police Department
1230 Columbia Avenue, Irmo
By appointment only

Lexington Medical Center (Department of Public Safety)
115 West Hospital Drive, West Columbia
By appointment only

South Carolina State Fire Office
141 Monticello Trail, Columbia
By appointment only

2100 Bull Street, Columbia
By appointment only

The Therapy Place
3620 Covenant Road, Columbia
By appointment only

Forest Acres Police Department
5205 North Trenholm Road, Forest Acres
By appointment only

Richland County Sheriff’s Department
5623 Two Notch Road, Columbia

Irmo Fire District
6017 St. Andrews Road, Columbia
By appointment only

Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Midlands
7 Medical Park Drive, Columbia
By appointment only

Where to Get Your Car Seat Installation Checked in Lexington County

Lexington Police Department
111 Maiden Lain, Lexington
By appointment only

Lexington County Health Services District (Department of Public Safety)
115 West Hospital Drive, West Columbia
By appointment only

Irmo Fire District Northlake
117 Lincreek Road, Columbia
By appointment only

Cayce Public Safety
2 Lavern Jumper Road, Cayce
By appointment only

West Columbia Police Department
200 North 12th Street, West Columbia
803.794.0721 ext. 825
By appointment only

Lexington County Sheriff Department
521 Gibson Road, Lexington
By appointment only

Swansea Police Department
320 West 3rd Street, Swansea
By appointment only

Batesburg/Leesville Police Department
660 West Columbia Avenue, Batesburg/Leesville

The SC DHEC website has a list of available car seat inspection stations near Columbia, SC

Parenting in Columbia, SC

See all of Kidding Around’s Parenting Content in one place!

Parenting Guide

10 Things to Do With Babies in Columbia, SC

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Running low on day-date ideas with your baby? If you’re looking for things to do with babies in Columbia, SC, you’ve come to the right place.

Finding activities to keep a baby entertained and stimulated throughout the day can be exhausting. It can sometimes feel like you’ve done everything there is to do! TWICE! You’ve played peek a boo and patty cake, made all the silly faces, and walked your neighborhood as many times as you can handle. Now you may be wondering, what’s left?!

Things to do with babies in Columbia, SC

Luckily for moms of babies under 1, Columbia has some activities to add to your list! Whether you want to get outside for some fresh air or find some indoor space for your baby to learn and play, we have some great options here for you.

In this article, we’ll discover spots around the city that are perfect for sweet newborns and all the babies who aren’t quite independent enough for the big kid stuff. We’ll talk about places like Riverwalk that offer great walking paths for strolling in the peace and quiet, and PlayMatters’ indoor sanctuary for babies to learn and play.

Take a look at the list of ideas and plan your next day date with your baby! Bonus points if they just take a nap and you get to enjoy a latte and a restful afternoon instead!

In fact, here’s our list of awesome coffee shops in Columbia, SC, to get you started!

Riverbanks Zoo

My family loves the zoo! I’ve been bringing my son since he was just a month old. The memberships they offer are so great for families and it allows you to visit any day you’re in need of fresh air!

If your baby isn’t old enough to appreciate the bigger animals, there are plenty of close-up exhibits that will catch their attention.

The sea lions are a great attraction for babies along with the penguins!

Riverbanks Zoo, sea lion exhibit

Riverbanks Zoo
500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia

EdVenture Children’s Museum (My Backyard Area)

EdVenture really is such a staple attraction in Columbia for kids of all ages. You might think you’re baby under 1 isn’t quite ready for all they have to offer, but don’t worry! There’s a 3-and-under area called My Backyard that has space for crawling babies and tons of objects with textures for them to explore.

Another plus, my backyard area has a designated nursing area, family bathroom, and gated entrance. 

My Backyard exhibit at EdVenture

211 Gervais Street, Columbia

Check out the Kidding Around review of EdVenture in Columbia, SC.


This unique space in West Columbia offers “enchantment inside meticulously curated play realms”. Specifically made for babies and toddlers to be curious and use their imaginations.

Baby not walking yet? No problem!

The rooms include toys, books, and puppets to keep babies of all ages entertained.

Make sure to check out their web page for booking a visit!

PlayMatters SC 
3685 Leaphart Road, Suite A, West Columbia


I realized very early on that one of the best ways to entertain my son when he became restless was to go for a walk! When the weather is nice and we have a free hour or so, we don’t hesitate to make a trip to the Riverwalk in Cayce.

More times than not, a nap ensues within minutes of walking. It’s so important that we all get some fresh air though, even if he sleeps through it I know the trip was well worth it.

Learn more about Riverwalk in our Kidding Around article on the Three Rivers Greenway Trail.

Water access at West Columbia Riverwalk

Stroller-friendly parks in Columbia, SC

Looking for more places to go for a stroll?

Here’s a list of great stroller-friendly parks near Columbia!

Soda City Market (only on Saturdays)

Another great way to get outdoors and have your baby mesmerized by their surroundings is planning a visit to the Soda City Market on a beautiful Saturday morning. There is so much to see and hear and TASTE!

Your baby will be so captivated by all the people and furry friends as well as the numerous musicians that set up along the main street.

Don’t leave without grabbing a treat from a local vendor or food truck!

1300-1600 Main Street, Columbia

Kidding Around has a list of all the Farmers’ Markets in Columbia, SC. Check them out!

