The Unwanted Package

In the last week, eight of my breastfeeding friends plus me have received formula samples in the mail.  One of my friends isn’t even married with children and she received samples.

Mine was for “my special preemie” and they sent formula designed for preemies (which in and of itself is a joke).  I feel really bad for the representative I got on the phone when I called to complain.  I was passed along until I got a supervisor and got somewhat of an apology, but even that isn’t enough.  I know it wasn’t customer service or the sales representatives that sent it to me, but they are the ones I could talk to, and I needed to vent.  (If I talked to you on the phone and made you feel bad, I am truly sorry!)

Now, a lot of people will disagree with me (mainly formula feeders), but sending out samples in the mail to people that didn’t request them is just plain wrong.

This isn’t a post about breast being best or about if people should donate the samples they get.  No, this post is purely and simply a post about how giving out samples of formula to women is just plain wrong.

My friend Accustomed Chaos wrote an incredible post about the WHO code (which the United States signed) and how everything formula companies/hospitals/doctors are doing is violating this code.

Just to summarize the WHO code which deals with breast-milk substitutes including infant formula, other milk products, food & beverages when marked (or represented) as full or partial substitute of breast-milk, feeding bottles and pacifiers & bottle nipples (taken from Accustomed Chaos’ post):

My abridged version of the code:

  • No advertising of any of these products to the public
  • No special displays, discount coupons, special sales for products within the code to consumer at retail level to induce sales
  • No free samples to mothers or pregnant women, infants or children – including gifts or articles which may promote use of breast-milk substitutes or bottle-feeding
  • No promotion of products in health care facilities, including the distribution of free or low-cost supplies – no posters, brochures or special displays in a health care setting
  • No company sales representatives, in their business capacity, are to advise mothers, pregnant women directly or indirectly
  • No gifts, personal samples or low-price sales to institutions, organizations or workers within the health care field
  • No words, pictures or statements idealizing artificial feeding, no pictures of infants on labels for breast-milk feeding substitutes.
  • Information on artificial infant feeding should clearly state the superiority of breast feeding & a clear advisement to only use at the advice of health care provider
  • Unsuitable products (sweetened condensed milk, almond milk etc) should not be promoted for babies & be clearly marked as so – including no instructions on how to modify for the purpose of infant feeding

When you turn on the TV, most times you *will* see a commercial for how baby formula is now “just the same as breastmilk”.  You will see advertising for baby bottles, for companies that say their product is the best thing you can give your baby.  And, regardless of what you think, we are taken in by advertising.  Or what would be the point of them spending millions of dollars on one commercial?

The marketing and promotion of something that isn’t as good, hell it isn’t even comparable to breastmilk, is in direct violation of this code.  Every day, families see these commercials or are handed formula samples, and since they say that it is a good choice, or it is the best for your baby, they question their own parenting choices.  Especially if they are in those first few weeks of breastfeeding and are having troubles.  Nothing is worse than handing someone a food that isn’t comparable, and telling them it is easier and better.

I have a friend that used formula strictly because it was there.  Babies nurse all the time, a lot of the time not because they are hungry but because they need the contact from their mother.  They were with them constantly for 10 months, it isn’t normal for them to be separated for hours after birth.  They are used to hearing her heartbeat, to feeling her breathe.  When you take that away, they are being put into a world they don’t know and don’t know how to find the comfort they once used.

So they turn to comfort nursing, which can last hours or days.

This is normal. This is how baby’s are made to be.

When new mothers get these samples in the mail, when they are tired, touched out, worried, and don’t have the support nursing mother’s need, it is a very easy option to use.  And, it always seems to come in the mail when mothers are worried about supply or are very very tired.

This is wrong.

My experience is different, since I was sent formula for my dead son, but it is still the same.  I received samples of formula when I did not ask for them.

And this is the crux of the problem.

When people receive these samples, it raises the cost of formula.  They can’t be sending out cans of formula without upping their cost.  They are hoping that people buy formula because they used it and now have to with their child, and if it doesn’t happen, like with me, they are losing money.

And the mothers that use formula are the ones that pay.  Literally.

Formula is already very expensive without it being pushed up even more.

Now sure, in essence, those that receive formula samples could donate them to women’s shelters or to formula feeding families.  Which is great.

