Author: Autumn Ware

7 tips for making breast pumping easier

Breast pumps have been around for more than a century, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely intuitive. Like any technology, you’ve got to figure out how your new pump works, and you’ll also want to customize your breast pump to suit your unique needs. Try these seven tips to simplify the transition to pumping.

Start pumping before its necessary.

If you’re planning to breastfeed, lactation experts recommend that you wait four to six months to allow time for breastfeeding to be initiated and established. Mothers who plan to nurse exclusively may start pumping as soon as their milk comes in. If you have plans to work or travel outside of the home, you’ll want to begin pumping at least three weeks in advance. This gives you time to build up a stockpile of milk and get the hang of pumping in different circumstances.

Give yourself grace when you’re getting started (and the rest of the time).

If you’re new to pumping, give yourself time to get comfortable with the process. It may take some experimenting to find your maximum comfort vacuum, and it’ll take practice to get familiar with pump settings and maintenance. If you’re also recovering from delivery, you’re likely to feel tired and maybe even a little foggy-headed. Try incorporating some low pressure meditation into your pumping routine to associate the time you spend pumping with relaxation rather than stress.

Wear your breast pump for more freedom.

Sleek new wearable breast pumps like the Elvie Stride offer modern moms freedom that previous generations couldn’t begin to imagine. You can slip the Stride cup into your nursing bra and pump anywhere. It’s quiet, discreet, and completely hands free. Plus, you can connect it to the Elvie app to track your pumping sessions and breastmilk production.

Take advantage of breast pumping technology.

Not every breast pump integrates with an app; however, there are lots of free and premium breastfeeding and pumping apps available to moms. In addition to allowing you to track breastfeeding, many apps offer complementary data tracking for feeding, sleeping, crying, weight, height, and head circumference, pumping times, and self-defined events. Apps like the Android Breastfeeding Tracker also allow you to sync with your partner, nanny, or grandparents to share vital information.

Establish a routine.

A breastfeeding or pumping app can also help you establish a routine, and by the time pumping becomes routine, most of the stress will be gone. To get to that place, it helps to have processes in place for washing bottles and components, storing breast milk, and even settling into a pumping session. Pair processes with a well-stocked pumping station and you’ll be able to pump on auto-pilot.

Invest in extras for easy living.

The CDC recommends cleaning breast pump components as soon as possible after pumping sessions. Stocking up on extra sets of pump parts gives you a little extra time if you haven’t gotten around to washing components or if components are not completely dry when it’s time to pump. Extra parts also ensure you can continue pumping if a piece goes missing or gets worn out over time.

Share the labor.

If you’re making the meal, let someone else do the dishes. Sometimes moms feel as if they’re responsible for all things breastmilk-related because they’re making the breastmilk. However, everyone in the family is benefiting from your efforts. You’re providing your newest member with the healthiest food at the lowest possible cost. Let other family members pitch in by washing the pump components and bottles.

Ready to start pumping?

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we have more than two decades of experience in the medical device supply industry, with specialization in breast pumps, pumping essentials, and breast pumping accessories that anchor us as a leading breastfeeding shop based in the United States. Our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, including lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it. Our women-lead team continues to advocate for mamas and babies every day, one mother at a time. Get in touch today to see how we can help you ease into pumping.

What’s the difference between the Elvie Pump and the Elvie Stride?

The Elvie brand develops smart women’s healthcare products.

Internationally recognized women’s health expert Tania Boler launched the Elvie brand of women’s smart health products to address intimate issues that women face throughout their lives. The most popular of the Elvie brands are two sleek, smart closed-system electric breast pumps: the Pump and the Stride. Both have proven popular among breastfeeding and pumping moms, though there is frequently confusion about which does what and how they’re different. Let’s take a look at what the two pumps have in common first.

What do the Elvie Pump and the Elvie Stride have in common?

You can use both the Pump and the Stride as double or single pumps, and you can connect both with your smartphone via the Elvie app to track and log pumping sessions. Both pumps slip discreetly and comfortably into your bra, so you can pump anywhere, making both ideal for travel and for moms working outside the home. Both were designed with few parts and accessories to keep up with, which means there’s not much clean up either. In addition, both the original Elvie Pump and the Stride come standard with:

  • 2 to 2.5 hours of battery life when fully charged
  • 2-year warranty on pump motor
  • 2-phase pumping (stimulation and expression modes)
  • Two (2) 5 oz collection cups

What are the main differences between the Elvie Pump and the Elvie Stride?

