September 15th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Stacy-Ann • Pumping

Guest Post: Introducing the Bottle

This is the third of six posts in the "Pumping with Weather Anchor Mama" series by Stacy-Ann Gooden.

Stacy-Ann currently delivers the weather week nights in New York City, however considers her most important role being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog Weather Anchor Mama.

As the saying goes: "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get your prince." Well my Princess had to drink from many bottles, before finding the right one.

Tommee Tippee newborn starter set

Within the first couple weeks of having my daughter, nursing became second nature. Getting up for nighttime feedings was tough, as you parents already know, but I knew what I was getting into and complaining about it was out of the question. Nonetheless, my little Princess and I were doing just fine. That was until we had our first doctor's visit. I told the pediatrician that I planned on returning to work, and asked about the best time to introduce the bottle. He told my hubby and I that we basically should start right away. He then said, "If you don't, she may never take the bottle!" The thought of not being able to go back to work because my daughter wouldn't take the bottle was absolutely terrifying. That actually happened to a close friend of mine. After a few weeks of exclusively breastfeeding, her daughter refused to drink from the bottle. So she had no choice, but to quit her job in order to nurse. I applaud her for doing that because if it came down to it, I'd do the same thing. But, I also made a commitment to return to work after my twelve-week maternity leave. It wouldn’t have been an easy decision to become a stay at home mom. So on that note, my hubby and I took the doctor's advice and got the baby bottle introduction rollin'.

I didn't realize that it would be so difficult. We had tons of bottles that were gifted to us at our baby shower. We first went with the Tommee Tippee newborn starter set. I read good reviews and figured it would be the right choice for my baby girl.

I also read that the bottle was designed with a woman's nipple in mind. It has a wide nipple base, it flexes and stretches like the breast, and produces less air build-up. Princess had already been dealing with a lot of gas, so I thought that this would definitely help. Not!!! Milk leaked everywhere, and it was clear that Princess didn't like drinking from this bottle. It was a complete mess! I ended up having to return the set. I knew that introducing the bottle would take some time, but I never really thought we would have to go through a bunch of different ones.

Stacy-Ann's daughter

My sis had also given me leftover unused bottles from her baby shower. We tried those and Princess wouldn't drink from them either. There were a bunch of others that also didn't work out. I was beginning to lose hope when I remembered the bottles that came with my breast pump. I filled one with breast milk and my hubby gave it to her. She loved it!

Who knew that babies had a bottle preference? It was like auditioning for a role! Finally, everything was working out. My hubby and I even developed a system where we would give her one bottle every other day, and he'd be the one who fed her. Since I was nursing, it was only right that he experience feeding time. It also further strengthened their daddy-daughter bond.

Nursing was still my top priority and I didn't want to overdo the bottle feeding in the beginning. I heard that some babies end up losing interest in nursing completely if that happens. That's when nursing and pumping became my routine. I began expressing milk and storing it in the freezer.

I am a planner who likes to keep things in order. Call me crazy, but you never know what can happen. I could be sick and need to take medication (which could affect milk supply and/or my baby), or I could have to work late. I believe it's great to have extra breastmilk handy. Besides, pumping and nursing kept my milk supply up.

Princess still prefers drinking from the breast pump bottles, and I am still nursing. Of course, every baby is different and I am in no way endorsing any of the products mentioned above. But whether you're a stay at home mom or work outside of the home, I think it's so important to let your baby be the judge. Some nursing moms may choose to introduce the bottle with formula, while others pump their own milk. Either way, you may have to go through a few bottles before finding that right one.

How many different bottles did you have to introduce before your baby took one?

The content of this post is based on the personal experiences of Stacy-Ann Gooden and may not reflect evidence-based information. Your experiences may differ. Please consult your health care provider and/or a Board Certified Lactation Consultant for advice.

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!

August 29th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Stacy-Ann • Pumping

Guest Post: Nursing Around the Clock

This is the second of six posts in the "Pumping with Weather Anchor Mama" series by Stacy-Ann Gooden.