Saluda Shoals

Saluda Shoals has so much to offer for parents of little ones. From its beautiful nature paths along the Broad River, to its splash pad for the mobile babies, and even indoor areas to explore with the younger ages. There are memberships available but if you just want to make a quick trip, pay the parking fee and enjoy your day!

Located inside the park is also Columbia’s largest all-inclusive playground at Leo’s Landing. So whether you’re taking a calm walk with your baby, or letting your toddler run around on the soft turf, this place is sure to accommodate!

Leo's Landing imagination play space

Saluda Shoals Park
5605 Bush River Road, Columbia

Columbia Marionette

This gem has held a space in Columbia’s heart since 1988! The marionette theatre is a magical place to take small children for some entertainment that doesn’t include a screen. The theatre offers a schedule of rotating shows throughout the year.

Admission is $7 for ages 2 and up. My son at only 7 months sat through a performance and was truly captivated! The shows last roughly an hour and they have freshly popped popcorn ready for purchase. Check out this unique experience with your baby and watch their little minds light up!

Columbia Marionette Theater 
401 Laurel Street, Columbia

Richland County Library

Columbia has some really amazing library programs happening around the city. Richland County Library is a great place to start when looking for some baby-friendly activities. They offer free events daily for parents and babies to attend!

Children's area at Richland County Libraries

Some great options for babies under 1 include family storytime for both English and bilingual audiences, as well as a Hello Baby! course for growing your baby’s vocabulary and motor skills!

Visit the library events page for more information and to book your first visit!

There are multiple Richland County library locations.

Music Class

Tempo Music and Arts in Columbia, SC

Bring baby to an outdoor music and movement class with Tempo Music & Arts

Tempo Music and Arts
302 Senate Street Columbia, SC 29201

See Some Art: Columbia Museum of Art Stroller Tours

Babies up to age 2 can join parents and caregivers in a stroller tour at the Columbia Museum of Art. It’s free with regular admission or membership entrance.

Stroller tours happen about one Saturday a month at 10:30 am. Just keep on the youth and family events on the museum’s website.

1515 Main Street, Columbia

Looking for more fun things to do in Columbia?
We have a whole guide for families, grownups, big kids, and everyone!

Check out the biggest list of things to do in Columbia, SC. Its the start of some super fun days.

Learn All About the Newly Opened Indoor Play Space, PlayMatters SC in West Columbia, SC

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Have you ever heard of Play Matters in West Columbia, SC? If you’re looking for a safe, clean, indoor playspace with a HUGE variety of toys and endless open play options, you’ve got to give this newly opened business a try!

PlayMatters SC has only been open for a few weeks, but local mom and Kidding Around Columbia writer, Kayla, recently had the chance to visit them and is here to give you all the details! 

The New Hot Spot in the Midlands: PlayMatters SC

Play Matters is filling the gap for families with young tots to have a safe, clean, developmentally encouraging indoor space to play. Here you will find several Montessori-inspired playrooms, educational toys, open-ended play stations, materials to develop imagination, climbing structures and so much more. 

As a parent or caregiver, I know we often worry about helping our children achieve all the developmental milestones. Let me be the first to tell you that at Play Matters your children will be able to work on so many developmental areas all in one space – gross motor, fine motor, and social skills, just to name a few. 

Play Matters offers lots of pretend play options in Columbia, SC

How Much Does Play Matters Cost?  

Play Matters charges $15/child and this also includes 2 adults. Your admission is good for a full day of play so you can stay as long or as little as you’d like. I would recommend setting aside no less than 2 hours to be able to fully explore the playspaces, but honestly, you could spend SEVERAL hours here playing the whole day away. 

The camping room play space at Play Matters.

Important Things to Know 

  1. EVERYONE is required to wear socks at all times. This includes adults. If you forget to bring socks, Play Matters has them on sale for $2/pair. 
  2. Outside food and drinks are allowed, however, can only be consumed within the 2 designated snack rooms. 
  3. They have a variety of snacks and drinks for sale for very reasonable prices:
  • $2 bag of chips
  • $1 snack bars 
  • $1 small water
  • $1 juice box 
  • $3 coffee 

What to Expect at Play Matters 

Upon entering Play Matters you will be greeted with a lobby area full of wall hooks, seating, and cubes to leave your belongings in. If it is your first time you will be asked to fill out a waiver and then be given a tour of the facility.

A few things that stood out to me were how clean the entire play space was and the huge variety of play equipment and unique toys. All of the toys are high-quality, sturdy, and things you wouldn’t normally have to play with at home. 

Play Matters indoor play space in Columbia, SC

Private Nursing Room 

Within Play Matters, you will find a quiet, cozy nursing room complete with a comfortable chair, Boppy pillows, a small table, and a locking door. I thought this was such a sweet and thoughtful feature and the perfect place for any nursing momma looking for a bit more privacy. 

Tiny Tot Play Rooms 

There are two designated playrooms for the tiniest tots, ages 0 – 18 months. In these rooms, you will find soft mats, age-appropriate and simple toys, small climbing blocks, a tunnel, a Pikler Triangle, and more. 

Tot play space at Play Matters

Eating Areas 

As mentioned above, there are two snacking areas at Play Matters. All food and drinks are asked to stay within these rooms. These two rooms are complete with picnic tables, plenty of seating, a high chair, and a Bumbo style seat. 

