• 5 Lactation-Friendly Popsicles For Summer

    Article & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Boost your milk supply with these drool-worthy popsicles!

    I’ve been dying to take a swing at making homemade popsicles this summer, which naturally prompted me on Pinterest for delicious and photo-worthy ideas — cause if you can’t share your hard work, what’s the point, right? It didn’t take long to find some incredible recipes that are not only tasty and refreshing, but also breastfeeding friendly. That’s right, each recipe that caught my eye has at least one ingredient that is known to increase lactation. Here are 5 of my favorites. Enjoy!

    1. Carrot, orange, ginger & turmeric pops. Carrot, orange and ginger are all known to bump up milk production.

    Carrot, orange, ginger & turmeric popsicle

    2. Homemade fudge pops. Both almonds and hazelnut are rich in calcium, which helps maintain strong bone and teeth health.

    Homemade fudge popsicle

    3. Berry lemonade pops. Adding berries to your pops is a good way to get the 2 to 3 servings of fruits that you, breastfeeding mamas, need.

    Berry lemonade popsicle

    4.  Chocolate dipped almond milk pops. Almonds are considered some of the best nuts to rev up milk production.

    Chocolate dipped almond milk popsicle

    5. Sweet tea & peach pops. Peaches are a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A, which are essential to nursing moms. If you little one is sensitive to caffeine, you can swap out the sweet tea for a decaf green tea.  

    Sweet tea & peach popsicle

    This article is by Hailey Andresen courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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  • 4 Benefits of Breast Pumps — Ashland Health

    A breast pump, at its most basic function, is a way for women to provide nourishing breast milk to their babies when they are not able to nurse. However, the benefits of do not stop at just being able to feed baby when separated. Here are 4 benefits of breast pumps:

    1. Increase milk supply. Many mothers struggle with milk supply–breast milk is called liquid gold for a reason! By adding pumping sessions in addition to a regular nursing schedule can help increase your milk supply. Working mom and VP of Sales at Ashland Health, Caitlin McNeily, nursed and pumped for all three kids. She is currently nursing/pumping her youngest and shares:

    “I am currently trying to bulk up my milk supply for my 8 month old.  I work full time and my baby is getting bigger and hungrier, but I’ve been pumping the same 6 ounces since he was 3 months old. Having a low supply is new to me as I could have fed all the neighborhood babies while pumping for my older two children. We are 4 months away from whole milk for the little guy, and I want to avoid the formula purchase. I am using my breast pump to increase my supply and to keep the fridge stocked for my nanny by increasing my pumping frequency (every 2 hours) and time (adding 5 mins/session).  I’m determined to use this tool to keep the milk flowing!”

    1. Prevent/Treat Mastitis. Using your breastpump to help manage engorgement may also help avoid mastitis. Mastitis is an infection that typically occurs in the first six weeks of nursing and is accompanied by pain, swelling/tenderness in the breast, fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms. It is often caused by an abundant supply of breastmilk that is not  properly drained through regular nursing. Pumping may help avoid this issue.
    1. Gain some flexibility in your schedule while continuing to breastfeed. As new moms, we put immense pressure on ourselves to oogle at our little creation 24/7. This feeling can be especially intense if you are dealing with a limited maternity leave and want to squeeze in every moment of smelling and snuggling your baby. After the baby is born though, it can be difficult to lose freedom and flexibility to run errands, see friends and exercise while being at home caring for a newborn baby. This is where your trusty breast pump comes into play! Replace a feed with expressed breast milk from pumping so you can have a little more flexibility to be away from your baby without worrying about the next feed.
    1. Continue breastfeeding when you return to work and find camaraderie amongst other breastfeeding mothers. This may sound silly, but carrying around your pump bag does lead to more conversations than you may think. You may find a woman in your building who has found a secret place to pump at work when she sees you wandering around with your pump. You may sit down on the train after a tearful morning goodbye with your little one and find a supportive fellow pumping warrior who provides an ear, a smile, or a shoulder to cry on. On that note, if you see a mom with her pump bag, you have an opportunity to provide support, and you never know how much she may need it that day.  

