Working with breastfeeding moms, I get asked all the time about new products and gadgets marketed to make their lives easier. I wholeheartedly believe you are all you need for your baby, but I don't mind trying out items to review and share my opinion.
Recently, I tried out TWO new products- the Beaugen Inserts and Lacteck BabyMotion Flanges. Both companies sent me these items to review and give my honest opinion. These products have two very different methods for similar problems pumping mothers experience. *I am not receiving any compensation or endorsement from either of these companies.
Going back to work after having a baby is filled with a ton of emotions, especially for all you breastfeeding teachers who are nervous about how and where you are going to pump at work!
I was actually a teacher for a year and a half. I taught a phlebotomy course at a local school and it was seriously the most exhausting job I’ve ever had. I no longer work there, but I learned to have the utmost respect for teachers because holy wow, y’all put in some serious work. It saddens me that you work SO HARD and you run into some of the biggest barriers to pumping at work compared to other professions. All too often, I hear of teachers not being provided with an adequate space in overcrowded schools or not being given enough time to adequately pump. Breaks are few and far between, it can be difficult to get someone to get your class, and when do you even have time to pee with all that?!
To all the pumping teachers out there, this post for you. I reached out to our Facebook community and asked REAL teachers to give me allllll the tips and tricks.
What you don't know about your breast pump actually can hurt you..... literally.
It can hurt your nipples, and your milk supply. So knowing how to use your pump properly, and having a pump that fits is the difference between being successful with pumping and struggling to keep up supply, or worse (and we've seen it often) causing damage to your nipples.
When you're struggling with pumping and maintaining your milk supply with your pump, don't be hard on yourself, it's likely not you, momma. The first place you should be looking is the equipment you're using, and how you're using it. It's almost never something wrong with us, and instead improper pump usage or malfunction.
So if you're not sure if it fits, pumping is uncomfortable for you, or your output is not what it should be, you can get support to figure it out.
I HATE pumping. Hate it. I don't think I have ever met a soul who loves it. (If you're out there.... raise your hand!)
At 4 weeks postpartum, I started pumping once a day using my Advance Double Electric from Medela for “practice bottle” milk, bath/skincare milk, and I’d freeze anything I didn’t end up using. I only pump for 10 minutes (because I hate pumping) and always during my son’s morning nap, which was 1-2 hours after he nursed last.
When I heard about the new PersonalFit Flex Breast Shields by Medela I had to try them. According to their marketing campaigns these new shields to increase comfort and get more milk faster. (Sounds great Medeala! I would love to pump less often and more comfortably.) Their claim is you'll pump 11.8% more milk and have a faster milk ejection than the traditional shields that come with the pumps. The shields are also made to be compatible with any Medela breast pump.
But does it really work?? I am always skeptical when it comes to anything marketed to breastfeeding moms. So I got a set, and decided to try! In this post I go over differences I noticed between both models, things I liked and didn’t like, and how much milk I got using each.
Working and pumping makes you feel over the top burned out! Am I right?
Dragging baby to day care. Pumping. Working. Working. Pumping. Coming home to make dinner. Nursing. Pumping. Nursing. Bed time routing.
When do you get time for you??? If you're not practicing regular self care, you will crash and burn, momma!
In this podcast episode we are talking all about realistic, unselfish ways to add self care into your every day. We are going to help you recharge, regroup, and fill your cup so you can keep going like the superwoman you are!!!
Are you confused by the Break Time Law for Nursing Moms?? Most of the moms in the Successful Breastfeeding Community were!
And it's not surprising. The law is wordy, confusing, and full of loop holes and exemptions.
On this episode of the Successful Breastfeeding Podcast I am interviewing Tifani Sadek, a corporate attorney who previously was in private practice for small businesses. She will be answering our questions about the Break Time Law for Nursing Moms. Tifani is not only an attorney, but also a working and pumping mom and member of our Successful Breastfeeding Community!
Going back to work is HARD. There is so much to navigate, and so much advice out there you can feel like you don't know which way is up, and which way is down! Thankfully, we've got you covered with info you need for Successful Pumping, and the Back to Work advice that will not only set you up for success, but give you a REAL plan to get through and do so successfully.
The good news is, with these tips and hacks from REAL breastfeeding moms, pumping at work is about to get a whole lot easier! Here are the top tips from our Successful Breastfeeding Veterans taken from our poll in the Successful Breastfeeding Community.
