I plan on breastfeeding new baby just as I did with my other two children. While breastfeeding is a natural way of feeding your baby, it is not always the easiest. I recommend a supportive network to every new and experienced BF mama because every baby is different and every time may present itself with different challenges. I had the privilege of interviewing Joy Kosak, founder of Pumping Essentials, an organization dedicated to helping new moms get their free breast pump from their insurer as well as offering breastfeeding support. (New moms are entitled to a free breast pump through the Affordable Care Act, but Pumping Essentials takes the guess work and headache out of the process, by handling it (no charge) for new moms-(yay, one less thing to do!)
Momtrends: Why do you feel BF is so important? What would you say to new moms that might be on the fence?
Joy Kosack: Breastfeeding is a valuable experience with many health benefits. Studies have shown lower risk of breast cancer, decreased postpartum depression and less incidence of heart disease in moms who breastfed. For babies, breastfeeding reduces risk of ear infection, asthma, eczema, respiratory tract infections and certain types of cancer. Additionally, breastfeeding is one of the most natural ways to lose post-baby weight. Our bodies burn almost 20 calories for every ounce of breast milk!
For any moms that are on the fence, breastfeeding is an incredible bonding experience between mother and child. Remember to give yourself credit for trying! All women should be to be supportive of other women, not only of their success but of the fact that theyre trying at all.
Momtrends: Please share a few simple tips for the BF mama that is returning back to work.
- Human Resources job is to help you at times such as this, so dont hesitate to ask them to help guide you through the process. Defining your expectations and establishing an agreement prior to maternity leave will help reduce chaos when you return back to work.
- Get a good breast pump. Through the Affordable Care Act youre entitled to a free breast pump. Research your options when your insurance provider gives you a list of equipment providers to call to obtain your breast pump, for example, Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.com) offers reviews and ratings. You can also navigate this process using Pumping Essentials (www.pumpingessentials.com), a new organization that is bridging the gap between new moms and insurance providers by serving as the middle-man and handling all communication and paperwork on behalf of new moms, at no additional cost.
- Learn as much as possible before returning to work. Isis Parenting (www.IsisParenting.com), a leader in the parenting space for 10 years and partner of Pumping Essentials, offers Pump Talk, an online series all about pumping and nursing.
- Be prepared! Familiarize yourself with your pump before returning to work, wear easy-access clothing and make a schedule so you know when youre going to pump. This will help you maximize your already brief break time and keep a constant milk supply.
- Tackle your first week back by scheduling your first day back on a Wednesday or Thursday to make for a smoother transition.
Joy Kosak recommends a hands-free bra to help with pumping-great for working moms. The simple -wishes bra attaches easily to your breast pump and allows for hands-free pumping so moms can get more done all while providing milk for their little one.
Simple Wishes hands-free pumping bra (www.simplewishes.com) affords moms the chance to multitask or relax, making pumping more convenient and enjoyable.
Momtrends: What would you share with a mama that wants to commit to extended BF to encourage her to keep the commitment?
Joy Kosak: I would encourage her to educate herself on the benefits of breastfeeding because that will keep her going when she remembers Im doing this for my baby. Whats also helpful is understanding that its a short-term commitment to set her baby up for the best possible health benefits. Its easier to think about it as a short-term goal, for example, by breaking it into six month chunks. It makes the commitment more achievable to think its just six months out of the rest of my life. And then from there you can increase the goal, with this same mentality in mind. It all comes down to preparation about what to expect. Are you going back to work? Understand those challenges. The more you know the less daunting it will be. Lastly, find a group of moms who are supportive of what youre doing so you can support each other. There will be days you want to quit and its good to have someone you can and talk with about your troubles as they arise.
Momtrends: What advice do you have for partners of BF moms?
Joy Kosak: Partners should educate themselves just as much as the new mom, understanding the benefits so they can get on-board. They can become the support system moms need through the process. They should be ready to wake up in the middle of the night to feed a bottle of breast milk to let mom catch up on rest .
Here are a few items that I recommend for Breastfeeding Mamas:
Aden & Anais Swaddling blankets: I loved these muslin blankets for their lightweight versatility. Not only do the Muslin swaddlers offer discreet coverage while nursing, they are breathable for baby, wash incredibly well and are super soft.
Belly Armor: For the mama who will be multi-tasking in every sense of the word, a safe, protective shield for baby is a must-have. Belly Armor offers a soft screening blanket that lets you feed your baby privately all while protecting him from the harms of radiation. The generously sized cover offers dual pockets, easy adjustments, and doubles as a cover for an expectant mama's belly. Belly Armor's nursing cover allows mama to text, browse the web or send out mass emails of adorable baby photos.
