military mom Tag

military mom frustrated by lack of nursing support

How to support breastfeeding moms in demanding jobs

No one reading this blog will be surprised to learn that moms make up the fastest-growing segment of the labor force. While many working moms are in traditional fields of education and healthcare, more and more women are finding employment on construction sites, in the military, and in other physically demanding careers. Among these working women, 6 in 10 are new mothers who are just getting the hang of breastfeeding.

What challenges do nursing moms in physically demanding jobs experience?

In 2021, breastfeeding Olympic athletes made the news because they were banned from bringing their nursing children with them. U.S. marathon runner Aliphine Tuliamuk and soccer player Alex Morgan petitioned the Tokyo Olympic committee to ease the ban, but the response of the Olympic Committee did little to improve the situation. Children were forced to stay outside the Olympic Village in strict quarantine in hotel rooms. Given the conditions, many of the breastfeeding athletes chose to leave their infants at home, a decision that has the potential to disrupt their nursing relationship in the long run.

While these harsh limitations were imposed because of COVID, it’s a stark reminder of how nursing mothers and their infants are often an afterthought in employee policymaking, in particular in more physically demanding professions. Moms face numerous challenges when they’re attempting to return to work while nursing, including:

  • Finding time to take pumping breaks during long shifts,
  • Lack of an appropriate private space for pumping breaks,
  • Lack of support from employers and colleagues.

How do these challenges impact breastfeeding?

Obviously, limited time and space creates a barrier to breastfeeding and pumping. However, even when businesses and institutions like the military provide the time and space required by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the ACA in 2010, they often neglect to actually create a support system, which proves to be even more important to mothers and babies.

Nursing mothers who feel unsupported in the workplace are also more likely to lack confidence in breastfeeding, and that takes a serious toll on how long they are willing to nurse. In fact, support, in general, plays an outsized role in how long women continue breastfeeding and pumping. According to the CDC, unsupportive work policies, lack of family support, and unsupportive hospital practices and policies are all obstacles for nursing moms to overcome.

How does supporting breastfeeding moms impact the workplace?

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources released their Business Case for Breastfeeding. In this study, they found that investing in lactation support services in the workplace produces a return of three dollars for every one dollar invested in breastfeeding support. When military moms and other hardworking mothers feel supported, the study found improvements in the following areas:

  • greater employee retention,
  • increased productivity,
  • lower healthcare costs,
  • increased employee engagement, and
  • and lower employee absenteeism rates.

How can I support breastfeeding moms in demanding jobs?

Support legislation that supports breastfeeding moms.

Stay abreast (pun intended) of federal and state laws that impact breastfeeding moms, including those who are working. If your state has room for improvement, call your legislators and demand it. You can find specific laws related to breastfeeding here.

If you are a business or organization, become an advocate for nursing moms.

Businesses that provide real, meaningful support for breastfeeding and pumping mothers will have a stellar employee for life. Mothers who feel seen and supported will have an enormous positive influence of company culture, and you will have an enormous positive influence on a healthier, happier community.

Get creative with implementing effective strategies for supporting nursing moms.

Clinical studies have found a number of strategies that enhance breastfeeding among working women, including:

  • early postpartum support,
  • maternity leave policies,
  • teleworking,
  • flexible working hours,
  • access to space and time to extract milk,
  • support from colleagues and supervisors, and
  • the existence of explicit policies to support breastfeeding working mothers.

It’s Time To Start Supporting Breastfeeding Moms

Filling physically demanding jobs is already a challenge for many employees. Making positions more attractive to nursing mothers has the potential to attract and retain valuable new employees. If you’re a mom trying to balance work with nursing, the working moms at Milk N Mamas Baby are on your side. Never hesitate to reach out to us if you need a little extra support and encouragement.

We are your Pennsylvania breast pump supplier

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, the percent of Pennsylvania mothers who started breastfeeding after birth increased more than 10% between 2009 and 2018. However, breastfeeding rates drop by nearly 25% eight weeks after birth. Two factors seem to drive this decision to quit breastfeeding. Moms feel like they’re not producing enough breastmilk to satisfy their hungry baby, and many moms are returning to work at that time. For most moms, both of these obstacles can be overcome with a high-quality breast pump.

How breast pumps help moms continue breastfeeding for longer

An electric breast pump allows you to build your milk supply by pumping during breastfeeding sessions and between sessions. You can also practice milk boosting practices like cluster pumping and double-pumping using a pump. Not only does pumping increase milk production by increasing the demand, it also provides you with a breastmilk stash that you can use when you go back to work. Even more exciting, pumps like the Elvie Stride can be worn to work in a standard nursing bra so you can pump while you’re at the office.

