#TLBloves Giveaway- Share the Love

by Ophélia Martin-Weber

Humans have a deep need to connect with each other, forming bonds and experiencing love. But it isn’t always easy and sometimes it is downright confusing to be in relationship with others. With #TLBloves, we aim to provide families with community support through information sharing, narrative, and personal challenges, all free of judgment.

#TLBloves 2017 Giveaway Bundle includes items from Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes (our amazing Title Sponsor), Dressed to Deliver, Evenflo, Naked Nursing Tank, Nova Natural, and Silverette!!

 

The giveaway!

 

Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes, Title Sponsor

Indigo Willow logo

Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes is offering not one, but 4 of their exquisite pieces of breast milk jewelry to 4 lucky Leakies (one per winner). The Clair de Lune Breast Milk Ring (their most popular ring, featured in the Grand Prize), the Love You Infinity Breast Milk Necklace, a choice of any of their 5 Breast Milk Heart Charms, and a simple but beautiful Mini Breast Milk Pearl.

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1. The Clair de Lune Breast Milk Ring from Indigo Willow features a center breast milk stone made using a mother’s own milk and is perfectly faceted like a high-shine diamond. The stone is surrounded by a cubic zirconia halo and a filigree pattern and the scroll work in this ring is delicate and open for a very feminine feel. The base of the ring is a sterling silver coated with a high-grade, anti-tarnish rhodium plating for added protection.
Retail Value: $377

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2. The Love You Infinity Breast Milk Necklace is one of Indigo Willow’s signature pieces and features a few unique design details. The sterling silver infinity shape with hearts gives this unique necklace its name. It includes a high gloss breast milk pearl and your choice of one sterling silver Swarovski crystal birthstone. This necklace also features two sterling silver hearts in back to allow you to extend or decrease the length of this necklace.
Retail Value: $259

 

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3. The Breast Milk Heart Charms from Indigo Willow are made using a mother’s own precious breast milk and are finished with a sterling silver ring to allow it to hang freely from a necklace or traditional charm bracelet. Choose one of any of these 5 beautiful designs!
Retail Value: $179

 

 

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4. Simple and beautiful, this high-gloss pearl from Indigo Willow is sure to please. This little pearl is made using a mother’s own breast milk and is finished with a sterling silver bail and a ring to allow it to hang freely from a necklace.
Retail Value: $189

 

 

For more information, visit Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes

 

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#TLBloves 2017 Giveaway

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right: luxury bamboo Naked Nursing Tank, Indigo Willow Clair de Lune breastmilk ring, Nova Natural Wool Hood & Cuddle Doll & Rainbow Bead Toy, Evenflo Balance & Wide-Neck Bottles, Silverette nursing covers, Dressed to Deliver Birthing Gown & Nursing BabeCover

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Dressed to Deliver

Dressed to Deliver logo

Dressed to Deliver’s premiere product: the 3-in-1 Birthing Gown, was created with the birthing mother in mind! If you are already in your last few months of pregnancy you know what it feels like when your legs are swollen and most of your clothes feel so restricting & many fabrics make your skin itch! That’s why we created our 3-in-1 gowns from extremely soft and luxurious bamboo fabric that is so flattering, you can wear it as a maternity dress.

dressed to deliver birthing gown

Its empire waist allows comfort for your beautiful expanding belly. If you want to feel more like yourself and not a patient; if you want to comfortably and easily do skin-to-skin and be able to breastfeed immediately after your new bundle is born, without the clumsy mess of the hospital gown – then Dressed to Deliver’s Birthing Gown is a perfect OPTION for YOU!  Our gowns are hospital approved and allow for immediate skin-to-skin and nursing this with snaps on the shoulder that allows for easy access and if you need an IV it won’t get tangled up!
Retail Value: $65, but our Leakies can get theirs for $39.99 here! 

 

dressed to deliver babe cover

 

 

Our Nursing BabeCovers  are also a mom favorite since they are so versatile! Wear as a scarf, for nursing, as a carseat cover and shopping cart cover!
Retail Value: $35, but Leakies can grab theirs for $25 plus free shipping here!

 

 

Evenflo-Feeding-Logo

Designed to support healthy bottle-feeding without interfering with mom’s personal breast-feeding journey, we’ve developed a unique and intentional nipple shape to allow for a proper latch along with an adjusted flow rate that promotes a comfortable drinking pace for baby. These are key components for moms that will be breast and bottle-feeding. This gentle feeding system also comes with our patented Proflo™ venting technology that reduces the potential for colic, reflux, gas and fussiness. To help take the guesswork out of feeding your little one the Evenflo Balance + Wide Neck Bottles have molded measurement markers in both ounces and milliliters to provide and easy and accurate way to measure the volume of liquids without the risk of the measurements washing off.

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To help take the guesswork out of feeding your little one the Evenflo Balance + Wide Neck Bottles have molded measurement markers in both ounces and milliliters to provide an easy and accurate way to measure the volume of liquids without the risk of the measurements washing off. An added bonus is that you can pump directly into these wide neck bottles with the use of the Evenflo Balance + Pump Adapter (sold separately) for added convenience. Rest assured that our bottles are 100% free of BPA, polycarbonates, PVC and phthalates and are made of FDA approved food grade material.
Retail Value: $12.99 (3 pack)

 

Nova Natural Toys and Crafts

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Rainbow Grasping - Nova Naturals

 

The Rainbow Grasping Toy is an engaging cluster of rainbow beads serves as a grasping toy and a teething toy. The Brightly colored beads roll against and around one another on an elastic band. This wooden toy is finished with non-toxic stains, so it’s safe for your baby to explore with his hands or mouth.
Retail Value: $20

 

Cuddle dolls - nova Naturals

The Cuddle Doll‘s cotton body and wool stuffing make this the perfect first Waldorf doll for toddlers and young children. The  clothing is part of the rag doll, so young children don’t have to deal with dressing and changing their doll just yet. Large enough to cuddle close, but light enough to easily tote around, it’s the perfect doll for kids to fall in love with.
Retail Value: $36 (winner’s choice of color)

 

Baby's wool head - Nova Naturals

Baby’s Wool Hood – Wool baby clothing is especially good at keeping little ones warm because of the wonder of wool. This balaclava-style hood covers head, ears and neck and is just snug enough that babies can’t easily take it off. It also won’t slide into their eyes. This woolen garment is made by Ruskovilla Oy, a Finnish company deeply committed to quality and the environment at all phases of production – from raw materials to the finished garment. The organic wool is ethically produced in South America and the yarn is spun in Germany.
                                               Retail Value: $29

 

Naked Nursing Tank

Naked Nursing Tank logo

Naked Nursing Tank image
The Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank in black or white is made of super soft bamboo fabric that allows a mom to wear it during her entire pregnancy as a layering shirt, as well as during and after breastfeeding.

Retail Value: $40 (winner’s choice of color)

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logo silverette_NEW


IMG_7993-A pair of Silverette Nursing Cups
Silverette are small cups crafted out of pure 925 silver that fit over and help to protect nipples while breastfeeding. Silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial metal that also contains anti-inflammatory agents. It heals and prevents cuts, wounds, cracks, soreness, and infections.
Retail Value: $60

 

Silverette pendant image

The Recycling Program option which is the possibility to send back the Silverette cups to us after using them and convert them to a pendant with the child’s initial engraved.
Retail Value: $39

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Total Retail Value of the Grand Prize Bundle: $714

Good luck to everyone! Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from now through March 8, 2017. A big thanks to Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes, and also to Dressed to Deliver, Evenflo, Naked Nursing Tank, Nova Natural, and Silverette, for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women.

This giveaway is open to participants in the USA.

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The Joy of Giving 2016

joy-of-giving-brands-logos

 

Everyone loves a good giveaway. They’re fun, enticing, and full of hopeful anticipation. Here at TLB we take delight in working with brands that care so much about quality, families, support, and seeing babies well fed. These companies not only see our community as a valuable resource for them, but each brand we work with is carefully vetted, selected for their commitment to value supporting families. With them, TLB gets to regularly experience the joy of giving to families through our giveaways and community support.

