September 27th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Stephanie • Breast is BestInside SnugabellPumping

Guest Post: What's that Noise? *or passing the time while pumping*


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Anyone who spends any amount of time pumping breast milk for their baby realizes quickly how mind-numbingly boring it can be.  One of the biggest let-down killers is bottle-watching: waiting for the bottle to fill and only getting the drip, drip, drip...  Be one of the many women who exclusively pump (EP) and you quickly realize that these hours of your life must be filled with something other than waiting for the oxytocin release.  After I finished my year of EPing, I calculated that I had spent approximately one entire month of my life with my breast pump.  And while I never question or regret the choice I made to express milk for my son, I also know that this time was not always relaxing or enjoyable.  Finding something to do while pumping, however, can help make the experience more enjoyable.  So what are your options?

There is (excuse the expression and the pun) the boob tube.  During my midnight pumping sessions I became a connoisseur of late night and late, late night television.   I truly believe David Letterman and I had a personal relationship.  (Note to self: I must reconnect with him.)   Emergency 51, Marcus Welby, and Quincy were all on in the wee hours of the night and got me through many 2 a.m. pumping sessions not to mention teaching me all about emergency medicine and autopsies!

Sleeping of course can not be discounted as an option.  Yes, it can be done!  While usually not a planned activity during pumping, you will be equally surprised as I was the first time you wake up, milk overflowing the collection bottles, and a sense of disorientation overflowing you.  While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend sleeping as an option, it is possible, does happen, and when it does happen to you, know you are not the only one!

Talking on the phone can be a very pleasant way to pass the time (as long as it’s not your nosy mother-in-law you are talking to) and keep your mind off the bottles.  However, you might want to carefully consider who you are talking to so when the inevitable question of “What is that noise?” arises, you can answer without embarrassment or at the very least have a quick, and perhaps distracting, response preplanned.

One of the most common methods to pass time while pumping is to surf the web.  With countless hyperlinks to follow, filling fifteen to twenty minutes of your time is quite simple.  Catching up on posts on the many discussion boards focused on expressing breast milk helps to build community, camaraderie and support which is so critical in what can be a very isolating activity.  On the downside, you have to avoid the many opportunities available on the internet to spend money!

What else can you do?  Really pretty much anything.  I have even heard of women who drive their car while expressing!  And when you start to consider all the possible ways to pass the time while pumping, you begin to wonder, “Just how do you manage all these things while trying to operate the pump, hold the collection bottles, do breast compressions, deal with the overflowing bottles...?”

Well, watching television can be done without the need of hands.  Sleeping can easily begin without a need for hands, but pretty much anything else will require an extra set of hands- or the use of the ones you already have.  For me, this was accomplished through my wonderfully short stature.  In most cases, this is a detriment, but when pumping, my short stature allowed me to precariously perch the collection bottles on my knees with one forearm pressed against one bottle and the hand on the same arm holding the other bottle.  This of course only frees up only one hand making very slow work of typing and requires everything be within close reach.  For women nursing at the keyboard they have come up with the acronym “NAK” (nursing at keyboard) to explain poor keyboarding or spelling.  I have yet to see anyone use “PAK” (pumping at keyboard) but perhaps it is time it is used as well.

hands-free pumpingSince I was pumping, more than five years ago, there have been a myriad of products come to market that allow for hands-free pumping.  Hands-free devices provide a certain amount of freedom impossible without them.  While not necessary, a good hands-free bra can allow women to focus on something other than the bottles and the milk being expressed and actually help to improve the volume of milk expressed.  Using a hands-free bra can actually reclaim some of the time spent pumping and turn it into something that you can use for yourself.

So, what do YOU do while pumping?  Drop us a line below and tell us about it!

Stephanie Casemore is the author of Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: a Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for your Baby.  For more information on exclusively pumping or to purchase Stephanie's book, visit www.ExclusivelyPumping.com

June 30th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestMedia & MarketingPumping

This Breastfeeding Ad is a Ripper!


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As you may or may not know, I feel very strongly about a woman's right to breastfeed in public.  I saw this ad and thought it was brilliant.  Or in Aussie lingo, a R-I-P-P-E-R!


