May 23rd, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Inside Snugabell

Two Countries, Two Breast Pumps, Two Babies and One Great Big Heart... er Lung!

On May 9th an order came in from our website. It looked like any other order that came in that day except that there was a comment from the customer - Rebecca - asking us if it was possible to not send an invoice due to her purchase being a gift.

We sent her a message suggesting that we send her the invoice via email and asking her if she'd like us to include a gift card to the recipient and if so, what she would like it to say.  She wrote back with the following note for the card.

Dear Leah,

I know things are hard right now, but they will get better. I hope this small gift will help you get through this moment and also give you some flexibility when you go back to work. I miss you so much and can't wait to see you this summer. Best wishes to you both for a safe and happy recovery.

Love Rebecca

I responded to Rebecca...


The note to your cousin is lovely. Kudos to you for reaching out to her in views of helping her establish her breastfeeding relationship with her baby. You just made my day! :-)

And then Rebecca responded back and included two lovely pictures...

Leah, her husband, her son and the nurse.Grandma? and grandson.Thank you Wendy. I'm an American living in France and although the social security system here rents electric pumps for free, they don't think about the fact that it's impossible to use both pumps at the same time without a product like PumpEase. I ordered one and not only can I use both pumps, I can keep in touch with my family on the net. My cousin just had a little boy who was born with a hole in his lungs & caught pneumonia. Since he's going to be in the hospital for a month, she's pumping, so I'm sending this to her to help her get through this rough start. I attached a couple of pictures of the little guy.

... and our correspondence continued:

Wendy: I am in awe of parents who persevere through their infants' illnesses like your cousin has. And my heart just swells when I hear that our product has made a difference!

And then I asked for permission to share Leah's inspiring story and images with all of you, fully expecting a "no" reply.

Rebecca: My cousin said no problem to share her story and put up the picture. She wants to share this with other moms since it's a pretty rare occurrence. Here's what she had to say:

Hi Rebecca,

Yes, go right ahead and let her share. Michael and I have been discussing how we want to try to let others know and be there for other parents who may be experiencing the same thing. Especially since there were no indications that anything would be wrong with him during the pregnancy, he was healthy at every appointment and even during labor. They did say he was in stress the last ten minutes but have ruled that out as a factor. One of his doctors have explained that he had Pulmonary Hypertension (I may not explain the greatest but I will try), he has high blood pressure in his lungs which can be common in newborns. They usually get it for a few days at birth but nothing to be worried about. They also think his lungs may have been a little underdeveloped so when he took his first few breaths and was struggling, he took some deep breaths and put the hole in his lung. He is getting better so amazingly fast, today I went to order flowers for my friend who was helping during the labor and then stayed the first night, and I was explaining to the florist what had happened and I was saying it with a huge smile on my face, like it wasn't anything that bad. I have been feeling a lot better knowing he is getting better and I just need to stay positive. I have made it now almost 24 hours without crying. Thank you for the onesie, Aunt Joyce brought it over yesterday. We were at the hospital last night explaining how he needed to be out of the hospital by Father's Day and I told him that you and Lucas would be arriving at that time and he needed to be ready to meet his Frenchie Cousin. 

Hope all is well.

Love Leah

Wendy: That is wonderful Rebecca. Thank you. Please pass on thanks to Leah as well for her open mindedness about sharing her situation with other people/parents in light of raising awareness.

All the best to you and Leah...

OK, now go dry your eyes and then please share this story. And if you or anyone you know has experienced complications around Pulmonary Hypertension in a newborn, we welcome you to share your story below.

May 18th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Jen • Pumping

Pumping While Walking the Dogs with Jen from Life 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 wallking the dogs.

Jen and Levi

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

After watching Jen's vid, my mind kept wandering to the rhythmic sounds of Dr Suess-inspired prose... You can pump in the store; you can pump on the floor. You can pump while driving; you can even pump while sky diving! Walk the dogs, read epilogues...  Help me finish it now - leave a comment below!

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.

{Photo credit: Jen / Life with Levi}

April 24th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Jen • Pumping

Pumping While Driving with Jen from Life with Levi

Jen and LeviYou 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 driving. I know there are many pumpin' mamas out there that partake in this time-saving activity while commuting. Perhaps we need to create a new hashtag? What do you think ladies... #PumpingWhileDriving?

This post is the first of TEN (woot!) in the "What Can You Do While Pumping" video series. Please check back regularly to see where Jen sets up the horns next! 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, what do YOU do while pumping with your PumpEase? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

{Photo credit: Jen / Life with Levi}

March 18th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Health & WellnessWarm & Fuzzy

PumpEase Saves Lives and Millions in Health Care Costs

I recently visited a favourite blog of mine - PR in Your Pajamas - and came across a post about writing a media pitch that begged the question "What is the boldest, most outrageous or provocative statement you are willing to make about your product or service? You must truly believe this to be effective."