Stacy-Ann currently delivers the weather week nights in New York City, however considers her most important role being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog Weather Anchor Mama.

Stacy-Ann's daughter

After giving birth some moms may opt to have their newborns spend some time in the nursery, while they catch up on sleep. But, I wanted my baby with me 24/7. It wasn't because I didn't trust the hospital staff. I wanted that time to nurse and bond with my baby. It was something I planned to do early on, so I was prepared to miss out on sleep. Some people thought I was crazy, but I didn't care. I was committed and ready for the long haul.

The first two nights in the hospital I don't think my hubby and I got any rest. My baby girl kept us pretty busy. She loved nursing from the moment her lips came in contact with my boob. Breastfed babies usually nurse every two hours, but it seemed like Princess nursed throughout the entire day. At one point it was like every five to ten minutes. I had already informed my doctor and the nursing staff that I intended on exclusively nursing, so formula was not an option. At one point, I was offered a pump, but I thought introducing the bottle that early could possibly create nipple confusion. With the exception of the normal check-ups, Princess stayed with us the whole time in the hospital. But, we eventually reached a point where we both needed to get some shuteye. I asked one of the nurses to take her to the nursery for a couple hours. It was a smart move on our part because once we got home; sleep time for us was a rare occasion. Let me rephrase that, I barely got any sleep.

When you decide to nurse, you are the only one that can feed your baby. It seemed like Princess wanted the boob around the clock. It's now a blur to me, but my hubby says that I was like a machine. We chose not to have too many people around the first few weeks because she was so new. Plus, we both wanted to spend as much time as possible bonding with her. As I mentioned before, my work schedule could be pretty grueling. I knew that in a matter of months, most of my baby's time would be spent at daycare. So, I sucked it up and did what I had to do. But, my saving grace was my hubby. Everyone has a breaking point, and I am no different. Not only did she always want to nuzzle up to my breast, my baby girl would only nap while in motion. She didn't like the swing or the vibrating bouncers, which meant that I had to walk around the entire house to get her to fall asleep. Most of the time I was a walking zombie, so my hubby took over touring duties. I don't know what I would have done if I were alone. I give all you single parents a lot of credit.

Stacy-Ann breastfeeding

After a few weeks, we introduced her to the bottle (which I will chat more about in Part 3). It was a much-needed break for me. I'd pump and my hubby would feed her, while I caught up on some z’s. I'm not talking a full night's rest, but more like a couple of hours here and there. However, it was still a nice break.

My daughter just turned one and she still loves the boobies. She's already eating table foods, but she enjoys nursing before bed and before she heads off to daycare. She hasn't been sleeping through the night for the past few months because of teething issues. So, she finds comfort being breastfed during the night too. My doc says that at her age she shouldn't be nursing through the night, but it helps her sleep. I choose to bask in these nursing days because it will eventually come to an end. There will come a time when she won't want to nestle up to my boob anymore.

A lot has changed since we bought Princess home a year ago. I've gone from getting about a couple hours to about five hours of sleep during the night. Even though I'm still missing out on my beauty rest, I wouldn't have it any other way. My baby is happy and healthy. I thank God for that each day.

Did your baby nurse "around the clock". How did you cope? Please tell us about it below.

The content of this post is based on the personal experiences of Stacy-Ann Gooden and may not reflect evidence-based information. Your experiences may differ. Please consult your health care provider and/or a Board Certified Lactation Consultant for advice.

August 8th, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Stacy-Ann • Pumping

Guest Post: The First Time My Daughter Latched On

This is the first of six posts in the "Pumping with Weather Anchor Mama" series by Stacy-Ann Gooden.

Stacy-Ann currently delivers the weather week nights in New York City, however considers her most important role being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog Weather Anchor Mama.

Before having my little Princess, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Why? For the obvious reason of course - to get my pre-baby body back! Duh! But seriously, breast milk is the healthiest for any baby and it's the most cost effective too. But, I was a bit worried about being able to keep up because I am a career mom who's always on the go. I kid you not; I'm always pressed for time. Whether you're a stay a home mom or a career mom like myself, nursing and pumping can get overwhelming. By writing this blog, I hope to encourage others to be persistent. There have been times when I've gotten frustrated, but I never considered throwing in the towel and switching to formula. I have so much I want to share regarding my breastfeeding experience. So, let me start from the beginning...