However, it was sent to them.  The company has their name and address.  The only way to truly show they do not want these samples, because even calling them does nothing, is to send this formula back.  My friend @moshermama wrote all over the box that it wasn’t wanted, that their slogan was wrong, and then preceded to to call them and chew them out, same as I did.

It isn’t as simple as donating the formula and it will never happen again.  I wish it was that simple.

These companies need to know what they are doing is wrong.  It is undermining a breastfeeding relationship strictly for monetary gain.  It is undermining women’s confidence.  They are flat out lying to them.

These companies need to know that their samples aren’t appreciated.  These companies need to know that they are violating a code which our country signed.  These companies need to know that they are not only ruining something natural, but they are hurting children, especially premature children.  Many studies have proven this.

The best way to accomplish this is to send back those samples.  To call the company.  To write the company.

And to spread the word on the WHO Code.  To spread the word on how breastfeeding is normal and how formula will never compare.

Until we become more active in trying to uphold the Code, many many more breastfeeding relationships will be ruined, and many many more lactivists will be receiving unwanted formula samples.

We need to become a country where women are supported through breastfeeding instead of a country where women are told it isn’t any better than a secondary option.

This Code has been signed.  It needs to be put in full effect.

In the United States, this code is monitored by the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA). Violations can be sent through mail to NABA, 254 Conant Rd, Weston MA 02493 email: Marshalact@aol.com, along with the code watch form.

Please, report these violations.  Report when you receive samples.  Even if you decide to donate the samples, please just do the little thing and report this so we can become a country that follows what we sign.

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My Must Have Pumping Items – Earth Mama Angel Baby

*** Before I start, I want to say that to breastfeed, you truly don’t need anything besides breasts!  Everything else is gravy.  Same for pumping.  You don’t even really need a pump if you are able to manually express.  These are just products that were donated to me, and I decided to do reviews on them because of their generosity and how much I loved all the products.  I am doing these reviews on my own, and received no monetary compensation or anything besides their selfless donation to me in my need for items. ***

Earth Mama Angel Baby is a company a lot of people in the birth world hear about and recommend more than any other.  They have things from Pregnancy to Baby and even have things for Baby Loss.  Their products are all certified organic and vegan, meaning in this growingly green world, every family can use their products.

When they heard I was pumping to donate, they eagerly offered to send me some of the products.  They asked me what I needed, and by that point I only needed some nipple cream, so they offered to send their Nipple Butter.

I received the package, and opened the box of nipple butter and it smelled delicious!  The Nipple Butter is made of organic olive oil, organic calendula extract, organic cocoa butter, organic shae butter, candelilla wax, and mango butter, all of which make it non-greasy, smell great, soothing, and healing.

Within seconds of putting it on, my nipples had zero pain.  With other creams I had, there were little twinges left or pokes and pains, but with this nipple butter, all pain just disappeared!

When I ended up getting the sore on my nipple last week, I would rub breastmilk on it and let it dry, and then slathered it with this nipple butter.  In two days it was gone, and there was no soreness left over.  This stuff is like magic!

They also sent me a box of their Organic Milkmaid Tea!

I had my first cup of it yesterday (I don’t want to drink too much because my supply is going up enough on its own haha) and it was delicious.  I add a little honey to my tea, and it was just to die for!  The ingredients of this one are organic fennel, organic fenugreek, orgranic red raspberry leaf, organic stinging nettle, organic spearmint leaf, organic orange peel, organic anise seed, organic caraway seed, and organic alfalfa leaf.  I use most of those in my own tea mixes, and the mix they made was absolutely delicious.

Since I only drank it yesterday, and only the one cup, I don’t know if it built my supply more (I hope not haha) but it would be cool if it did, just from that one cup a day.  Plus, I love that it is caffeine free, which is one thing that is important to me while pumping.  Now, I don’t know any more milk or milkmaid tea that has caffeine, but I love that “Caffeine Free” is written on the box.

Most the more milk teas I have smelled, all smell like black licorice to me, which isn’t very appealing (to me at least) but Milkmaid Tea doesn’t have that strong smell.  This one actually smells so good, which is a big deal to me!

They also sent me their Healing Heart Comfort Kit.

I pulled this out of the box and I knew this would help me to be able to calm down if I needed it or give me that extra boost when I was feeling down.

This kit contains:

Healing Heart Mist

Seeds of Hope

Light of My Heart Candle

and Harmony Tea.