    As expecting moms, we pour over our choices of gear–strollers, bassinets, cribs, bottles, etc. Be equally diligent about choosing a breast pump and see it as a tool not only for success in breastfeeding but also for taking care of yourself.  You are the most integral part of the new party at your home, and you deserve the best as a new mom. You brought a life into this world, and you are amazing!

    This article is by Caitlin McNeily, a working mom of 3 and VP of sales at Ashland Health. Ashland Health is a free nation-wide service providing insurance-covered breast pumps.


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    • The Nursing Bra You Need: Interview With Au Lait Founder Emily Hsu

      Finding nursing bras that make breastfeeding easy and don’t compromise on comfort can feel impossible to find, but Au Lait has you covered! We sat down with Au Lait founder Emily Hsu and discussed the inspiration behind her line of unique nursing wear. The Au Lait line provides privacy, comfort and support through design and materials that are safe for you and your baby – which is why we’re so excited to have them as our newest addition to The Covet Shop!

      1) What inspired you to start Au Lait? 

      I had a really hard time trying to sustain my breastfeeding efforts while traveling for work.  I was not comfortable with exposing myself especially while I was on business flights and conferences.  Au Lait’s styles are made for the nursing mothers on the go, while providing 360 degrees of privacy.

      2) How are your clothes different from other nursingwear brands?

      Au Lait combines timeless style with a focus on fabric and feeding technology so that breastfeeding moms are not restricted to nursing tops that are overly casual.

      3) Tell us more about the nursing bra. How did you design it? Why is it special?

      I suffered from repeated bouts of mastitis while I was breastfeeding Avery.  The doctor told me to not wear a nursing bra to help prevent future occurrences but as any nursing mom knows, not wearing a bra is not really an option unless I just stayed home all day and even then, I wouldn’t want to be in a wet shirt all day!

      So while designing a new nursing bra, I had two goals in mind.  I need a bra that grew and shrank with me throughout the day (and especially nights) and also, a bottom band that provided support but did not “pinch” my milk ducts as my doctor told me was one of the possible causes of mastitis.

      Our Seamless Lounge Nursing Bra utilizes an ultra fine spandex spun just for our bottom band so that it sits against your rib cage but does not restrict or roll.  The bra has a crossover design on both the front and back so it truly expands and shrinks with your every change.

      I added special pockets to hold removable cups because I personally can use the shaping help and also, I was so sick of dropping and picking up my reusable nursing pad everywhere.  So you can tuck your reusable nursing pads into the special pockets to keep them in place as you go about your day with your little one.

      4) You don’t have a white bra. What is the reasoning behind your color selections?

      The process of making a garment white involves both bleaching and the application of optical whiteners.  Synthetic fabrics that are widely popular these days due to their more technical nature (good stretch, and wicking) requires 2 processes in order to achieve a true white. The kind of white that I know your brand new baby reminds you of: pure, untainted, cloud-like cleanliness.

      Due to the fact that reductive bleaching and optical whiteners both use fluorescents to achieve the clean white that we so love, I had to make the call and err on the side of caution as I slept in my nursing bras.

      In fact, except for when I was showering, I lived in my nursing bras 24/7 for as long as I nursed Avery.  I am sure that 99% of the chemical traces are washed off eventually and I know even our laundry detergents have traces of fluorescents in it to make “our whites white and our brights brighter!”

      However, I had to think about the tired, desperate, first-time mom with aching boobs, who just wants to pull on the bra right out of the package.  I have to think about her and what is best for her and her baby.

      5) What’s your favorite Nine Naturals product?

      I have been using the Natural Pregnancy Belly Oil religiously since its launch!  It is so luxurious and easy to spread around my belly.  I use it twice a day and I haven’t gotten the belly itches yet and I’m due this week!

      Born into a family dedicated to designing and creating the highest end performance textile products, Emily H. has spent over a decade in crafting fit, design, and production for the performance sports industry and working with the world’s most innovative brands in textiles and garment construction technology.