Stacy-Ann and her daughter

I had just given birth to my little Princess; it was the most excruciating pain I had ever felt. But once the nurse placed my baby girl in my arms, I fell in love. I informed the staff that I planned to begin nursing right away. Latching on was probably the most difficult, but after the lactation consultant came in to give me a few tips, we were good to go. At least I thought we were. If you think giving birth is painful, nursing was more than unbearable! Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. Just imagine someone pinching you extremely hard. That pain that you feel throughout your whole body is like the pain I felt while nursing for the first time. My nipples became so sore and chafed, nothing could alleviate the pain. Over the next couple of weeks, I tried all those creams and ol' school remedies to no avail. Complaining about it didn't help either. My hubby just looked at me like I was crazy. It took patience and prayer to get me through those first few weeks. It eventually got to a point where the first few seconds of agony turned to bliss, thanks in part to some research I had done. After surfing the web for breastfeeding stories, I read about PumpEase. Once I began using it, I was hooked.

Stacy-Ann pumping with her PumpEase

Even though I loved nursing my daughter (and still do), I also felt that PumpEase helped to heal my already sore boobies. Pumping allowed my nipples to take a much needed break. Plus, the pediatrician had advised me to begin introducing the bottle, so that when I returned to work, there wouldn't be any problems for my Princess to adjust. It was like killing two birds with one stone. Now almost one year later, I am still nursing and expressing milk too! In fact, most of my pumping is done at work. My job as a weather anchor can get pretty hectic at times so, before I returned from my maternity leave I made sure that my freezer was fully stocked with breast milk (which I still have on hand to this day). 

I wanted to be prepared in case of breaking weather coverage that interrupted our daily routine. For those of you who don't live in New York, last winter was a nightmare! I'm talkin' record-breaking snowfall across the area. With almost 62 inches of total snowfall in Central Park, it ranked as the 3rd snowiest season EVER!

Stacy-Ann's fully stocked freezer

When I got the call to report to work on my day off (the day after Christmas), I knew I would have to spend the night away from my baby girl. Luckily, my hubby didn't have to work and I had some reserve milk in the freezer. Whenever there is severe weather coverage, I usually report live every 15 minutes throughout my shift. I remember working this particular snowstorm in December; we dubbed it the "Holiday Blizzard". I had to go live so often that I didn't have time to pump. By the end of the night I felt like my chest was gonna explode! My bra size probably quadrupled over the course of about 10 hours. To make matters worse, the storm was so bad that I couldn't drive home. My bosses put me in a hotel for the night. I wasn't exactly a happy camper. Not only was it the first night without my baby, I was also in so much pain. Have you ever held your pee so long, you felt like you were gonna burst? Well, that's how I felt that night. Once I was tucked away in my hotel room, I was relieved to get it out. I think I filled up four 5 oz. bottles easily. In retrospect, I don't know how I was able to hold it for so long! When I think about it, I'm probably one of the lucky ones. This was an extreme situation. I usually have no problems pumping at work, but not everyone has that luxury. I spoke with a former co-worker who has a son about the same age as my daughter. She actually pumps in the live truck, while covering her story! No comfy office to go to, and no comfy reclining chair to sit in. But she did say that the guys she works with totally understand and give her privacy. As for me, I usually work in studio, and I've been to be able to retreat to a secluded area for my pumping sessions.

It's been almost 12 months and I am still pumping away, but it wasn't always easy! Join me for Part 2 of "Pumping with Weather Anchor Mama" where I'll chat about nursing my little Princess around the clock (aka how I got through sleepless nights).

Do you pump at work? Are your coworkers understanding? Do you have a private place to pump that is NOT a bathroom? Tell us about it below...

The content of this post is based on the personal experiences of Stacy-Ann Gooden and may not reflect evidence-based information. Your experiences may differ. Please consult your health care provider and/or a Board Certified Lactation Consultant for advice.