We are waiting until payday to get a pot to plant the seeds, but I have tried everything else.  The tea is amazing.  To me, it tastes and smells like apple cider (I think it is because of the ginger) and I can’t get enough of it.  The candle helps me calm down.  And I spray just a little of the mist right before I pump, and it calms me down enough for me to relax and pump for 20 minutes.  It is like my own personal area when I spray it.

If you have lost a baby, or know someone that has, this is a great set to give yourself or gift to them.  It helps me become more centered, and relaxed and right now that is one of the best things for me.

Earth Mama Angel Baby also has a sister site – Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort.  I have found a lot of great information on this site that has helped me.

I am *in love* with Earth Mama Angel Baby products.  Not only do they have things for everyone, but their customer service is incredible.  They are a selfless company that makes products for every family.  No matter your situation, or what you need, they probably have something that fits what you are looking for.

I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby to everyone!  You will not be disappointed!

My Must Have Pumping Items – Bamboobies

*** Before I start, I want to say that to breastfeed, you truly don’t need anything besides breasts!  Everything else is gravy.  Same for pumping.  You don’t even really need a pump if you are able to manually express.  These are just products that were donated to me, and I decided to do reviews on them because of their generosity and how much I loved all the products.  I am doing these reviews on my own, and received no monetary compensation or anything besides their selfless donation to me in my need for items. ***

One thing I knew when after Glade and when I started becoming more “crunchy” was that I didn’t want to use disposable nursing pads with my next baby.  I wanted reusables.  Wool, cotton, bamboo.  I wanted them all.

With Glade I had to use maxi pads because I leaked so heavily.  I was a milk making machine.  This time is a little different.  I leak a little during the day, but overnight, when I don’t pump as often or at all, I have to have a very thick pad so I don’t soak the bed.

Bamboobies donated two of their regular pads, and one set of overnights to me to help me as I pumped, and even just taking them out of the bag I was amazed at how soft they are!

My nipples felt like everything touching them was barbed wire, so I tenderly placed the regular bamboobies in my shirt, and I was amazed at how smooth they felt, even against my nipples that I was sure looked like raw meat.  It felt good!

My favorite part about the regular bamboobies is the bamboo, which is incredibly soft, but it is also anti-microbial, which is great if you have sores, cracks, or even just tender nipples.  Anything to stave off infection is perfect with me!

Another great thing to Bamboobies, is that the more you wash them, the softer they get!  I have had mine for almost two weeks and have washed them twice, and I can already feel the difference.  I cannot wait for them to get softer with time.  They are already like silk, any softer will be amazing!

I also really really love that Bamboobies are handmade by a mother of two in Colorado!  It makes them that much more special and perfect since they were made by a mom for moms.

After about a week of pumping, I noticed my supply was going up and I needed something thicker to pump with.

Enter Overnight Bamboobies!

They are thicker, and bigger for those first months of nursing before your supply evens out, plus, they are great for nights or days when you just need that little extra.  I can wear these all night, and won’t leak out of them, and for me that is HUGE.  I don’t pump after I go to bed, so I need something that would hold in 10+ ounces of milk until I got up the next morning.  And these did the trick!

They are soft, made of really soft fleece and bamboo and they hold a lot, plus, are really soft on sore nipples.  Soft is a huge thing for me.  Even if you have nursed or pumped before, until your nipples get used to it, they can feel like they were chopped into pieces and when something rough touches them you want to jump out of your skin.  These are great for those moments, and help sooth the hurt, so you can relax.

Both the regular and the overnights are so perfect for those looking for washable nursing pads.  So soft (as I have mentioned a lot haha), but they are very easy to wash, to use, and even with the overnight Bamboobies, I haven’t had any trouble with them showing through my shirt like other pads.  They help keep my leaks contained, all the while soothing my really sore nipples.

If you are looking for nursing pads, even if you think you want disposables, I highly recommend Bamboobies!  You will not regret it!

Pumping – A Full Time Job

I pumped when my daughter was in the NICU, and I pumped the two days I worked a week when I went back when she was 5 1/2 months old.  I didn’t think there was that much to it.  But, I also didn’t pump very much.

Now, I am learning the error of my ways.

When I started pumping this time, I had my $40 Evenflo single electric pump that I bought when Glade was transfered to the NICU.  First off, OUCH.  Second, this pump sucks, please do not buy it.  EVER.