Chelsea Charles Count Me Healthy bracelet: For keeping track of baby's feedings, diapers (a must for a new mama) or glasses of water you'll need, I love the beautiful Rose Gold Galaxy bracelet. You simply move the gorgeous beads over one at a time to help a busy, tired mama keep track of anything you need to record. Right now I am wearing it daily to ensure I am keeping up with my water intake (my husband said we should track hours of sleep as they will soon elude us!) and I find it an attractive way to keep track of such a mundane yet important task.
Dr. Brown's Nursing pillow: A must have for proper positioning for both your and your babe. The contours of the Gia breastfeeding pillow are different than the other pillows I have tried. It offers support, cushion and enables you to hold your baby securely while nursing. I loved that the cover comes off to make washing easier.
Earth Mama, Angel Baby tea: I used this tea to promote a healthy milk supply when I was pumping. I made Milkmaid tea part of my morning ritual and successfully had a plentiful supply. I love that it is made with organic, all-natural ingredients.
Eating for Two: I owe a big part of my breastfeeding success to cultivating a healthy pregnancy. I ate well, was aware of healthier choices and concentrated on giving my baby the best start possible. Annabel Karmel's latest book, Eating for Two is an incredible resource on nutrition for pregnancy and beyond. We used and trusted her book when when introduced solids to both of our children and now I am using her book as a guide through this pregnancy. Annabel's book is easy to read, is filled with countless tips, easy to make (and freeze!!) recipes and chock full of pointers that expectant mamas need to fulfill their nutrition requirements, feel their best and create and maintain healthy eating habits throughout your pregnancy and well into breastfeeding and beyond.
Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump: This hospital grade breast pump is all about comfort without giving up power. Pumping milk can have its challenges and can be tie-consuming especially if you don't have a strong, yet gentle pump like the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump. I have a breast pump, but recently learned that not only is pump outdated, and slow running, they really aren't meant to be used over a 5+ year's time. (no wonder my motor is squeaking and barely has any suction, making pumping an impossilbe and frustrating task!) Not only is the the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump compact and lightweight, it features:
- The ability to control speed and suction separately, allowing for 32 different settings
- A closed-system to keep milk pure from bacteria while pumping
- Multiple flange sizes included for best fit and comfort, and smartly-designed flanges for slouch-free pumping comfort.
The Deluxe model of the pump also includes a premium shoulder bag, ice packs, four milk storage bottles, thermal cooler, and extra membranes. The Deluxe Plus version features all of this, plus two additional milk storage bottles and a Manual Pump adaptor.
The Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump (SRP $99.99), Deluxe (SRP $129.99), and Deluxe Plus (SRP $159.99) models available soon at Baby Depot, Target.com, Walmart.com, Walgreens.com, Kmart.com, Amazon.com and BabiesRUs.com.
Kushies Organic Breast Pads: I love these soft, machine washable and very absorbent pads. I love that Kushies pads are made with organic cotton, a more sustainable and healthier choice as I can reuse them over and over. They also sell a convenient case to hold the breast pads, and keep them clean- perfect to keep them just where you need them. Kushies has a full line of breastfeeding supplies including nursing pillows, and nursing covers.
Lansinoh: for a variety of breastmilk storage bags, (I like theirs the best for the thickness, and ease of pour), disposable breast pads as well as HPA lanolin cream that works wonders on sore nipples. I know that it doesn't contain any chemical residue so I can feed baby with confidence and not have to wipe it off beforehand. I also couldn't live through the first couple of days of BF without Lansinoh Soothies. Cool, soft and soothing relief for sore or cracked nipples.
Lifefactory:Glass is our #1 choice for drinking and the same will go for baby. Lifefactory offers both 4 and 9 oz. bottles, perfect for storing breast milk for later use. The silicone sleeve protects it from breaking, the clear glass is easy to clean, contains zero chemicals and doesn't hold smells. I love that once baby is done with the bottle stage, simply pop on a different spout and bam! now you have a sippy cup! One container, versatile usage!
Milk Makers: If milk supply is the problem, delicious cookies called Milk Makers contain key ingredients that actually boost supply!
Tommee Tippee: I found it super handy to have a manual breast pump on hand. Although more work than an electric pump, I liked the ease, convenience and control a manual pump offers. Great for travel, or short pumping sessions. The Manual Breast Pump from Tommee Tippee comes with all you need to get your pumping sessions started (it even includes a handy microwavable sterilizing kit) and is priced right.
Momtrends was not compensated for this post. A few samples were received for review.