August 1st, 2011 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Retail Partner Spotlight

Retail Partner Spotlight - Evymama

Sarah LeMay-Kaplan of Evymama

RETAIL PARTNER SPOTLIGHT
Evymama Nursing & Maternity
Sarah LeMay-Kaplan, President and Founder 

 

1) What inspired you to open Evymama and when did you launch?

I opened Evymama in the Summer of 2007 with my then 5-month-old son in a sling at my side around the clock. Literally. I worked 20 hour days in the weeks leading up to and immediately following the opening. I didn’t even need an alarm clock. I was so full of adrenaline that I would pass out temporarily and jump right back into it. I guess I miss that now, which is why I felt the need to open another location? The new Toronto shop is now open at 230 Danforth Avenue. So I now have a shop in both ends of the city.

While my son, Remy, was my tiny partner in the Evymama endeavor, my daughter Talya, now six, was the inspiration.

She was an extremely fussy baby who had fairly bad reflux. I had to nurse her pretty constantly, as anyone who told me I was crazy for having her at the breast all day and night can attest.

I’ve always loved pretty clothes. When a friend asked me how the heck I managed without nursing tops, I was ready to listen. I found some cute ones, and never wore anything else. The nursing tops kept my midriff covered as my daughter and I wandered around the city in our Ergo carrier. We mostly walked to St Lawrence Market in those days, to pick up ingredients for dinner. (I’m a closet gourmet, but cooking anything that takes more than 20 minutes these days is reserved for Sundays!)

As of about a year ago, I started wearing non-nursing tops again, since Remy just has a quick nurse before falling asleep nowadays.

2) Do you have a company mission/vision? 

I always tell people when I interview them for a job here that if I have a secret agenda, it’s to get everyone breastfeeding! This is more a secret wish of mine, really, but it gets my point about being breastfeeding-friendly across. We’re very pro-breastfeeding, in a kindly, you’re-amongst-friends sort of a way.

Essentially, however, we’re all about the mother. There are baby stores, and there are maternity stores. Those stores cater to the mother until she delivers and then basically have nothing for her, or are just about the baby, and mom’s personal style is left in the ditch.

Evymama sees a mother through her pregnancy and breastfeeding career in style, with no compromise whatsoever, right down to the sexy knickers and nursing bras. We’re fond of saying that a happy mama means a happy child. Truthfully, a baby needs to be attached to mom, and mom needs to lean on others so she can do her job well and enjoy herself while doing it. For some mothers, we’re their only support for the hour or two that they’re in the shop. For others, we’re a nice place to stop for a nurse and then pass baby to grandma and get shopping! 

3) What was the biggest challenge that you faced during your journey opening Evymama?

I’m something of a gambler, I realized while examining my business style recently. This serves me well as an entrepreneur. It takes lots of research, work, heart and dedication to run a retail store, but it also takes guts. It’s scary sometimes, mostly financially, especially in the beginning, but, as I read on a horseracing shirt of my husband’s, “Fortune Favours the Bold”. At some point, you need to plunge in and pretty much swim for your life.

I opened the first store without obtaining a bank loan, and have done the same with this second shop that I’m about to open. You could count that as a challenge! Money can freeze you up if you’re very emotional about it. I understand that a lack of it at times is just a minor detail, not a real barrier to anything.

4) What is the best part of what you do as the owner of Evymama? What part could you live without?

We make sure that everyone is offered tea or water and a comfy nursing chair, that everyone is treated like a VIP (since every mother IS a Very Important Person!) and that we really listen and assist our customers however we can. We frequently run mothers’ purchases to their cars, call around to find additional things they need, give them literature on whatever subject they’re agonizing about… we’ve done some crazy things for our mothers too! We have a policy of taking five minutes of our day to make someone else’s, whether that someone is a customer or a co-worker, a neighbor or a random person wandering into our lives.

I feel confident that at the end of any workday, if I ask any one of my staff what they did to make someone’s day, they will tell me about ten things they’ve done, and not only one. The women who work here are very special people, with a gift and a calling for service to their fellow human beings. I feel very lucky to work alongside them all.