Which is why this holiday season we are extending the reach of that giving. The Joy of Giving giveaway brings together 32 brands that truly know the meaning of the joy of giving. With three different bundles (totaling $4306), one lucky winner will have the chance to give as well by selecting two of their friends that could use a little holiday cheer, and they will each receive a bundle!

But that’s not all. Not only are we offering this giveaway and giving you a chance to give, every item being given away in the Joy of Giving giveaway is also being donated to a nonprofit organization that supports families. And we need your help!  There are so many amazing nonprofits out there that we struggled to select just 5 of them for this opportunity, and it’s up to you to make the final selection. We are including a short description for each of the 5 organizations with a link to their website in case you would like to learn more about them. Once you’re ready, cast your vote for your favorite in the poll just under the descriptions! Our hope is that they will inspire us all to find new ways to give this season. Even a warm smile can lift a person’s spirits.

 

Happy Holidays, and good luck!

 

Everyday Miracles is built on the belief that every woman has a right to evidence-based prenatal care; that every woman should be empowered, supported and celebrated during pregnancy, birth and postpartum—regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. The work they do is inspired by the commitment, resilience and strength we see in the moms we serve every single day. Their mission is to improve birth outcomes and reduce health disparities by providing evidence-based education, compassionate and culturally competent support and a non-judgemental, caring community. Find them on Facebook.

Mothers Helping Mothers is a refuge in which Teens in need of support and guidance can receive mentoring and educational encouragement that offers empowerment in such a way that it promotes positive self-esteem while enhancing teen parenting skills. Serving teen mothers in the Columbus, OH area in need of a loving and nurturing environment during their time of pregnancy and beyond in both emotional and physical ways. Find them on Facebook.

Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle (PBBC), aims to reduce racial disparities in breastfeeding by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding as the cultural norm and optimal feeding method for mothers and babies of African Descent in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Their mission also includes providing culturally relevant breastfeeding, parenting, and nutrition education and information in a supportive group environment. The PBBC facilitates community learning with maternal child health and lactation specialists and experts; in addition to the development of peer leadership. Find them on Facebook.

The Carrying On Project provides carriers and more to low income and struggling military families to help encourage and facilitate bonding for service members who spend extended amount of time away from their children because of deployments, trainings, and other duties of service, as well as help the caregiver at home by providing them a way to snuggle and comfort the children who are left behind with a focus on families who are brand new to the military or our veterans who are awaiting medical support or compensation, including those living in halfway houses and group housing. They also work with veteran families, some who are left unemployable due to injuries, TBIs or PTSD, and more. Serving nearly 8000 families since their inception, collaborating with other organizations, TCOP distributes items for charity baby showers and need-based to help families that apply and need extra services. In addition to baby carriers, TCOP has supplied families requiring extra assistance with diapers, clothing, blankets, breastfeeding supplies, teething items, bottles, pacifiers, and more. Find them on Facebook.

Wichita Treehouse women come to The Treehouse as referrals from other social service agencies in Wichita. These moms have given birth in difficult circumstances, and have material, emotional, and spiritual needs. The Treehouse provides moms with: Parenting education, One-time free distribution of basic infant necessities (for eligible mothers), Thrift store (newborn to 16 youth clothing, basic supplies for infants and toddlers, etc. credit earned by taking classes), Extra assistance (up to 2 times a year for diapers or formula). The Treehouse continues to be able to serve moms and babies because of  financial, material, volunteer resources, and prayer from the entire Wichita community. Find them on Facebook. 

Prize bundle #1:

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Prize Bundle #1 Total Value: $583

You! Lingerie: Isis Blue Maternity and Nursing Set$50 value
Truly Irresistible! Fall in love with this smooth vivid blue color nursing bra featuring a seductive touch of lace, a true definition of ‘Luxurious!’ The gorgeously molded nursing bra is a great choice during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Lined with our signature Hot Pink 100% cotton for maximum comfort. Embellished with our signature Hot Pink satin bows. It comes with a matching brief microfiber with a touch of lace in vivid blue for a gorgeous YOU!

Smart BottomsConvertible Flannel Nursing Scarf, $39 value
Made with cozy flannel fabric, this scarf will quickly become your favorite cold-weather accessory! Snaps enable you to customize your coverage and compliment your outfit.

MommyCon: General Admission, $45 value
General admission to any 2017 MommyCon event.

Mollys SudsLiquid Laundry Detergent, $17 value
This free and clear, unscented formula is perfect for those with allergies and sensitive skin and it is baby laundry safe. You can count the number of ingredients on both hands – it does not contain the long list of harsh chemicals found in conventional brands. 50 loads, 50 FL OZ, Ultra-Concentrated. Works in all machines, including HE, and safe for septic systems. Work in all water temperatures, and hard/soft water.

Carriwell: Seamless GelWire Nursing Bra$50 value
The healthiest, supportive nursing bra ever made, the incredibly flexible Gelwire gives you the support you desire while still being soft and comfortable to wear. The Carriewell GelWire is the healthy option when you need support in your nursing bra and is approved by lactation consultants.

Nurture-Elle: Pleated Short Sleeve Top, $45 value
The graceful pleats are excellent at hiding the tummy and the slimming effects of the long sleeves will boost your confidence! Wearable during pregnancy as well. The subtle elastic band along the bottom of the shirt structures the top so as to add style, not volume.
Opening: SIDE SEAM ACCESS: To access the right breast, simply move the front fabric to the left and move to the right the inner layer. To access the left breast, simply move the front fabric to the right and move to the left the inner layer.
* All our breastfeeding fashions are created with a woman’s post-partum shape in mind. We have customized the bust lines to be 1 to 2 cup sizes larger.

Crane: Owl Humidifier$50 value
Crane ultrasonic cool mist humidifier provides up to 24 hours of whisper quiet mist to relieve stuffy noses, dry skin, dry cough and overall cold/flu symptoms. Does not require a filter.

Make My Belly Fit: Jacket Extender, $86 value
Babies bring change. Your jacket doesn’t have to! The BellyFit is an award-winning jacket extender for maternity and baby-wearing. It simply extends your own jacket.

BelabumbumDottie Nursing Pajama Set, $79 value
Belabumbum’s sweet and soft polka dot print pajama set includes a camisole with underbust pull-up nursing access and adjustable straps and a flattering pant with soft flat elastic waistband in 100% pima cotton jersey with lace trim.

MoveMamíNursing Sports Bra, $50 value
SHINE in the most comfortable and supportive nursing bra. MOVEMAMÍ is highly recommended by mothers and midwives around the world. Supportive, comfortable and stylish – the SHINE breastfeeding sports bra is designed to support a mother’s ever-changing body, both during and post-pregnancy. Each MOVEMAMÍ nursing bra comes with a pair of innovative BAMBOOB breast pads.

Preggo LeggingsBlack Out Moto Leggings, $50 value
Rock this biker inspired Black Out Moto Maternity Leggings and you’ll instantly look like a badass preggo babe. They are super comfy too with an adjustable waist and ribbed stretch cotton over the bump panels. Your ultimate go-to fashion maternity leggings that you can easily dress up or down with a tee or your favorite top.

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Prize bundle #2:

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Prize Bundle #2 Total Value: $626

Ameda: Purely Yours Ultra Pump$299 value
Our Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump is a closed-system, single-user pump intended to help mothers to safely and effectively express and store her milk when she is unable to nurse directly. The Ultra has updated features including larger, easy-to-use control dials and an easy-to-clean exterior finish.

Glamourmom: Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top, $59 value
Full structured built-in nursing bra into a long tank top that supports up to a J cup.

Woolino: 4 Season Basic Baby Sleeping Bag, $70 value
Woolino’s award winning 4 Season Basic Merino Wool Baby Sleep Bag will keep baby at a perfect temperature all year round. It is made of the finest Australian merino wool that is silky soft, hypoallergenic, and it has an unmatched ability to regulate baby’s body temperature. That means there’s no need to worry about which weight sleep sack to use, or whether your baby will be too hot or cold while sleeping – they’ll always be just right!