Variety of Themed Play Rooms 

The whole facility is somewhat shaped like a “U” with small rooms all along the outer wall. Each room has a different theme and toy options:

  • Gross Motor Room – 2 indoor play structures with slides, monkey bars, a balance beam, etc. 
  • Imagination Play Room – dress-up costumes, wooden kitchen, and food market, baby dolls, pretend strollers, doll houses, Nugget play couch, and more 
  • Transportation Room – train table, workbench, tools, large cars, and trucks 
  • Bumble Bee Room – couch, picnic table, wooden blocks, storage cube full of Montessori-styled wooden toys 
  • Wildlife Camping Room – play tent, stuffed animals, bookshelf, pretend campfire, variety of animal figures 
  • Outer Space Room – rocketship tent, small sensory room, insect specimen blocks, telescope, blocks, etc. 
Transportation themed play space at Play Matters

Play Matters: Local Mom Review 

When I moved to Columbia almost 3 years ago I searched high and low for a place exactly like Play Matters, but had no luck. I was ecstatic when I found out that this space was opening and to say it is much needed for our area is an understatement.

More than just a clean, fun place to take my kids for some play time, Play Matters also gives moms and caregivers a place to meet other adults, chit-chat with friends while sipping on coffee, and have peace of mind that kids are safe while doing so. 

I recently took my two kids to Play Matters and we stayed for about 3 hours. My son, 4.5 years old, loved the Outer Space-themed playroom the best. He also enjoyed riding around on the cool push cars and met several other children that he enjoyed playing pretend with. My almost 2-year-old daughter had a blast climbing and sliding on the playscapes. She also had fun putting together puzzles and playing with the baby dolls.

Play Matters wood toys

We met up with a friend and her daughter while there and they had an equally good experience. Along with being able to talk with her and other adults, I also loved being able to sit down on a clean floor with my children and play alongside them with new toys.

As we played, the owners were sure to make sure we had everything we needed, were constantly making sure the playrooms and toys were cleaned and tidy, and took the time to strike up conversations with each family.

Play Matters pretend play

More to Come 

Play Matters has only been open for a few weeks, but they have tons of great ideas in the works. They will soon be allowing Birthday Party packages, small group workshops, and more. Be sure to follow Play Matters online for updates and announcements. 

PlayMatters SC 
3685 Leaphart Road, Suite A, West Columbia
Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm 

Have you been to Play Matters yet? What was your child’s favorite room?

Indoor Guide to Columbia, SC

Looking for more things to do indoors?

We have a huge Indoor Guide to Columbia, SC.

Check it out!

Exploring Stroller-Friendly Parks in Columbia, SC

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It can be hard finding enjoyable outings for the whole family. Especially if you require stroller accessibility! Luckily, Columbia has a plethora of parks to explore that can accommodate kids of all ages, even the ones that still require some wheels. No matter what side of town you’re on, our little city provides some delightful ways to escape the bustling urban environment. Have a new adventure by taking a stroll(er) in one of our many beautiful stroller-friendly parks in Columbia, SC.

In this article, we will list some of our favorite Columbia parks to visit with strollers. All of these parks include stroller-friendly pathways that are fun and safe for families. From the open aired roaming Finley Park to the shaded meander through Maxcy Gregg, you’re sure to find one that provides you with an outdoor excursion that doesn’t require any off-roading in the baby mobile.

Stroller-friendly parks in Columbia, SC

Finlay Park is Stroller-Friendly

This park has had many lives in Columbia, SC. It has been nested between the streets of Assembly, Taylor, Gadsden, and Laurel since before the Civil War! The 18-acre area has so much to offer.

Two playgrounds, stroller-friendly paths, open field areas, and covered swings on an upper level. You may even capture an event or festival taking place in the amphitheater at the entrance. My family grew up visiting this park, playing on the now handicap-accessible playground, and running through the waterfall. Pack for a long afternoon of playing, exploring, and maybe even a picnic!

Finlay Park
930 Laurel Street, Columbia

Riverfront park, stroller-friendly in Columbia, SC
At Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park: Bring the strollers

One of the most popular parks in Columbia has to be the Riverfront Canal. It is completely paved and stroller friendly from the parking lot all the way to the river’s end. Which is a total of 4 miles, one way. There are so many great stops along the way to get a great view of the Broad River while resting on a bench or standing at the overlooks. You can see tons of wildlife on this walk which makes it so fun for the kids.

This park does stay busy so be mindful to always walk on the right side and stay aware of runners and bikes. A friendly reminder that there are public restrooms at the beginning and end of this trail only! One thing we really love about RiverFront is the open grass area nestled next to the river. If you’re lucky, find a couple of Adirondack chairs facing the water and let the kids run free while you relax!

Riverfront Park
South Riverfront Park Address: 312 Laurel Street, Columbia
North Riverfront Park Address: 4210 River Drive, Columbia

Walking and biking at West Columbia Riverwalk

Riverwalk is Great for Strollers

Okay, let me acknowledge the confusion first. Yes, there is a difference between River “Front” and River “Walk”. Although these parks are not too far apart, they offer very different experiences, and you don’t want to miss out on either!