Milk N Mamas Baby is a durable medical equipment (DME) companies

Pumps like the Elvie Stride can only be purchased through select DME companies, but that’s no problem for you, mama. We have partnerships with all of your favorite breast pump providers, including Medela, Ameda, Spectra, Motif, BabyBuddha, and yes, Elvie.

We participate in most Pennsylvania health plans PLUS Tricare

Never fear, mama! We’ve got you covered here, too. We participate with most Pennsylvania health plans, including Geisinger and state Medicaid plans like UMPC, Aetna Better Health, and Gateway. We’re also authorized in-network breast pump providers for military moms and mil-spouses covered by Tricare.

You can use your FSA/HSA account at Milk N Mamas Baby

Since we are a medical equipment supplier, you can upgrade to premium pumps like the Elvie Pump or the Spectra S1 while you’re here. You can also use your FSA account to stock up on breast milk storage bags and replacement parts like tubing, valves membranes, collection bottles, nipple shields, and more.

Take a look around and see what we have to offer

The health benefits of nutrient-rich breastmilk follow your child for the rest of her life, offering her protection from allergies, obesity, and many preventable illnesses. The longer you pump, the greater the benefit. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we make it as easy as possible to get started pumping. We can help you get your prescription and deal with your insurance company. So take a look around while you’re here or better yet, give us a call at 844-Milk-Mom and let us know how we can support you in your pumping routine.

Military moms in Alaska encourage new parents to accept help

Being a new mom can be lonely

Being a new mother can be lonely, especially during those early months when it feels like your only constant companion is a newborn who spends most of their time sleeping, eating, and crying. You may never be alone, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel alone sometimes. It can feel like a whole world is dependent on you because, in some ways, it is. You’re the center of your little one’s world at that age, and that’s a huge responsibility.

Now, imagine that feeling of loneliness, but you’re on a military base in Alaska, just about as far away from your family and friends as you can possibly get without a rocket to the moon. That’s the challenge that new moms Amelia and Katie Fish are facing. Amelia, a civil engineer in the Air Force, and Katie, a teacher, recently celebrated their second anniversary, and in June, they welcomed their son Hudson home after a pregnancy with several complications.

When we first spoke, the expectant moms were eager for that initial skin-to-skin bonding and for the chance to compare his earth-side personality to the karate-kicking kid they saw in ultrasounds and dopplers. However, they were also experiencing the challenge of distance from loved ones who could offer support as they navigated pregnancy, delivery, and even planning for childcare once the two return to their respective careers.

Amelia, Katie, and newborn baby Hudson at home in Alaska

Here’s Katie’s top four tips for military families expecting a new baby, but this wisdom is just as true for any new mom.

Find your people

“I highly recommend finding ‘your people’ no matter where you are located or how long you have been there. It’s never too late to start meeting people. Connect with other military families, people you may work with, neighbors, and members of your community.”

Create community

“Join social media groups for military parents both for your specific installation and the armed forces. It’s especially helpful for creating community amongst others with shared experiences, navigating pregnancy, parenthood, and Tricare.”

Plan ahead

“Sign up early for childcare if needed. The waitlists can be long for Child Development Centers both on the installation and for recommended providers off base as well.”

Accept help

“Military families are often resilient and independent due to the nature of our lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to accept help from others. Having a support system is such a blessing.”

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’re moms as well as experts in breastfeeding and pumping, and we’ve been there. We understand how lonely and stressful the challenges of being a new mom can be, and we hope that our posts offer you a little encouragement and community. We’re also here if you’ve got questions about breastfeeding, pumping, and how to get more comfortable with both. If you’re a military mom, let us help you navigate Tricare breast pumps. Reach out to us if you’ve got questions or concerns.

Welcome home, baby Hudson!

 

 

A military mom shares the joys and challenges of being a new parent

Military moms experience some unique challenges as new parents

Being a new mom is a challenge no matter who you are or what your situation is. Delivering a child and then adapting to its demands takes a toll on the most stout-hearted among us. Now, imagine for a moment that exhaustion and loneliness amplified by being far away from family and friends. Imagine that your spouse is deployed for months at a time during that first year.

That’s the hurdles that moms face when their spouses are in the military. Needless to say, these tough mothers have learned a thing or two about navigating pregnancy and parenthood. Amanda Barnhardt, one of our favorite customers, is just such a mama. She’s been generous enough to offer some helpful advice that’s applicable to new parents of all stripes.