KangaCare: Rumparooz Diaper, $24 value
One diaper. 4 sizes. Fits babies 6-35+ lbs
The award winning Rumparooz One Size Cloth Pocket Diaper has been a revolutionary change to the face of cloth diapering. Kanga Care brand cloth diapers were the first cloth diapers uniquely designed with the now patented leak protection technology of dual inner gussets. Designed with simplicity, Rumparooz are as easy to use as a disposable diaper, but without all the chemicals, waste and high cost. The Rumparooz One Size Cloth Pocket Diaper is 4 diapers sizes in ONE diaper. The Rumparooz will fit most babies at any size between birth (size newborn, 6 lbs) up through potty training (size large, 35+ lbs). Each diaper comes with a microfiber 6r soaker. This unique soaker has 6 different size and absorbency settings to customize for your babies needs.

The Dairy Fairy: Ayla Pumping Bra, $54 value
A beautiful, comfortable and functional bra for the multitasking mom. Lacy and supportive, definitely not your granny-bra.

Twin Z: The One Z Pillow$60 value
One Z Pillow is a nursing pillow fantastic integrated back support that allows moms to nurse for hours a day in complete comfort. The One Z Pillow uses also include Tummy Time, Bottle Feeding, Support and Play Time!

Phoenix BabyGoTo 2-in-1 Infant Car Seat and Travel High Chair$60 value
The GoTo2-in-1 is the first adaptive system that allows parents to safely, cleanly and comfortably provide baby a safe spot at home and on the go. Designed with wide legs for stability, a safety lock to hold infant car seats in place, and mesh pockets to conveniently store feeding essentials, the GoTo 2-in-1 is a perfect alternative to a restaurant high chair or placing an infant car seat on a raised surface. With the 2-in-1, parents can safely keep baby up and away from pets, dirt and floor drafts. The 2-in-1 is tall enough to feed baby at a table and conveniently folds compactly for storage and travel.
Once a child is out of an infant car seat, the 2-in-1 can be used as a high chair, including a full 5-point safety harness. It comes with a case and easily fits in a car trunk or an overhead storage rack for easy travel.

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Prize bundle #3:

joy-of-giving-bundle-3

Prize Bundle #3 Total Value: $733

Twin Z: Sleep Z Pillow$50 value
Toddler/Kid Body Pillow for children ages 3 and up that helps your child fall asleep by surrounding them with comfort. Results in less middle of the night waking!

Nurture-Elle: Pleated Short Sleeve Top$45 value
The graceful pleats are excellent at hiding the tummy and the slimming effects of the long sleeves will boost your confidence! Wearable during pregnancy as well. The subtle elastic band along the bottom of the shirt structures the top so as to add style, not volume.
Opening: SIDE SEAM ACCESS: To access the right breast, simply move the front fabric to the left and move to the right the inner layer. To access the left breast, simply move the front fabric to the right and move to the left the inner layer.

ThinkBaby: BPA Free Feeding Set, $40 value
Free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, PVC, PET,  Melamine and biologically harmful chemicals.The Complete BPA Free set contains: bento box, soup bowl, baby bowl, and a kids cup.
Made from highly sustainable materials.

MommyCon: Smash the Patriarchy T-shirt, $20 value
On Wednesdays We Smash the Patriarchy and invite you to join us by wearing this 100% cotton, heathery gray shirt in ia classic, unisex crewneck.

KangaCareLil Learnerz Training Pants$28 value
Lil Learnerz are here to help your toddler hit the next milestone – potty training! When your little one is ready to leave the diapers behind but still needs help and protection, Lil Learnerz will become that essential aid. Lil Learnerz look like big kid underwear and come in multiple fun prints and vibrant color combinations. Lil Learnerz are made with IMWET TECHNOLOGY™! This feature lets your toddler feel wet when they have had an accident. This helps them learn more about their body and aids in the potty learning process. Lil Learnerz are breathable and soft with a hypoallergenic layer that rests against your child’s skin. Lil Learnerz are also waterproof and can hold a heavy accident with no trouble. The inside is made up of an absorbent, dual layer, microfiber core. Lil Learnerz are easy to pull up and down by your little learner! Just like real underwear! Lil Learnerz are available in five sizes ranging from Extra Small to Extra Large. The Extra Small and Small sizes also feature side snapping release panels for easy-off in case of accidents with early learners.

Chimparoo: Soft Structured Baby Carrier, value $206
The Chimparoo TREK is the contemporary of the woven wrap, designed for those who desire an ergonomic and supportive soft structured carrier. Sporty and chic, down to earth and sophisticated, this carrier is for men and women with refined tastes, the nature lovers and the trend-seekers. It can hold up to 45 lbs and is easy to handle.

Ameda: Purely Yours Ultra Pump$299 value
Our Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump is a closed-system, single-user pump intended to help mothers to safely and effectively express and store her milk when she is unable to nurse directly. The Ultra has updated features including larger, easy-to-use control dials and an easy-to-clean exterior finish.

Snugabell: PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra, $38 value
PumpEase holds your breast pump flanges securely in place so you can read, text, eat, email, care for your child, or just relax while you pump your breastmilk – hands-free! You don’t need to fuss with awkward straps or adjustments; PumpEase is easy to use and looks great for moms who aren’t willing to forgo fashion for function.

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joy-of-giving-everything-included

Every bundle includes (Total Value: $784):

Snuggle Me: Organic Cosleeper$140 value
USA Made Organic Cosleeping Infant Lounger for Babies. It is slightly raised and unpadded, which means when baby is laid on top of the cushion, the sides will gently pull in to give baby the sensation of being held.

Anna NaturalsBoobie Basket$33 value
The Boobie Basket includes all your nursing necessities – Nursing Mama herbal tea, All Smiles Aromatherapy Mist, and Nursing Mama Nipple Cream.

The Baby Booster: Baby Booster, $36 value
A lifestyle solution that helps support a breastfeeding mom’s daily diet.

Wear PACT: Camisole/Leggings/Hoodie, $100 value
All PACT apparel are super soft, sweatshop free, ethically produced, and part of a movement transforming the way apparel is made. Sure they’re (comfy, amazing) clothes, but they’re more than clothes. They’re an impetus for the best kind of change.

Lake Champlain ChocolatesPeppermint Hot Chocolate$12 value
Make it a merry and minty Christmas! This is holiday hot chocolate the way it should be — a refreshing blend of rich cocoa and cool peppermint, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Just the thing to warm everyone up!

MomzelleNursing Top$69 value
The cutest and most comfortable nursing hoodie on the market! Stay warm while nursing your little one. This lightweight hoodie offers easy and discreet nursing access and comes in four great colour combinations.

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: Gray Love Bear$40 value
The Gray Love Bear recordable stuffed animal kit includes a fluffy, gray-colored teddy bear, an attached 3×5″ yellow frame that holds your ultrasound photo, and a recorder to capture the sound of your baby’s heartbeat during an ultrasound. The gray Bear is 13” long, perfect snuggle size. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear kits make excellent baby shower gifts or pregnancy keepsakes. Also available at many 3D/4D ultrasound studios. Patent pending.

SpectraS2 Breast Pump$250 value
Spectra S2 Single/Double Closed System Hospital Strength Electric Breast Pump. Includes back flow protection, hospital strength suction, single or double electric, nightlight, timer, adjustable settings, quiet, lightweight at 3.3lbs, dual voltage, stylish, and comfortable. This pumps suckling action helps moms initiate, increase, and maintain a milk supply.

Belibea: Nourish Cami$60 value
Made for the flexibility of a modern mom, our seamless stretch-knit Nourish Cami provides the convenience of wearing ONE garment whether nursing, pumping or reveling in the sweet moments in between.

Itzy Ritzy: Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf$25 value
Everyday scarf that is convenient to wear and use when nursing. Allows maintained eye contact and airflow for your baby. Cotton and polyester jersey knit blend with finished edges!

