When I was pregnant with my son, I set myself a goal of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. After he arrived, our initial latching problems and my sore, cracked nipples made me question whether we would make it even 6 days. Thankfully, we were able to sail over the hurdles and not just meet my goal but exceed an entire year. Nursing was going so smoothly and we enjoyed our special relationship so much that I decided to keep going. After all, why fix something that isn't broken? I was fully prepared to go for another year, no matter how much my family and friends pressured me to stop for social reasons.
So, when my son unexpectedly weaned himself almost 3 months ago at 17.5 months, I was caught completely off guard. Until that point, we had been nursing steadily twice a day. But all of a sudden, he lost interested and stopped asking for the breast. Cold turkey. Not only was I emotionally wrought, but physically, my body was feeling the effects. Painful engorgement. Lumpy plugged ducts. I could barely lift my arms, my breasts hurt so badly. After consulting some of my breastfeeding aficionados, they all pointed me in the same direction: Earth Mama Angel Baby.
Born of the sincere faith in the natural process of birthing babies, Earth Mama Angel Baby (EMAB) supports the entire birth process: pregnancy, labor, postpartum and c-section recovery, breastfeeding, baby care and even the loss of a baby. They use only the highest-quality, certified organic or organically grown herbs and oils for their teas, bath herbs, soaps, salves, lotions and oils. All of their products are 100% toxin-free, cruelty-free, vegan and free of all artificial preservatives, fragrances and dyes. This means no Quaternium-15, 1,4-Dioxane, formaldehyde, phthalates, petrochemicals, parabens or SLS. All packaging materials are recyclable or reusable as a commitment to comprehensive green practices.
The mamas and papas of Earth Mama Angel Baby are a diverse group of nurses, herbalists, doulas, childbirth educators, fathers/mothers and grandmothers. They combine ancient knowledge of herbal remedies and plant medicine with contemporary evidence-based research to bring you natural, effective products that are gentle and safe enough to nurture all mamas and their angel babies.
One look around their website with its delicate, dreamy quality and beautiful photography, and I knew this was the resource I was in search of. In desperation, I contacted EMAB for advice on how to ease my pain and pressure. Their customer service was truly outstanding. I couldn't have asked for more supportive, caring people. I felt as though they were my friends rather than a business. I was delighted that they agreed to send me some products to review (via 2-Day Air no less!) that would relieve me of my symptoms.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes are gel-free breast packs that can be used warm or cold, depending on your nursing needs. Made with a 100% organic cotton shell and filled with all-natural flax seed, Booby Tubes are completely natural and completely safe. Store them in the freezer and wear inside your bra between feeds to reduce the swelling and tenderness of engorgement or heat in the microwave to deliver warm, moist heat that will encourage milk flow, promote let-down and maintain open milk ducts. Their unique construction is designed to prevent burns from overheating.
I loved the rounded shape and generous size, which can overlap to fit around the nipple and areola or spread apart to fit under the breast and armpit. No matter where my clogged ducts would crop up, I could localize the comfort. I placed my Booby Tubes in the freezer for several hours and popped them in my bra to alleviate the swelling and inflammation from engorgement. I couldn't believe how soothing they felt! The cotton was soft against my skin and they stayed in place as I did household errands. Thanks to these little miracles, I felt like a new woman within 24 hours. Customer service also gave me a handy tip: you can also use these on toddler tummies for stomach aches or episodes of constipation! I think they'd also be helpful to warm up and use while pumping to encourage milk flow.
In addition to the Booby Tubes, Earth Mama Angel Baby also sent me their Bosom Buddies. Bosom Buddies are a blend of healing herbs, cabbage leaves and black tea, along with organic calendula blossoms, organic plantain and organic marshmallow root. You simply fill the included muslin bags with the herbs and submerge in boiling water, steeping for 5 minutes to create a soothing poultice that will relieve achy breasts. This is a lifesaver for weaning as well as the adjustment period when you first establish nursing.
I had always heard that cold cabbage leaves work wonders to naturally reduce milk supply. Well, Bosom Buddies have the same effect without feeling like Ariel or a limp garden salad. They were a little messy but totally worth it. I would put them on my breasts while lukewarm and then take them off when they got cold, or roughly 10 minutes. Together with the Booby Tubes, my breasts felt much less sore and inflamed. I used them 3x/day at first and gradually worked my way down until my milk had depleted.
Earth Mama Angel Baby No More Milk Tea is a blend of herbs traditionally used to naturally reduce the production of breastmilk. USDA Certified 100% Organic and Certified Kosher, No More Milk Tea contains sage, peppermint and parsley to dry up milk supply as well as hibiscus flower for a tangy taste. No More Milk Tea comes packaged in 16 easy to brew tea bags and tastes great iced or hot. Even better: the tea bags are biodegradable, the overwrap is compostable and 100% recycled and the recyclable cartons are produced using wind energy! (Note: sage is not for use during pregnancy).
I only tried the tea hot but I thought it was really tasty, with an uplifting mint flavor that left a tingle on my tongue. While it was recommended to use up to 3x/day, I drank a cup once a day at night before bed. Weaning was emotionally draining for me so when I would put Nate to bed and feel sad about this chapter coming to a close, this tea would comfort me and make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Definitely good for the heart and soul! Even though my milk is long gone, I still find myself sipping this tea.
Altogether, these products made my weaning experience much less dreadful. In just a few days, my breasts had softened and my milk supply had dropped considerably. If it hadn't been for EMAB, I think I would have suffered much longer.
While I haven't tried any of the products from their Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort line, as an infertility and pregnancy loss survivor, I have to add that I am extremely appreciative that those mamas-who-could've-been are getting recognition as well. I've known many women to suffer from miscarriage and stillbirth and these products would help them heal from the inside out as they grieve.
Bottom line: I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby for any mama, from mama-to-be to been-there-done-that mama. Their thoughtful, superior customer service and wonderfully safe products have made me a new lifelong customer. Our breastfeeding relationship may have ended but I fully plan to try some of their baby bath products next. And whenever we conceive baby #2, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be pampering myself with some EMAB! I love that all of their products are made with love and are rated zero for toxins according to the Skin Deep database.
BUY IT: You can purchase Booby Tubes (ARV $19.95), Bosom Buddies (ARV $8.95) and No More Milk Tea (ARV $5.97), as well as a vast assortment of other natural goodies online at www.earthmamaangelbaby.com. You can also use their handy dandy store finder to find your nearest retailer!
WIN IT: Mamas Melinda and Julie are offering one lucky earth mama the chance to win a $25 gift certificate! Yippee!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Visit Earth Mama Angel Baby and tell me how you'd spend your gift certificate. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count! Remember to leave one comment per entry.
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2.) Follow me and EMAB on Twitter and tweet about this contest. You can do this daily! You may use the tweet below or come up with your own:
Win a $25 gift certificate to Earth Mama Angel Baby from @mamamelinda and @kris10chumley Ends 4/10 http://bit.ly/cPacHo
Just leave a comment with your tweet link. (1 entry per day max)
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Giveaway will end on April 10, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. only. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: I received the three products mentioned above from Julie at Earth Mama Angel Baby to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely mine. Your experience may differ.