If you are traveling with your baby this holiday season, prepare for a lot of inconveniences. After all, you are no longer in your regular work-home routine. There are quite a few arrangements you need to make before you travel, especially if you are a breast-pumping mother. With just a few tips, however, you should be able to keep the issues down to the bare minimum.

Tips for Holiday Travel

Tip #1: Prepare Everything in Advance

Preparation is key to any kind of stress-free traveling. If you are a breastfeeding or breast-pumping mother, this is even more important. Make sure that you have the breast pump machine sterilized and ready to go, every tube and connector cleaned and fitted. If you have just gotten the breast pump, practice with it before going on the road.

Remember to bring a nursing cover at least, for both breastfeeding and breast-pumping purposes. Unfortunately, there are not always stations for those in every airport or terminal (if traveling by road). A nursing cover or blanket would go a long way towards helping keep the travel stress-free.

Tip #2: Pack Extra of Everything

When traveling, it is the worst feeling in the world when you run out of something while on the road. It is much more difficult to find or buy what you need when you need it. As a result, when it comes to breast-pumping, remember to pack extra of all its components. Well, maybe not the motor. But pack extra sterilized breast shields and bring extra milk collection units.

Tip #3: Plan Your Traveling Schedule

To keep your breastmilk flowing properly, it is important to keep to as regular a schedule of expressing milk as possible. Even if you are on the road, even if you are pumping milk, the same rule applies. Every 2 or 3 hours, you need to pull over (if you are driving) or excuse yourself in an airport or terminal to express milk.

If you are taking a long plane or bus ride, breastfeeding would be easier because you can keep your regular schedule. You can also express milk for the long ride, but then keeping the schedule would be harder. If you are in a car, and driving, plan the stops along your route where you can pull over and breastfeed or pump milk.

Tip #4: Inform Security and Customer Service About Your Needs

While you can bring milk with you into airports and airplanes, tell security at once so they can pass you through quickly. Both security and customer service counters can also help you find clean, isolated places to breastfeed or pump milk. If you are not traveling with anyone, it is best if they can look out for you.

Tip #5: Watch Your Health

Because of travel conditions, you will not be able to keep the breast-pumping equipment as sterilized as it would be at home. Even washing the equipment in regular tap water can be dangerous. Bring bottled water for that purpose, or sterilizing solution.

Travel Safely and Stress-Free This Holiday Season

With some preparation, and a lot of thinking ahead, even travel with an infant and a breast-pump can be an enjoyable experience. These tips will help you avoid many issues that a breastfeeding mother can run into. Happy holidays!

Breastfeeding is more than just a choice or lifestyle option–it’s responsible healthcare. Dr. Arthur I. Eidelman, former president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, told Reuters, “It must be emphasized that breastfeeding should not be conceived as a lifestyle choice of the mother but rather as a basic and priority health decision that each mother must make and thus it is critical to create a supportive environment for this decision process.”

Further, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the exclusive breastfeeding of babies is highly recommended for the first six months of life their lives, and should be continued until the first year even with the introduction of other foods. That’s why it is important that you can pump so that you always have plenty of supply whether you can be there to feed your baby in person or have someone else feed him or her breast milk.

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Moms Can Now Use Breast Pumps in the Workplace

breast-pump-workplaceUnder the Affordable Care Act, working moms are now given the support for lactation that they deserve. Specifically, the provision states that employers must provide adequate time and space in the workplace for new moms to collect milk until their babies turn a year old.

New moms should be able to pump milk in a clean and private space, separate from the bathroom. With this new provision in place, moms can provide milk for their babies even if they decide to go back to the workplace.

This issue is largely an American one, because all other industrialized countries have been in support of breastfeeding for years. In fact, they have paid maternity leaves reaching up to a year.

Overview on the Affordable Care Act for Pregnant and Lactating Mothers

Obama’s healthcare law or what is referred to as the Patient Protection or Affordable Care Act – signed into law by President Barack Obama – boasts of breastfeeding benefits for moms. It even covers breastfeeding support, equipment, and counseling for pregnant and nursing moms.

This new law covers all health insurance plans such as Health Insurance Marketplace Plans with the exception of grandfathered plans. This provides preventive health benefits made affordable and accessible to all women in the United States.

For breast pumps, the insurance coverage takes care of the purchasing costs. Otherwise, it would cost hundreds of dollars for a personal or rented one.