Luna Pads: Performa Lunapads$19 value
Performa is a brand new approach to washable menstrual pads. Featuring high-tech fabrics that absorb three times as much fluid than a regular disposable pad or tampon, Performa is the eco-friendly option for a more comfortable period.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from December 11, 2016 through December 21, 2016.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors who generously demonstrated their compassion for people by participating in this giveaway.  Their support of TLB, and all breastfeeding women, and beyond, is invaluable; don’t hesitate to visit them on social media and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

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The Joy of Giving 2015

Logo Group final

 

Everyone loves a good giveaway. They’re fun, enticing, and full of hopeful anticipation. Here at TLB we take delight in working with brands that care so much about quality, families, support, and seeing babies well fed. These companies not only see our community as a valuable resource for them, but each brand we work with is carefully vetted, selected for their commitment to value supporting families. With them, TLB gets to regularly experience the joy of giving to families through our giveaways and community support.

 

Which is why this holiday season we are extending the reach of that giving. The Joy of Giving giveaway brings together 22 brands that truly know the meaning of the joy of giving. With three different bundles, one lucky winner will have the chance to give as well by selecting two of their friends that could use a little holiday cheer, and they will each receive a bundle!

 

But that’s not all. Not only are we offering this giveaway and giving you a chance to give, every item being given away in the Joy of Giving giveaway is also being donated to a nonprofit organization that supports families (that’s over $2388 worth of products!).  And we need your help!  There are so many amazing nonprofits out there that we struggled to select just 5 of them for this opportunity, and it’s up to you to make the final selection.  We are including a short description for each of the 5 organizations with a link to their website in case you would like to learn more about them.  Once you’re ready, cast your vote for your favorite in the poll just under the descriptions!  Our hope is that they will inspire us all to find new ways to give this season.  Even a warm smile can lift a person’s spirits.

 

Happy Holidays, and good luck!

 

Birth Circle Doulas – The Birth Circle is a community-based doula program providing pregnancy support and doula services to underserved women. Doulas visit women at their homes, meet with them at their medical appointments, and provide continous support during labor and delivery. Services are offered free-of-charge to eligible women, including teens, first-time-mothers receiving their prenatal care at selected health care sites, and UPMC for You members. Working with our community to build an integrated circle of care that addresses the needs of the childbearing family.

Elizabeth House – a residential shelter program in the community of Pasadena, CA committed to the health and welfare of adult pregnant women and their children. Elizabeth House is the only 501© (3) non-profit organization in the San Gabriel Valley that specifically addresses the needs of pregnant women who also have small children and who lack adequate shelter and prenatal care. The House can accommodate six women and four children at any one time.  Clients stay 4-6 months after their babies are born. In a year’s time, an average of 15-18 family units are served. The goal of our program is not only to support these women during their time of crisis, but also to challenge them in a way that prevents issues such as financial instability child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, and drug dependency in order to provide a healthy, positive environment for their children. The long-term success of the program lies in the follow-up care and support that is provided to alumni after they transition to independent living.

Grace Initiatives – exists to empower pregnant young women to prepare for their future with their baby. Grace Initiatives offers confidential counseling, life-skills education, job-skills classes and housing options for pregnant young women, 20 and under.  Our home, Grace’s Place is located in Ocean County, New Jersey and is the hub of activity for pregnant young women from all over the region.

Teen Parent Connection – offers long-term assistance to adolescent parents of DuPage County to reach self-sufficiency by providing teen parents with support, information, and resources to help them navigate their lives as parents and as teenagers. Through the power of support teen parent connection helps young moms and dads confront challenges and create opportunities. Including doula services, classes, a parents pantry, support groups, home visits, and more.

Wichita Treehouse women come to The Treehouse as referrals from other social service agencies in Wichita. These moms have given birth in difficult circumstances, and have material, emotional, and spiritual needs. The Treehouse provides moms with: Parenting education, One-time free distribution of basic infant necessities (for eligible mothers), Thrift store (newborn to 16 youth clothing, basic supplies for infants and toddlers, etc. credit earned by taking classes), Extra assistance (up to 2 times a year for diapers or formula). The Treehouse continues to be able to serve moms and babies because of  financial, material, volunteer resources, and prayer from the entire Wichita community.

Which non-profit should win the matching bundle of prizes this year?

  • Teen Parent Connection (36%, 206 Votes)
  • Birth Circle Doulas (21%, 119 Votes)
  • Elizabeth House (20%, 114 Votes)
  • The Treehouse (12%, 70 Votes)
  • Grace Initiatives (12%, 68 Votes)

Total Voters: 577

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Prize bundle #1:

Bundle #1 group finalPrize Bundle #1 Total Value : $937

5 Phases: 4oz hybrid glass baby bottle$19 value
5 Phases is the first bottle feeding system to introduce an interchangeable glass insert. Our unique design kept the Eco-mom in mind providing the healthful benefits of glass + the protection of BPA free plastic all while reducing the carbon footprint on the environment! Our “grow with me” feeding system truly makes our bottles the most eco-friendly bottle feeding system out there!

Ameda: Purely Yours CarryAll, ComfortGel HydroGels Pads, Cool’N Carry, Breast Pumping Accessory Kit, $247 value
Purely Yours CarryAll:
double electric breast pump with a CarryAll tote. 
ComfortGel HydroGel Pads:
For breastfeeding mothers with nipple discomfort.
Cool’N Carry: 
​For discreet cooling and transport of breast milk, use one Cool‘N Carry Tote for daycare and another at work, or have two to alternate when transporting breast milk for a hospitalized baby.
Breast Pumping Accessory Kit: 
Key essentials for breast pumping mothers, including 20 Store’N Pour bags, 2 flange adapters, 10 NoShow Premium disposable nursing pads, 4 breast milk storage bottles, breast milk storage guidelines, and breastfeeding reference guide.

Arm’s Reach: Mini Arc CoSleeper,  $180 value
The
 Curved Mini Co-Sleeper® bassinet is a unique creation that allows you and your baby boy or girl to sleep comfortably next to each other from the moment your baby arrives. This bassinet enables you to reach over and draw your baby close for comforting and bonding. The innovative design also makes breastfeeding easy. The Curved Mini Co-Sleeper® bassinet is the ideal sleep solution for any concerned parent.

Beco: Gemini in Nimbus, $140 value

The Beco Gemini comfortably carries babies from 7 to 35 pounds. Geminis may be worn on the front (facing in or out), back or hip and now include a pocket on the waistband. All soft structured Beco Baby Carriers use tri-lock safety buckles and are designed to be worn with the straps comfortably crossed across your back.

Juno Blu: Esalen Breast Pump Bag in Multi Snake, $185 value
The Esalen tote is a sleek urban alternative to the classic breast pump bag. This perfectly proportioned shoulder tote is constructed from resilient vegan leatherette and finished with color matched elevated stitching. The trend-aware design makes this tote a hidden treasure for both the new and seasoned mother. The Esalen Tote’s sleek design is ideal for going to work, the park or on a play-date.

Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear Ltd: PumpEase Prize Pack: PumpEase matching Wet Bag, Colouring Book, door hanger magnet and a Nursing Mother Goddess necklace, $141 value
PumpEase are the world’s ONLY fashionable hands-free pumping bras. Made from an 88% polyester/12% spandex high-performance technical fabric, PumpEase will hold your pump in place as securely for your 1000th pumping session as it did for your 1st. Our wonderful fabric is super soft and comfortable, easy to care for, breathable, durable, has exceptional stretch and memory (i.e. won’t bag out) and has quick-dry and wicking qualities. Read, write, text, talk on the phone, use your computer or tend to your baby, ALL while pumping!
Reusable PumpEase® Wet Bag! Sized to transport all brands of pump accessories ‘incognito’, this eco-friendly clutch features a handy snap-loop handle and looks so cute decked out in matching PumpEase prints that no one will ever guess what’s inside.
Coloring Book – Help older siblings welcome the newest member of the family and discover the beauty of breastfeeding with this thoughtful and high-quality keepsake colouring book.
Door hanger – The PumpEase Do Not Disturb door hanger speaks volumes on your behalf in a fun and sassy way, letting your co-workers and family members know that you are busy “Mommy-tasking!”
Magnet – A must-have for moms with more on their mind than keeping track of their milk, a PumpEase Breastmilk Storage Guidelines fridge magnet will keep the information that you need where you need it – on the fridge!
Nursing Mother Goddess Necklace celebrates and honours breastfeeding.

