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 

March 18th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Inside Snugabell

Why Hook & Eye is Better than Velcro®


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I have had a few queries and comments here and there as to why we've chosen to use hook & eye over Velcro for the PumpEase closure.  Let's talk about that shall we?

While I believe that Velcro is a fantastic product, it definitely has its "issues" (that's right... Velcro needs therapy).  Let me explain... my husband likes to wear these cargo-type pants with a gazillion pockets on them.  They also have a gazillion pieces of Velcro on them to close said pockets.  When it comes time to do the wash, they drive me C-R-A-Z-Y!Velcro up close and personal

Before I put my hubby's pants in the washing machine, I must make sure that each and every piece of Velcro is perfectly lined-up with its partner so as to minimize the chance of the hook side of the Velcro catching on and snagging other garments - usually knits - in the wash (look at those evil hooks in the picture to the right!)  Then I have to turn the pants inside-out because there is always a chance of one of those gazillion pieces of Velcro coming undone during the wash, especially after the garment has been around for a while and that dreaded hook side is all caught-up with fuzz, dust, loose threads and hair (yuck). By the time that happens, the loop side has worn out to the point where the loops are no longer um... loopy (they will eventually break after connecting with those evil hooks multiple times).  As a result, the Velcro doesn't stay all close and personal like it did when it was new (but somehow the hook side is still quite capable of snagging other garments and completely ruining them!)  This "matching of Velcro" is, of course, extremely time consuming when I have two little ones running around; I barely find the time to fold the clothes and put them away, let alone all the work actually getting the wash INTO the machine in the first place!

More often than I would like, even with all my preventative action, I pull the clothing out of the washing machine and a lowly piece of Velcro has completely mutilated yet another garment - and it is uncanny how many times that garment belongs to YOURS TRULY!

Why don't I wash my husband's pants separately you ask?  Well, we have a front-loader so as to reduce the number of loads of laundry we do for both economic and environmental reasons, therefore that kind-of defeats the purpose doesn't it?  There are sometimes only one, maybe two pairs of these pants in the laundry at a time.

Why don't I get a new husband?  Uh... NO.  My husband is a keeper!

Why don't I get my husband a wardrobe consultant?  Well, I have tried to convince my... umm, er, sigh!

But I digress, Velcro is especially "attracted" to knits because they too have "loops" as part of their construction (see the diagram to the left).  And guess what?  PumpEase™ are made from a knit.  Are you starting to understand why we chose NOT to use Velcro?

hook & eye

Now some of you may counter that hook & eye will "catch" on things in the wash too.  Yes, that is certainly true, however when you remove the hook & eye that is caught on another garment, you unhook it and that's it.  To avoid this altogether, we recommend either simply hand-washing your PumpEase or washing it in a lingerie bag and hanging it to dry.  Basically, care for your PumpEase in the same way that you care for your better intimates.  On the other hand, there is no way to remove Velcro from the "victim" garment without damaging it in the process.

Another aspect that we considered when making our decision, is that Velcro is extremely noisy when detaching and if your baby is sleeping nearby, this could potentially wake the little monkey.  Apparently the US Army had the Velcro® company develop a "silent version" that reduced the noise by 95% so as not to betray soldiers' positions (it is used profusely on their uniforms), but it is a military secret (no joke).

Finally, we figured that most women are pretty darn familiar with hook & eye considering that has been the primary closure on foundation garments for over 100 years.  What better closure to deal with, bearing in mind that you will likely be bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived and donning and doffing your PumpEase in the dark?  Women are used to hook & eye - we have been fastening and unfastening it "blindly behind our backs" for years!

Tell us what you think - agree? disagree? have another closure idea?  Drop a comment below.

{"Velcro Macro" by Doun is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0}

February 23rd, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Customer ServiceInside SnugabellResources

Why You Should Wash Before You Wear

I know some people that wouldn't dream of wearing a newly purchased garment before washing it first and yet others that couldn't possibly wait that long and don the new piece immediately.  When prompted, the "have to wash it" crowd explain that they feel the garment is dirty until they wash it themselves.  I can understand that.  But there is another equally important reason to wash your garments before wearing them...

Have you ever had a piece of clothing "fall apart" the first time you washed it or even before you washed it?  An open seam; a hem that has let go; a loose button?  Yes?  Chances are you wore it without washing it first.  When you wash a garment, the threads that make up the stitching swell and their fibers "lock" together.  This makes the stitching more resilient to wear and tear and less likely to "slip" undone and open that seam or let that hem down.

So if having to mend brand new purchases annoys you as it does me, then wash before you wear!bar tacks on your PumpEase!

This goes for your PumpEase™ too!  Your hands-free pumping support has bar tacks at opposite ends of the horn openings to reinforce the area of your PumpEase™ that will sustain the most wear and tear (from insertion and removal of your breast pump horns).  We want this stitching to be locked into place to give you the best performance possible from your purchase, therefore...
please wash your PumpEase™ before you "Pump Without the Frump!™"

So tell us what side of the fence you're on - the "wash before you wear" crowd or the "I can't wait" crowd!

January 21st, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestPumpingResources

Breastfeeding Protects You and Your Baby Against Disease

I think today's moms and moms-to-be are aware that benefits exist for themselves and their babies when they choose to breastfeed, however, I stumbled across this post from The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog (one of my faves) which has an excerpt from a 2007 US Department of Health and Human Services meta-analysis with actual percentages - très cool (and I'm not even French!)

Breastfeeding reduces babies' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):  36%
Type 1 Diabetes:  19-27%
Type 2 Diabetes:  39%
Leukemia (acute lymphocytic):  19%
Leukemia (acute myelogenous):  15%
Asthma:  27%
Gastrointestinal infections: 64%
Lower respiratory tract diseases:  72%
Atopic dermatitis:  42%
Acute otitis media:  50%

Breastfeeding reduces mothers' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Type 2 Diabetes:  4-12%
Ovarian Cancer:  21%
Breast Cancer:  28%

OR if you want to see the flip side...it seems to have more impact:

Artificial feeding increases babies' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): 56%
Type 1 Diabetes: 23-37%
Type 2 Diabetes: 64%
Leukemia (acute lymphocytic) : 23%
Leukemia (acute myelogenous): 18%
Asthma: 37%
Gastrointestinal infections: 178%
Lower respiratory tract diseases: 257%
Atopic dermatitis: 72%
Acute otitis media: 100%

Artificial feeding increases mothers' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Type 2 Diabetes: 4-14%
Ovarian cancer: 27%
Breast cancer: 39%

You should be aware of the fact that this is NOT a complete list.  Breastfeeding protects against many more diseases and scientists continue to do research around this topic.  Enough said - BREAST IS BEST - always has been, always will be!

Do these numbers surprise you?  alarm you?  make you even happier that you are/did/plan to breastfeed(ing)?  Tell me what you think.