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What do you need during pregnancy and new parenthood? It's a question plenty of people forget to ask. Without even meaning to, your support network often puts their focus on the new baby. And a lot of people—including complete strangers—have opinions about what you "should" be doing in the weeks and months of pregnancy, delivery, and early parenthood.
I have firsthand experience with this. From well-meaning family members to people at the supermarket, questions and feedback about my choices were frequent and often unsolicited. Why did my husband need to take extended parental leave after our daughter was born (and was there something "wrong" with me)? Did getting a night nurse make me an irresponsible parent? And when I pumped for the first few months: Why wasn't I exclusively pumping? What happened to my milk supply? Why wasn't I "trying harder" or pumping more often? And yet, it was only a few close friends (usually other moms) who bothered to check in about my wellbeing in those first exhausting months.
But instead, the Willow® brand wants to know what you need. For a little context, Willow Innovations was the first brand to challenge convention in the breast pump category, changing the space by creating the first fully in-bra wearable pump and the only wearable in-bra pump offering 360° leak-proof mobility. Today, they have two models (I used the Willow 3.0 for my pregnancy) that are cordless, small, and quiet, which allows for pumping on-the-go with dignity—at work, in the middle of chores, and even during an errand run. It's a huge time-saver, not to mention a great way to multitask and feel accomplished at the same time.
Now, Willow is disrupting the conventional narrative about motherhood. Their new campaign “Register for More” is filled with resources for parents and parents-to-be, which you can also forward to family, friends, and anyone else who wants to learn about postpartum challenges. Willow launched Register for More to ignite conversation about how society supports mothers (and how to do a better job). Their pumps are just a part of their larger goal to normalize new parents' unique journeys and what they need to get to a healthy, happy place with their new baby.
Take the Register for More section on postpartum mental health, for example, authored by founder and CEO of Motherhood Understood, Jen Schwartz. It begins by inviting partners of new moms to ask themselves questions about her mental health and find out how she's really doing. Is she able to take care of herself? Is she struggling to complete everyday tasks? The section normalizes postpartum mental health conditions, includes facts and FAQs, explains how you can be supportive, and—critically—helps you learn what not to do. Yes, do educate yourself and reassure her you're not going anywhere. No, don't tell her to "snap out of it," please.
There are plenty of other resources, too, like actionable tips for pumping and breastfeeding—how to create a schedule that works, for example, what's normal and what's not normal with a baby's feeding, and what weird things are totally expected (yes, it's not unusual to get sleepy during nursing!). There's material on understanding physical recovery, requesting paid family leave, and even boundary-setting as a parent. There's also a whole toolkit on returning to work, and how to transition slowly and effectively into pumping, working, and multitasking as a parent working outside the home. Basically, if you've got a question in those early days, Willow wants to answer them.
Federal and workplace supports, like paid leave and dedicated places to pump, are still emerging. And too often, parents still have to fight for their perspectives to be heard. But Willow imagines a better world for moms. Head to Register for More to go through these important resources. You can even submit your own entry for what you'd like to register for, from more support at home to lactation tips and more. You can also join the conversation on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #WithWillow.
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