Suction strength

With a suction strength of up to 270 mmHg, the Elvie Stride is a hospital grade pump. The original Elvie suction strength only goes up to 220 mmHg.

Collection cups, motors, and tubing

The two Elvie Stride collection cups share a single motor connected via discreet tubes. The Elvie Pump is completely wireless and tubeless. Each collection cup has its own independent motor.

Customizability

The Elvie Stride has ten intensity levels with both stimulation and expression modes, which gives pumping moms up to twenty options. The Elvie Pump has fourteen combinations.

Insurance coverage

Most insurance companies do not cover the pricey Elvie Pump, or at least not in full, thought you can use money from an FSA or HSA to purchase the Pump. The Elvie Stride is covered by most insurance companies, including Aetna, Geisinger, and Tricare.

The Elvie Stride is a favorite among Milk N Mamas Baby customers.

The arrival of the Elvie Stride thrilled pumping moms who wanted a breast pump as sleek and comfortable as the Elvie Pump but without the steep price tag. You can purchase yours today through Milk N Mamas Baby. If you’re not sure whether your healthcare plan will cover your favorite Elvie pump, don’t worry! As a DME company, we work with a wide range of insurance companies. We can quickly and easily verify you breast pump benefit on your behalf. We can also request a prescription from your doctor on our side once you’re ready to place your order.

Need help? Give us a call at 1-844-Milk-Mom or email us at milknmamasbaby@gmail.com.

Happy mother laughing while carrying a smiling baby on her back in a baby carrier next to the beach

What to know about breastfeeding during hot summer months

Breastfeeding moms want to enjoy summer fun, too.

After a long winter in confinement, a lot of new moms are touched out and stir crazy. They’re ready to escape with their little ones into the great outdoors. They want in on the fun, sweaty summertime activities: boating, beachcombing, biking, hiking. Good news! You can breastfeed on the go even during the hottest months if you take a few precautions.

Dehydration is a serious threat to babies and breastfeeding moms.

Your newborn’s small body puts them at greater risk of dehydration when temperatures rise. Continue to nurse them as usual to keep them hydrated. Breast milk contains electrolytes and other nutrients baby needs during the hot summer.

That being said, breast milk is nearly 90% water, which makes hydration extremely important for breastfeeding mothers even under ideal circumstances. When you’re having fun in the sun, you’ll also be sweating profusely. That can trigger dehydration and interfere with breastmilk production right when baby needs it most.

Rehydrate regularly with water, juices, and water-packed fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumbers.

Heat-related illnesses pose a real danger to moms and babies.

Because of the risk of dehydration during the summer, you and your baby are also more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat rashes, and heat exhaustion. Staying hydrated will help reduce the risk, so will seeking shade or even an air-conditioned museum or mall to explore during the heat of the day.

Find a cool place to hide out during the hottest times of the day.

This is not the time to skimp on sunscreen.

You do not want sunburn when you’re nursing a baby in the heat of summer. Can you even imagine? Treat your skin like the MVP it is. When you’re outside, slather on the sunscreen regularly and keep baby completely out of the sun under an umbrella or tent to prevent heat stress and sunburn. Check with your baby’s pediatrician regarding sunscreens for infants.

Avoid sunburn at all costs.

Breastfeeding and the bathing suit – what’s the deal with that?

If you’re worried about breast milk leakage, you can use a gel bra pad to stop milk flow. Better yet, if you’re sitting by the pool and not submerged in water, you could slip a wearable pump like the Elvie Stride into your swimsuit to catch any overflow and buy you a few minutes of not breastfeeding when you need them later on.

Try a wearable pump when you’re hanging out poolside.

Milk N Mamas Baby carries a wide range of breast pumps, including the Elvie Stride, the perfect pump for summertime freedom. Order yours today!

Caring African American Mother Giving Water Bottle To Her Adorable Infant Son In Kitchen, Thirsty Cute Toddler Baby Wearing Jumpsuit Sitting On Table And Enjoying Healthy Drink, Free Space

What breast pumps does Tricare cover?

Mil-moms and -spouses covered by Tricare are eligible for a free breast pump.

Wherever you’re stationed, from Pennsylvania to the Philippines, Tricare offers 100% coverage for double electric breast pumps from in-network, contracted providers like Milk N Mamas Baby. However, your Tricare health plan only covers one breast pump per birth event, and it doesn’t cover every breast pump completely.

