baby breast pumps Tag

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.

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.

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.

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.

Give an Elvie Stride or other lightweight, wearable breast pump a try for times when you’re on vacation or headed to the office.

Should I reuse my old breast pump for my second baby?

Most breast pumps can be used for multiple pregnancies.

It can take some time to get used to a breast pump, and it’s not uncommon for moms to get attached to the one they’ve already got. Fortunately, most modern breast pumps are built to be durable, and they’re usually tough enough to be used for multiple pregnancies if you’re cleaning, maintaining, and storing them properly. The same goes for hard plastic pump accessories like bottles and breast shields that are still in good working order. However, you should replace all silicone and soft plastic parts as they’re more difficult to clean and sanitize.

Open system breast pumps are not suitable for long-term use.

Closed system pumps are designed to prevent breastmilk from seeping into the pump motor. In open system breast pump, there’s no barrier, which means moisture, condensation, and breast milk can get into the interior of the pump. Because these interior components can’t be easily accessed and sanitized, they have the potential to breed mold and bacteria. As such, it’s best not to reuse open system breast pumps.

Most insurance providers do cover a new breast pump for each new child.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans are required to cover the cost of one new double electric breast pump for every pregnancy. However, policies may vary. Some provide new breast pumps each year or every other year. We can verify your insurance company’s breast pump policy easily if you’re not sure. Regardless, if you’ve paid for the insurance, you should definitely collect on the breast pump benefits. Even if you’re completely in love with your old reliable pump, there are good reasons to purchase a new one with your insurance credit.

Have a backup breast pump in case the old one quits performing.

Like all electronics, even the best breast pumps will deteriorate over time. That’s why most breast pump warranties only cover specific problems with the pump or the motor and only for one to two years after your purchase. If you love your pump, get a backup model for the day your old one begins to show signs of wear and tear.

Have a stay-at-home breast pump and a wearable breast pump for traveling.

You could also use your breast pump benefit to mix it up a little. Is your favorite pump the Medela Pump In Style that you use in the comfort of your own home? Give an Elvie Stride or other lightweight, wearable breast pump a try for times when you’re on vacation or headed to the office.

Order your new breast pump today!

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. 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. We’re here to help you whether this is your first or your fifth baby. Give us a call for guidance on breast pump insurance coverage.

newborn biting during breastfeeding

Help! My newborn is biting during breastfeeding!

Why do babies bite while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding can be one of the most relaxing and gratifying experiences a new mother has with her baby. When you’re breastfeeding, your brain releases the “cuddle chemical” oxytocin into your system and your baby’s system, making you both feel lovey dovey towards one another. As a result of that chemically-induced lovefest, you probably won’t ever see that first bite coming. After all, how could a sweet, toothless like cuddle bunny do any serious damage to a strong, grown woman.

However, it’s bound to happen at some time, and when it does, oh, mama! You feel it, and it can make you question whether that little whippersnapper really has your best interest at heart after all. Don’t worry. A bite from baby isn’t a sign they’re out to get you. They don’t even necessarily mean it’s time to wean. In some cases, baby is simply experimenting with its body and finding new ways to get your attention. However, there are other reasons baby might take up nipple biting during breastfeeding, including:

  • Teething,
  • Overactive or forceful letdown,
  • Slow letdown,
  • Colds or ear infections, or
  • Distraction or boredom.

Is your baby teething?

While some babies are born with their first teeth, most begin teething around at around six months old. This can lead to an urge to chomp down on things. Chewing and biting help to relieve the pain caused by swollen, tender gums. Other symptoms that baby is teething include:

  • Irritability,
  • Drooling,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Rash on cheek and chin,
  • Raised temperature, and
  • Rubbing their face or tugging their ear.

Tips for helping teething babies

  • Talk to your doctor to see if a baby painkiller is in order to help alleviate your newborn’s pain.
  • Allow baby to chew on a cold, wet washcloth or cooled teething toy to soothe their gums.

Is your baby trying to control a forceful letdown?

During your first months of breastfeeding, your body is still learning how much breastmilk to make. In some cases, mothers overproduce breastmilk, which can overwhelm newborns who are, likewise, still learning the ropes of breastfeeding. Newborns may clamp down on the nipple in an attempt to control the rush of breastmilk. Other symptoms that you may have an overactive letdown include:

  • Gas,
  • Crying after breastfeeding sessions,
  • Frequent hiccups, and

Tip for helping babies cope with forceful letdown

Hand express or pump some milk before breastfeeding to curb the overactive letdown response.

Is your baby trying to encourage a more forceful letdown?

