October 16th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Jen • Pumping

Pumping While Raking Leaves with Jen from Life with Levi

Jen from Life with Levi pumping while raking the leaves!

You remember Jen - she is the lovely mama that began as one of our wonderful PumpEase customers and shortly thereafter evolved into a true PumpEase Ambassador of her own accord. Jen first sharedwith us, the story of her bumpy road to exclusively pumping and pumping in public (PIP) on Black Friday and now with this post, she shows us how she pumps while raking leaves. You GO girl!

This post is the fifth of TEN in the "What Can You Do While Pumping" video series. Please check back regularly to see where Jen sets up the horns next!

When Jen finally leaked this "pumping while" video and I saw that it was raking leaves, I must admit I was a bit melancholy. You see, we kinda got ripped-off this summer up here in Vancouver, Canada and I've been in denial about it being fall. I looked outside at the leaves on my lawn and reality bit me in the behind. And yes, I realize that this has nothing to do with pumping or breastfeeding. <sigh> I think I need to go book a flight to Mexico or something.

By the way, you can follow Jen on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook if you'd like to catch-up with her one-on-one.

Have you been inspired by Jen to pump in places that you may never have considered previously? Please tell us about it below...

{Photo credit: Jen / Life with Levi}

October 3rd, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Amy • Health & Wellness

Guest Post: Susan G. Komen for the Cure Isn’t Curing Anything

Susan G. Komen for the Cure isn’t curing anything. This is an organization I used to really support. I have a history of breast cancer in my family and the two naturally met. But the more I’ve learned about Komen, the more upset I’ve become at the way their organization works.

This isn’t going to be an exhaustive list of everything I find to be wrong with Susan G. Komen for the Cure [Komen, herein]. I’m going to touch on a few of the more egregious points and some of the things I’ve learned most recently. A lot of people have rosy Pink glasses on when it comes to Komen; today, I’m asking you to suspend whatever you believe about this nonprofit and think critically about them. If you walk away still liking them, that’s fine. But I hope people will at least be open to the idea that this organization isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

KFC has tons to do with curing breast cancer, right?

Komen and KFC

This obviously has tons to do with curing breast cancer, right?

Yes, as in that KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken. (Or in its more recent, PC form, “Kitchen” Friend Chicken.) What’s a nonprofit that’s fighting breast cancer doing partnered with a fast-food chicken chain? Good question. The NY Daily News article sums it up well:

“‘So, in effect, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is helping to sell deep-fried fast food and, in so doing, help fuel unhealthy diet and obesity across America, an odd plan given that diet and obesity certainly impact on both the incidence and recurrence of breast cancer,’ Freedhoff wrote [on her Weighty Matters blog]. And suggested that a possible alternative would have been for KFC to just hand over a check for breast cancer research to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.” [bolding mine]

The reason KFC didn’t just give Komen a check is obvious: that wouldn’t sell chicken. KFC needed to be pinkwashed and have the unspoken but very much implied endorsement of Komen. Because surely Komen wouldn’t endorse something unhealthy, let alone something that plays into higher breast cancer rates, right? Right?

Racing for the Cure… but what about Prevention?

Everybody knows about Race for the Cure. Kudos to the marketing machine that is Komen, because people know their brand. But while they’re busy marketing Race for the Cure and the miles-long list of pinkwashed stuff that they co-brand and profit from, you know what they’re not marketing?

They’re not marketing the thing that normalizes a woman’s risk for breast cancer: breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding doesn’t reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer. It’s the biological norm and what female bodies are hard-wired to do. So when we take steps to repress that natural and biologically-expected process, we’re increasing risk. The body is missing out on the changes that happen through the stages of lactation and because that’s been circumvented, risk increases. We don’t fully understand lactation or breastmilk, so it’s impossible to compensate for what happens between childbirth and repressed lactation.

In more common, mainstream terms: breastfeeding reduces risk. In more accurate terms, not breastfeeding increases risk. It’s not a guarantee or a sure-fire mode of prevention, but it’s a big deal. It’s a known factor. So if we know this, why doesn’t Komen talk about breastfeeding as a way to reduce risk?