Undercover Mama: Basic Essentials Nursing Shirt, $25 value
The Undercover Mama is a strapless camisole that attaches to any bra allowing you to keep your back, sides, and front covered while you nurse in comfort and style. Our shirts are perfect for Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Beyond. Make any shirt a nursing shirt with Undercover Mama.

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Prize bundle #2:

Bundle #2 group revised
Prize Bundle #2 Total Value: $904

Beco: Ring Sling in Grey, $55 value

The Beco Ring Sling is the classic way to carry your baby from newborn through toddler. One size fits all. No buckles or snaps necessary. 100% Cotton. Included with Ring Sling Baby Carrier: gathered shoulder, large aluminum rings, colored rail guide for easy adjustments, tapered tail, detailed instructions and safety tips.

BeliBea: NOURISH: One bra for BOTH breastfeeding and hands-free pumping convenience, $50 value
Seamless stretch fit to accommodate the ongoing changing fullness of your breasts. The inside panel fits to and holds a breast shield in place for hands-free convenience while pumping, or both panels can be lowered to easily breastfeed. V-neck scoop and center ruching to maintain a feminine shape – no sports bra “uni-boob” here! Includes removable pad between the cup panels for extra comfort, support and shape. Compatible with most pumps!

Diono: RadianRXT car seat, $360 value
The Radian®RXT Car Seats are designed with your child’s security and safety as top priorities. Premium materials and thoughtful safety features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam, and a five-point harness put your mind at ease as your little one stays safe and sound. The reinforced adjustable head support provides additional side impact protection.

Evenflo: Feeding Essentials Bundle, $260 value
Evenflo is dedicated to understanding the real challenges parents and children face and work to solve them in everything we do. We are honored to be a part of the journey in parenting, a journey we’ve happily shared for over 90 years! We know that parents promise their babies that every need will be met, to do everything in their power to provide a healthy life and every opportunity to succeed – without compromise or trade. This promise is not based on wealth or status or community; this promise is universal. Evenflo commits to ensuring better care for every baby by offering safe, effective products with premium features at an affordable price.

Molly’s Suds: Laundry Powder 120 Loads, $22 value
Comprised of only five earth-derived ingredients and formulated especially for sensitive skin, Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is safe and ideal for your clothes AND your family. Plus, it is rated “A” by Environmental Working Group (EWG.org)! The super-concentrated powder is long-lasting and affordable, with just one tablespoon required per load. Just as effective as conventional brands and more effective than natural brands, without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, fillers, carcinogens, preservatives or GMO ingredients. Works great in all water temperatures and hard water, and is septic- and High Efficiency (HE) washer-safe.

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: Adorable charcoal gray Mei Tai made exclusively for Purusha’s Picks Inc. by Babyhawk, $75 value
This Asian style baby carrier is great from infancy into toddlerhood. Reversible to solid Charcoal, wearable front or back (baby does not face out), fits up to women’s size 20/22 & men’s XXL.

Rumina: Pump&Nurse Set, $82 value
Rumina’s Pump&Nurse Set will include one Pump&Nurse Tank, winner’s choice of style, size and color and one Pump&Nurse Bra, winner’s choice of style, size and color.

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Prize bundle #3:

Bundle #3 group final

Prize Bundle #3: $547

Baby Tula: Daydreamer Spring Equinox – Tula Ergonomic Baby Carrier, $149 value
The ultimate baby carriers in style and ergonomic comfort, Baby Tula’s most popular product allows moms and dads to keep baby close while keeping their hands free during infant days through toddler years. Aside from their beauty, Tula Carriers are easy to use and help support the bond between caregiver and child.

BamboobiesBlack Chic Nursing Shawl and Multi-Pack Washable Nursing Pads$28 value
Shawl: So stylish and discreet, no one will know it’s a nursing cover. Unlike brightly-colored apron-style nursing covers- Bamboobies® Chic Nursing Shawl is a versatile wardrobe essential for maternity, nursing, and beyond! * Softer, more eco-friendly rayon from bamboo fabric * Lighter weight and breathable for better comfort * Perfect stretchiness to fit baby underneath & mom’s changing body * The perfect drape for a chic look Made of soft and lightweight knit made of rayon from bamboo and a touch of spandex. One-size fits most and comes in 2 stylish colors: Black and Blackberry.
Nursing Pads: Bamboobies® are made of ultra-soft and soothing bamboo rayon velour, an absorbent inner layer of hemp and cotton with an outer milk-proof™ liner to help prevent embarrassing leaks! These nursing pads are super absorbent and eco-friendly. Bamboobies® washable nursing pads come in two varieties. The ultra-thin, heart-shaped regular nursing pads are made for light leaking and are designed to be less visible through clothing. The round shaped overnight nursing pads are not only ultra-soft, but larger, thicker and super absorbent for heavy leaking and newborn nursing. This pack of both overnight and regular pads makes a great gift or registry item – the perfect thing to buy if you’re pregnant and not sure what you’ll need!

Cezara: Belly Support Panty, $49 value
Cezara offers wonderful belly lift, back support and lower abdominal stability during pregnancy and after delivery. Mom starts to wear Cezara as soon as she desires comfort, wears Cezara until she delivers, and then, with medical approval, resumes wearing Cezara as soon as the day after she delivers. If she had a Cesarean, the internal padding compresses and protects her scar, aiding in healing, and relieving her concerns that her baby will rest on and irritate her scar while nursing and babywearing.

Flora, Inc.: Floradix Iron & Herbs 17 oz., $46 value
Floradix Iron & Herbs has been clinically proven to effectively normalize low iron levels without causing stomach upset and constipation. The signs and symptoms of iron deficiency include: Fatigue and weakness, pale skin, dark circles under the eyes, brittle hair and nails, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, decreased ability to exercise, poor concentration, rapid pulse, susceptibility to infections, dizziness or faintness, and cold extremities

Glamourmom: Nursing Bra Nightgown, $69 value
Made of a luxurious ultra-soft cotton, the Glamourmom Nursing Bra Nightgown features a full structured built-in nursing bra and is perfect for nighttime feedings and even lounging during the day.

KoalaKin: Hands Free Nursing Pouch, $90 value

The KoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch is a breastfeeding carrier designed for moms who need a little extra support during this special time in their lives. This supportive, hands-free carrier alleviates the strain associated with breastfeeding, allowing moms to confidently give their babies the absolute best!

Melinda G: Dreamy Sleep Bra, $29 value
The Dreamy sleep bra: dreamy comfort as your dream of your little one! Dreamy provides soft, comfortable light support with no hardware to pinch, and pull-aside seamless cups for easy nursing access. The fabric is a cotton rich jacquard – beautiful and breathable! Midnight Purple – choose your size from our 6 sizes.

Milkmakers: 2 Bakery Boxes of Milkmakers Cookies, $28 value
Milkmakers are delicious lactation cookies that can help boost milk supply and replenish key nutrients for breastfeeding moms.

SilveretteSilverette Nursing Cups$59 value
Silverette are made for Breastfeeding moms with sore, cracked, painful nipples. Silverette Nursing Cups soothe, heal, and protect (worn in between feedings), as silver is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. No creams or salves needed. Silverette can be used as a precautionary method if worn since the first breastfeeding session.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from December 11, 2015 through December 21, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors who generously demonstrated their compassion for people by participating in this giveaway.  Their support of TLB, and all breastfeeding women, and beyond, is invaluable; don’t hesitate to visit them on social media and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

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Introducing Boobles™- MOST Like Mom

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Baby in restaurant boob selection breastfeeding

You’ve seen it, the advertising of bottles and formula announcing how their product is somehow “like mom.” Or proclaiming that there are new developments that allows their product to be “more like the breast” while elsewhere on the packaging they say “breast is best.” It sounds amazing: new technology, new understanding, new science has unlocked some secret that makes this nipple shape and design more like a real breast than all previous nipple shapes or this specially formulated blend of ingredients more brain boosting like what is found in breastmilk than all previous specially formulated blends ever of all time in the history of feeding babies. Now it’s “more like mom” than ever before! Hey, this could be the answer to your breastfeeding troubles, this product will fix colic, sleep issues, calma your kid, teach them how to breastfeed, and probably even make your bed, because it’s MORE LIKE MOM!