On the other hand, some mothers have a slower letdown response, which can be caused by mastitis, stress, illness, pain, medications, previous breast surgery, or any number of other factors. If your letdown is slow or inhibited, your newborn may chew to encourage a more forceful letdown. If your baby is struggling with a slow letdown response, they might show all of the same symptoms as a forceful letdown, but they may also have fewer soiled diapers.

Tip for helping babies cope with inhibited letdown

Supplement regular breastfeeding sessions with pumping sessions to help stimulate milk flow.

Does your baby have a cold or ear infection?

Breastfeeding requires babies to learn how to alternate between breathing, nursing, and swallowing. If baby’s nose is stuffy from a cold or ear infection, they’ll have a hard time managing these tasks. For reference, think about the last you tried to eat a hoagie with a stuffy nose. Not so easy, right? If your baby is suffering with a cold or ear infection, they’ll show signs other than biting your nipple, which may include:

  • Fever,
  • Refusing milk,
  • Runny nose,
  • Discharge from ears,
  • Cough,
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Irritability,
  • Face, chin, or upper chest rash.

Tip for helping babies with a cold or ear infection

  • Use a warm compress on your newborn’s ear to reduce ear infection pain.
  • Continue breastfeeding to ensure baby is hydrated and getting antibodies from your milk that may help alleviate illness.
  • If baby has a fever or symptoms do not go away within 48 hours, visit your doctor. Antibiotics may be necessary.

Is your baby bored?

Babies are curious little busybodies, and they get bored easily. They’re also just learning how much control they have over their environment and the people in it – that means you. Sometimes baby is biting to see what happens. Sometimes, they’re bored. If that’s the case, your newborn has probably had their fill of breastmilk, so it’s safe to gently detach them from the nipple by using your finger to break the suction.

Whatever the cause of your baby’s biting, avoid a dramatic response as it could encourage more of the same. Yelping with either frighten or intrigue babies, which could lead to worse biting. Laughing is a definite no no as babies love to make mommy happy, and as far as they know, biting is something you enjoy.

A biting baby doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to wean.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months, about the time that babies begin teething, followed by the introduction of foods or infant formula thereafter. The longer you feed your baby breastmilk, however, the greater the protection they receive from illnesses like ear infections as well as long-term diseases like asthma and diabetes.

Just because baby is biting doesn’t mean it’s time to wean them. It just means you’ve got to deal with any underlying causes and teach baby proper breastfeeding etiquette. The best way to do this, regardless of the cause of the biting, is to gently break baby’s latch and end the breastfeeding session when they begin to bite. If baby seems interested in continuing to nurse, you can try again after a few minutes; however, end feeding time each time baby bites in order to discourage the habit.

Some mothers have more sensitive nipples, and some babies are more aggressive biters. In those cases, you can still provide your newborn with the health benefits of breastmilk by pumping. Give us a call to learn about the wide variety of pumps available and which one might be right for you.

baby constantly crying after breastfeeding

Why does my baby constantly cry after breastfeeding time?

Am I breastfeeding wrong, is my baby colicky, or is it something else?

Some babies are mild-mannered and generally seem pleased with the world they find themselves in. Other babies, not so much. It’s not that they’re bad-tempered, but they do appear to have strong feelings about things. You’d think that a full belly would leave a newborn in a state of bliss, and many babies do pass out with a milk-drunk grin on their faces. However, some babies launch into crying jags as soon as they’ve finished breastfeeding. That leaves frustrated moms asking questions like:

  • Am I breastfeeding my newborn wrong?
  • Am I producing enough milk to satisfy my baby?
  • Is my baby colicky?

Or even:

  • Is this baby trying to drive me crazy?

It’s a reasonable suspicion. A crying baby can certainly put everyone in the house on edge, and over time, chronic criers can leave moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, and even neighbors feeling helpless.

So what’s behind all those tears? Pediatricians recognize a few specific reasons your newborn may be inclined to tears after breastfeeding:

  • Gas,
  • Acid Reflux, and
  • Food sensitivities and allergies.

We’ll look at each more closely below, but let’s begin with the more generic explanation for a chronic crier: colic.

Colic

To say that colic is causing a baby to cry isn’t very helpful to moms because colic is a catchall term that loosely translates to “chronic crying on the part of a newborn.” In other words, baby is crying all the time because baby’s a chronic crier. Not very useful, right?

However, there is a clue about your crying baby in the Latin root of the word: colon. In other words, if you have a colicky newborn, you have a baby who is probably suffering from pain in their abdomen. Let’s look at some of the reasons your newborn may be experiencing abdominal pain after breastfeeding.