Here’s some fantastic commentary from a breast cancer and double-mastectomy survivor, Danielle Rigg, Co-Founder of Best for Babes Foundation:

…the Cure is not enough; we need both treatment AND prevention. And that means awareness and action beyond the monthly self-exam for breast cancer, regular visits to the doctor, and yearly mammograms (which are more properly classed as detection than prevention). It means an unrelenting focus on ensuring and educating about real food (whole, unprocessed, organic, fresh and local at best), clean air, clean water, toxin-free products for home and body, and exercise among other things, and it includes emphasizing the miracle milk that jump starts it all! The evidence is clear that breast tissue is less susceptible to aberrations if you exclusively breastfeed: Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk (a whopping 59%!!) of breast cancer in women who have a family history of the disease and at least a 28% reduction for those without one (me). And it lowers your breastfed baby girl’s lifetime risk getting breast cancer by 25% ! Sadly, millions of people have never even heard of this. Public service campaigns are often outmarketed by industries that are driven by the need to increase profits for shareholders, not by an interest in advancing health.

Business Depends on Not Finding a Cure

To answer the question I posed at the end of the last section, why not talk about it? Maybe because their business model depends on the existence of cancer. Maybe not; maybe there’s another reason or a whole litany of them.

Regardless, at the end of the day, Komen (and all its payees) are left without profits or a Cause when breast cancer is cured. Maybe not immediately, but that’s the deal. There are lots of health problem-related charities in the same boat, so I’m not knocking the entire model. I’m bringing it up here because Komen is particularly rich and stands to lose more than the average nonprofit. There’s a mini-economy surrounding Pink Ribbon sales and a lot of people stand to lose a lot of money when breast cancer rates decline and it’s no longer the Cause du jour.

Hope in a Bottle: Cancer Patients Should Smell Nice

What celebrity nonprofit is complete without their own fragrance line?

Komen released their perfume, “Promises,” earlier this year. Not surprisingly, it’s made with stuff I wouldn’t want around my healthy family, let alone near a cancer patient. Breast Cancer Action sums it up well:

It seems hypocritical that Susan G. Komen for a Cure would create a perfume that contains potential carcinogens while simultaneously claiming to fight “every minute of every day to finish what we started and achieve our vision of a world without breast cancer”? That’s what Breast Cancer Action thinks, too. No amount of shopping for pink ribbon products will rid our world of the breast cancer epidemic. [early bolding mine; end bolding theirs]

Why create a perfume with known potential carcinogens in it? Because it will SELL. Because selling is what Komen does best. They took that perfume on QVC and I’m sure they made a mint; nevermind that there are ingredients in their perfume that are known to be harmful. I guess that’s just not important to Komen for the Cure.

It leaves me wondering: Would Nancy Brinker, CEO of Komen for the Cure, have given this perfume to her sister, Susan G. Komen? Would she have given it to her during her illness? Would she give it to her now, had she survived? What would Susan think of the mass-marketing of products being the focal point of an organization claiming to be devoted to curing her disease?

Reprinted with permission from Amy West of Just West of Crunchy. You can read all about Amy here

{"Buckets for the Cure" by Jeffrey is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0}

October 1st, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Karen • Inside Snugabell

Meet the Snugabell Team: Karen - Our International Business Development Diva

Hello! My name is Karen Hurrell. I have recently joined Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear to manage their International Business Development. I am very pleased to be a part of the team! I owe my introduction into the world of breastfeeding to my dear, life-long friend Lara Audelo of MamaPear Designs. It was at the MamaPear ILCA Conference booth in San Diego this summer that I met Wendy Armbruster Bell.

Karen - SnugabellIn my early career I worked in the student loan industry in Florida. It was a great way to work personally with colleges, universities and students. I spent my last few years in Florida managing the Federal Loan Program for students studying abroad. That position gave me the opportunity to work with universities around the world. I am drawing on that experience to help build international business for Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear.

I am also a musician - I am a vocalist, pianist and I play a little guitar. I enjoy singing with the local symphony chorus and most of all teaching my private piano students. It is such a blessing to watch them discover their own love of music.