So who has a connection at INFACT Canada or the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada or better yet, at the Department of Justice of the Government of Canada - the department responsible for the upholding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?  Specifically Section 15(1) and Section 28.  Let's lobby for some breastfeeding ads like this one!  Short, sweet and OH SO to the point!

You like?  Leave me a comment with your opinion!

June 20th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestGiving BackInside Snugabell

Help Give Breastfeeding a Makeover!


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I was reading the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog the other day, as you know I so often do, when I followed a link in one of Tanya's posts and ended up on this site.  I have to say that I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!  The concept behind Best for Babes has lived in my head for some time now.  I always thought that I would find the time to start something like this (I know my friends and family are rolling on the floor laughing right now).  Having said that I am absolutely thrilled that it has already been brought to fruition!

Best for Babes - Breastfeeding FriendlyThe attitude, the approach, the images, the sass and their slogan - "Giving Breastfeeding a Makeover" totally resonated with me.  I immediately emailed the founders, Bettina and Danielle, and we scheduled a conference call to discuss how I could get involved!

To start we are proud to announce that $1 from the online sale of every PumpEase™ will be donated to the Best for Babes Foundation to help moms achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.

Here is a glimpse of the Best for Babes Mission Statement...

To give breastfeeding a makeover - to market, brand and mainstream it, acting as a catalyst to elevate this cause on par with Komen, Juvenile Diabetes, (Red)™ and others.

To shift the focus and pressure off moms and onto the “booby traps” - the cultural and institutional barriers to breastfeeding successfully - and to helping to remove those barriers through positive social pressure.

To harness the power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion, advertising, the medical community and the media to bring about a cultural change that embraces, celebrates and supports breastfeeding moms.Best for Babes - Economic Stimulus Packages

I encourage you to visit their site and find out how you can get involved.  Donate, follow them on Twitter, join their Facebook Group and tell everyone you know about them!  Anything and everything you do will help.  It is an especially vital time with the recent introduction of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act in both houses of Congress as well as the Breastfeeding Petition to President Obama to make breastfeeding a high priority in his adminstration - to promote it as preventative care to save lives, reduce disease and save the US Health Care system billions if not trillions of dollars.

"Hey!" you say, "Are you not Canadian?"  Yes I am, born and raised.  However, it has to start somewhere and like it or lump it, we all look to the US for direction sometimes.  The situation in the US is critical with the skyrocketing Caesarian rates, the plummeting breastfeeding rates after moms and their babes leave the hospital and the lack of education and support for the breastfeeding mom.

Besides, I love my US customers and Best for Babes will help women worldwide, not just in the good ole USA.

So please visit the Best for Babes site and then come back here and tell me what you think!

May 9th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestResources

Early Initiation of Breastfeeding through Breast Crawl


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UNICEF, WHO, WABA and the scientific & medical communities all recommend initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth.  Evidence shows this can prevent up to 22% of all deaths among babies less than 1 month old in developing countries.  It is also known that, like other mammals, human babies can instintively initiate breastfeeding on their own (provided they are kept between mother's breasts).  This is called the "Breast Crawl".

I just stumbled upon this amazing video detailing the breast crawl of a newborn - something that has been documented to take, on average, 30-60 minutes.  This particularly speedy little girl found mom's nipple in just over 10 minutes!  Everything that is happening here is so perfectly designed by nature:  the skin-to-skin contact helps keep baby warm and initiates mother-baby bonding.  Baby's "kicking" on mother's belly stimulates the womb to contract, which helps to deliver the placenta and reduce bleeding.  The baby smells the food close by, begins salivating and starts her "trek" to mom's nipple.   I was very moved by this video. Then I sat back and wondered why I was so moved... this is nature... this is how it should be.  Best for mom.  Best for baby.  Simple.

The Breast Crawl was first documented over 20 years ago (Widström et al, 1987) however, I don't think many people have heard of it.  I hadn't until today, have you?  I would be more than happy to see widespread recommendation of the baby crawl as "the method" for initiating breastfeeding.  Drop a comment below and tell me what you think.