A few days later, I found myself on the LunaPads website reading blog posts and such, and when I navigated to their home page, I was greeted by this gem:

"Thanks to Lunapads and The DivaCup, upwards of 1 million disposable menstrual products are diverted from landfills monthly."

It made me smile as I remembered Suzanne, Co-Founder of LunaPads, recounting how she and her hubby sat on their couch reverting, if only for a moment, to their inner geeky, "bean counter" persona (her words) to crunch some LunaPads numbers and come up with this riveting statistic.

And then I remembered Elena's post on PR in Your Pajamas...

This gave me pause.

I proceeded to look-up a breastfeeding study that I had found quite thought-provoking. It was recently published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and was entitled The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost AnalysisTanya from Motherwear was one of many who blogged about it and it garnered attention, both positive and negative from ABC, CBS and the Associated Press among others.

The study stated that 900 babies and $13 billion in health care costs could be saved if 90% of moms exclusively breastfed for six months.

900 babies900 babies.

$13 BILLION in health care costs.

I was inspired to crunch some numbers of my own and this is what I came up with...

"Thanks to PumpEase, four babies' lives and almost $70,000,000 in US health care costs have been saved. Not to mention those thousands of babies who've received their mamas' milk (while their mamas worked, played, or just relaxed, since they didn't have to hold onto those pump flanges!)."

I calculated the health care figure FIVE times. Surely it can't be THAT much money!?! I read it out loud. And then I read it out loud again. And then an overwhelming sense of pride washed over me. We ARE making a difference to the health of moms and babies. We ARE saving US Health Care millions of dollars. We ARE enhancing mothers' breastfeeding relationships with their children. WOW!

What is YOUR bold and outrageous statement? You don't have to own a business; write one about YOU. I highly recommend this exercise to open your mind and think outside of the box. Please leave a comment below...

{"Baby Liam" by omgponies2 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0}

March 10th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Amy • Pumping

Guest Post: PumpEase May Qualify as Tax Sheltered

tax shelteredBy now, you've probably heard that the IRS has reversed their ruling on breast pumps as a medical expense. Prior to February 2010, they weren't approved; that meant they couldn't be purchased with health spending accounts or deducted on tax filings. Given that things like penis pumps and astro turf qualified, this was a pretty raw deal for new moms!

Luckily, the IRS revisited the subject and decided breast pumps can be deducted on taxes or purchased with health spending accounts (they're now known as "tax sheltered"). This is a major victory for moms!

Here's the actual language of the ruling reversal:

"The Internal Revenue Service has concluded that breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code because, like obstetric care, they are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman. Therefore, if the remaining requirements of § 213(a) are met (for example, the taxpayer’s total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income), expenses paid for breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are deductible medical expenses. Amounts reimbursed for these expenses under flexible spending arrangements, Archer medical savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, or health savings accounts are not income to the taxpayer."

Basically, this means that the money spent on pumps and pumping supplies (like PumpEase!) is tax-deductible, or doesn't count toward the total income on which you'll pay taxes in a given year. The government isn't buying any breast pumps and they're not giving out tax credits (actual cash-money that you could collect); they're just saying that you don't have to pay taxes on the money you use to purchase these items and that they can now be bought with money in your pre-tax health spending account.Hygeia Enjoye breast pump

It would be great to see an itemized list of what qualifies, but since there isn't one (or at least there isn't, yet), we'll have to do some trial and error. If you have a health spending account, you can submit a reimbursement claim for your pump, pump accessories, and PumpEase. Each company that administers health spending accounts is going to have their own interpretation and rules, so you may find it helpful to call and speak with them about your reimbursement claim. While you can't show that your PumpEase definitely IS a qualified expense, they can't show that it's excluded, either. And hey: any mama who's pumped can attest to the necessity of hands-free pumping!

The other option is to deduct the cost of your pump, pump supplies, and PumpEase on your taxes. However, since only 1/3 of Americans itemize their taxes (as opposed to taking the Standard Deduction), this won't be practical for everyone. Many companies offer health spending plans in their benefits packages, though, so it's worth a call to HR to find out if that's an option for you.

You won't need a prescription from your doctor or any other kind of verification to deduct the cost of your breast pump, pump supplies, and PumpEase from your taxes or purchase them with your health spending account.

The best thing to do here is TRY! Since things are currently very open-ended and undefined, it's absolutely worth a try to either purchase your PumpEase with a health spending account or deduct it from your taxes, if you itemize. We'll be watching for further developments and details on this subject, so stay tuned!

Have you submitted your pump, pump supplies, or PumpEase for reimbursement through a health spending account? We'd love to hear about your experience!

Written by Amy West of Just West of Crunchy. You can read all about Amy here

{"Money" by 401(K)2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0}

{Photo credit: Ameda}