Gas

We’ve all been there. Gas pain is not for sissies. You and I both have decades of experience with gas under our belt, so we know the feeling when it comes over us. It’s not so painful or scary because we’re used to it. Your poor baby is having their first experience of it, and it’s probably both painful and scary. Gas pain is more common among bottle-fed babies as they tend to swallow more air. However, even breastfed babies swallow some air during feeding time, so they still need a good burping after each feeding.

If you suspect gas might be the culprit, try this after baby’s next feeding:

  • Hold baby upright after feeding to burp.
  • Pat gently from the base of the back upward to work out gas bubbles.

Acid Reflux

This is another ailment that most adults have experienced but newborns have not. Imagine feeling acid reflux for the first time and not knowing what’s causing the pain. You’d be crying, too. You and I know that acid reflux is what happens when the contents of your stomach are pushed into your esophagus. To your baby, it just feels like they’ve swallowed fired.

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as its more serious form is called, causes spitting up in addition to crying, and it’s not uncommon in babies younger than one-year old. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, nearly 8 in 10 infants have daily acid reflux by the age of 2 months. However, by they time they’re 12 to 14 months old, most children have outgrown GERD symptoms.

If you suspect acid reflux might be causing baby serious or chronic pain, talk with baby’s pediatrician about the symptoms as GERD can have more serious side effects like:

  • Weight loss and
  • Esophagitis

GERD can also lead to complications beyond the esophagus, such as:

  • Coughing and wheezing,
  • Laryngitis, and

Food sensitivities and allergies

About one in 100 exclusively breastfed babies develop allergic reactions to food proteins in their mother’s milk, according to research conducted by The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The most frequent culprit is cow’s milk protein found in human breastmilk when mom has been indulging in dairy products. It’s important to note that this allergy occurs more frequently in infants consuming cow’s milk-based formula, which contains far more of the offending protein, than in breastmilk, where these proteins only show up in trace amounts. Occasionally, babies have allergies to eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy, or wheat as well. If an allergy is the cause of your baby’s suffering, they may also have signs of blood in their stool. In that case, head straight to the pediatrician.

If you suspect food allergies may be causing your baby pain and grief, let your doctor know and try these strategies for determining the guilty allergen:

  • Keep a food diary to determine if there may be a connection between your diet and baby’s crying.
  • If you find a food that seems connected, try an elimination diet (after talking with your doctor) to see if the change improves baby’s mood. Eliminate only one food at a time so you’ll know exactly which culprit is the offender.

How do I know if my newborn’s crying means they’re hungry?

Feeding a crying baby is often the go to for a tired, frustrated mom, but if one of the above issues is the problem, more breastmilk won’t help. So how do you know if baby’s crying because they’re hungry? Look for these additional signs:

  • Baby is moving fists to mouth or sucking on hand,
  • Baby is alert and active,
  • Baby is nuzzling or seeking your breast,
  • Baby is smacking lips or opening and closing mouth.

When baby is full, you’ll see these signs:

  • Baby releases your nipple,
  • Baby begins chewing on nipple or playing rather than feeding,
  • Baby relaxes, opening fists.

Share the joy (and frustration) of breastfeeding with a partner.

Whatever the cause of your newborn’s tears, a colicky baby can cause frustration, depression, and exhaustion – as if new moms aren’t tired enough. If you’ve got a baby who seems to cry all the time, don’t be afraid to ask for more help from your partner, family, or friends. Pumping breast milk gives the people who want to help you a chance to take over some of your baby’s feeding sessions, which will give you a chance to rest, and you’ll need it if your baby is a chronic crier.

Need help choosing a breast pump? Milk N Mamas baby is owned and operated by women who have experienced the joys and the challenges of breastfeeding, including colicky babies. We have more than two decades of experience in the medical device supply industry, and our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms. We’re here to help in whatever way we can, from deciding on a breast pump that meets your needs to filing your claim. Call today to speak with one of our representatives.

mom calling insurance company about breast pump reimbursement

How to get a breast pump reimbursement from your insurance company

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance providers must cover breast pumps. While this is certainly a better deal than moms once had, it’s still not always ideal. Not all policies provide the same coverage, and different policies may have different guidelines on the types of breast pump covered. In some cases, the insurance company pays outright, whereas in other cases, they reimburse you after you make the purchase. With so many factors in play, figuring out your provider’s specific benefits and processes can be confusing and frustrating.

What does the Affordable Care Act entitle mothers to in terms of breastfeeding?