The health insurance plan has detailed guidelines pertaining to breast pumps. Some examples are: the specific schedule that hospitals would be able to provide breast pumps, on whether the mother will be provided with a electric or manual breast pump, and the specific time limits of rented breast pumps. Breastfeeding counseling and support is also provided during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

It is recommended for mothers to consult a physician about the breastfeeding equipment that best suits their needs. Most health insurance plans require consultation with a physician regarding breastfeeding requirements, and require a pre-authorization letter before providing medical services.

Make Breast Pumps All About You

Here are some of the specifications and features that you need to check out when looking for the healthy and perfect fit of your breast pumps:

  • Types of Breast Pumps

    Do you prefer manual or electric breast pumps? If you are a stay-at-home mom, you can use a manual pump. However, if you are returning to work or have to be away for extended hours each day, you will most likely need the electric one.

  • Costs of Breast Pumps 

    With the Obama Affordable Care Act, costs of breast pumps are now fully covered by the provision – whether you decide to buy a new one or rent. Breast pumps are usually bought over-the-counter in medical supply stores, baby stores, and drugstores nationwide. It is also relatively safe to use rented hospital-grade breast pumps.

  • Cleaning and Storage

    Make sure that you buy breast pumps that can easily be assembled and cleaned. Make sure you find one which is user-friendly. Look for lightweight breast pumps with insulated storage cases that you can easily carry, especially if you are a working mom.

  • Suction Phases

    Check if the suction levels can be easily adjusted for ease and comfort. If you are using an electric breast pump, make sure that the suction levels and speed can be adjusted.

  • Breast Shield Sizes

    The breast shields refer to the cone cups that fit your nipples. It is important that they are comfortable to wear and accurate to your size, just like a bra. If the breast shields don’t fit, they could either fall off or pinch while pumping.

Many women prefer getting both electrical and manual breast pumps in case of power failure. You just need to look for the right breast pump that will provide you the comfort and efficiency that you need to continue breastfeeding your baby. It is always best to seek the advice and recommendation of a lactation consultant when deciding what breast pump is most appropriate for your needs.

To help you get started, check out these top 3 bestseller and most popular breast pumps featured in Amazon and other shopping websites online:

Simple Wishes Hands Free Breastpump+Bra

breast-pump-affordable-care-actA clear favorite with working and stay-at-home moms with 4.7/5 stars on the Amazon website (and their #1 seller), the Simple Wishes hands-free breastpump+bra was invented by four sisters. As they reached motherhood, they challenged themselves to create solutions for mothers who could not breastfeed regularly, but still wanted to make sure their babies got the necessary immunities and nutrients from their mothers’ milk.

This particular breast pump is an electric double-breast pump. An eighty-three percent cotton, seventeen percent spandex velcro-adjustable bra is zipped in the front, with independent openings for each breast. When you want to draw milk, simply attach the containers to the breasts through the openings, pull the flaps up to hold the pumps in place, and begin pumping. The best part is, if you already have a breast pump but need a way to pump without having to hold it, you can purchase the bra independently.

Don’t believe how awesome it is? Just listen to these reviews:

“Being able to use both my hands while pumping is wonderful. I am able to hold my baby girl as well and for me since I also work full time being able to hold my baby and pump when I get home and in turn it saves time.” – Rebecca K., on the Simple Wishes website

“I look forward to continuing to be able to feed my baby [breast] milk for many more months with the help of this bra and being able to pump in comfort while at work.” – Arlene O., on the Simple Wishes website

“I pump three times a day Monday-Friday while I’m at work. It allows me to use the double pump and is really hands free.” – R. Harpole on Amazon

“I consider this item in my CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT category. I don’t understand why this bra is not sold in every baby store, right next to the pump.” – user musicandy6909 on Amazon

The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump

breat-pump-reviewsWith 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump follows closely on the heels of the Simple Wishes kit. Designed by a Swiss company of the Larsson family devoted to the promotion of natural approaches to medicine and other health-related concerns, Medela was the first to create a program that allowed lactating mothers to pump milk in the workplace for their newborns.

The Medela Pump in Style breastpump is an electric double-breast pump. It is beautifully portable, with three kit options that resemble simple shoulder-bags, hand-bags, or backpacks. It’s designed for easy daily use, even if the mother uses it several times a day. It only needs 8 AA batteries to work, and has an ice pack and space for four milk bottles. This makes it ideal for the working mother.

But why believe us? Let’s ask the reviews.