Now, I am not ragging on the pump.  It gets the job done, to an extent.  I had to manually express when the pump stopped getting milk out, and I would end up getting another half ounce or more just from that.  The pump did help build my supply until my other pump got here, and that is great, but again, it just is a really crappy pump.

That first week and a half of pumping was tiring.  I pumped every 3 hours (from start of one session to start of the next), and each pumping session would take 40 minutes to an hour because I could only pump one breast at a time, and I would make sure to pump each breast at least twice to build my supply.  It was time consuming and exhausting.  Six to eight hours of my day was spent attached to a pump.  And when Blake would be at work for 8 hours a day, and I had to make sure Glade was behaving, it was just so tiring.

Before my new pump got here, I started having shooting pain after pumping.  It would come and go, and I didn’t feel sick, so we narrowed it down to it probably being that I needed new flanges (the horn parts of the pump that your breast sits in).  I had to wait until I pumped next to check, but then figured out that my flanges (the standard size that comes with all pumps) were really big so I needed smaller ones.  I didn’t want to order new ones before my new pump got there in case those flanges fit better, so I waited to see how I did sizing wise on my new pump.

It got here and I checked the sizing and knew that right away I would need to order an insert to make them smaller.  I ordered inserts, and knew it would take about a week for them to get here.

This time I thought I was finally in the clear.

Boy, was I wrong.

When it rains it pours.

Friday we went to visit Tyrion, and on the way home I knew it was about time to pump, but things felt a little weird.  I was harder than I normally am after three hours, but I didn’t think much of it.  We got home and I started pumping, but the lump wasn’t going away.  And barely anything was coming out of my right breast.

I called out for help from my amazing twitter friends, and they wrote back with what I figured it was.

A clogged duct.

I never had one with Glade.   After we figured out nursing, things went really smooth.  We never had problems.  So a clogged duct was completely new to me.

I was flooded with tips and tricks to nip it in the bud.  Hot showers, heat, massage, and lots of rest and fluids were the best advice I got!  I didn’t increase the number of times I pumped because I didn’t want to have to wean down from it, but I did make sure to pump for a longer period of time and massage and give heat while I did.

It was the most exhausting thing I have ever done in my life.

It felt that no matter what I did, the lump would not go away.  I kept heat on it, I massaged it, I pumped, and nothing worked.

Saturday the lump was there and my breast was so sore from the massage.

Sunday was the worst.  Even if I walked it would feel like my breast was ripping apart from the inside.  The only thing that helped was a rice bag so hot it felt like it was scorching my skin, but even then, once I got used to the heat, the pain would come back.

I felt just awful.

More than once that day I thought of giving up and just being done.  That pumping for another baby couldn’t be worth this pain.  I knew it was the pain talking, but I was so over the hurt and exhaustion from trying to get rid of a lump that obviously wanted to stay with me forever.

And then, Sunday night, I was doing my evening pumping session, and was about to massage the breast while it was being pumped, and I reached down, and my breast was completely soft!!

I think I tweeted it about a dozen times because I was so happy!!  I kept touching my breast and couldn’t get enough of how soft it felt.  It was still really sore (still is) but the lump was gone!  And, I was even able to get more from my right breast than my left, which is a very rare thing indeed!

And, after this, my kudos to women that have a clogged duct and have to take care of a hungry baby at the same time!!  You people are amazing!

Today, my flanges came in the mail (finally haha) and I put them on to pump, and I had zero pain.  I never realized how important flange size is in pumping until now.  If you are having pain during pumping, THIS is a great resource to see if your flanges are the right size and if you need to go up or down a size or two!

In my life, I never realized how hard it is to pump around the clock.  Nursing a baby has its own unique struggles, but pumping is always forgotten.

In the United States, most mothers have to go back to work at six weeks.  And the majority of them end up switching to formula because pumping is so hard and time consuming.  They don’t have the same support as nursing mothers, and for a lot of women, their supply goes down over time, especially if they aren’t using herbs or medicines to keep up their supply.

I am so glad that I can pump for another baby, but now I know how hard this is.  Never again will I question why a pumping mother stops pumping and switches to formula.  However, I will definitely be there to help them along.

I am lucky because I am making so much milk every day through only pumping, but not every woman is like me.

And now I know.

Pumping is a full time job.

