Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Even in Italy, pumping moms have to hold bottles!

Today is exciting for all of us here at Pumpin' Pal. We received our first order from a mom in Italy -- the Hands-Free Strap Jon designed for Janene 10+ years ago when she was exclusively pumping, nodding off in the middle of the night, almost dropping the bottles.

Love it. Love sharing our products with moms everywhere so they can pump comfortably and in this case, simply relax and not hold bottles. Welcome Federica. Thanks for choosing our product!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What I Learned From My Son's Preschool Teacher

Teacher Josie was an icon at our little preschool -- she'd been there forever, finally retiring last year after 25 years of teaching three year olds (oh my!) Opinionated as can be, she loved those kids with all her might. Sometimes, though, I think she was there more for us parents.

When you've taught for 25 years, you learn a lot about kids and the effects of parenting both in the short-term and the long-term. One of the most important things I ever remember Josie saying was, "There are 100 kids and 100 ways of parenting. My job is to help you parent in the way that works best for you and your family." And she meant it.

I know that I can get caught up in what's right and what's wrong, sitting in judgment because I think I know what's best, most effective, etc. It helps me to remember Josie's comment so I can humbly walk hand-in-hand with my fellow moms and women. We're different -- we have different needs, different goals, and different ways of doing and thinking. But, as I've heard it said before, all anyone wants is to be truly happy. And as a parent, this goes for my children as well. I want them to be happy (and healthy).

So, here's to many different ways of working toward the same ultimate goal and enjoying (yes, even enjoying) watching the diversity of others who do it differently.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quick reminder for pumping moms to check membranes/valves on your pump . . .

This is just a quick reminder for moms using a pump with replaceable valves/membranes to replace them every so often, even if they are not torn or damaged. Over time they can become worn and cause a decrease in pumping volume without you ever realizing what's happening.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pumpin' Pal on YouTube

Shannon O'Donnell, President of Pumpin' Pal International, appears as a guest on AZTV's "The Chat Room" with Helen Gibson.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Asking for Help - and Helping in Return

It's interesting how difficult it can sometimes be to ask for help. And it's not always difficult saying the words; it's difficult being nice to ourselves when we ask for it. Like somehow we're inept or even a "klutz" because some things are more difficult for us than for others.

My own inner struggle was brought to light today by an email I received from a mom who was inadvertently aplogizing for the fact that this weekend she was going to ask her husband to help her figure something out. Reflecting on her email, I realized that I, too, sometimes need or want my husband's help on things that, yes, I could do, but don't want to take the time to figure out. Or, I know that he'd figure it out quickly and easily, whereas I might struggle for awhile.

It's about seeing both of our values -- our strengths as a team -- and giving myself permission to play the role that comes easiest. Not to say that I'm not willing to pitch in and give more. I certainly am. But sometimes the things that come easiest to me, are just exactly the things that he has absolutely no interest in doing. Interdependence. Yes, I want to continue learning that skill, so my children can see their own value both as an individual as well as their innate gifts within a team.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Oh Those Personal Questions on our Internet Order Form!!!

"You want me to answer what?? My bra size? My cup size? -- wayyyyy too personal!!"

I'm smiling as I write this blog. Once in awhile we receive an email from a mom who's uncomfortable with the questions we ask when ordering from our website. So I thought I'd take a minute and explain why we ask them.

Our Super Shields are very different from any flange on the market. The current standard sizing protocols are based on nipple diameter. When we first designed our Super Shields, we assumed we'd be using the same sizing protocols. However, since ours are tapered, nipple diameter alone wasn't an effective way for us to accurately size them. We wondered if it was actually based on bra/cup size. We tried that for awhile. No, that wasn't the ticket. Then we started combining both parameters -- bra/cup size and nipple diamater. Our accuracy rate skyrocketed.

We followed up with every single mom who ordered from our website, gathering information on bra and cup sizes, nipple diameter, and what size Super Shield was the most comfortable and produced the most breast milk. Using this information, we put together our Sizing Chart.

Some moms with the same parameters (bra/cup size and nipple diameter) actually found different sizes more comfortable (that's why there are overlaps on our chart). And some moms wrote in to tell us that at different times of the day they prefer different sizes. We also had moms who use one size on one breast and another on another breast.

At that point, we began to offer combo packages (M/L and L/XL) so that moms whose sizes overlapped wouldn't have to pay full price for two different sizes. Our duo packs (two pair of the same size) soon followed -- again as a courtesy so that moms who wanted to order two pair of the same size could receive the same pricing as moms ordering the combo packs.

But with that said, there are still many moms who choose the size based on what they're currently using. For example, a mom who wears a 34B bra and has very large nipples may be using an extra-large in another brand so she may order our XLarge. We know from the vast amount of information we've gathered our XLarge will definitely not work for her. We can then contact her prior to shipping and help her choose the correct size so that she can start using them immediately upon receiving her order.

And why do we ask how you heard about us? For a couple reasons: We like to thank hospitals and lactation consultants when they refer moms to our website. Also, many lactation consultants (LCs) refer moms to our website regularly after fitting consults. We know that if a LC refers a mom after a fitting, the mom is definitely choosing the correct size.

We are very limited in the information we can print in our shopping cart -- hence, I'm writing this blog to explain in more detail. It's all about doing our very best to provide excellent customer service so that moms can pump comfortably from the minute they open their shipment.