“I am a mother of 4 month old twins. It can be challenging breastfeeding twins. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my pump.” – April Wesselman, on the Medela website

“While I was on maternity leave, my pump allowed me to stock pile milk to help me with my transition back to work. Now that I’m back to work full time, my freestyle pump allows me to express milk quickly and efficiently so I know my daughter can get the best thing for her.” – Erin, on the Medela website

“This is one powerful little machine! I would definitely recommend this. Going back to work full time, I knew I needed a good pump–this is perfect!” – Hope, on Amazon

“Excellent pump! This thing is a lifesaver. I use it everyday multiple times a day and it doesn’t give up. I’ve had it for a month now and love it. Its also easy to clean and store.” – Ashley, on Amazon

The Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump

breast-pump-obamacareRating 4.6/5 on Amazon, the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump is third most popular on that site. Also founded by a Swiss Company, engineer Einar Egnell committed to setting standards for breast pumps, so that mothers would get quality care no matter what they bought.

The Ameda Breast Pump is an electric, double-breast pump. One advantage that this breast pump has is flexibility: not only can it be plugged in, but it can run on batteries or be hooked up to the car if needed. It is also custom-designed to feel as natural as possible while the mother is pumping her milk. However, it does not have the no-hands feature of the Simple Wishes breast pump, or the easy-to-carry kit of the Medela pump.

Let’s see what the reviewers have to say.

“First try, WOW! it was very comfortable and I couldn’t wait to tell my husband how much I like it already! No regret buying this machine at all.” – Y.Y. Chang, on Amazon

“This is great for Mom to use while at work. Just roll into the car and pump away. Works out super for the professional Mom who can’t pump in the office and has to use the car.” – user A. Gift For You on Amazon

“I love having this on hand in my car. As a working mom it’s not always 100% guarantee that I will be going straight home after work or just when I’m running around doing errands I can just take a few minutes to pull over and make sure I don’t go too long without pumping.” – Lyzeth Gomez, on Amazon

Choosing the Best Electric Breast Pump For You

Before you get an electric breast pump, study which one would be ideal for your needs. If you are a stay-at-home or a work-at-home mom, the Simply Wishes breast pump might be ideal because it leaves your hands free to hold your baby, wash the dishes, or even just rest with a good magazine. This is also ideal because it only has a power cord, cannot be used in the car, and it might be difficult to use in the work place.

If you are a working mother based outside your home, it might be better to get the Medela breast pump. Easy to carry, and packaged so well that it does not look like a breast pump from the outside, it’s a good choice for a working mother sitting in one office all day, and only taking breaks to pump milk. The ice pack and milk bottle storage function is perfect for bringing milk home to your baby. It can also be battery-run at a pinch.

If you are a mother who is always on the move, in marketing or real estate or any related job, the Ameda has an additional function that will help you: the provision for a car adapter. If you are often on the road, moving from one place to another several times a day (or if your car trips are relatively long), use the Ameda to make sure that even on the go, your breastmilk will reach your baby.

Getting the right breast pump is a good investment for you and your baby’s health. You cannot take a risk or go cheap with your baby’s nourishment needs. The Obama Affordable Care Act on providing breast pumps for lactating moms is definitely a huge boost of support for moms who are well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and are willing to go the extra mile to provide the best nourishment for their infants. This Act has provided the essential and supportive platform that moms need to encourage breastfeeding for generations to come.

There is a breast pump for every type of mother – whether you are working in the corporate world, running a business, or a multitasking stay-at-home mom. There should be no excuses for not being able to breastfeed your baby. No mom is too busy to breastfeed. Even in a busy, competitive, and chaotic world – babies are every mom’s top priority.

Obamacare and Lactation Consultants

As the great Winston S. Churchill would put it “ Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country could have” – US President Barack Obama couldn’t agree more when he signed in support of Obamacare on March 23, 2010, which was subsequently approved by the Supreme Court last June 28, 2012. This law is also commonly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or simply Affordable Care Act (ACA) which regulates health insurance companies; in which some would tend to rip off clients for profit. Obamacare offers timely and just regulations that help protect and ensure you get the right health insurance benefits and coverage that you deserve. This also improves Medicaid or CHIP services for kids and adults, requires medium- and large-scale businesses to insure their employees, prevents unlawful gender discrimination, and guarantees that all plans provide coverage for minimum benefits; to name some.

Obamacare-breastfeeding-MomThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision also upholds and believes in the value of breastfeeding for the health and bonding of both moms and newborns. This health care act aims to encourage and provide continuous breastfeeding support and requires that professional fees for lactation consultants and breastfeeding supplies such as breast pumps be covered by insurance companies and offered to patients free of cost. This is certainly great news for moms who are new or are open to the idea of breastfeeding but need the professional help to do such with ease and precision. More so, breastfeeding advocates are also in full support of this act. The demand for lactation consultants is on the rise in response to this breastfeeding provision. Lactation consultants are health professional in the maternal-child health industry specializing in breastfeeding and counseling. These healthcare providers commonly work by private or public practice in hospitals. Accredited or certified lactation consultants bear the initials – RLC or IBLC – which means that they are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. The dilemma with this health act provision is that there are some health insurance companies that do not cover lactation consultancy services due to lack of lactation consultants in and out of their networks. Moms are advised to see their pediatricians instead which lack the training and proficiency in lactation counseling.