      While breastfeeding her daughter Avery, Emily was constantly frustrated and shocked at the lack of clothing options for breastfeeding women. Although comfort is very important, it should not be a hindrance to pursuing style and functionality. Utilizing her knowledge in fabrics and garment construction, Emily decided to solve the two biggest issues with nursing and breastfeeding tops: privacy for the nursing mother and designs that avoid the drab look that nursing tops feature today.


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      • Mastitis and Breastfeeding

        Learning the art of breastfeeding—like picking up any new skill—requires time, practice, and a whole lot of patience. The first six to 12 postpartum weeks are a critical time, as many moms will decide whether or not to continue nursing their infants during this period, with some coming to that conclusion after experiencing lactation mastitis.

        Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue, typically only affecting one breast, which results in redness, swelling, and severe pain. It is often either caused by a clogged milk duct from a partially emptied breast, or bacteria that enter through the broken skin of a nipple or milk duct opening. Flu-like symptoms, including fever (101 degrees F or more) and chills, are typically the first to arise, followed by a painful and/or burning sensation, as well as overall tenderness to the touch. At the onset of this combination of symptoms, consult your healthcare provider, who will prescribe an oral antibiotic to effectively clear the infection.

        Preventing mastitis is easier said than done, but there are a series of risk factors that can increase your chances of suffering from this ailment, including: not emptying your breast during a feeding, favoring one nursing position and/or breast, wearing an ill-fitting bra that may constrict milk flow, sore/broken nipples, poor nutrition, and stress. Nursing moms, especially those prone to developing mastitis, should invest in a comfortable, hassle-free nursing bra—like the Au Lait Seamless Lounge Nursing Bra—that will properly support the breasts both during and in between feedings without restricting them.

        To relieve mastitis pain, fellow moms, doctors, and lactation consultants alike agree on the following tactics:

        1. Drink fluids throughout the day

        2. Rest whenever possible (surely you’ve heard “Sleep when the baby sleeps”)

        3. Empty breasts completely, and hand express (if needed)

        4. Reduce the edema by gently massaging the affected area towards the nipple, using Nine Naturals Vanilla + Geranium Replenishing Belly Butter as a gentle, vitamin-rich lubricant

        5. Apply cold packs following a feeding to ease the hot pain

        6. Wear a properly fitting nursing bra or tank that is supportive of your breasts without being constricting.

        It is most beneficial for you and your baby to continue breastfeeding, even during your bout with mastitis, so don’t allow the temporary discomfort dissuade you from continuing to provide your child with the ultimate nourishment.


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        • How To: Keep Your Milk Supply Up

          The best tips for making more breastmilk for that hungry baby.

          Article &  Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

          For breastfeeding moms, the topic of milk supply is a huge one. Hang around with a few nursing women and you’re bound to hear: Am I making enough? How do I know? My supply is dipping, help! Why won’t my pump actually pump?

          There are so many questions that it can sometimes be overwhelming. The good news is that there are people who will help…and many of them for free! We asked Lactation Consultant and La Leche League Leader Leigh Anne O’Connor to help explain milk supply and show us some ways to increase that miracle liquid gold.

          Removal of Milk from the Breast. The best and most common way for your body to learn to make more milk is for baby to nurse. Removal of milk from the breast is important, because the more this happens, the more your body knows to continually make more milk. The only time this would not be effective is if your baby doesn’t have a good latch, which can be due to a weak latch or lip/tongue tie. If you suspect that your baby has a bad latch or a lip or tongue tie, you should definitely speak to a lactation consultant or your pediatrician. They can help you correct baby’s latch, teach you how to use a nipple shield, or even easily clip the tie.

          Pumping. Pumping is another way to tell your breasts to make more milk. Removal of milk from the breast and the sucking of the pump is a great way to help increase supply and build a stash of milk. A hospital grade pump is usually best for this–many of these, like the Medela Symphony, can be purchased online or rented from your local hospital. Not all women respond to pumps the same, so if you’re not getting a huge output from the pump, don’t be discouraged. In most cases, how much baby removes from the breast isn’t the same as how much the pump removes. The general rule of thumb is if baby seems happy, has enough soiled diapers and is gaining weight, then they should be getting plenty of your milk.