In the end, we have a policy of always taking the high road, and always taking care of all of those around us. I can tell you that this is both the big secret to Evymama’s success and what lights up my life every day. Along with my family, of course!

The parts I can live without I pass along to someone who doesn’t find them as soul-sapping, and who is better at them than me! I have a bookkeeper and an accountant so I’m not spinning my wheels and wasting money. My Jane Street store manager, Heidi, is brilliant at creating the monthly shift schedule, so I have off-shifted that item to her and it’s better for everyone that way!

There is no point in doing things that don’t work for you. Someone else can and will do it better. So the short answer is, there is nothing about my job that I dislike.

5) How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Remy 4, and Talya 6. Brilliant, slightly naughty children. Talya plans to be a midwife, and Remy is planning a career in piracy. We’re so proud!

6) What is the best part of what you do as a mom? What part could you live without?

I love pregnancy, labour, nursing, and the terrible twos. When they quit nursing and have lives away from me, I love to chat about their day… I’m not great at getting down on the floor and playing at pirates and dolls though. I’m more the type to invite them to help me with the cooking or the laundry. It’s as much fun as playing with toys for them, and doesn’t make me resentful as I’m getting stuff done. I go crazy if things are waiting for me to get to them! My husband is great at playroom play, so again, I’m not doing anything that doesn’t work for me, I guess.

7) Tell us about your experience, as a new mom, trying to find the "right products"?

See answer #1.

8) What has been the most helpful product that you have encountered?

A nursing bra, a baby carrier, both properly fitted to the mom’s needs are absolutely indispensable! Our bra fittings and baby carrier test-drives are a must-do for any mother living in the Toronto area, if I do say so myself.

9) Do you have any inspiring stories to tell us about someone you have met or something that has happened since starting Evymama?

I find every day and every person I meet is full of inspiration. Each day is what we make of it with this company. We get letters, emails, calls, and pop-ins telling us that we made their day, or their sister’s or best friend’s day. I have a special place in my heart for moms on bedrest, since, although I’ve never BEEN on bedrest, I think it would be like the seventh circle of hell for me… I like to really go out of my way for those mothers. I like to say “ANYTHING for a mom on bedrest!” and I really mean it!

10) What is the "next big thing" for Evymama?

I would call our new store our next big thing! I have a wild and crazy plan to open more stores. I won’t likely stop until I’m struck by lightning - I’ll take that as my clear signal to quit.

11) Is there anything else you'd like to add? Perhaps something that not many people know about you or your store?

The name of my business is often an interesting thing to people. I think it has a pretty visual element to it, as a word, and it has a nice sound. It’s soft and feminine, and flows nicely. It was born of my mother’s suggestion that I call it Bevimamma (Italian for “Drink” and “mama”). My editor husband dissected the word on the computer screen, dropping the “b” and one “m”, and changing the “I” to a “y”. He then said, as I looked over his shoulder, “What do you think”? I said, “That’s it, it’s the name.”

This is amusing to me because it was essentially a collaboration between my mother and my husband, who rarely agree on anything!

We Googled it, of course, to see that it was original, and it returned no hits. I didn’t choose the name until we were very close to opening! A good, original name is important, but “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. A business needs a great name, sure, but it needs to actually be great more than it needs a cool name!

Thank you Sarah. I must say I am deeply inspired and impressed by your overall attitude. It isn't too often that you talk to someone with such a positive and giving outlook on life. I'd also like to thank you for the generous giveaway you've offered for our readers - 2 tops and 2 dresses from the June & Dane nursingwear line - retail value of more than $280 CAD. To enter, simply "like" the Evymama Facebook page. For an additional entry you can also follow Evymama on Twitter. Once you have done that, come back here and tell us in the comments what you have done for your entry(ies)!

The draw will take place via random.org on Friday, August 5, 2011, 9 pm Eastern.  Good luck and check back here to see if you're a winner!

Where to find Evymama:
Website: www.evymama.ca
Facebook: Evymama
Twitter: @Evymama