Riverwalk in Cayce is a beautiful 8-mile trail alongside the Congaree River. This trail actually connects to several smaller trails throughout Columbia. The area is well-mapped with posts along the way so don’t worry about getting lost.

One of the biggest differences I take into consideration when deciding between these trails is the shade. Riverwalk offers a much shadier walk which can be really necessary for our hot and humid summers! The park still borders the river so feel free to dip your toes in while you’re out!

Riverwalk, shaded trail in Columbia, SC

Besides the shady trees, there are numerous shelters, benches, and lookouts along the way to take a break. At the head of the trail sits an amphitheater where you might catch a Friday night concert in the cooler months.

Access the main entrance at the intersection of Axtell Drive and Naples Avenue

Three Rivers Greenway trails in Columbia, SC

Cayce Riverwalk is part of the Three Rivers Greenway Trail. Find out all about it in our mom review of Three Rivers Greenway Trail.

Maxcy Gregg offers a little garden stroll

This is one of our smaller parks and is not meant for a day-long hike or outing. Rather, its a good spot for a cute little picnic and stroll. It is located in the heart of our downtown, right outside of Five Points and inside the University of South Carolina campus. Maxcy Gregg offers a little garden side stroll, lovely shaded pathways, and art installations in its .3-mile walk.

If you’re already downtown don’t hesitate to grab a coffee from one of the local spots and take the kiddos for a little fresh air in this adorable park. It’s a wonderful area to visit in the fall when the leaves have fallen and you’ll find many a student studying away under one of the beautiful trees in the park.

Maxcy Gregg Park
Near the intersection of Blossom Street and Pickens Street in Columbia

Saluda Shoals

If you’re looking for a park with LOTS to offer Saluda Shoals is the park for you. This park does require a $5 parking fee but you can easily spend an entire day out with the family. From walking trails to river tubing, to splash pads and Leo’s Landing (an inclusive playground the kids will LOVE) what else could you need?

Saluda Shoals Park along the river

The trails are well paved for strollers for most of the pathways, even the not paved trails still offer a smooth ride. There are activities and events throughout the year and this park makes an excellent option for birthday parties or showers as well. The information for renting out shelters (or even a train ride through the park!) can be found on their website.

Saluda Shoals with babies in Columbia, SC
Things to do at Saluda Shoals in Columbia, SC

Also, don’t miss our Kidding Around Review of Saluda Shoals for all the details on the park, trails, and great playground.

Saluda Shoals
5605 Bush River Road, Columbia

Page Ellington

This is one of Columbia’s newer additions in the up-and-coming Bull Street district. With 20 acres of open public park, Page Ellington features a beautiful paved walking path around a small water habitat and a dog park.

While this area is still undergoing a lot of changes, we are really loving this new family-friendly area right next to Segra Stadium. The dog park is free as well as the parking surrounding the park. After a little stroll, you can easily walk down to a couple of restaurants for a meal, like Publico which offers indoor and outdoor seating.

Page Ellington Park
2220 Gregg Street, Columbia

More Parks

Find the perfect place to play in our Columbia, SC Playground and Park Guide!

Parks: Columbia, SC with playgrounds and fun places to explore

Discover more of the best parks in Columbia, SC

Jump, Tumble, and Twist: Carolina Gymnastics Parent and Me Class

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Have you ever heard of Carolina Gymnastics? Whether you’re looking for a Parent and Me class for your tots, an awesome place to host your next birthday party, or a sport to introduce your older kids to, you should give Carolina Gymnastics a try! A local mom and Kidding Around Columbia writer has been taking her young daughter to gymnastics classes here for the past several months and has some great insight we think you will love! 

Carolina Gymnastics in Columbia, SC

Carolina Gymnastics: Parent and Me Classes 

When my daughter began walking, and became more of a “toddler” than a baby, I knew I needed to find something for her to do on a regular basis. Not only to get us out of the house, but to challenge her, teach her new skills, and socialize with other tots her age.

After some searching, I came across the Parent and Me classes at Carolina Gymnastics and I knew I had to give them a try. It was comforting to know that Carolina Gymnastics has been in business since 1976 and was the very first privately owned gymnastics center in all of South Carolina.  

Carolina Gymnastics in Columbia, SC

Group Class Room 

The class we are a part of usually starts out in the Group Class Area. Complete with a climbable castle replica, wall murals, slide, and small foam pit, this room is so cute and fun for small kiddos. Tiny gymnasts are also given the opportunity to free play in the “big gym” where they can jump on the trampoline, swing on the bars, walk across the beams, dance to the music, and so much more! 

Parent and tot class at Carolina Gymnastics

Independence to Explore at Their Own Pace 

Each family can do one free trial class to be sure the classes are a good fit. About halfway through our trial run, it was safe to say that my daughter was HOOKED. The Parent and Me class is set up to give toddlers space and independence to explore and try things on their own time, but with tons of guidance from the coaches. 

I really love that throughout the class I am able to participate with my daughter and learn how to safely teach her new skills such as forward rolls, cartwheel basics, bridges, and so much more. It is so cool to see her learn and achieve new skills even at such a young age! Now, at almost two years old, her favorite thing to do is swing on the bars and jump into the large foam pit. 