When you are pumping, especially at work, time is everything! Nobody wants to be attached to a pump any longer than they need to be. With this hands on pumping technique, you'll be able to cut down on the amount of time you spend attached to your breast pump!
If you are planning to go back to work, and want more info, check out our other blog post: Top 7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding Back at Work!
In the United States, the average maternity leave only lasts about 6 weeks, and it takes just about that long for your milk supply to fully establish.
Then you’re expected to leave baby behind and return to work. This is not only emotionally difficult, but presents challenges when you’re breastfeeding. Working moms have an unfair disadvantage when it comes to breastfeeding, and the statistics make this very apparent- 80% of mother’s will stop breastfeeding within one month of returning to work. These statistics are very discouraging. That being said, if you have the right tools under your belt you will be ahead of the game and can take down the obstacles working and pumping put in your way.
It’s important to be aware of potential challenges and know how to beat them- so let’s break it down!
So, Here’s The Problem.
Child care providers have it rough. Especially infant caregivers.
You have to bend over backwards to gain the trust of the families who are touring your facility for the care of their new baby. New mothers are emotional about going back to work and being away from their babies. They come to you with 1000 questions, concerns, and many also will break down and cry. Breastfeeding mothers have even more to worry about.
How many times has a mom expressed to you the anxiety she is feeling about being a working and pumping mom? This breastfeeding mom may fear her baby will reject her for the bottle, or not want to take the bottle at all. (And I’m sure you’ve seen that happen before.) This last fear produces the most anxiety and emotion for her.
What about when she is a couple weeks in, pumping isn’t going as well as she hoped? She is now concerned about her milk supply- it’s decreasing. She has come to you, her caregiver, to ask you to start supplementing her baby with formula- with tears in her eyes.
What do you say? How do you reassure her?
She obviously is in need of support, and you may not know where to refer her. Now, this mother is weaning, and has given up continuing breastfeeding.
For her, this is devastating, and for you it’s frustrating.
It seems there may be nothing you can do, so you accept her fate.
The benefits of breastfeeding are widely known, and breastfeeding rates are increasing. For you, this means more moms are choosing to continue breastfeeding when they go back to work. Supporting breastfeeding moms and breastfed babes is your new reality as a caregiver. However, like the breastfeeding mom above, few of them will make it past the first few weeks. Going back to work is hard, and there are many obstacles a mother may face. Working moms are high risk for early weaning. Statistics show that 80% of working breastfeeding mothers will quit breastfeeding within a month of returning to work. This is a grim outlook for your moms to have.
Improvements for breastfeeding moms are being made in the workplace, however there is one component being overlooked- YOU- her childcare provider.
How many working families can you think of who started out breastfeeding, and then switched to formula?
Sometimes the switch is sudden, and sometimes more gradual. Working mothers switching over to formula may seem normal, and frequently happens. Infact 80% of working moms who start breastfeeding will switch to formula in about a month!!!
This doesn’t have to be normal, and shouldn’t be.
So here’s the question:
How do you gain this moms trust, and remove some of the anxiety and emotion with her breastfed baby in your care?
That’s a big question. Thankfully one with a simple answer.
What if I told you can take simple action to make your life as an infant caregiver easier?
You can make it easier to gain mom's trust, learn how to support her and guide her questions, which will lead your working breastfeeding moms meet their goals!!!
Child Care Centers across the country are taking the leap and learning how to support their working breastfeeding moms.
YOU CAN TOO!!!!
And Now, The Solution.
Here’s how it works. Here’s how you can do it too.
I’d like to tell you the story of The Green Garden Childhood Development Center. They have taken initiative to increase their appeal, while raising the bar for the families in their care. They easily earn the trust of their breastfeeding moms, and remove much of the frustrations that come with supporting them. Green Garden’s founder, Erica Tank, takes pride in standing out as a facility with exceptional care. She is committed to providing a healthy and natural environment for the children. In fact Green Garden’s centers are the first and only to be 100% organic in the state of Michigan. This isn’t the only first for them. Green Garden is also the very first childcare to take steps to becoming a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facility ™. The working breastfeeding mothers who come to their facility will have access to some serious benefits, exclusive only to a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facility. It is obvious why Green Garden is the most popular child care facility in their area, with an extensive waiting list.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Erica Tank, and got some great insights into how this program is expanding her child care business.
