When my husband Mike and I started our family, we decided that breast milk was the best choice for our babies. We primarily made the choice to pump so that Mike could feed our children and therefore bond with them as I was.
And there's no doubt about it, the convenience benefits of pumping are a big plus too:
- a helping hand is always an option: as a small business owner, I never really had maternity leaves to stay home and concentrate on just taking care of my babies, so I had to juggle doing that and working in the home at the same time. Occasionally, my sister or my mom or anyone else could help out with this by bottle-feeding them for me.
- both my girls were really lazy nursers (suck, suck, rest, suck, suck, rest....45 minutes later!!!) and therefore a faster bottle feed was sometimes a must.
- pumping helped with my milk production.
- although I was comfortable with breastfeeding in public places, the ogles and stares indicated to me that not everyone else was! And that darn receiving blanket was forever falling off my shoulder and flashing my milkers for all the world to see!
Even finding the time to pump was a challenge, so I wanted something fast. I wasn't able to use a manual pump as both pregnancies were kind enough to bring along their friend Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - so I rented a hospital-grade, double, electric pump. My letdown was pretty slow though and even with the "skookum" pump, sometimes it took 30 minutes or more to get enough milk for my little ones!
When I started to pump on a daily basis, not only were my hands going numb and aching from holding the horns, I was frustrated by how boring it was! And being one of those never-sit-still-for-a-minute gals, all I could think of the whole time I was pumping was all the other "stuff" that needed to be done! I couldn't even look through one of the magazines in my ever-expanding pile of mail because both my hands were busy holding the horns on my breasts! On one occasion, I actually tried flipping the pages with my elbow and ended up in the chiropractor's office.
Then I thought, "I wonder if...", and my very good friend Google and I searched the internet for something that would hold the horns for me. I only found a few products, none of which were readily available in Canada and all of which were "less than attractive" (insert eye roll here). Why is it that when you become a mom, it's assumed that you no longer have any style?
I found a pumping bra - but unfortunately I barely had enough time to pump, let alone change from my nursing bra to my pumping bra and then from my pumping bra back to my nursing bra!
I also found a pumping/nursing bra combo (that kinda sounds like an Olympic event) - but the feedback on this product is that most people only use it for pumping as the third layer makes it bulky and lumpy-looking under your clothes. No thank you to that I said! We're lumpy enough after giving birth, right? File this one with the pumping bra reject.
I also found a pumping bra that wasn't really a bra but a wide band, with a zipper no less! I visualized the zipper splitting or catching my skin as I tried to zip it up over my ginormously engorged breasts!
Then there was the pumping kit with which you had to buy THEIR nursing bra (whether you like it or not) and then attach a bunch of elastics all over the place to hold the horns in place. It reminded me of playing with Cat's Cradle string figures when I was a little girl. Try doing that with Carpal Tunnel!
Finally, I found a pumping band that looked like medical bandages wrapped all around your chest - and all I could think was, "I'm a mommy, not a mummy!" The feedback on this product is that the fabric is scratchy and uncomfortable and that some brands of pump horns are difficult to get into the buttonhole-style openings. Consumers also don't like the permanently attached neck strap and many were cutting it off.
My then 9 years in the apparel industry and over 26 years of sewing experience came in handy when I mocked-up a pumping bra (who knows when I had time to do this?). It held the horns on my behalf and therefore freed my hands for other much more important things (like answering a business phone call with spit-up running down the back of my shirt or reading DoraGoes for a Ride to my 2-year-old "just one more time"). My pumping sessions melted away while I surfed the internet, paid bills, stayed on top of business emails, caught up on reading or talked on the phone (among countless other tasks).
All kidding aside, I think that breastfeeding and pumping are very important topics - topics that millions of first-time parents find themselves in the throes of with no previous experience and often little or no support! Well, I'm happy to say that here at Snugabell, we're here to help you in any way that we can. Be sure to check out our blog for posts about pre and postpartum health and wellness, breastfeeding and pumping (of course), a little bit of humour (mandatory), 'my humble opinion' about breastfeeding in our culture (I like my soapbox), fabulous finds (I'm a serial online shopper) as well as a glimpse here and there inside our company and much, much more! Our Resource Page continues to evolve and grow daily so please check back often and take advantage of the great information there as well. And if you're curious about what other people are saying about PumpEase, take a gander at our Testimonials and In The News pages.
After hundreds of pumping sessions, three years of research and development and two children, I believe that I know what a pumping bra should offer a nursing mom. I refined the design to be not only functional and user-friendly, but they're pretty too! And now I'm offering it to you in a handful of fun and fabulous prints AND now an organic version - all designed to perfectly fit your amazingly beautiful, milk-producing body!
Whether your pump is rented or purchased, single or double, battery-powered or electric, you need a PumpEase hands-free pumping bra ...because women like pretty things EVEN when they're pumping!™
Wendy Armbruster Bell
Founder & Creative Director