Bars with toddler at Carolina Gymnastics

More Classes at Carolina Gymnastics 

There are so many flip-tastic classes at Carolina Gymnastics: 

  • Parent and Me
    • Ages walking to 2 years old
  • Preschool Gymnastics
    • Ages 3 – 5 years old
  • Advanced Preschool Gymnastics
    • Ages 4 -5 years old
  • Girls & Boys Recreational Gymnastics
    • Ages 6 and up 
  • Tumbling Classes
    • Ages 6 and up 
Carolina Gymnastics in Columbia, SC

Twist and Tumble at Your Next Birthday Party

Looking for a unique place to host your child’s next birthday party? Carolina Gymnastics could be a great fit! Parties include: 

  • 1.5 hour celebration
  • Age appropriate games
  • Invitations 
  • Goody bags
  • Special t-shirt and medal for birthday child 
  • Gym play 

There are two different packages to choose from. You can either provide your own cake or have the gymnastics center provide one for you. Depending on the number of guests you have at your party and the package you choose, parties can cost anywhere from $220 to $310. 

You’ll find more birthday party options in our Kidding Around Guide to Birthday Parties in Columbia, SC

Carolina Gymnastics 
437 Rabon Road

Have you ever visited Carolina Gymnastics? 

Classes and Activities in Greenville, SC

Discover more classes and activities for kids in Columbia, SC.

The Premier Guide to Classes & Activities in Columbia, SC

South Carolina’s Only Human Milk Bank Donates to Babies in Need

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Are you a parent that is in search of breast milk for your child? Or are you a mother who has more breast milk than you know what to do with? You’re in luck, because there is a resource available for breast milk donors and recipients! We’re here to share everything you could possibly want to know about human milk banks, from qualifications to safety concerns and where exactly you can donate!

Donate and receive breast milk: Mother's Milk Bank of SC

What is a Milk Bank?

According to The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) a “milk bank collects breast milk from mothers who have more than their babies need, then screens, pasteurizes, and tests it, and, finally, dispenses it to premature and fragile infants in need, either in hospitals or homes.” Milk banks can be either nonprofit or for-profit. 

What is the Human Milk Banking Association of North America?

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) accredits nonprofit milk banks throughout the United States and Canada, and sets universal guidelines for donated pasteurized breast milk. There are currently 31 HMBANA members. Their mission is to aid mothers in donating their extra breast milk for use. HMBANA sets universal donation guidelines to all 31 members in order to ensure the safety of all breast milk donated to recipients. “Together, we advocate for donor milk as a universal standard of care, regardless of ability to pay,” says HMBANA. 

South Carolina Milk Bank

The Mother’s Milk Bank of SC (MMBSC), based at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, SC, is the state’s only human milk bank. MMBSC opened in 2015, and was developed by MUSC, South Carolina Neonatal Consortium, and South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative. It is one of HMBANA’s 31 nonprofit members. Their mission is to promote the health of South Carolina babies by providing access to safe, pasteurized donor human milk. 

The Mother’s Milk of South Carolina, provides a nonprofit service to South Carolina hospitals by providing donated breast milk to neonatal intensive care units (NICU) for premature babies as well as other babies in need. Babies are considered premature if they’re before 37 weeks of pregnancy. 

In addition to being premature, there are several other medical reasons that a doctor may prescribe donor milk to babies:

  • Failure to thrive on formula
  • Death or absence of mother
  • Failing immune systems
  • Insufficient lactation of mother or supplemental needs while a mother awaits her own breast milk supply during the first few weeks of the baby’s life
  • Adopted, foster, or surrogate babies whose families request breast milk
  • Illness or health risk from the biological mother preventing breastfeeding 

Lindsay Millonzi, MMBSC Milk Bank Program Manager says, “South Carolina breastfeeding mothers with surplus milk supply are invited to become donors to provide pasteurized milk to SC infants for whom mother’s milk supply is limited.”
According the American Academy of Pediatrics website, “Pasteurized human donor milk is recommended when a mother’s own milk is not available or sufficient. 

Anyone who’s interested in helping should go to Mother’s Milk of South Carolina website scmilkbank.org to complete their questionnaire. Once the information has been recorded, you are then able to select which service you’d like, choosing from donating, purchasing, volunteering or giving. 

There are three easy steps to becoming a donor:

  1. 10 to 15 minute phone screen
  2. Complete and return an informational packet (potential donor’s OBGYN must also complete the packet)
  3. Complete a free blood test at LabCorp

Not just anyone can be a donor, however. Due to safety and health concerns, Mother’s Milk follows strict HMBANA’s donor criteria guidelines.

You are ineligible to donate breast milk if any of the following apply to you:

  1. Smoke or use any tobacco products
  2. Use illegal drugs
  3. Drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day
  4. At risk for HIV 
  5. Have a positive blood test for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B or C, or Syphilis
  6. Received an organ or tissue transplant, or a blood transfusion in the last four months
  7. Were in the United Kingdom for more than three months between 1980 and 1996

Once approved after successfully completing the three-step screening, you are then able to donate your breast milk!

Breast Milk Safety

“All breast milk is expected to be stored in accordance with HMBANA guidelines,” says Millonzi.

These strict guidelines were developed with consultation with the Centers for Disease Control & Protection (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Breast milk can be frozen until it’s ready to be donated. All donors are expected to refrigerate or freeze milk within 30 minutes of pumping. Breast milk can be refrigerated for up to 96 hours. 