There is a huge demand now more than ever when it comes to professional lactation consultants because of Obamacare and it has opened doors of opportunities for people who are aspiring to join the practice. Dr. Linda Rosenstock, head of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women confirms this need in the medical industry as according to her “First efforts at breastfeeding are not as intuitive as it seems. Some women need additional professional support so they do it well and continue to do it”. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for Lactation Consultants in the US is $26.28. Best for Babes Organization also confirms that the rate for lactation consultancy services is currently set at $120 to $300 per session which is by far worth the price tag because you get expert and up-to-date knowledge and care on breastfeeding your baby properly while ensuring overall maternal health and also receive information on the latest breastfeeding products. This is certainly a lucrative position for someone on the lookout for a high-paying and rewarding career in the medical field.

affordable care act breast feeding pump

 

How would you ensure your baby’s health as well as safety? When it comes to newborns, breastfeeding is one of the effective ways to secure it. But not all mothers are blessed with sufficient breast milk. Some of them are not even capable of giving any drops of it. This is where breast milk donating (or breast milk donation) comes into the picture.

As a mother and parent, it is very important to ensure that your baby would always be ready to fight any types of disease or threat. Viruses are just waiting for their chances to attack. To avoid this, breast milk or breastfeeding will take great part in maintaining your baby’s healthy body.

Importance of Breast Milk Donating

Why do you think breast milk donation is important? For mothers who have sufficient breast milk, issues regarding milk sources and health conditions will not be a big deal. But for those moms who are troubled and worried of having insufficient milk and unhealthy baby, this problem is very serious. Nutrients and other substances needed by your baby can be found in mothers’ breast milk. Unfortunately, baby formula cannot replace the beneficial properties of good old fashioned breast milk.

breast milk donatingThe Process of Donation

For those mothers who have excess milk and those mothers who are in need of it, the process of breast milk donating might seem scary, but it isn’t. The steps are fairly simple:

  1. Participation of mothers who have excess breast milk must first ensure that their own baby or babies have been fully fed before deciding to donate breast milk.
  2. When a mother decides to donate breast milk, the next procedure is to apply through an authorized and recognized breast milk donation center. After the donor’s application is processed, the donor applicant will receive confirmation within one or two weeks.
  3. Through donor screening, a facility will decide whether or not you are a good fit. At this point the donor’s blood will be tested to get vital blood information such as profile of DNA identity. This is all a necessary step to ensure the milk’s safety.
  4. Delivery. The last part of donation process is its delivery. When the applicant donor is identified as healthy and qualified, notification will be sent to both the donor and the recipient.

Various Perspectives on Breast Milk Donation

Donor’s Perspective

Donors are the suppliers in milk bank. The need of breast milk is highly needed in varied countries and in various families dwelling in the land. To meet this type of exceptional need, milk bank existed. Mothers who need breast milk for babies will be guaranteed of hundred percent safety because every breast milk donor have undergone intensive screening.

Parent’s Perspective

For every parent, optimal condition of baby’s health will be the primary concern. Whenever baby’s mother is lacking of breast milk source, pasteurized breast milk of donor will take great part in maintaining baby’s health. Donor milk is the best solution in providing enough breast milk resource. Aside from that, medication and other medical issues will be avoided. In terms of safety, donor breast milk is tried and proven to be very safe. This is assured through careful screening.

Health Professionals

Health care professionals are always welcome to clarify some facts or information about donor breast milk. Some of the vital facts about it include the following:

  • Donor breast milk have been widely used increasingly by intensive care units (neonatal). Its utilization reaches 42.5 percent in 22011 compared to its utilization rate in 2007, which is about 11.5 percent.
  • In every year, average bank of milk is able to process as well as distribute about $150 000 milk ounces each year.
  • There are studies suggesting that utilization of donor milk will be able to reduce (about 80%) NEC risk.

donating breast milk

News on Breast Milk Donation

To comply with babies breast milk needs, a non-profit organization in Pennsylvania have funded Three Rivers Mother’s Milk Bank that will be opened in later summer or in early fall. This the first milk bank to be set in the country.