Which breast pumps does Tricare cover 100%?

Tricare covers hospital grade Spectra S1, S2, and Spectra 9 breast pumps completely.

With a suction capacity of 270 mmHg (260 mmHg for the S9), the award-winning Spectra breast pump line is popular among mothers who require hospital grade strength paired with gentle comfort. Moms who are concerned about increasing milk supply swear by the Spectra pumps, and the S1 and Spectra 9 are portable for on-the-go moms.

Read more about the Spectra S2 or the Spectra 9.

Tricare provides complete coverage of the hands-free BabyBuddha breast pump.

The popular BabyBuddha breast pump offers active moms a hands-free experience with a palm-sized pump controller that hangs around your neck on a lanyard. The pump’s extra-soft cushion prevents nipple soreness while multiple stimulate and suction modes allow you to customize your settings. Best of all, the BabyBuddha is completely covered by Tricare and Tricare Overseas.

Tricare offers 100% coverage of the wearable Elvie Stride.

If you’re looking for a pump that gives you maximum freedom, look no further than the popular Elvie Stride breast pump. While its big sister the Elvie Pump was very pricey and not covered by most insurance plans, the Stride is fully covered by most plans, including Tricare and Tricare Overseas. The Stride’s innovative design allows you to slide slim milk bottles directly into your nursing bra so that you can pump anywhere without drawing attention to yourself.

Tricare provides complete coverage of all Motif pumps.

The Motif Luna double electric breast pump comes in a rechargeable battery-powered version as well for more freedom. The Motif Duo is the brand’s wearable breast pump. All of the Motif pumps as well as many Motif Medical accessories like compression socks and postpartum recovery support garments are fully covered by Tricare insurance.

Read more about the Motif Luna Double Electric Breast Pump or the Motif Duo.

Tricare covers the Medela Pump in Style with Max Flow and its cute carry tote 100%.

Another popular hospital grade breast pump, the Medela Pump in Style with Max Flow is a 2-phase expression pump with an intuitive four button controller and premium parts that are easy to clean and assemble. The pump comes complete with a convenient carry tote and separate cooler bag for safe storage, and it’s all 100% covered by Tricare.

Medela Pump in Style with Max Flow

Tricare offers full coverage of the hospital-strength Ameda Mya Joy portable breast pump.

The Tricare-covered Ameda Mya Joy breast pump offers hospital strength performance with two modes of pumping. It is battery-operated, lightweight, and portable – clip it right onto your purse pocket or waist band to pump on the run. Ameda’s HigieniKit offers extra protection from potential contaminants getting mixed into breast milk.

Order your Tricare-covered breast pump today!

If you’re a military mom or spouse covered by Tricare or Tricare Overseas, we can help you get your free breast pump, and our no-hassle three-step process makes it easy, even if you don’t have a prescription yet. Our friendly customer support staff can contact your physician, nurse practitioner, or midwife and make a prescription request on your behalf. Once you’ve placed your order, we’ll get your new pump to you quickly and with absolutely no cost to you. Even our shipping is free, and we service Tricare moms anywhere in the world.

What are the best breast pumps to take on family vacations?

Breast pump innovators are making it easier for moms who pump to pump on the go.

If there’s anybody who deserves a vacation, it’s moms. However, moms often find it impossible to really get away from it all, especially if they’re on a pumping schedule. A lot of traditional breast pump models have a lot of parts and pieces that are likely to go missing during a family vacation, and many are bulky and not very convenient if you’re trying to enjoy a little R&R by the pool. A couple of modern breast pump brands have made it their mission to make traveling and relaxing easier for moms who pump. We’re going to take a peek at what those innovators are doing to make it easier for moms to pump and go.

Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump

Elvie founder and CEO Tania Boler, an internationally recognized women’s health expert, is passionate about improving women’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Her mission to create world-class tech for women led to the silent, discreet Elvie Pump, which slips right into a nursing bra – pump, bottle, and all. The pump’s sleek design makes it practically invisible, making it perfect for poolside pumping. Totally hands free, the Elvie Pump comes with a free app to personalize and control settings from your phone. The app also gathers pumping data and provides custom pumping insights.