Can a mother donate milk as long as she’s producing milk? Yes, but there is a deadline. Milk must be pumped within the first year postpartum. Millonzi says, “We cannot accept milk donations that were pumped after your child’s first birthday.”

There’s no minimum or maximum threshold when it comes to how little or how much milk can be donated either. Millonzi says, “Every drop counts!”


Because it’s a nonprofit, Mother’s Milk cannot compensate donors monetarily. The organization does, however, provide breast milk storage bags free of charge.

Donation Deposit Sites: Breast Milk Bank Columbia, SC 

“Depot” sites were created statewide in order to make the donor milk drop-off more convenient for mothers to deposit milk. There are a total of 26 breast milk depot sites across the state. Chances are you have at least one in your area! See below to find a depot closest to you:

Prisma Health Baptist Hospital
1519 Marion Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Palmetto Health Baptist
Taylor & Marion Street
Columbia, SC 29220

Palmetto Richland
5 Richland Medical Park
Columbia, SC 29203

Prisma Health Richland Hospital
5 Richland Medical Park Drive
Columbia, SC 29203

Lexington County Cooperative Clemson Extension Service
605 West Main Street, Suite F
Lexington, SC 29072

Aiken County Cooperative Clemson Extension Service
1555 Richland Avenue East, Suite 500
Aiken, SC 29801

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The Mother’s Milk of South Carolina 

Private Breast Milk Donation Groups Share the Fruits of Their Labor: Columbia, SC

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Perhaps you’ve heard of breast milk banks, but have you heard of breast milk Facebook groups? There are Facebook groups worldwide devoted strictly to donating and receiving breast milk. There are two Columbia-area Facebook groups dedicated to doing the same. We’re here to provide details about these groups and even share stories from current group members who have benefited simply because these groups exist.

Breast milk sharing groups in Columbia, SC

Important Disclaimer: Kidding Around provides this article to share these mothers’ stories and for informational purposes about breast milk-sharing groups. Kidding Around does not provide healthcare advice, suggestion, or direction. This is not an endorsement or promotion. Always consult your child’s physician for health care advice and about what to feed your baby.

Donate and receive breast milk: Mother's Milk Bank of SC

Mother’s Milk Bank of SC is run by MUSC and provides pasteurized donated breast milk for babies. Check out our article on Mother’s Milk Bank of SC to donate to this bank.

Breast Milk Share: Columbia SC Groups on Social Media

If you search, you’ll find that Facebook breast milk donation groups are everywhere. But not just anyone can access these…including me. The two Columbia-area groups, Breast Milk Donations for Babies in the Carolinas and Human Milk 4 Human Babies – South Carolina are both private groups, meaning any person must be vetted before joining. 

Joining a breast milk-sharing group

Both groups require anyone interested in joining to first complete their question and answer section. The administrators of these groups then decide if the individual meets all criteria to join. Once approved, the individual can only then donate and/or receive breast milk.

*Full disclosure, For research purposes I tried joining both of these groups, one successfully, the other…no such luck. These groups are so selective that I was approved membership for one of the groups, yet denied access to the other. 

Because I am not currently interested in donating or receiving breast milk, I was unfortunately not granted access to the private group. The reason for my “declined request to join” was the following: “Issue with answers to question. Bystanders don’t really sound like a fit for our group. It’s milk sharing. Peer to peer. Requests and donations.” I, however, respectfully understand their decision and need for their members’ privacy. 

Stories of Donors and Recipients

Over the course of my research, I was fortunate enough to have several members of these private breast milk donation groups reach out to tell me their stories. From a group administrator to several donors and recipients, I’m here to share each of their stories and experiences with anyone who’s curious about joining one of these groups. 

Breast Milk Group Administrator and Donor

Kristen Killebew is the administrator of Facebook private group, Breast Milk for Babies in the Carolinas. Though she isn’t the original founder of the group, she was passed the reins after answering a call for a new group administrator. Killebrew says she initially joined the private group in 2016, with plans to donate her breast milk to other babies and children in need. 

Killebrew’s first experience in breast milk donation began when she answered a milk request for twin babies. “I started donating to a very nice lady who had a set of boy/girl twins when they were fairly young, and donated milk to them until they were weaned,” she says. 

The group administrator says groups like hers are invaluable. “I think resources like this are really valuable for parents who are passionate about the benefits of breast milk but are unable to do so for whatever the reason.” 

She adds, “Some women are on medication that prevents them from safely giving their littles their breast milk. Others just cannot produce enough milk due to low supply for various reasons.” 

Killebrew suggests that many women turn to these breast milk donation groups due to receiving poor breastfeeding support. In turn, she’s just happy to be able to play a small part in successfully providing breast milk to “all the littles” out there. She enthusiastically adds, “I love chunky babies!” 

Donor Breast Milk Recipient

Rachel Scarbrough, 29, is a member of both groups, Breast Milk Donations for Babies in the Carolinas and Human Milk 4 Human Babies – South Carolina. She says  decided to use donor milk after she was unable to breastfeed her son. “I love these groups because they helped provide milk for my children especially during the formula shortage,” says Scarbrough.

In fact, she has relied on donor breast milk for the past two years for both of her children. “My children are two and one. I decided to use donor breast milk after I was unable to breastfeed my son. I breastfed and supplemented with breast milk with my daughter,” says Scarbrough.