“I see the benefit for this program all around - for my staff, our families and of course the babies.”
- Erica Tank
The Breastfeeding Supportive Caregiver Program was inspired by real working breastfeeding mothers, and the challenges they face. These mothers are excited about this program. Working moms see the value the Breastfeeding Supportive Program adds to their childcare providers, and when asked, they ALL said they would choose a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Childcare over any other.
The program combines caregiving methods and feeding practices to offer support and peace of mind to breastfeeding moms. Caregivers are trained in what is known as the Baby Led Feeding Practices; which includes understanding paced bottle feeding, infant hunger and satiety cues, truly knowing exactly how much milk is appropriate for a baby to drink, and so, so much more.
“Before this program we really didn’t know how to support our breastfeeding moms. It is important to me that our teachers understand breastfeeding supportive feeding practices and also that they understand the importance breastfeeding has for mom and also baby.” - Erica Tank
Research shows us, and what many breastfeeding mothers can attest to, is babies are unintentionally being overfed by their caregivers.
This alone puts extra pressure on the working mother to provide more milk than her baby actually needs, and more milk than she is producing. The extra pressure from her baby’s providers and the obstacles of pumping at work combined eventually leads to weaning, and the mother is left feeling like she failed.
Erica recognized this in her own facility and, frustrated, decided to take action.
“We’ve seen countless moms come in for a tour very anxious about going back to work, and nervous they won’t meet their breastfeeding goals. Time and time again we see them give up within about a month of going back to work because it’s too hard for them to keep up with pumping, and their baby is eating too much at day care. Mom isn’t able to match her supply to what baby is drinking, and our caregivers were asking mom for more milk, when admittedly, they just weren’t recognizing the baby’s cues.” - Erica Tank
One of Green Garden’s core values is to establish relationships with the families they support from the moment they come through their doors. Since taking the Breastfeeding Supportive Training Erica’s staff has been able to further establish trust with the breastfeeding mothers interested in the facility, and offer them peace of mind.
“Having the certification gives us the extra edge and shows our commitment to breastfeeding families and really sets our program apart. This certification shows our families that we put in the work, and we know how to support you. We are always looking to be innovative, and we already do many unique things at our facility, and this fits in perfectly with our mission to offer the highest quality for the families in our care. This certification further proves how much we care.” - Erica Tank
The Baby Led Feeding Practices Training has an extra benefit for caregivers and the babies too!
“Rather than just rush through bottle feeding, our teachers have slowed down with the paced bottle feeding, and this has greatly strengthened the bond between the babies and teachers. I’ve seen them become more and more comfortable with the children and the children become even happier in our environment and the parents really value this.” -Erica Tank
The families at Green Garden are already benefiting from the small changes the Green Garden staff has made after the Breastfeeding Supportive Caregiver Program. Now Erica, and her staff, have the skills and knowledge to properly care for a breastfed baby. They have the power to melt away the anxiety and empower the breastfeeding moms with the skills they need to be successful from the start.
“Not only is our staff able to provide peace of mind that her baby will be in the best care, as a certified facility we will be able to give her support with the Return to Work planning through Successful Breastfeeding.”- Erica Tank
Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facilities have exclusive access to the Back to Work online workshop. This highly valuable service is included with the Breastfeeding Supportive Facility Program and available to families enrolled at certified centers- FOR FREE! Just one more way to attract prospective families. Having the luxury to offer this to your families is incredibly impressive, and has them eager to enroll.
“Caregivers play an important role in the breastfeeding relationship when it comes to day to day support. We spend the majority of waking hours with these babies and it’s incredibly important we support the breastfeeding families, especially. I love that the training has given us the information we need to pick up on potential red flags of weaning and direct mom to research based resources and community support.
We all gained so much. The Breastfeeding Supportive Caregiving Practices and other skills makes all the difference when it comes to making sure babies are not being overfed. I am so excited to be bringing this level of care to our families and setting our breastfeeding moms up for success at work.”
- Erica Tank
This program has so much to offer you, your families, your babies, your community.
Take initiative like The Green Garden Childhood Development Center. Enhance your skills and make your childcare irresistible to new moms.
Sign up for your training today, and take the step to be a Certified Breastfeeding Supportive Facility.
Your families deserve it, and you deserve the recognition.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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