Advantages

  • No cords or tubes
  • Hands free design
  • In-bra milk collection
  • Ultra-silent motor
  • 2 modes and 14 intensity settings for customizable intensity
  • Free app for controlling and monitoring pumping
  • Rechargeable via micro-USB
  • Comfortable breast shields in two sizes provided
  • Safe, hygienic, and easy to clean

Disadvantages

  • The Elvie is a premium pump that is not 100% covered by all insurance providers.

Elvie Stride Double Electric Breast Pump

The Elvie Stride provides many of the same benefits as the Pump, but at a much lower price point. In fact, most insurance providers, including Tricare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aetna, cover the Stride 100%. Use that extra cash to dine out at your favorite beachside restaurant while you’re on vacation. Like the Pump, the Stride collects breastmilk in-bra and can be connected to the free Elvie app for easy control and monitoring. The Stride is a little slimmer in design than the Pump as the motor is housed in a palm-sized pump remote, and it has two modes and 20 intensity settings for even more refined customization.

Advantages

  • All benefits of Stride, plus 100% coverage by most insurance providers
  • 2 modes and 20 intensity settings for customizable intensity

Disadvantages

  • While the Stride does offer a tidy silhouette and in-bra pumping, its repositioned pump requires a tube to connect the in-bra bottles and palm-sized motor.

BabyBuddha

The BabyBuddha is our most popular portable, battery-powered pump. The pump’s motor hangs around your neck by a lanyard, freeing up your hands for a good book in bed or family game night. Like the Elvie models, the BabyBuddha motor is impressively quiet, allowing more discreet pumping, and an easy-to-use trackball to navigate through intensity modes for hassle-free operation. The pump’s extra-soft cushion prevents soreness, and its closed system and 100% BPA-free construction keep milk fresh and free of toxins and contaminants.

Advantages

  • 100% coverage by most insurance providers
  • 14 different suction modes
  • Stimulation mode to stimulate breast milk production
  • Hands free design
  • Ultra-silent motor
  • Trackball to easily navigate suction modes
  • Rechargeable via USB cable
  • Comfortable breast shields in two sizes provided
  • Safe, hygienic, and easy to clean

Disadvantages

  • Tube to connect the bottles and palm-sized motor
  • Bottles are not in-bra, so are not as discreet

Get pumped for vacation season.

Modern, portable breast pump models make me excited about vacation season because I know more moms are going to be able to enjoy the freedom and relaxation you’ve definitely earned. You don’t have to be hooked up to a pump that’s hooked up to the wall socket; you are free to roam while still sticking to your pumping schedule. Get in touch today to order your portable breast pump.

Joyful African Mother Carrying Baby Playing With Newborn At Home

How does breast milk compare to formula when it comes to nutritional value?

Breast milk is the gold standard in baby food.

Breast milk contains the perfect amount of nutrients for your baby while also being gentle on their developing digestive system. Nutritional health experts from the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine agree that in an ideal world, mothers would have the opportunity to breastfeed their babies for at least six months and then supplement breast milk with solids until they’re one or two years old.

Breast milk is a complete food source.

No other food source is as perfectly balanced as breast milk. Period. The combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates found in breast milk are exactly what a newborn needs and nothing else. Furthermore, breast milk is easier for newborns to digest, which means the nutrients in breast milk are easier for a baby’s body to absorb than the nutrients in formula.

Breast milk is completely customized healthcare.

It is impossible for science to duplicate the nutritional value of breast milk because breast milk is completely dynamic and unique. Not only are the nutritional profiles of breast milk different from one mother to another; they’re different from one mother’s nursing session to the next. That’s because saliva from a nursing newborn delivers information to the mother’s immune system about her baby’s nutritional needs. If your baby’s body is fighting off an infection, your body will deliver the best antibodies to resist the infection. Studies show that breastfed babies have fewer stomach, lung, and ear infections, and if they do get an infection while breastfeeding, it tends to be less severe.

The nutrients in breast milk give babies long-term health benefits.

Studies show that infants breastfed exclusively for six months followed by a year of breastfeeding supplemented by solid foods were protected against ear, throat, and sinus infections for the first SIX YEARS of their lives. How wild is that? Compared to formula-fed infants, children and adults who were breastfed as infants also appear to have lower risk of food allergies, asthma, eczema, diabetes, and obesity.

Pumping breast milk offers similar benefits to breastfeeding.

When you’re pumping, your body isn’t getting the input from baby to completely customize breast milk. However, breast milk remains a biologically perfect food source for infants, whether it’s pumped or provided directly from the breast. For mothers who want to give their babies all the advantages of breast milk but are struggling with breastfeeding, returning to work, or otherwise not breastfeeding exclusively, a comfortable, efficient breast pump offers a middle path.