Moms are eligible to receive breastfeeding equipment, supplies, and even lactation support under the ACA. Exactly what breastfeeding equipment is covered depends on your doctor’s recommendation, but in general, it includes a double-electric breast pump per birth experience, pump parts, and breast milk storage supplies, like bottles and bags.

Here’s where breast pump coverage gets confusing.

While ACA guidelines are pretty clear, there’s some room for interpretation, and many insurance companies take advantage of this. They might require a prescription from your doctor before the purchase or require you to submit a receipt afterwards for reimbursement. They may require you to purchase your breast pump from an in-network durable medical equipment (DME) supplier or only purchase a particular brand or model. In some cases, they may make you wait until after delivery to purchase your pump, and some providers don’t have to cover your pump at all if the plans were written before the law was passed.

What’s a mom to do if her breast pump coverage is confusing her?

Unfortunately, if you’re not sure about your plan’s requirements, guidelines, and coverages, you’ll have to call to confirm. Unless you’re purchasing through Milk N Mamas Baby. Not only are we a DME supplier, we’re in-network partners with a variety of other insurance companies, including Tricare, BlueCross BlueShield, UPMC Health Plan, and Health Partners Plans, to name a few. We’re also happy to advocate for you. We can call your insurance provider to confirm your coverage, so you have one less thing to do.

What if the pump you want isn’t covered by your plan?

While standard double-electric pumps like the Spectra S2 are commonly covered, so-called premium pumps, like the Elvie Pump, may not be fully covered. However, your insurance provider may reimburse you up to the amount your plan does cover. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), a health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement account (HRA), you may be able to use that to cover a premium pump.

Submitting your claim for breast pump coverage and reimbursement

Once you’ve gotten your prescription and decided on your pump, it’s a matter of filing your claim promptly and submitting your receipt. Once again, Milk N Mamas Baby customers can leave this step to us. We’ll submit your prescription, claim, and necessary receipts to your insurance company, so you don’t have to.

If you’re an expectant mom with enough on your plate already, leave the insurance part of your breast pump buying experience to us. We’ll confirm your coverage, get your prescription, and even file your insurance claim to save you valuable time.

breast pump with tubing

What’s the difference between open and closed system breast pumps?

The first breast pumps were pretty simple devices to help mothers who were having trouble nursing for one reason or another. These early pumps looked radically different from our high-tech versions, but there’s one thing that most pumps have in common. Whether you’re looking at a 19th century manual pump or a 21st century double electric pump, you’ll find tubes on most models.

What does pump tubing have to do with open and closed systems?

At first glance, you might assume that milk travels through these tubes. However, tubing actually connects the breast pump motor with the pump’s connector and breast shield, and it plays a critical role in producing suction. If there’s a puncture or tear in the pump, it can affect suction. If moisture infiltrates tubing, it can quickly become moldy. That mold can potentially create a health hazard for your newborn if it comes in contact with breast milk.

Open system pumps create opportunity for overflow and contamination.

You may have seen the terms “open system” and “closed system” breast pumps in your search for the perfect pump. An open system breast pump doesn’t provide a barrier, or media separation, between the breast pump and your milk. There is a small chance of overflow in an open system pump and an even smaller chance that the milk can become contaminated as a result.

Closed system pumps reduce the risk of contaminated tubing.

A closed system pump provides media separation that prevents milk from overflowing into the pump mechanism. By ensuring your milk travels through the pump by the most hygienic passage, a closed system pump reduces the risk of contamination.

How do I know if my tubing needs to be cleaned?

Even closed system pumps must allow some air passage in order for the suction to work, so a completely closed system pump doesn’t exist. While milk is less likely to pass into the tubing, natural condensation can still cause moisture buildup. That means you’ve got to check the tubing of a closed system pump just like you would an open system pump. If you see water droplets building up in the tubing, you can disconnect the tubing from the pump kit and run the pump for a few minutes to encourage the tubing to dry.

Do I ever need to replace the tubing of a closed system breast pump?

Yes. If your tubing has mold or milk in it, the CDC says throw it away immediately and replace it with new tubing. Often, this may also indicate that the valves or membranes need to be replaced, too. It may also mean that the tubing has become compromised, creating an opportunity for milk infiltration. You may also need to replace tubing if you notice suction has become impaired. A loose or frayed tube takes a toll on breast pump performance.

Open or closed system is only one feature to consider when purchasing a breast pump.

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’ve got breast pumps with dozens of features and benefits that make breast milk expression easier. We’ve got hands-free pumps for moms who want to pump discreetly at work, and we’ve got pumps without any tubing at all. If you need help choosing the best pump for you, give us a call or email us. We’re happy to provide guidance and support as you make your decision.