Welcome, Mama! It feels surreal writing this first post, not knowing a blog would be a passion of mine, but suddenly it is. I'm SO excited to bring you a space where mothers can connect, learn and gain confidence in themselves as women and mothers. Here's how this Lil'Blog will work: every month we will have a Guest Contributor from the community who will share on topics related to birth, motherhood, and breastfeeding. The goal is to connect you, Mama, with resources and information that support YOU. We have amazing contributors scheduled for this year, so I hope you will join in the fun and learn with me.
To celebrate the debut of our blog, we've teamed up with some amazing local shops for a unique mama+baby giveaway at the end of this post!
But first, a little bit about me and how lil'buds® came to be!
A Little About Me
My name is Portland, and I am the mother who designed and created lil'buds® Breast Comfort Packs. I was born and raised in Hawai'i on the island of O'ahu. I had no idea when I left Hawai'i to attend college in Boston that some day I would return here to raise a family and own a business! After graduating from Wellesley College, I got married and we made our way across the country and finally settled in Hawai'i where I taught middle and high school math and science for three years. After giving birth to my oldest daughter in 2009, I realized I wanted to focus on being a mom, so I left my teaching position to focus on motherhood.
Lil'buds® started out as a little tiny thought, about 7 years ago, when I was battling mastitis with my first daughter. Here's what I remember: laying on a towel and holding a wet warm washcloth on my breast.... biting my lip to distract me from the excruciating pain in my breast when my daughter was breastfeeding.... hot showers... painful massages... Every bit of it made me want to quit, but my OB kept saying - 'don't stop breastfeeding!' So I survived, but It was horrible. I thought, 'if only there was a better option for pain relief!' You see, back then (I sound as if it's ages ago, when really it wasn't), I had no smart phone, no social media, no support groups, no Amazon Prime, no hashtags to search like #mastitissucks or #breastfeedingproblems (those were the days when # still meant number, yeah, remember those days?). Being a first time mom, with some postpartum anxiety, I wasn't keen on reaching out to strangers in a support group, so my resources were limited to pretty much my OB and Babies 'R Us. I went looking for some kind of comfort pack that wouldn't drip water everywhere... but couldn't find anything suited to my needs.
Fast forward a couple years to after I had my second child. I came back to my idea, I brainstormed, I sketched, I cut up some fabric, I tried out different fillings, and my nights were consumed with this little project. Suddenly it hit me one day that this little idea worked. I wanted a comfort pack that was: wearable, functional, chic, earth friendly, and dry. Something that could provide targeted relief to an area of the breast, that could be hot or cold, and that would avoid a tender nipple. After months of working on a design, I sent out a few pairs to family and friends. The response: overwhelmingly positive. So it was, lil'buds® was born.
In launching my idea, my only hope was that lil'buds® would help make those not-so-enjoyable breastfeeding problems (clogged ducts, mastitis) just a little bit more endurable and comfortable - maybe even avoidable. if lil'buds® could help a mom achieve her breastfeeding goals, whether it was 3 months, 6 months, or 18 months... then it would be worth it!
Making an All Natural Product
It was really important to me that I made a product that wouldn't add more waste to an already wasteful planet. Living on an island, in the middle of the Pacific, we are maybe more conscious of the impact of our lifestyle on the environment around us. Plastic pollution is a real thing here; it washes up on our beaches, it affects our marine life. So everything about lil'buds® is earth friendly from the recycled chip board box, to the 100% cotton fabric, to the all natural seed filling. The best part about making lil'buds® entirely earth friendly and biodegradable, is that it makes a product that works, and works far superior to any plastic equivalent (at least in my opinion!).
My Own Personal Experience
I didn't get the chance to use lil'buds® for myself until after I had my third child. A little bit of me was scared that they wouldn't work for me like they had for everyone else who had tried my samples, or had already gotten a pair for themselves. But, in the first few days after our third baby Reese was born, I was using my lil'buds® every 3 hours... all day... every day. They were amazing. I was using them hot to help maximize my pump sessions at the hospital. If you didn't know, applying heat to your breasts before a feed or pump session helps to increase your let down, allowing more milk to leave the breast. To get the most milk each pump session, I was placing warm lil'buds® inside my nursing bra at least 10-15 minutes before I pumped. The heat felt SO good too.
I've been exclusively breastfeeding more than six months now, with no mastitis. It's the longest I've made it with any of my children, and I thank my lil'buds® for this. I've had several clogged ducts, but the blockages have always cleared by wearing heated lil'buds® before a feed or pump session and gently massaging my breast after let down. I love my lil'buds® and hope you do too. <3
Last but not least.... a GIVEAWAY!
We've teamed up with some of our favorite local brands to bring you a very special Aloha Mama+Baby giveaway. One lucky mama will win goodies from each of the shops below. Join us tomorrow (1/27/17) on Instagram to enter!