Call or email to learn more about pumping and breast pumps.

Milk N Mamas baby is owned and operated by mothers who have been there and done that. We’ve worried about balancing our babies’ nutritional needs with the demands of returning to work. We’ve worried about how the decisions we made when they were little will impact how they turn out as adults. We’ve experienced all the stresses and concerns new moms (and not-so-new moms) deal with, and we’re here to help. If you’ve got a question about breastfeeding or pumping, get in touch today.

How pumping is helping moms who can’t breastfeed weather the formula shortage

Not all mothers are able to breastfeed, and the formula shortage puts their kids at risk.

Milk N Mamas Baby has a history rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, and we’re avid proponents of breastfeeding when it’s possible. Breast milk is the healthiest food source available to infants; however, not all moms are able to breastfeed. A recent New York Times article spoke with moms whose breastfeeding plans were disrupted by difficult deliveries, illness, and other unavoidable challenges. The most vulnerable moms, those living at or below the poverty level, are often most reliant on formula due to demanding work schedules and environments that don’t support pumping on the job.

For moms who are dependent on formula to feed their newborns, the ongoing baby formula shortage caused by recalls and supply chain issues has become a nightmare. However, some nursing moms are stepping up to help fill the need by donating breastmilk to human milk banks or providing breastmilk directly to nonlactating mothers in their area via milk share programs.

What is a human milk bank?

Milk banks collect breast milk from mothers who produce more than their babies need. Banks screen, pasteurize, and test the milk to ensure it is safe for consumption, and then dispense it to nonlactating mothers. Many of the recipients of breast milk from human milk banks are preemies or medically fragile. For that reason, Lindsay Groff, Director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, told WFTV of Orlando, Florida, “If people can donate, now would be the time, because when we have more of an inventory we can look beyond the medically fragile.”

To learn about becoming a donor, follow this link to the Find a Milk Bank page on the Human Milk Banking Association’s website.

What is a milk sharing program?

Programs like Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies offer parents around the world a network for sharing breastmilk. These commerce-free spaces connect parents who can offer breastmilk with parents in need of breastmilk. While breastmilk banks are regulated and more regularly used by hospitals, milk sharing programs are peer-to-peer donations, and parents must rely on their own good judgment regarding donors.

Search “Eats on Feets” or “Human Milk 4 Human Babies” on Facebook to find a program near you and to learn about each network’s guidelines.

Want to pump breastmilk to help nonlactating moms?

If you’re a lactating woman, and you have a pump, you can donate breastmilk to your local human milk bank or provide milk directly to mothers in your community who may be unable to breastfeed. If you’ve got insurance, we’ve got pumps that are 100% covered by Tricare and most other provider health plans, including:

Give us a call to learn more.

What’s the science on breastfeeding and mental health?

We know a lot about the positive impacts of breastfeeding on short- and long-term infant health. But how does it affect mom? Megan Yuen and Olivia Hall, two scientists at the University of Massachusetts, have released a new report in the Journal of Women’s Health on the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal mental health, and it looks like breastfeeding has a mostly positive impact with a notable exception.

First, the good news: breastfeeding decreases risk of postpartum depression symptoms.

Of 36 studies on the relationship between breastfeeding and maternal mental health, 29 found that mothers who breastfeed have fewer mental health symptoms. In fact, 28 studies found that breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of postpartum depression symptoms.

On the other hand, if your breastfeeding experience poses challenges, it can increase risk of depression and anxiety.

Journal of Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD explains, “To help clinicians personalize breastfeeding and mental health counseling, it is important to recognize that while breastfeeding is generally associated with improved maternal mental health, if can have negative mental health consequences if the mother experiences breastfeeding challenges or the experience does not meet her expectations.”

It seems like one of the biggest obstacle is our own expectations or, worse, comparing ourselves to other mothers or to some imaginary “ideal mother.” Mama, let’s be real with each other. Being a mom, in general, is hard work. It’s not as romantic as Mother’s Day cards make it out to be. Breastfeeding isn’t all cuddles. It can be difficult. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. If you’re just starting to breastfeed, keep these things in mind.

#1 Remember what you just did, mom.