Scarbrough says she has cumulatively received over 5,000 ounces of breast milk over a two-year period. And the good news is, there’s no ceiling when it comes to how much or how long a mother can donate breast milk. “Any donation amount is a blessing. You can be a donor for as long as you would like to pump or donate for,” she says. 

Breast Milk Donor and Recipient

Lizzie Dixon, 28, is a member of Facebook group, Human Milk for Human Babies of SC. She says she first learned of breast milk donations when a woman she previously worked with had a devastating late term miscarriage. 

“Since her milk came in after delivering her baby, she decided to pump milk to donate to babies in the NICU for a while, rather than just letting her milk dry up. This struck me as so selfless to want to help others that way even in the midst of her loss,” Dixon marveled. 

Unbeknownst to her, Dixon would soon find herself on the receiving end of breast milk donation. Shortly after her son was born, he was placed in the NICU. “Due to breathing problems, he received donor milk through his feeding tube until I was able to pump enough for him,” says Dixon. 

In addition to being on the receiving end of breast milk, Dixon is also a new breast milk donor. “I donated for the first time this week!,” Dixon exclaims. She says so far she has donated approximately 72 ounces to another local mom who posted that she needed milk due to low supply.

And after a pleasant first experience donating, Dixon says she intends to donate again. “I plan to donate again whenever I have extra milk in the freezer that I am unable to use for my daughter,” she adds. 

In the Facebook group Dixon belongs to there are no minimum ounces required to donate. There’s also no particular vetting process or criteria for donating or receiving in this group either. She says she has, however, seen mothers in need of breast milk offer to pay for drug tests for potential donors. 

Dixon adds, “Recipients can request donations that meet certain requirements such as dairy free, no medications, etc.”.

Similar to other Facebook breast milk groups, the rules in Dixon’s group for storing breast milk are the same. Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, in the freezer for  6 months, and up to 12 months is acceptable especially if stored in a deep freezer, she claims. 

There’s no money exchanged in the group in which Dixon belongs. She does say however that other forms of “payment” are acceptable. She clarifies, “The group I’m a part of doesn’t allow compensation aside from replacing storage bags and pump parts for the donor if needed.” 

Dixon says she has definite plans to donate breast milk again. She says, “I think it’s a great way for moms to support each other!” 

This group has made a lasting effect on Dixon, as she says it feels “really good to be able to help another mom and baby and for my extra milk to not go to waste!” 

NICU Breast Milk Recipient

Marisa Beard, 24, is a member of the Breast Milk for Babies in the Carolinas Facebook group. Her first experience with donor breast milk began when donor milk was given to her son in the NICU.

“We had to use donor milk until my supply came in because he was early…my body wasn’t ready yet to make the milk he needed,” she explains.

Beard says her son received 30ml of donated breast milk every three hours for about a week. But Beard says she stopped supplementing with donor milk once her supply came in. 

How does someone receive or request donor breast milk in the hospital? Beard says the option was suggested to her because of her strong desire to provide her son  

with breast milk versus formula. Beard says, “They knew I was planning on breastfeeding so they asked if it was okay to give him donor milk.” 

She recommends donor milk to any mother in a similar situation as her. Beard suggests speaking to lactation consultants should you find yourself not able to produce milk, “I would definitely recommend any mamas to always talk to lactation in the hospital about donor milk and don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice.”

Beard’s positive NICU experience with donor milk has inspired her to become a donor herself. She says once she increases her milk supply, she’ll be donating within her Facebook group Breast Milk for Babies in the Carolinas.

From recipients to donors to mothers of babies in the NICU, these private breast milk Facebook groups have become a haven for a variety of women seeking help. Whether you’re someone with a surplus of breast milk or struggling with your own milk supply, these local breast milk groups open a whole new window of options into a world you may never have known existed until now! 

Moving Through Music: Tempo Music and Arts Brings Outdoor Rhythm and Sound to Columbia Kids

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Are you always on the hunt for something new, educational, and fun for your kids? I know I am! After an extensive search for some new activities for my two-year-old daughter, I ultimately stumbled across Tempo Music and Arts. Little did I know, this was exactly the type of class my daughter and I needed, as we would soon come to find out. 

Tempo Music and Arts in Columbia, SC

What is Tempo Music and Arts? 

Tempo Music and Arts is an outdoor music and rhythm class for infants and toddlers. In fact, it’s currently the only outdoor children’s music class in Columbia, SC. 

Founded by Kim Donovan in 2020, she revealed that “Tempo grew organically as a result of the COVID pandemic. I wanted to bring music to babies in a smart and safe way. Outdoors. It’s important for child development to have sound and music development at the infant stage. Music play thinks of development as a language. Children learn music the same way they learn a language.” 

Donovan is a University of South Carolina graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership. Prior to creating Tempo, she pursued a career in music education at the elementary level for 8 years.

Tempo offers two age-appropriate 30-minute classes every Friday at Senate End’s Campus on the outdoor covered deck (formerly the Market Tea Room). The first class is dedicated only to newborns – 2 years old. The second class is for toddlers aged 2 – 4 years old. 

Donovan adds, “In the infant class, the children sit in their parent’s lap, and in the toddler class, the kids are typically standing with their parent and looking at the movement of their feet. There’s lots of movement going on!” 