Denise O’Conner, the founder as well as president of the said organization have been interested in milk bank concept. The said bank will be providing breast milk to the sickest babies in Pennsylvania as well as West Virginia’s intensive care units (neonatal). Also, the organization will be building out laboratories, classroom spaces, offices and many more for milk bank’s facilities. Donors willingly cooperate and contact the organization to talk about milk donation. To ensure milk safety, donor applicants undergo intensive screening.

Babies are truly angels, gift given in each family. This is why securing their health and safety becomes the top most priority of each parent. Breast milk is very essential for them. The major problems that may arise is when mothers have insufficient supply of it. In this, milk banks (through breast milk donating) is one of the major effective solutions.

 

Nervous about unbuttoning your blouse in public? It’s an awkward moment for every nursing mother. And it’s equally the same feeling of inconvenience with breastfeeding in airports, while traveling. It is certainly different than feeding at home. While it may be frowned upon by some people, it is perfectly legal to breastfeed your baby in public, and this includes breastfeeding in airports. 

The reality is that while airports are going the extra mile in the terminal to make your layover more enjoyable, the whole nursing thing is treated like an unwanted black sheep in the family. Most airports don’t offer a designated friendly establishment for nursing moms and the ones that do are negligent in making it known. So what sort of impression does this leave you lactating mothers?

breastfeeding room airport

Breastfeeding nursing room at San Jose International Airport

First of all, remember that breastfeeding your child is your right. When it comes to breastfeeding in public, we are all supposed to stand up and applaud the practice. But as anyone who has breastfeed in an airport can testify, it ain’t easy. And we can all pretty much agree that air travel, even in the best of circumstances, isn’t fun. It is particularly harrowing and this is especially true if a lactating mom has to return to work.

As uncomfortable as it can be, the best bet is to inquire at the information service counter if there is a facility for nursing mothers. Family changing room might be considered a reasonable accommodation, which may at least have a comfy chair, a handicapped bathroom and your last resort, a regular bathroom. If you are lucky enough to have access to a business class lounge, your situation is a lot easier.

Recently, a survey reveals that despite new state and federal workplace laws that require certain employers to provide moms who breastfeed or pump with lactation room, ideally a private space with a chair, table and electrical outlet, airports are doing a pretty lame job one at that.

The study, a phone survey of customer service representatives at 100 U.S. airports, found out that only 37 actually had a designated lactation room, although 62 of the airports said they were breastfeeding friendly. Furthermore, in 25 of those airports, the so-called lactation room was a unisex/family bathroom. 

Only eight US airports met the minimum requirement for a breast-pumping mother: San Francisco International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Indianapolis International Airport, Mineta San Jose International Airport, Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio, Dane County Regional in Wisconsin and Florida’s Pensacola International Airport. 

“Finding a clean, private room other than a bathroom to express her milk at the airport was the biggest challenge for the traveling breast-pumping mother,” the authors of the study note.

Mamava nursing stations

Mamava nursing stations are installed at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.

This is about as dismal a finding as you can get, and what it comes down to highlights how little our society understands and supports the importance of breastfeeding and the needs of nursing mothers. This underscores the continuing difficulty of that challenge.

USA Today however says, “An increasing number of airports around the country are creating nursing stations for traveling mothers.” Airports can now claim to be mom-friendly.

David Jaacks, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and his Smithfield Company have come up with a design for a small enclosure for nursing moms, a “lactation suite,” that could soon spread to public areas including airports and malls worldwide.

Just this week, Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport is opening two new, specially designed lactation rooms in the Lindbergh terminal, near gates F1 and C13. As this study suggests, MSP may be the cheeriest and most welcoming airport in the nation. For several years, it has had a comfortable, well equipped “nursing mothers room” near Gate C13 in the Lindbergh terminal.

airport breastfeeding pod

Breastfeeding pod, Mamava nursing station, at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.

Additionally, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey plans to introduce the free-standing lactation “pods” in Terminal B at Liberty Newark International Airport and in LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal Building. And Terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport are pondering upon installing lactation areas. Other global international airports also offer a list of nursing venues, and kudos to Changi for having as many nursing rooms as it does gates.

The physical demands of breastfeeding can be overwhelming and perhaps stressful, as it takes a lot of attention and it’s sort of exhausting. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast feeding infants exclusively for the first six months of their lives, and continued supplemental breastfeeding as other foods are introduced to the infant’s diet.

In today’s modern world, it’s quite methodical to feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, even doing so discreetly. While many people aren’t thrilled about having a baby near them in flight, public awareness is imperative in a way that people should truly understand the importance of lactating pods, and how easy it is to support moms on their breastfeeding journey.