Hey, lady. Please don’t forget that you just spent nine months making a whole other person. Your body is tired, including your brain and your heart. If you’re feeling tender and vulnerable right now, that’s normal. If everything, including breastfeeding, feels a little more difficult, it’s no wonder. Your body is recovering. Please be patient. Give yourself the time you’ve earned to recuperate without judgment.

#2 Set realistic expectations.

Here’s the truth. Breastfeeding can be a real challenge. Even though it seems like it should “come naturally,” it can be pretty difficult for new moms and their new babies to get the hang of it. However, most moms can successfully breastfeed. It’s mostly a matter of experimentation and practice. Expect that there will be some uncomfortable and even frustrating moments. Expect that you’ll also eventually have the sweet, memorable moment that you’re hoping for. Sometimes it just takes a while.

#3 Ask a professional lactation consultant for guidance.

Many insurance providers, including Tricare and many Aetna, BCBS, and Geisinger plans, cover up to six visits to a lactation consultant. If your insurance covers a lactation consultant, use that resource, mama! A professional will confirm what I’ve already told you (that it’s totally normal to not immediately ace breastfeeding) and offer some specific tips to make breastfeeding more enjoyable for you and your baby.

#4 Seek out a supportive community of mothers.

During the early stages, breastfeeding can take up a lot of time, keeping you stuck at home alone. That can take a toll on mental health. Many moms get depressed and begin to compare themselves unfavorable to “mothering norms,” which makes them feel even more alone. Whether you use an app like Peanut to connect with other moms, a Facebook group, or a weekly meetup at the park or a coffee shop, make time to let other mothers in your life. Having a community gives you a safe space to share your fears and concerns, and your mother friends will remind you that we’re all doing the best we can.

#5 Take time for yourself

Along the same lines, many mothers have talked to me about being “touched out,” and that’s a completely normal way to feel when you’re being touched all the time. Even though you love all the cuddles you get as a mom, you likely also need some time to be alone and enjoy not being completely responsible for another person’s care and nourishment. That’s nothing to be ashamed of or to feel badly about.

Take care of you, mama.

I founded Milk N Mamas baby after years of lobbying on behalf of mothers for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment. I believe that breastfeeding is valuable for babies and their mothers in most cases. It offers many health benefits for baby and mom, and it offers lots of mom some mental health protection when they need it most. But if it’s not working for you, pumping is a viable option that will allow you to provide the nutritional benefit of breast milk. Get in touch to learn more.

breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples

Can you breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples?

Breastfeeding with flat nipples is possible, but it can be frustrating.

Moms often wonder if their breasts are the right size or shape for breastfeeding. I’ve got a friend with small breasts who was worried about whether she would be able to produce enough milk. Her lactation consultant reassured her that breast size does not determine milk quantity (or quality) and that she had “perfect nipples for breastfeeding.” Who knew that was a thing? Friends with larger breasts have worried that their nipples were too flat for breastfeeding, but lo and behold, babies usually figure it out given a few days of experimentation.

Nipples come in every shape and size imaginable. It’s true that some make breastfeeding easier and others, like flat or inverted nipples, may create some special challenges for nursing moms and their babies just getting the hang of breastfeeding. However, most women can breastfeed successfully regardless of nipple shape.

Self-check your nipple protrusion.

Truly inverted nipples will flatten or retract into your breast when stimulated. You can check your nipple protrusion (or retraction) by squeezing gently on the edges of your areola with your thumb and forefinger. If your nipple stiffens and protrudes, your baby should be able to nurse successfully. If your nipple retracts, it may take a little extra time and effort to help baby latch onto your breasts, but it’s still doable in most cases.

Share your concerns with a lactation consultant.

Stress is an even bigger obstacle to successful breastfeeding than nipple shape, and worrying about your nipple shape is just another stressor. Most health insurance plans, including TRICARE, provide new mothers with at least some access to a lactation consultant. Take advantage of this resource. An expert will be able to put your mind at ease and reassure you that your baby is getting sufficient breast milk. If your nipples are flat or inverted, a lactation consultant will be able to give you specific advice tailored to your unique breastfeeding circumstances.

Hand express before breastfeeding.

When your breast is engorged with milk, it may become hard, and your nipple may flatten as a result. Hand-expressing or massaging your breast before nursing sessions softens your breast. This makes it easier for baby to latch on.

Try the Hoffman exercise to stimulate a flat or inverted nipple.