Each class has a maximum capacity of 10 students, and everyone maintains safe social distancing at 12 feet apart. 

Tempo Music and Arts class in Columbia, outdoors

How do you register for Tempo Music and Arts Class? 

Tempo offers a couple of registration options for the infant and toddler classes, a fall and spring semester membership, as well as an “a la carte” option. All classes follow the University of South Carolina school schedule. The semester membership is valid for 10 weeks (plus 1 free week for any makeup classes) and is offered at a discounted rate of $120. A la carte is a pay-as-you-go, non-committal option for $20 per class. *Please note, if you choose the a la carte route, you must register at least two hours prior to class. 

Music kits, (which the classes provide at no charge) are available to take home for a $10 fee.

Who are the teachers?

Tempo has a partnership with the University of South Carolina that allows for one second-year and one first-year music education graduate student to teach Tempo as part of their practicum. It’s a rotating practicum, so there are different Tempo teachers each year. The same teachers also teach a Saturday indoor infant and indoor toddler Music Play class (identical to Tempo) at the University of South Carolina School of Music each semester. This is a great weekend alternative for those who are unable to join Tempo classes on Friday mornings. 

Julia Turner, a second-year graduate student in the Master of Music Education program at USC, and Ashley Cobb, a first-year graduate student of the same program, both teach the infant and toddler Tempo classes.

“We believe in a child-centered music environment where we allow the children in the class to guide their musical experiences and freely vocalize to make music, says Turner.

She adds, “The class is also very playful and we have a lot of fun! Children are encouraged to use their music kits, which include rhythm sticks, egg shakers, scarves, and scrapers, and they may drum throughout the class. We also incorporate a lot of pretend play to engage students’ imaginations.” 

Tempo teachers

My Tempo Class Experience 

Upon discovering Tempo Music and Arts, I decided to register my two-year-old daughter, Elle, for the toddler class using the a la carte pay option. Our first class, neither of us knew quite what to expect, and I certainly experienced those first-day jitters! I did, however, come prepared with a quilt in tow after reading the Tempo Music and Arts Frequently Asked Questions portion of their website. Aside from that, we brought ourselves and an open mind.

As we united with the rest of the class on the porch, I immediately felt at ease. I grabbed a music kit with mostly blue instruments and joined a small group of four other parents and children on the porch. As I spread out my pink and white quilt for my daughter and me, teachers Julia Turner and Ashley Cobb began class with nothing short of whimsical excitement. 

Turner and Cobb led with a melodic, “Let’s sing hello to Elle…hello, hello, hello,” and proceeded to sing their welcome song to each of the children by name. 

After the welcome, we did some vocal warm-ups as the children and parents loosened up. 

For the first exercise, we grabbed our “steering wheel” (a flat rubber circle) and all jumped to our feet and mimicked “driving” and honking the “horn” in a song-like “beep beep…oh beep beep!” The children and parents marched around as the kids laughed, played, and practiced “steering.”

After we took our “cars” for a spin, we each quickly grabbed a colored scarf from our kits (each of the music kits contain various matching colored instruments). Ours was blue. Turner and Cobb each grabbed their prospective scarves and crumpled them into a ball cradled by their tightly-clenched fists. With a gentle toss and release, they roared “WHOOOO,” and my daughter and I joined in the “WHOOOO” chorus. We do this rhythmic catch and release several times before we moved on to our blue “scrapers” (two hand-sized foam rectangles).

The teachers led everyone in song, “Scrub a dub dub, a scrub a dub dub” as they pretended to scrub the floor with their scrapers. The kids laughed copying their teachers’ movements, and some even ran around the porch improvising their own moves.

“Alright everyone, should we get out our shakers?” Turner enthusiastically asked the class, holding up a plastic egg. We reach into our music kit for our blue egg, and Elle gently shakes it, releasing a rattling sound reminiscent of a maraca.

Tempo Music and Arts class outdoors

After our shaking session, Turner grabbed her set of rhythm sticks (aka drum sticks), hitting them together in a beautiful cadence. This seemed to be a class favorite, as most of the children grabbed their rhythm sticks and moved toward the center of the circle to take their turn on the community drums (*handmade by two undergraduates). My daughter had been waiting for this moment the entire class, pulling her sticks out of her kit, every couple of minutes in fact.

When it was time for drums, my daughter anxiously shuffled toward the drums. “Boom boom bap, boom boom bap,” she proudly tapped her sticks.

And before we knew it, the class was over as quickly as it began. Each of the kids was asked to select an instrument to play for the closing song. Elle chose rhythm sticks.

“Bye-bye Elle…Bye-bye Elle…We’ll see you next time…we’ll see you next time,” Turner and Cobb serenely sang.

Mom Review: Tempo Music & Arts

To my surprise, my daughter absolutely thrived during her first Tempo class. I seriously couldn’t wipe the smile from my face! To watch her dance and strut with such unadulterated enthusiasm was the ultimate gift as her parent. That was it for me, I knew we would be back. And we were…the very next Friday.

What: Tempo Music and Arts
Where: 302 Senate Street Columbia, SC 29201
When: 9:00 – 9:30 am & 9:45 – 10:15 am Friday

Classes and Activities in Greenville, SC

Looking for more classes and activities? Check out The Premier Guide to Classes & Activities for Kids in Columbia, SC!