          Lactation Cookies. Delicious and helpful, plus who doesn’t like an excuse to eat cookies? Lactation cookies are made with brewer’s yeast, something that has long been known to help with milk supply. Remember that old wives tale…drink a Guiness to help increase your milk? Well there’s some backbone to that story, and it’s the yeast which has long been known to help with milk supply due to its high concentration of iron and protein. Adding it to cookies is the perfect way to boost supply, and best of all they’re easy to make with tons of variations gracing the pages of Pinterest!

          Fenugreek. Fenugreek has been known to help mothers increase milk supply within a few days. Although this and other herbal supplements haven’t been scientifically proven, most mothers do seem to notice an increase in supply. Whether it’s the placebo effect or not, Fenugreek is safe to take as long as you’re not pregnant (it can cause contractions) or a diabetic.

          Herbal Tea. There are many herbal teas on the market that have a concoction of ingredients to help with milk supply, like Organic Milkmaid Tea by Earth Mama Angel Baby. This tea, and many others, contain Fenugreek, fennel seed, red raspberry and milk thistle, among other herbs, that have been known to help with milk supply.

          Water. Lots of water is a general rule of thumb for nursing mamas, so make sure you’re getting your daily intake to keep hydrated and the milk flowing!

          Oatmeal/Steel Cut Oats. Another item that can help increase milk supply in some moms is oatmeal, or steel cut oats. Whether it helps you or not, it’s great to try because regardless, it’s good for you and has no side effects. Some ways this is thought to increase supply is because it is high in iron. Experts have noted that moms who have low iron can potentially have breast milk production issues, so eating oatmeal will increase iron and, in turn, increase milk supply.

          Domperidone & Reglan. These are two pharmaceutical drugs that can be prescribed to help increase milk supply. Reglan can almost always guarantee an increase in milk supply, but there are side effects, such as irritability, depression and fatigue. Domperidone, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many side effects since it doesn’t enter the brain tissue, but it isn’t approved for use in the U.S. and is only available over-the-counter in Canada.

          Here are some things that could dwindle your supply:

          Scheduling Feedings. Essentially, breastfeeding is established by nursing on demand. While schedules can be demanding or we head back to work after maternity leave, nursing baby exclusively sometimes decreases. Most importantly, baby should be fed on demand, which is whenever they show signs of hunger and generally, that is every two hours or so (sometimes more, sometimes less). Try to nurse and/or pump as much as you can and remember that if you’re a working mom, in most cases, the law is on your side as a nursing mother. Be sure to research your state laws and employers guidelines.

          Birth Control. Birth control pills…something most women have come to seriously rely on! But some birth control pills taken while you’re breastfeeding can cause a significant decrease in your supply. When choosing what is best for you, stray away from contraceptives that contain estrogen and progesterone. Experts almost always suggest the “mini-pill”, or a birth control containing only progestin, such as a Depo-Provera shot or an IUD. Talk with your healthcare provider about what would work best for you while you’re nursing and when the best time to begin it is.

          Sore Nipples. Sore nipples are not fun and can make feeding near tear-inducing. Some ways you can soothe sore nipples are to use a cold compress, like Booby Tubes from Earth Mama Angel Baby. You can also try different positioning to help with your latch. A tongue or lip-tie can also be the culprit of a shallow latch and may help both you and baby.

          Stress and Sickness. If you’re stressed out, not getting support from your partner or family, or coming down with the flu or stomach bug, your supply could dip. It’s best to stay hydrated, eat right and continue to nurse your baby through your sickness. As for support, lean on those who are with you in your breastfeeding journey or attend a support group like La Leche League.

          Supplementing and Pacifiers. While sometimes babies do need milk supplemented, it can hurt your milk supply. When a baby is fed formula, they often stay fuller, longer, which means they’re not getting time at the breast. If you need to supplement, remember to pump in turn of that skipped meal (or two). As for pacifiers, they can be helpful sometimes, but make sure that it isn’t used as a supplement for nutritional sucking.