In my free time I am an avid reader and I love to knit. I also have a passion for travel. My favorite destinations have been Alaska, France, Prince Edward Island and Australia. I currently live near Chicago and love it! To me, there's no place like the American midwest. My next goal is to start my Master's degree in English this January at Purdue University.

I am very excited about my future at Snugabell. Look out world, here we come!

September 1st, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Melany • Inside Snugabell

Meet the Snugabell Team: Melany - Our Shipping Diva

Melany at SnugabellHi! I’m Melany and I am the newest addition to the Snugabell team. I am in charge of shipping. I started working with Wendy and Robyn at the beginning of June. Truth be told, Robyn the “Office Diva” is my wonderful mother who has introduced me to Wendy and the world of breastfeeding! While I may not live up to my mother's title of "diva", I am learning as I get older, that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Here’s a little background information on myself…

I am 22 year old student currently attending Kwantlen Polytechnic University for a Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology. While breastfeeding does not have anything to do with what I am studying, I am surprised at how fascinating it is and how much I didn’t know about it! I have learnt so much this summer (and I thought I would have a mental break before I go back to school) and look forward to learning so much more. Of course time flew by this summer and now with school starting in a week, my plan is to continue to work a couple days a week here at Snugabell.

When not working at Snugabell, I work as a server at an Italian restaurant - Coza! Tuscan Grill. I have worked there for just about four years. I love Coza not only for the great food and amazing wine, but I also get to work with great friends. When I told them about my new job, I was so surprised at how uninformed they were about breastfeeding and pumping. They had never really heard or seen much about it and thought of it as almost taboo (how unfortunate!). I will no doubt be enlightening them and perhaps even sharing PumpEase with some of my pregnant customers.

Melany & Garrett in NYCAlso in my years at Coza, I have met the amazing man in my life, Garrett. We have been together for just over two years now and it has been nothing short of wonderful. This summer we were able to go on an incredible trip to New York City and Toronto together. While in New York City we were able to see some amazing sites like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Empire State Building and more! But my favourite moments were seeing the Broadway show "Jersey Boys" and a Mets vs Yankees game (the Mets won!). We feel like there was not enough time to see everything and we want to go back.

Traveling is one of my biggest passions. I love experiencing different cultures and meeting new people. I have been so fortunate to have seen as much as I have and I am realizing that there is so much more to see! If I could go back to Italy, Spain, or Portugal and maybe even live there one day, I would die happy.

However, now that my travelling bug is out of me for the summer, it is time to buckle down and focus on school for the next few years. My plan is to be able to fit traveling in between finishing my degree and starting my own family! I now know that when I come to that point in my life I will be well equipped with knowledge about breastfeeding and being a working mom, as I work with two amazing ones!

July 29th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Jen • Pumping

Pumping While Mowing the Lawn with Jen from Live with Levi

You remember Jen - she is the lovely mama that began as one of our wonderful PumpEase customers and shortly thereafter evolved into a true PumpEase Ambassador of her own accord. Jen first shared with us, the story of her bumpy road to exclusively pumping and pumping in public (PIP) on Black Friday and now with this post, she shows us how she pumps while mowing the lawn. You GO girl!

Jen from Life with Levi pumping while mowing the lawn!

This post is the fourth of TEN in the "What Can You Do While Pumping" video series. Please check back regularly to see where Jen sets up the horns next!

I especially like this "pumping while" video because it combines several tasks: pumping (a must do) with mowing the lawn (another must do), getting some exercise (bonus #1) AND absorbing some Vitamin D (bonus #2). I guess you could even get a bit of a tan! Jen, I hope you wore sunscreen. You may want to add that to your "steps" (I'm the sunscreen police in my house).

I also like the fact that Jen is wearing her PumpEase solo today (no nursing bra underneath). Although PumpEase isn't meant to be a standalone bra, you can see that it does support your breasts to a certain extent. I find that different moms like different levels of support, so it is really personal preference on whether to wear it solo or not.

Thanks Jason and Levi for your help with Jen's latest adventure!

By the way, you can follow Jen on Twitter and "like" her on Facebook if you'd like to catch-up with her one-on-one.

So, would you pump while mowing the lawn? Do you think your neighbours would even know what you are doing (I'm thinking no). Chime in below.

{Photo credit: Jen / Life with Levi}