If you have followed me for a while, you know that I’m currently breastfeeding my almost five month old. You can read my recent posts about it here and here. TL;DR: After dealing with oversupply when my milk came in, my current concern is keeping up my supply after returning to work and pumping. I would like to make it a full year of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is important to me because of its cost (i.e. its Free). With my first, I exclusively breastfed/pumped for eight months before the stresses of life hit my supply and I started supplementing with formula once or twice a day. My baby was fed and happy, but I was bummed that I couldn’t keep the free milk flowing.
So this time around I’ve been proactive at doing what I can to maintain supply. It was by pure chance (or impressive algorithms) that I came across an ad on Instagram for a subscription box focused entirely on breastfeeding! That is where I first learned about Colson & Joe.
I was immediately intrigued. I headed over to their website and was inspired by their story. A fairly new company (launched in November 2017) and founded by two mothers who struggled with breastfeeding their babies, I could tell these were women who wanted to support other breastfeeding moms. An added bonus, for every box they sell, a portion of the profits goes to supplying a box to a mother whose baby is in the NICU. While my baby did a very, very brief stint in the NICU, I saw how important it is to support a new mom who wants to supply her NICU baby with her breast milk. Support during such a stressful time could make a world of difference. So I signed up.
Now, I’m a fan of subscription boxes. It’s like adult Christmas. Boxes of surprises being delivered straight to your door once a month? Yes, please! The signup process was easy and they had a few options to choose from. You can select a month-to-month option, which is $29.99/month + shipping ($4.95); a 6 month pre-pay option of $27.99/month or one-time fee of $167.94; or a 12 month pre-pay option of $24.99/month or one-time fee of $299.88. Because I just wanted to test it out, I went with the month-to-month option of $29.99.
After a simple two-minute survey with questions such as how your baby is fed (breast/bottle/both), your supply level, and any additional information, I was set. All I had to do now was wait for my box to be delivered.
Because of when I ordered it, I had to wait a couple weeks for it to arrive. But once I got the shipping notification, it was here in three business days. So let’s break down what was in the box.
Education & Activity
Each box comes with an info sheet of issues you may be struggling with (based on your survey I expect). My sheet was on oversupply. I definitely struggled with oversupply with both of my sons when my milk came in up until I returned to work. A lot of this information I already knew from my own previous research, but this could be helpful for a new mom who may be having difficulties.
The box also included an activity to do with baby. This month was a little turkey finger puppet. I have yet to do this, but it’s cute and is something I could enjoy doing with my three year old as well.
A list of products included in the box was also included, along with the prices if you choose to purchase in the future. There were also a few coupons for some of the featured products as well.
So what did I get?
Baba Bella’s lactation cookie
The first thing I had my eye on was a lactation cookie, duh. Send me cookies and I will eat them immediately.
The cookie is noted as being “naturally balanced with fiber, protein, and healthy fats.” Truthfully, I don’t really care. It was a cookie and it was tasty. It was a good size and texture/density. Wasn’t too soft or crunchy.
Obviously, I don’t think I can tell a difference in my supply after just one cookie, but it was good and I’ve decided I am going to order a box to try them out. The cost is $22 for a 12 pack of cookies, which isn’t exactly cheap, but is comparable to the Milkmakers’ cookies I’ve purchased before. And it’s not your average cookie. If it truly helps with supply, it may be worth it. Included in the box was a 15% off coupon, so that’s a little something.
I like the story of the company as well. Founded this year by a mom and daughter, I like to support small business. And I like cookies.
Boob Food savory garnish
Another lactation cookie company, Boob Food also sells lactation tea and garnish – which was what was included in my C&J box.
I could smell it immediately: sesame seeds, dill seeds, fennel, flaxseed meal, and ajwain. This garnish is intended to be spread on snacks such as yogurt, soups, smoothies, or salads – endless possibilities. Just like a lactation cookie, the ingredients of the garnish are touted for their milk supply boosting abilities.
I like this concept because the one drawback to lactation cookies are extra calories. Sure, you could fit into your diet one or two cookies a day, but that requires diligence and willpower (who has time for that?). Much like a supplement, the lactation garnish allows you to gain its rewards without sacrificing calories.
Using just a teaspoon per day, the package promises 12 days worth of the savory garnish for $6.99. This is significantly cheaper than a dozen cookies promising the same result.
The packet I received had about 2 tsps. of garnish. I decided to add one teaspoon to a bowl of chicken noodle soup one night. The flavor wasn’t bad, but fennel is pretty potent (hello, black licorice!). I’m curious as to how this would taste blended into a smoothie. The company suggested spreading on top of avocado toast, which could be okay. If you have issues with textures and strong flavors, I would say the garnish is not for you.