Milk N Mamas Baby customer with her new baby

Amanda and Matt with their bundle of joy.

Amanda and her husband Matt, an IT tech in the Navy, were friends for nearly a decade before they got married. Now, Matt is about to head out on his first deployment, and Amanda is preparing to take on the responsibility for parenting solo.

“I am incredibly lucky to be able to stay home with our daughter,” Amanda says, “but it’s lonely, and it’s going to be even lonelier when he gets deployed and is gone for 6+ months. We have no family close by us, so it’s extremely hard. When I need a shower break, unless Matt is home, I don’t get one. Sometimes I’m eating lunch and breastfeeding at the same time because I really have no choice.”

Here’s Amanda’s top three tips for military families expecting a new baby, but this wisdom is just as true for any new mom.

Take advantage of parental leave ASAP

“First and foremost, make sure whoever is in the service takes the parental leave as soon as the baby is born. I had complications during our birth, and my husband being able to be there and 100% focused on me and our daughter is what I needed absolutely.”

Ask for help

“Second, ask for help if you can. I sometimes feel guilty because I’m a stay at home mom and don’t have a job, but being a mom, especially of a newborn, is a job, and it’s hard. So when your spouse gets home, ask them to help, to hold the baby so your body can get a little break, especially if you’re breastfeeding. You don’t realize how ‘touched out’ you get because of how much your baby needs you. Being able to set them in their swing or to let your partner hold them makes all the difference.

Being away from your support system and family is hard. You really become isolated when you have a baby, and even more so when you are a military spouse. Don’t be scared to ask for help and to even get someone to talk to. It will make you a better parent if you have the help and rest you need.”

Take naps often

“Nap as much as you can. The housework will and CAN wait. Trust me. I didn’t at first and regret it because then when 2 a.m. rolls around, we are both crying. Your body needs sleep. I used to work two jobs and thought I could handle doing dishes during one of her naps – I was wrong. Breastfeeding burns so many calories that your body can’t physically handle it without sleep.”

And, finally, remember to cherish those first moments. When asked what makes all the stress worthwhile, Amanda offered up an inspiring reminder of what makes those little bundles of joy so special.

“Honestly? It’s hearing her breathe a sigh of relief when I pick her up. Knowing that she doesn’t really know anything, but she knows I’m her safe space and if I’m holding her, things will be okay (what I imagine she’s thinking anyway). The cooing and smiling is incredible, but knowing that she feels safe and comfortable enough to relax and fall asleep on me is a high you can’t get anywhere else.”

We hope you all had a happy 4th of July, especially those serving in the military and all the moms serving at home!

young mother breastfeeding baby on train

Here’s to strong women

May we know them

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’re proud to support the strongest women we know – new moms. You’ve carried another life for nine months, nurturing it and protecting it. You’ve endured excruciating pain to deliver your newborn safely into the world, and you sacrifice daily to give your children everything they need to grow up healthy, strong, and happy.

If you’re one of our clients, you’ve chosen to breastfeed because you believe it gives your babies the healthiest start possible. And you’re right.

However, breastfeeding can be a challenge. It’s not always a walk in the park. Even moms who have the opportunity to stay home while nursing experience ups and downs. It can be exhausting and frustrating to adjust to a new life with baby.

We know working moms who are faced with guilt and fatigue as they try to squeeze pumping into their busy schedule. Likewise, many of our clients are enlisted in the military. They face an endless round of responsibilities and regimens in addition to their role as mom. Nevertheless, they remain just as committed to nursing and pumping to provide their newborns the health boost offered by breast milk.

We are proud to know you, and you inspire us daily to go the extra mile: for you, for our own kids, and for all the women we come in contact with.

May we be them

We’re moms, too, and we’re also working women. We started Milk N Mamas Baby to provide a convenient, compassionate service to the hard-working women we admire. We started it because we believe in the power of breastfeeding to build healthy humans and healthy bonds between mothers and their children.

It’s not been easy to build a business from the ground up, but we’re strong women. We believe in this work, and we think it’s worth the long days. We hope you feel our enthusiasm and our commitment when you call us for support.

May we raise them

Whether you’re a mom nursing at home, a mom pumping breastmilk on her lunch break, or a mom in the military, you’ve got our admiration. More importantly, you’ve got the admiration of all those little girls you’re helping raise. You’re showing them all the things that are possible for strong women. Here’s to you, mama!