A Different Take on Breastfeeding

I am not a normal pumping mother.  My situation is different than the majority of women that pump their milk.  I haven’t been able to connect with anyone that is pumping after a loss or did pump after a loss, but I know of a few, but not many.

I don’t have a baby to feed with my milk.  I don’t really have anyone riding on me pumping all day and night every day.  I don’t have to keep doing this.

At this second, I have 68 ounces in my freezer.  I have been pumping for nine days.

Now, I make milk like a cow.  I did with my daughter and I am now.  It helps this time that I pump every three hours, and I pump each breast twice during each of those sessions.  I am trying to build my supply with the single pump I have until the double pump gets here (hopefully tomorrow!).

I went to the La Leche meeting and there were mothers that pumped for their babies in the NICU, for their children when they went back to work, for their baby that went on a nursing strike, and also a mother that donated her pumped milk to Africa.  There was a mother that switched to formula as soon as she had to go back to work because she couldn’t pump.

These were all mothers with children that had to have breastmilk or formula.  They had someone riding on what they did.

For me, I can quit whenever I want.  This isn’t something I have to do.  This isn’t something that is even typically done.  When I talk to family or friends, I don’t really talk about it.  First off, I am terrified that people will say I am crazy.  This is one thing that is keeping me sane since my son was born, and if they made fun of it, I would break down.  Second, I am just worried what people will think.  Even when people pump milk and donate they get weird looks or people wonder why.  Formula is so accessible people don’t realize that women donate their pumped milk for others to use.

And yet, to me, this isn’t hard.  Again, I have no one riding on this.  I don’t have a crying newborn to take care of and feed while I do this.  I don’t have to worry about my supply or if my baby is getting enough.  I don’t have to wake up, I don’t have to pump, I don’t really have to do anything.

I love pumping this time.  I hated it with my daughter, but I think it was because nursing her was so much easier.  This time, since I don’t have a baby, pumping is easy.  I am so excited with every ounce I get.  This precious milk is for a baby that truly needs it.  This milk is for a baby that would get formula if someone didn’t donate their milk.  This milk is the most precious gift I could ever give.

So many people have said I am an inspiration, and that I will help show women that if I can do this, they get can through their nursing rough patches.  I don’t think I am that special, heck, I don’t think I’m an inspiration of anything.  I am doing what I am comfortable with.  I am doing what seems natural to me.  If I had a friend that would let me be their wet nurse, I would jump on it!

I weaned my daughter at nine months because I didn’t have any milk in the freezer for that day when I went to work.  So we gave her cows milk.  I didn’t regret it then,  but I regret it now.  I wish I had gone longer.  I wish I had nursed her until at least a year.  I wish I had known how important it was, how much healthier she was when I was nursing her.

Breastfeeding is work.  Breastfeeding is worth it.

I feel so blessed that I am able to do this for other families.  To me, this doesn’t feel like work.

Moms, I wish I could explain how I feel about breastfeeding and breastmilk as well as others can.  I wish I could explain that breastmilk truly is the best food for infants.  I wish I could help you have the best breastfeeding experience possible.  I wish I could donate milk forever so I could help all those that need it.

There are so many different breastfeeding stories.  So many different women, babies, lives.  I am proud to be one of them for the time being.  Right now, I am a pumping mother, and I am loving it.

La Leche League

Earlier this week, I started following the blog of my local La Leche League.  I had always meant to go, but I never got around to it.  I’m not sure why, it is right up my alley.

So, this week when I saw that the meeting was going to be today, I instantly wanted to go.  Not only because I am now pumping my milk, but because deep down I think I wanted to know if I could sit in a room with a bunch of babies and keep it together.

Because my story is a little different than other nursing/pumping women, and I truly didn’t want to be the downer of the meeting, I emailed the chapter leader to see if it would be okay if I came.  I didn’t want to intrude with my sad story of my son, but I really needed the support of other women.  Even if that meant I had to be around adorable little new babies, I was okay with that.

She emailed me back, asked some questions about my pumping and if I needed help, and then told me they would love to have me there.  One women even pumped and donated for months, so I had an instant need to attend this group.

I had my friend Brenda come with me for support, and the instant I walked in the room today for the meeting I knew it would be okay.  There were tiny babies in carseats, toddlers playing with toys, and inbetween babies scooting or crawling around.