May 6th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Stephanie • Breast is BestPumpingResources

Guest Post: Why Women Exclusively Pump


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Exclusively Pumping website

Exclusively pumping breast milk is best thought of as an alternative to formula feeding.  While there are some women who decide to exclusively pump even before their babies are born, they are by far the minority.  Instead, most women who exclusively pump fully intended to breastfeed and believe strongly in the benefit and value of breast milk.  When confronted with difficulties or situations that make breastfeeding difficult or impossible, these women turn to the use of a breast pump to ensure their babies receive breast milk.

The reasons women exclusively pump are extremely varied: the premature birth of a baby; the illness of the baby or the mother; problems with breastfeeding including such things as a poor latch, thrush, cleft palate, poor weight gain, a lack of milk (either real or perceived), and the early introduction of a bottle leading to nipple preference; and the separation of mother and baby including women who must return to work soon after the birth of their babies.  It is difficult to briefly discuss the many reasons women exclusively pump, but there do tend to be some similarities in most women's experiences.

Self-preservation is an often mentioned factor in the decision to exclusively pump.  New mothers are overwhelmed with emotions.  Hearing your baby scream every time you try to nurse, enduring extreme pain when nursing, or having a baby who is unable to get enough milk to satisfy her can add to an already tumultuous period.  Also, for women who are breastfeeding, bottle feeding to top up the baby's intake, and then pumping to maintain or increase supply while the baby learns to breastfeed or the mother is able to resolve difficulties she is experiencing, the cycle becomes overwhelming and, even with a strong support network, can make it extremely difficult to continue for very long.

Often a mother is not able to truly focus on mothering and enjoying her new baby, and instead, is solely focused on providing nourishment.  Life becomes consumed with feeding the baby, which can, in and of itself, add additional stress to the situation making breastfeeding all that more challenging.  The decision to exclusively pump can, for some women, bring back a balance in their lives and in their household and enable them to refocus on their babies while continuing to feed their babies breast milk.

The decision to exclusively pump is not made lightly.  The vast majority of women who decide to exclusively pump do work with lactation consultants before making their decision.  And although pumping and bottle feeding becomes the primary method of feeding, many women also continue to work on breastfeeding and solving problems that were making it difficult to breastfeed.

Yet, even though the hope of exclusive breastfeeding may still remain when a woman starts to pump, many women do get to a point where they no longer attempt to breastfeed.  Many struggle with the emotions they feel as a result of not breastfeeding and not having the breastfeeding relationship they thought they would have with their baby.  For many, the strong emotions felt when they do not see success breastfeeding are too difficult to continue reliving over and over again.  The disappointment and frustration often prove to be difficult to cope with on a continuing basis and as a result the decision to exclusively pump is made.  Working with a lactation consultant during these first few weeks of pumping is extremely important if a transition to exclusive breastfeeding is desired and an important time for lactation consultants to maintain close contact with women in order to assist them to breastfeed successfully.

Perhaps the strongest motivating factor for exclusively pumping is the strong belief that breast milk is the best way of nourishing a baby.  Most women who exclusively pump do not feel that formula is an option; it is something they would prefer not to feed their babies.  Therefore, when they are confronted with difficulties breastfeeding (or the inability to breastfeed), and are unable to resolve the situation, they turn to what is often in their minds, the only option available to them.  If the women who exlusively pump did not have this as an option, their babies would most likely be switched to formula.

Exclusively pumping is a viable alternative to formula feeding.  Knowledge is key, however.  A breast pump will not initiate or maintain a milk supply in the same manner as a baby.  Women who have been able to exclusively pump long-term tend to follow a similar set of guidelines.  Support and accurate information are extremely important indicators of success for women who are exclusively pumping.Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk by Stephanie Casemore

While breastfeeding is undoubtedly the best method of feeding a baby, the fact remains that certain circumstances make breastfeeding difficult, and sometimes, women decide to bottle feed.  The reasons for this decision and the emotions that surround the decision are varied, but in all cases, exclusively pumping can ensure that it is breast milk in the bottle instead of formula and provide more babies with the best start possible in life.

Stephanie Casemore is the author of Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: a Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for your Baby.  For more information on exclusively pumping or to purchase Stephanie's book, visit www.ExclusivelyPumping.com