Honestly though, I understand where it is coming from and it’s not the first time plastic and silicone has been confused as being “just like” the real thing, so really, it’s not that surprising. (Boobs, I’m referring to fake boobs. Which, really, when you think about it, bottles are just a different version of fake boobs. Portable, detached, feeding utensil fake boobs for feeding babies.)

But of course that’s what they’re trying to do, create, market, and sell something that is as close as possible to what human infants are born expecting. It’s probably not going to do so well with truly honest advertising that says “really nothing like mom but acceptable delivery system for infant nutrition.” Can’t imagine why brands would shy away from that approach. Besides, the basic shape is there and the design is sometimes there requiring the baby to suck to get anything from the teat (you may be surprised though, lots of bottles just run like a facet when you tilt them, some of the biggest culprits are those that claim to be for breastfed babies).

These claims, while highly contested, are on to something. It just makes sense to feed babies “like mom”. Their mouths are shaped for that, their brains are wired for sucking, and developmentally that’s really all babies can manage since forks and spoons are tricky at that stage and tubes are hopefully medically unnecessary. Having used a eye dropper to feed one of my infants, that’s also rather time consuming and messy. Having used bottles with all my babies (photographic evidence here because apparently if you’ve never posted a photo of it online, it never even happened and you’re a lying jerk), I can say a bottle tends to be a effective delivery system of infant nutrition. Very few people would argue against the basic design of bottles, it’s comparing it to mom that gets confusing and, well, kind of like lying. A predatory preying on someone who just wants to do what’s “best” for their child. These companies have financial motivation to convince someone that their product is like mom.

Because, let’s be honest here, how do they know it’s “like mom?” Aside from the obvious differences in materials (warm, living tissue vs plastic and/or silicone), each woman, shoot, for most of us, each breast is different. When they say more like the breast, I find myself asking “which one?” and when I read claims of a bottle design being closer to mom, I wonder “who?”

So, I did. I asked several of my friends to give me their interpretation of what a bottle that looked like them would look like. I asked them, if there was a bottle designed to be like their breast, what would be distinctive of their customized more like mom boob bottle, what we’re calling “Boobles™- MOST LIKE MOM”. For several of us, that would require two very different options since each of the breasts on our chest are unique in their own right. Can’t be more like this mom with just one bottle.

Here are the renderings of these moms and what their breasts would look like topping a bottle, if bottles were truly more like THAT mom. Introducing “Boobles™- MOST LIKE MOM” concept bottles that are truly, “more like mom”:

The Badass Breastfeeding Abby Theurig's Boobles™

The Badass Breastfeeder, Abby Theurig’s Boobles™ need two versions.

Kelly's Boobles

Kelly’s Boobles™

Laura Dover's Boobles

Laura Dover’s Boobles™, two different styles.

Megan O'Neill's Booble

Acelleron Maternal Health and Wellness, Megan O’Neill’s Booble™

Rachelle Unlatched Lesteshen's Booble

Rachelle Unlatched Lesteshen’s Booble™

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Emily’s Boobles™ are similar but not exactly the same.

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Iola from What the Beep Am I Doing would need two different models too.

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Amy Peterson drew a sample of what a Booble™ could look like for a woman with a bifurcated nipple.

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Jessie’s Booble™ sketch

Carrie booble

Carrie from Our Stable Table has Lefty and Old Faithful Boobles™.

Anonymous Booble- I promised I wouldn't tell.

Anonymous Booble™- I promised I wouldn’t tell.

Serena's Boobles™

Serena’s Boobles™, one size doesn’t fit all.

MommyCon's, Xza Higgins Boobles™ would neat a righty bottle that is prone to leak.

MommyCon’s, Xza Higgins would neat a righty Booble™ that is prone to leak.

What would your Booble look like and what would be the unique features to make it “more like mom” for your baby?

With all the brands out there touting to be “more like mom” and promising silly things like teaching your baby how to breastfeed (biology taught your baby to breastfeed, the bottle is an attempt at copying your biology, plastic can’t teach a baby how to breastfeed!) and product names that make you think of breasts and breastfeeding, it can be confusing to find a bottle that works for your little one should they need it. How do you cut through all the gimmicks and marketing to truly find one that will meet your baby’s needs, particularly if you are breastfeeding? A popular suggestion is to find a nipple shape that looks like your breast, but aside from the potential awkward moment to check your boob selfie on your phone or to whip a boob out if you need to compare your own nipples to the bottle while you’re at the store (and then I bet you’ll wish you were shopping online), is that really helpful? I decided to ask my friend Amy Peterson, IBCLC and co-author of the book Balancing Breast and Bottle, Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals for some guidance:

Don’t waste time looking for a bottle nipple that looks like your breast. The best way to choose a bottle nipple is to look at your baby’s latch on your breast, and then on the bottle nipple.  The tip of the nipple needs to reach far back into your baby’s mouth, while the baby’s lips are slightly opened and rest on a portion of the nipple base. Surprisingly, many shapes marketed for breastfed babies are often the shapes that cause the worst bottle latch: a latch where the baby looks like he is sucking on a straw.

It’s probably a long way off for customized bottles made from silicon molds of each individual mother’s breasts, Boobles aren’t going to be happening any time soon. (Either a brilliant business idea or the worst idea ever.) Of course, the ridiculous claims and names of bottles aren’t about to go away any time soon either. Sifting through it all to find what works for you and your family, with the help of an IBCLC health care professional if necessary, skip the comparisons to your own breasts or those of a random woman in a stock photo used to make a sale and look for something that meets the needs of your baby. While the breast is certainly the best design for a human infant, though not always without problems that may make feeding difficult, there’s no bottle that’s going to really be anything like the breast. Unless of course plastic, silicon, glass, and/or rubber makes you think “more like mom.”

Here at TLB, how you feed your baby is secondary to that you feed your baby. Having a sense of humor, exploring some of the social and relational aspects of infant feeding and parenting, discussing information, and sharing our stories is really what we’re about. Phrases comparing infant feeding devices (doesn’t that sound so much cooler and refined than “bottle”?) to breasts are something we take issue with because ultimately we feel it’s confusing and it undermines the confidence families can have in feeding their babies well. Because, let’s get real, there can’t be many of us that look at a bottle nipple and say “hey, I resemble that teat!”

What would a Booble based on you look like and what kind of functional features would your customized Boobles have? Email your rendering of a custom designed Booble to [email protected] with the subject “My Booble” in the subject and we’ll add it to our gallery of bottle designs that would actually be more like mom.

For me, aside from two different models, my Boobles would have one a bit more dense than the other and both would leak whenever a baby cried. I could never take them in public without some sort of cover.

Boobles™- MOST LIKE MOM!

*Please note, you don’t have to use bottles to feed your baby if you don’t want or need to.

