How Boppy’s ‘Get One, Give One’ Program Helped Me Give Back to Other Moms in Need

Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump

LaNisa Allen was a new mom, trying to juggle nursing (and likely sleep deprivation, and postpartum recovery) with her job at Totes/Isotoner Corporation in Ohio. Her four-month-old son, Travian, ate every three hours, which meant that in order to keep her supply up, she needed to take frequent pumping breaks from her manual labor position. Unfortunately, her employer was only willing to offer her a single pumping break, five hours into her shift. By that point, she was engorged, leaking and in pain. When LaNisa began taking extra breaks, to pump for 15 minutes here and there in the bathroom, she was fired.

Plenty of pregnant women plan on breastfeeding their child throughout their first year of life. Why not? It’s free, it’s portable, it helps you drop the baby weight and there’s no bottle warmer required.

According to a recent Michigan State University study, half of affluent women who plan to nurse for a year are successful in meeting their goal. Now compare that with the 1.8 percent of low-income women like LaNisa who are able to say the same. The reason? Mostly, it’s a case of a lack of resources to help these new moms tackle the breastfeeding obstacles that come their way. When money is tight, dialing up a lactation consultant might not feel like a feasible option; it’s hard to pump at a job where you are earning $8 an hour… or when a $300 pump is out of the question altogether.

That’s why I was so excited to hear about this new Get One, Give One partnership between theBoppy Company and the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a national nonprofit organization that helps improve the lives of low-income, first-time moms — many of whom are teen moms – and their babies. I am absolutely in love with this idea. A nursing pillow is more than just some cotton filled with stuffing — it’s comfort, encouragement, intimacy, nourishment and dedication. Formula babies get all of these from their moms too, of course, but formula costs between $1400 and $2800 per year; for a low-income mother, breastfeeding a child could be the difference between being able to comfortably shop for groceries one week versus needing to scrape by. Breastfed kids are also less likely to be obese as adults, be diagnosed with allergies, leukemia or diabetes, or die from SIDS, leading to further health savings.

Our daughter nursed for 13 months — I would have loved to go longer but some personal medical issues got in the way — and it was one of the most meaningful and enjoyable experiences of my life. (Yup, I was that mom.) My husband and I are fortunate to be in a position where we could have afforded formula if we needed it, but were lucky enough that my milk came in, our baby latched well and my job as a freelance writer offered me the flexibility needed to make it work. In my opinion, anything that helps remove roadblocks to nursing is a winnerand this program qualifies.

In September, I’m throwing baby shower for one of my closest friends and I was planning on buying her a sound machine that I am borderline obsessed with… until I learned about this program. Now, she will be getting a Boppy and I am buying it this month so that another woman will benefit from my purchase, too.

I encourage you to think about any upcoming baby showers you might be attending and do the same!

Would you get one, give one to other moms in need?

Plus, more from The Bump:

When Borrowing Baby Gear is a Bad Idea

How to Buy a Crib

Best Products for Breastfeeding Moms