Mommy Knows Best silicone bib
I have a couple other silicone bibs that I got a lot of use out of when my oldest started eating solids up until he was closer to two years old. My baby hasn’t started on solids yet, so I have yet to try this out. First impressions, I don’t really like the feel of this bib as compared to the other brand I have. It is less pliable. But the construction of it, along with its extra-wide base could help catch food and keep it in the pocket.
It is 100% food grade silicone, anti-microbial and BPA free, and dishwasher safe – which are all good things. I will stash it away in my cupboard for another month and will post an update once I try it out.
Mommy Knows Best soothing organic nipple cream
Nipple cracking and chafing. Oh, the joys of breastfeeding. During the early weeks when mom and baby are getting it figured out, nipple cream can be a god-send. Luckily, I never really had much of an issue either time, but I had lanolin on hand just in case.
I feel for a subscription box focused on breastfeeding, nipple cream is a must. Even though I’m not using it for it’s intended purpose, I also don’t want to waste it and wanted to give it a try. So I Googled “uses for nipple cream” and got a handful of ideas.
Since it is a moisturizer it can be applied to any areas that are experiencing dryness and cracking. As we are heading into colder weather, the hands (especially around the cuticles), lips, and feet are thirsty for some extra moisture.
It’s also safe for baby, so you can put it on areas that may be problematic for them as well, such as their neck to act as a barrier from all the drool flowing from their tiny chubby lips. My little guy has quite the chubby face and neck rolls for days. Unless he is on his belly and lifting his head, you really can’t see his neck. Milk and drool like to hide in this fold and not only gets sour smelling, but also gets irritated. My first son didn’t have this issue, so it took a minute to figure out that I needed to be diligent about cleaning his neck on a daily basis.
This nipple cream is perfect for acting as a soothing barrier to keep irritation such as milk and drool off baby’s sensitive skin. And with organic ingredients, I feel safe knowing I’m not dousing my baby in a bunch of chemicals.
June and January swaddle blanket
I love swaddle blankets. Lightweight baby blankets are incredibly handy and versatile. But I have a TON of them. So I wasn’t super ecstatic to see another one. But then I opened the package and was pleasantly surprised. This blanket is not muslin fabric. It’s a stretchy cotton blend. It reminds me of the velcro SwaddleMe wrap material. This would be perfect for younger babes who are still being swaddled. My son is almost five months and rolling over, so we have nixed the swaddle.
The orange print is cute and modern, and I see me adding this blanket to my arsenal. Retailing at $21, it is a nice product to include in the box and one that introduces moms to their brand. I already plan to order some clothing pieces.
Smilo milk storage bags
I was actually running low on milk storage bags, so I was happy to see a package of these in my box. And a package of 30 was a nice surprise as opposed to a trial pack of just a few.
I am not a fan of the circle label design up top because I have a lot of information my daycare has to have included and this doesn’t real jive with that. But the quality of the bags is impressive; the plastic seems thicker than the bags I currently use (Target’s Up and Up brand). Overall these are very nice and at $6.99 for a pack of 30, is in line with other bags on the market.
Mammaway Techni Ice
I will be honest, when I first saw this product I was not super excited about it. I just thought it didn’t really apply to me, and I mean, how exciting are ice packs? I have a couple non-toxic ice packs that I use to transport milk home from the office. I also get a ton of ice packs from my shipments of insulin, so there is no shortage of cooling mechanisms in my household.
And then I decided to use them, and I’m impressed! I received two sheets of 2×2 “cells.” This would be a perfect size for the Medela bottle coolers. I have a slightly larger cooler I use, but these still fit great. I lined a sheet along the outside edges of the bag, with the bottles in the middle.
I think these are great for moms who travel or transport their milk frequently. They are much less bulky than the ice pack I previously used. They are non-toxic and stay colder for longer than regular ice packs. They come as thin sheets that can be cut to your desired size. They are re-usable and can even be popped in the microwave and used as a heating pad.
To get them “inflated” is kind of a simple science experiment. They are hydrated by water and will fully inflate within 5 minutes if you massage them, or place them in water and allow to fill up more slowly, which takes about an hour. Once hydrated, you pop them in the freezer. View a demo here.
Overall, for about $35/month (including shipping) I think the value of what is included is a good deal. All of these products can be useful for a new mother and is a great way to test out products before you make a bigger commitment to purchase. The educational material and activity is also nice to support breastfeeding and strengthen the bond between mom and baby.
If you’re ready to get a box for yourself or a breastfeeding mom, click my referral link!
I am interested in seeing what is included in next month’s box, and will post a review once I check it out!
*Disclaimer: I received my first Colson & Joe box at a discounted price in exchange for my honest review. That said, these thoughts and words are my own. By purchasing from my referral link, I receive a discount on my own box subscription.