** Please note, doesn’t have to be breasts either.

*** Also, this post is supposed to be humorous, not something to get worked up over.

****And Boobles aren’t really a thing.

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An overview to making an educated choice about formula

Star and I worked together on this post as a result of seeing a need to answer some questions and provide information on infant formula.  I believe that breastfeeding advocates and educators often provide only “formula is bad” kind of information that isn’t helpful for the parent that seriously needs to consider formula options for their child.  This article is intended to be a resource for those that will be using formula and would like information as they go about making their decision and for those that want to offer genuinely supportive support to all families, regardless of the feeding method employed.  There will be further information on formula available soon but for now, we hope this is helpful for those that need it.  It is my hope that breastfeeding advocates and educators will be able to provide quality information on formula when necessary and do so in a supportive manner.  Let’s truly support families and be a safe source of information on infant nutrition, free of judgment and profit-making agendas.  If you are a breastfeeding mom that needs to supplement with formula or switch entirely over to formula, be sure to consult not only with your child’s doctor but also an IBCLC in making your formula choice.  ~Jessica 

What are the questions and why do we need to look at them

Babies and breastmilk go together perfectly.  Breastmilk is the optimal, normal standard of infant nutrition, and I love the fact that I am in a profession where I can help mothers to achieve their goals where breastfeeding is concerned.  While I am a hugely passionate breastfeeding advocate I am not anti-formula.  Something that seems to confuse some people but it boils down to respecting the fact that we all make choices in feeding our babies, and sometimes formulas are a part of that choice.  Formula feeding moms love their babies just as much as breastfeeding moms do and want their babies to grow and thrive.  During some hiccups in my own breastfeeding relationships, I used commercial infant formulas as a supplement and I am thoroughly unashamed of that fact.  However, formula can be such a dirty word in infant feeding communities, and there’s a lot of confusion over it.  What kinds are there?  Which formulas are better than others?  Should I use commercially made formulas or make my own?  And how do we mix them?

 

The different types of formula

First of all, let’s address the varieties of formula.  There are three major types that are available: cow’s milk based formulas, soy formulas, and protein hydrolysate formulas.  Cow’s milk is the least expensive and most common.  They are nutritionally appropriate for most babies and engineered to be as close as possible to breastmilk recognizing they can not completely replicate all that is breastmilk.  However, some babies may not do well on these.  Some common reasons for not using cow’s milk formulas are allergies to the protein in the cow’s milk or the family’s desire to avoid animal products for their babies.

The next variety of formula is soy.  Soy formulas are not recommended for preemies.  They do not contain animal proteins, so they are useful in some medical situations or if a baby has issues with those proteins.  They can also be used by families who adhere to a lifestyle that avoids animal products.  A review by the AAP in 2008 found very few medical reasons to utilize soy formula.  There are also concerns that soy could interfere with the thyroid, immune system, or the reproductive system.  Those concerns have not yet been proven to be warranted, although the AAP did advocate for further testing.  Bottom line?  Unless your baby needs soy formula or you have some family reason that you are choosing to avoid animal products, it is probably not necessary.

The last of the three major commercial varieties is the protein hydrolysate formula.  These are also called hypoallergenic formulas.  Really, these will generally be ordered by a doctor to combat an issue like allergies to both the soy and the cow’s milk formulas.  Most people aren’t buying these over the counter because they’re just such an amazing choice.  They’re typically very expensive and needed only in specific cases.

 

Standards and regulations

Formula is held to certain standards of nutrition by the FDA.  (Note: this is different than being approved or regulated by the FDA.  However, there are standards of nutrition that must be met or the FDA will take action.)  Therefore, there is typically not significant difference between generic and name brand formulas of the same type.  There are pretty negligible differences between organic and nonorganic formulas, too.  Basically, with organic formulas, there is a certain standard for the production of the ingredients in the formulas.  Organic formulas have not been proven to be better for babies.  They are sometimes sweetened with organic cane sugar, which can make them taste sweeter.  This might be a problem – babies could develop a taste for sweeter foods or overeat due to the taste – but these are theories that have not been proven with peer reviewed research.

Homemade formulas are touted by many people and websites, but they are not something that I would ever recommend to a client or anyone else, for that matter.  There absolutely are risks associated with feeding an infant commercial formula, but there are even more risks to non-commercial formula.  No health body that I’m aware of recommends homemade formulas.  With commercial formula, you are getting something that is built to have the most optimal nutrition possible when breastmilk is not an option.  With homemade formula, there are a plethora of risks, running from nutritional imbalances to severe infections from pathogens in the ingredients.  In the days before commercialized formula, babies had to be supplemented with other things to keep away conditions like scurvy and there were deaths due to babies ingesting contaminated products.  Do it yourself is awesome for cleaning products or baby food or many other things.  It’s not good for your baby, though.  This is particularly true in a young baby with an immature gut, or digestive tract where the risk of illness from contaminated formula is even higher.  This post takes a thorough look at goat’s milk and homemade formula as alternatives for infant nutrition if you’d like more information.

 

Preparation and safe handling

Preparation of commercialized formula can be a problem, too. We often think that women in developing countries where there is unsafe water or not enough money to purchase the correct quantity of formulas are the ones at risk of incorrect preparation.  Of course, that does happen.  But we also see preparation issues in developed countries, too.  We may not hear about them as often but they certainly occur.

The only kind of formula that is sterile and can pretty much be put in a bottle, heated, and be good to go is ready to feed liquid formula.  Some health organizations recommend that babies under 3 months be fed only ready to feed for this reason.  However, most people use powdered infant formula.  Powdered infant formula is not sterile.  If you have a baby with immune system issues, or an ill baby, it is preferable to use ready to feed.  Using powdered formula in the right way can really help to make it safer.  You want to prepare formula on a clean surface, with freshly washed hands, and put it in clean, sterile equipment.  The World Health Organization recommends that you use water that has been boiled and then allowed to cool for no more than 30 minutes.  You should mix this water with the powdered formula (the EXACT AMOUNT called for on the can.  There are generally scoops with the formulas, and you should use the correct amount of level scoops) and then cool it to a suitable temperature by running the feeding implement (bottle, cup, whatever) under cool/cold water or placing it in cool or cold water.  It should be fed to the baby right away and leftovers should be discarded.  For more information, see the WHO guidelines for the safe preparation, storage, and handling of powdered infant formula.

 

Social issues and real support

Now that we’ve talked about types and preparation – and if I didn’t cover something that you have a burning desire to know about, please, comment or message myself or Jessica and I will find it out for you – let me step on a soapbox for a minute.  We know that breastmilk is optimal nutrition and that formula is recommended by the World Health Organization as the 4th best option for infant nutrition (following milk from the mother’s breast, expressed milk from the mother, and donated milk from another lactating woman).  But we simply cannot go on acting like formula is a poisonous, horrible thing that only uneducated, mean parents feed to their poor defenseless babies.  Some of the horrible comments that I have seen about formula and formula feeding mothers lately are ridiculous.  Would it be awesome if all babies everywhere could get breastmilk, either from their mothers or from donated milk?  Sure.  Is that likely to happen in the not too distant future?  No.  (Look here and here for information on being a donor or if you need donated milk for your baby.)  If we can meet moms where they are and provide the information they are seeking without judgment, we can be a trusted source for education and support and moms won’t have to turn to the formula companies as their primary origin of information.

I am the first person to step up and say that formula should be better regulated, that marketing should be reined in, that we deserve the best possible product for the smallest and most defenseless of our citizens.  But those are issues with the formula companies or manufacturing, not issues with mothers who can’t or won’t breastfeed.  Every mother I have ever met has a wide variety of factors and reasons that came into play when she chose how to feed her baby.  Discounting those things or casting blame or shame on her for them quite frankly sucks.   A real advocate supports women in general and knows that not everyone will make the same choice as her.

 

 
 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, is a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest and has just started her private practice as an IBCLC (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support).  She also sits on the  breastfeeding task force in her town, is helping her  community’s Early Head Start redefine  their breastfeeding support, and is the  driving force behind a local breastfeeding campaign.  In  the remainder of her free  time, she chases around her nursling and preschooler.
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Bottle Feeding Breastfed Babies

 

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC, with Amy Peterson, IBCLC

We’re very pleased to share an interview about bottles and breastfed babies today. We asked Amy Peterson, IBCLC, co-author of Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching your Breastfeeding Goals, to answer our questions.

For those of you who combine bottles with breastfeeding – whether you’re pumping at work, supplementing, or use a bottle for occasional separations – bottle and nipple selection can be confusing. For those of you whose babies refuse bottles, it can be very frustrating!

We hope that the information she shares below is helpful. Amy offers more information on bottlefeeding breastfed babies on her website.