Once quite a few people were there we went around and introduced ourselves and our kids.  It came around to me, I introduced myself, told them about Glade, and that I went into premature labor with my son at 14 weeks a week ago, my milk came in Sunday and I am now pumping to donate to a family that needs it.  I didn’t cry, though I did stutter a bit, and then it was done.  We moved onto Brenda and then finished, and that was that.

Sitting on the other side of us was a mom with her two month old twins, a boy and a girl.  Brenda took care of the girl while the mom fed the boy, and then I took the boy while the mom fed the girl haha.  The twins were born at home, both weighing over nine pounds.  They are so adorable!  I felt my heart break a little when I was holding this little boy, and my breasts filled with milk instantly when he cried, but it was so wonderful.  He is a very chill little boy, or was at the meeting haha, and it healed my heart a little bit.

At the meeting we talked about nutrition and weaning, and it was interesting hearing all the different takes on when people fed their children solids or why or when they weaned.

However, I do think that there was some bad advice given about rice cereal in baby bottles that wasn’t corrected.  I am all for parenting how you parent, but telling another mom that rice cereal in a bottle makes a baby sleep longer and isn’t bad for them just gets my hackles up.  Just thinking about it now gives me the willies.

It was an amazing meeting though.  We have them twice a month here, and I am positive I am going to them for at least how long I am pumping.  Just seeing the babies nursing made me feel okay.  Even if it was just for that hour.

If you have a La Leche League group in your area and can go, I strongly recommend you do!  Not only will you get support if you are nursing or pumping, but you get to meet other moms.  And that is where the true support comes from.

Where to start?

Yesterday I posted about pumping and asked if anyone had recommendations for a pump.  I then joked on twitter if I begged would a company give me a pump haha.  Not more than an hour later, Amber (BirthRoutes) asked me if I would like a donation account for a hospital grade pump she was offered when she asked for pumps for me for $350!  It felt too good to be true!

Erin came forward with a Ameda Elite breast pump, a hospital grade double pump, plus her offer of the attachment kit, some milk bags, teas and such a amazing gift of a pumping consult worth $90, being that Erin herself is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (ICBCLC). She was asking $350 for the above. (Amber’s post)

She set up the paypal donation account and such, and within seconds we had donations coming in.  In under two and a half hours we had the $350!  I wasn’t home during this so I found out when I got home we had collected $430 and the donation account was still open for other needs I could have.

There were only 7 contributers when the goal was reached, thanks to Brandi Hefner Doucet (DeepSouthDoula onTwitter). She generously offered a large sum of money and her story. The donation to Kayce was made in honor of her mother, who passed away a year ago. Brandi’s mother lost two children to CHD and Spina Bifida, and knows she’d be very pleased with using some of the money from her estate sale to help Kayce with such a selfless act of kindess. Brandi herself has seen the benefits of breastmilk, having had a baby in the NICU in critical condition. I’d like to extend a humongous thank you to Brandi (and her mother) for making this possible so quickly. I’m still in awe. (From Amber’s post HERE)

Not only this, more people donated after we reached the goal, so I had money to rush the pump to me, and order other things I might need, like breast pads, cream, storage bags, herbs, and so much more.

There are so many people to thank and I am not sure where to begin!!

To all those that donated, you are getting something in the mail from me (should be sent by the end of this week), but I would love to mention your names on here.  If that is okay, please let me know.  You need recognition for such an amazing gift!

I have also had others come forward offering leftover products from when they nursed, and from companies that are donating things to me.

So far (and I hope I don’t forget anyone):

Allie (bbybirthingmama) is offering 50 collection bags. Mama Goddess Birth Shop (mamagoddess) is offering a bag of More Milk Tea.  Earth Mama Angel Baby (EMAB_HQ) is offering nipple cream.  Simple Wishes (SimpleWishes_) is offering a Hands Free Nursing Bra.  Kim Corrigan-Oliver (YourGreenBaby) is offering a pair of wool breast pads.  Bamboobies (bamboobies) is offering some of their incredible nursing pads.  (If I missed anyone, PLEASE let me know!!!!!)

I am beyond amazed at the generosity of people.  You are all my heroes!  I never could have hoped for all that I am being given, and am just amazed that this is really happening!!

And please, if you donated money, items, anything, please let me know so I can credit you in the post and send you a thank you.  It has helped me more than I could ever say!!

Thank you so very much for everything!!!