          So what if you’re doing all of this and it still isn’t working? Not all women can breastfeed, and that’s totally ok. While it can sometimes be a defeated feeling, know that it’s not your fault and that there are other means to feeding your baby how you feel is best. At the end of the day, doing what is best for you and your health, as well as your baby, is the most important thing. Don’t stress, talk to others and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

          This article is by Chelsea Vassi, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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        • How To Donate Breast Milk

          5 Truths about donating breast milk to a mother in need.

          Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

          Recently, a handful of hospitals in NYC started offering something amazing to NICU babies: donor breast milk. It sounds weird to the unknown ear, I know. Donor breast milk? Why? How? I had these same questions when my daughter Ava was born and ended up in the NICU, surrounded by babies who had been born prematurely. I decided to research donating my breast milk, and soonafter, found myself getting deeper into the labyrinth that is human milk. Here’s 5 truths I found during the process.

          1. Babies born prematurely benefit greatly from breast milk, and many of their mothers can’t provide it.

          Babies born prematurely are extremely susceptible to a gastrointestinal disease called Necrotizing Entercolitis. This is a disease where the intestines aren’t fully developed and eventually end up deteriorating, causing holes to develop and waste and bacteria to enter the intestinal tract and ultimately causing life-threatening infections. It is the number one killer of preemie babies, but if they receive breast milk instead of formula during this crucial time, their chance of overcoming this disease is upward of 79%. Breast milk helps these babies thrive, gain weight faster and get the antibodies and nutrients they may otherwise not be getting from formula. It can also help these babies cut their NICU stays in half.

          Many of the mothers of these babies don’t have their milk in yet, and the stress of having a baby in the NICU and having had birthed prematurely makes it difficult for them to produce milk, or enough of it. Donor milk can really help these babies get healthy faster and ultimately save lives and guard against disease. It’s almost baffling that hospitals wouldn’t offer something.

          2. You hear about undersupply, but many new moms pump more than they can use.

          While Ava was in the NICU (due to losing 10% of her birthweight and fever), I began pumping breast milk. My supply was enough for three babies, and I knew it! I stopped pumping a few days after she came home but started up again when I went back to work at four months postpartum. Having an oversupply of milk was hard to manage, but it was better than having an undersupply. I found myself pumping three times a day and bringing home more than Ava ever drank.

          3. Informal milk sharing is not regulated.

          Some women donate informally, finding other people who may need breast milk for their baby locally and giving it to them, person to person. While I tried this once, I felt uncomfortable knowing it wasn’t properly regulated and I was never sure that a baby was using my milk.

          4. Some milk banks use breast milk for research instead of sending it directly to babies in need.

          When I learned about donating breast milk via a milk bank, I felt more comfortable. Still there were pitfalls: I found some milk banks that said they would reimburse me for the cost of my breast pump (over $200!), but after reading more about them, I realized that these were research companies, and that my milk might never even make it to an actual baby.

          5. Donating safely is easier than you think.

          I finally read about the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. They guaranteed that my milk would go to a hospital NICU and help babies who were micro-preemies that weighed under 4lbs.

          Signing up was easy: I did a phone interview with my local HMBANA milk bank, sent my medical records and did blood tests every six months. Every few months I would package up my milk and send it off to FedEx for an overnight delivery to the Mothers Milk Bank Northeast in Massachusetts. From there, they would test the milk, pasteurize it and send it off to hospitals, like Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, where it would go directly to the NICU and be used for preemie babies in need.

          In all, I ended up donating around 400oz. to the milk bank and another 100oz. after that informally, because my milk had gone past the milk banks deadline of three months since pumped.

          I had an amazing experience donating milk and was so thankful I was able to do it. This was something I could easily do, didn’t take a lot of extra time or money and helped save lives and help babies get healthy.

          If you’re interested in breast milk donation, I highly recommend reaching out to HMBANA. If you’re someone who may need breast milk for your baby, talk with your hospital or doctor about getting your baby a prescription for donor milk and if you’re in the northeast, you can directly call MMBNE abut receiving breast milk at 617-527-6263, extension 4.

          Want to donate breast milk to someone in need? Contact:

          Human Milk Banking Association of North America

          Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast

          NEC Society

          This article is by Chelsea Vassi, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.


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