Many bottles are advertised as “easing the transition from breast to bottle” and back again. What do you think of these claims? Are they independently verified?

These claims are very misleading. Just as every mother’s breast has a unique shape and flow, every baby has a unique suck/swallow cycle. What works well for one baby might be terrible for another. Parents need to observe their own baby sucking on a bottle nipple and analyze if the latch and swallow look similar to that on the breast. In our book, we use a tool called the SIMPLE Method that guides parents step-by-step on how to choose a bottle nipple for their own baby’s unique latch.

We are not aware if such advertising claims have been verified. However, we do know that this type of marketing is in violation of the International Code of Breastmilk Substitutes. This international health policy document, adopted by many countries excluding the U.S., is designed to protect families from underhanded marketing ploys such as words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding. Comparing a bottle to breastfeeding—even if it contains breastmilk—is idealizing that brand.

In our professional experience of helping babies combine breast and bottle-feeding, we have found that the nipples which claim to be best for breastfed babies are often the worst choice. The bottle nipples that are best for breastfed babies have a gradual transition from tip to base.

You and your co-author tested 37 bottles. What were the features you were comparing, and what did you learn about the range of bottles that you’d most want parents of breastfed babies to know?

We tested two different aspects of bottle nipples. First, we measured dripping by looking at the number of drips and the size of each drip. Then we hooked up bottles to a hospital grade breast pump to determine how fast bottles flow. After performing these tests, we compared the results to see if bottle dripping and flow rate were related.

The results were surprising. First of all, about half of the nipples, regardless of a non-“no drip” label stopped dripping within five seconds of tipping them upside-down. That was important for us because many bottle companies claim their nipples are “no drip,” implying that bottles that don’t drip are a better choice. To rule out the importance of dripping, we did further testing.

Second, we measured the size of the drip for those bottles that did drip. The most important thing we found was dripping does not equal a higher amount of liquid. Bottles that appeared to drip a lot often had less volume. Frequently it is assumed that a fast dripping bottle has a large amount in the drip. We discovered that a bottle may drip frequently, but with a low output. So, it is impossible to judge the size of the drip with the naked eye. Stated another way, the number of drips doesn’t mean more liquid is coming out.

As for flow, the term “slow” is not standard. To determine flow, we hooked up bottles to a hospital grade breast pump and measured the amount of liquid collected after 20 cycles. We found there was a wide range of “slow.” For example, the fastest nipple was eleven times faster than the slowest nipple. Following testing, we ranked nipples from slowest to fastest in Appendix C of Balancing Breast and Bottle. This is important because if a nipple flows too quickly, a baby’s suck will become disorganized. Likewise, a nipple might be too slow for some babies. A parent needs to watch their baby’s response to bottle-feeding rather than relying on package labeling. If a parent thinks the bottle is flowing too fast, try a different nipple in the package, and/or try a different brand.

The most fascinating results came from comparing the data of these two tests (drip and flow). Dripping is different than flow; they are not related. Most breastfeeding books suggest turning a bottle over to see how fast it drips in an effort to select a bottle with a slow flow. This suggestion is not accurate. We tested a nipple that dripped an average of 56 times when tipped over, but had a slow flow. Then, we looked at a no-drip nipple and much to our surprise, found it flowed 10.6 times faster. Big difference! Dripping is not related to flow.

Parents are often advised to begin breastfed babies on “slow flow nipples,” but even nipples advertised as “slow flow” can seem very fast. Are there any that are as slow as you think is appropriate?

As mentioned earlier, the term “slow” is not standardized. Nonetheless, it is important to begin with a slow nipple. If a nipple flows too quickly, a baby’s suck will become disorganized. For breastfeeding babies, it is best to choose a flow that mimics mom’s flow. For this reason, it is hard to say one or two brands are “best” since flow varies from mother to mother. Likewise, a nipple might be too slow for some babies. This is why we ranked the bottles and listed them in our book.

It is also important to remember that flow is only one aspect of choosing a bottle. If the baby’s mouth placement is wrong, regardless of the flow, baby will bring bad habits to the breast and still be in danger of early weaning.

For parents who are struggling to get their breastfed babies to take bottles, and who are exploring different bottles, what should they be looking for?

Moms need to consider the nipple shape and their baby’s mouth placement on the nipple. Ideally, the nipple chosen will gradually flare from the nipple length to the nipple base. This shape allows the tip of the nipple to reach far back into the baby’s mouth as the breast does, and then helps the baby to feed with the mouth open. Quite often a “narrow neck” nipple has a shape that reaches far into the baby’s mouth and allows for gradual widening of the baby’s lips.

A shape that often does not work well is a wide neck nipple where the nipple length meets the nipple base at a right angle. This nipple shape promotes what we call “straw” sucking, where the baby’s mouth closes around the length of the nipple and doesn’t open for the base. When babies “straw” suck on a bottle nipple, we often see gaps in the corners of the baby’s mouth which leads to leaking milk, gulping air, etc. This is quite different than breastfeeding.

One bottle feeding method is called “paced feeding.” Can you describe it and explain why it might be helpful to a breastfed baby? What are some signs that a baby is becoming overwhelmed while bottle feeding?

Paced feeding refers to helping a baby eat more slowly from the bottle. Pacing became popular in 2002, before flow had been studied. The idea behind pacing is that by helping the baby rest briefly during bottle-feeding, moms can more closely mimic how the baby naturally feeds at the breast. When a baby breastfeeds, the mother has several let-downs during the feeding. Between let-downs, the baby’s sucking slows and baby can rest briefly. If a baby is feeding from a fast flow “slow flow” nipple, the suck/swallow will be disorganized. Pacing helps the baby have rest periods while bottle feeding that naturally occur at the breast. Now that we know flow can be controlled by choosing an appropriate nipple, we have another technique in our bag of tricks to help babies be more coordinated when feeding from a bottle.

It is important to note that most babies can pace themselves once they master bottle-feeding with the right nipple. How do you pace? First, listen for swallowing while the baby is breastfeeding, noting when the baby naturally pauses and rests. Then apply the same rhythm to bottle-feeding. Also of importance is positioning. With bottle-feeding, support the baby in a more upright position because the flow of some bottles increases when the baby is laying back to feed (another element we tested).

Do all breastfed babies require pacing? No, in fact, imposing pacing can disrupt the natural feeding rhythm of a baby and cause harm when over used. Babies who are “good” feeders, meaning they have a normal, rhythmic suck/burst cycle, do not need pacing. It has been our experience that once a baby has mastered bottle feeding, it is no longer necessary for the parent to impose pacing.

Some signs of a poor bottle-feed include gulping, catch-up breaths, fast feeds, leaking milk from the sides of the mouth or down the chin, baby who has a furrowed brow looking very concerned, and a baby who pulls away from the bottle. For these babies, nipple shape and flow need to be double checked, and this becomes a good time to use pacing. Pacing also is an excellent technique for NICU and other high risk babies that are having feeding difficulties.

Lastly, we would like every caregiver who uses a bottle to know that dripping bottles given before a baby begins sucking usually cause the baby to pull back or flat out refuse the bottle. Caregivers need to be sure the nipple is not dripping when the bottle is offered to the baby. Allow the bottle to stop dripping or keep the milk tipped down in the bottom of the bottle. This topic is further explored on our website.

 

 

 Tanya Lieberman is a lactation consultant (IBCLC) who has helped nursing moms  in hospital and pediatric settings.  She writes and produces podcasts for several  breastfeeding websites, including  Motherwear,  Motherlove Herbal Company, and  the Best for Babes Foundation.  Tanya recently authored Spanish for Breastfeeding Support, a guide to help lactation consultants support Spanish-  speaking moms.  Prior to becoming a lactation consultant she was senior  education policy staff to the California legislature and Governor, and served as a  UN civilian peacekeeper.  Tanya is passionate about supporting nursing moms, and especially to eliminating the barriers so many moms face in meeting their breastfeeding goals. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, her 8 year old son and her 1 year old daughter.

 

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