The Hoffman exercise is a technique created specifically to help women with breast abnormalities such as long, short, flat, inverted, and cracked nipples breastfeed. A 2020 study found that the method was a successful intervention for mothers who were struggling with nursing as a result of breast abnormalities. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Place the thumbs of both hands opposite to each other at the base of the nipple.
  2. Pull the thumbs away from each other gently but firmly, both up and down and sideways.
  3. Repeat up to five times a day.

The Hoffman exercise can be done during pregnancy to prepare the nipples, and it can be used throughout breastfeeding, offering mothers a safe, simple and painless treatment for flat or inverted nipples.

Use a breast pump to help draw out a flat or inverted nipple.

If hand expressing and the Hoffman exercise are not quite enough to draw out your flat or inverted nipples, the suction from a breast pump may do the trick. Use your breast pump for a minute or two before breastfeeding to prime your nipple and draw it out for baby.

Breast pumps are covered by most health insurance plans.

A breast pump can be a lifesaver for a mom with flat or inverted nipples. It can help to draw out your nipple, and if you decide that breastfeeding is not for you, you can still give your baby most of the health advantages by pumping. Not sure which breast pump would give you the greatest advantage? At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’ve all experienced the challenges and the joys of breastfeeding and pumping. We’re experts at the benefits provided by each of our breast pumps. Feel free to reach out to us with your concerns if you’d like advice on choosing a breast pump that will help with flat or inverted nipples.

Which breast pump helps busy moms pump faster from anywhere?

We asked one of the busiest moms we know which breast pump she preferred.

Rosina Sigloch is a work-at-home mom with six kids ranging in age from three-months old up. With four girls and two boys, Rosina has seen it all when it comes to raising kids. She’s also had years of pumping experience, though she had been relying on manual pumps with her earlier children as breast pumps, at the time, were not covered by most insurance providers.

“I hadn’t used a breast pump in forever before my daughter. In the past, I always just had the hand pumps. When I found out I was pregnant this time, my sister-in-law told me that insurance companies cover pumps now. I have so much extra milk, I decided to go for it,” Rosina said in a recent interview.

Rosina’s mom Donna is a lead IBCLC/Nurse Practitioner who also has extensive knowledge of breast pumps. She sent Rosina all the pumps her insurance would cover.

“I’d seen an ad for the Willow,” Rosina said. “I thought, ‘That looks so cool! I can wear it without having the bottle!’ But it was really expensive, and I didn’t want to spend too much.”

When Rosina found the Elvie Stride, she was thrilled she could have the same benefits as the Willow but in a breast pump covered by her insurance.  “I love the fact that you can just put it on and go,” she said. “You don’t have to sit and wait to finish. I can just stick the cups in my nursing bra and go about my business!”

The Elvie Stride is a wearable bra covered by many insurance plans.

The Elvie Stride is 100% covered by Tricare for active duty military moms and mil-spouses and for civilian moms by many other insurance companies. In other words, you can apply your insurance breast pump benefit to the Stride and enjoy the benefits of a premium wearable pump without the premium price tag. However, this pump is only sold through select durable medical equipment (DME) companies, like Milk N Mamas Baby.

How does the Stride stack up in terms of other breast pump benefits, according to Rosina and other moms who have used it?

The Stride has great suction, and it pumps quickly.

“I wondered at first if this pump could actually have enough suction to work the right way,” Rosina mentioned. “It definitely did, even more so! I could have six ounces of breastmilk in less than ten minute. That’s super-efficient. The suction was really good and so quick!”

The Stride is easy to use and clean.

In addition to being easy to use, The Stride cleans up easily. It’s even dishwasher safe. Rosina noted, “I can just pop the cups off, and they’re so easy to clean!”

This super modern breast pump is also ultra-quiet, smart, and customizable.

Elvie designed the Stride with noise reduction technology so that doesn’t draw attention when you’re out and about. The hands-free pump connects with the free “Pump with Elvie” app, which allows you to control your pump remotely while tracking your milk production. You can choose from ten intensity settings in both Stimulation and Expression modes for optimal comfort and efficiency.

“I’m really happy with my purchase and working with Krisi at Milk N Mamas Baby was great!” Rosina said.

It’s great to work with busy moms like Rosina, too!

Milk N Mamas Baby is owned and operated by women who have experienced the challenges and joys of balancing breastfeeding with work and family. We were lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it, and our women-lead team continues to advocate for mamas like Rosina and their babies every day, one mother at a time. We’re here for you, too! Get in touch today for help picking out the right breast pump for you.