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Creating a Better Breast Pump

Motherhood can be such a joyful experience. The breast pumps that go along with motherhood are quite the opposite. In fact, I’ve never met a mom who didn’t loathe her breast pump. As a mom to three young boys, pumping was a constant struggle for me as well; it was loud, painful, and so clunky that it made it a hassle to lug it around. Plus, when I returned to work full-time, I couldn’t find a pump that could easily facilitate pumping outside of the home. I often found myself wondering how everything else around me was improving and becoming more technologically advanced, but the one device that millions of women rely on was stuck in the archaic design of the mid-nineteenth century. Shouldn’t it be better than this by now? 

I relayed my frustrations to my husband, Jeff, who is an engineer. One night, he took apart my breast pump in the garage, looked at how it was constructed, and realized things could be built in a better way—a much better way, actually. Jeff was limited with the improvements he could make that night because the breast pump’s technology uses outdated technology. If we were going to make an efficient pump that is also comfortable and well designed, we needed to start from scratch. We started by redesigning the breast pump from the inside out. As a result, Naya is completely unique in its mechanics and makes pumping feel more like nursing a baby, rather than a painful, loud machine. The difference is that it uses a hydraulic, water-based system, which leads to a much more comfortable and quiet pumping experience. We also went a step further to incorporate smart technology into the pump that automatically tracks pumping sessions and the amount of milk expressed. It then takes this information and sends it to the Naya smartphone app along with expert tips for moms. My goal was to give mothers one less thing to have to keep track of. 

Traditional pumps I had used were bulky, making it a burden to haul it around outside of the home. That’s why with Naya, I wanted the design to be sleek and compact. There are fewer parts to store (or misplace!) because of the pump design, and when it’s all packed up, one can’t tell that it is even a breast pump because of the stylish design.

Lastly, I’ve been grateful to have the support of an expert advisory health and tech team. It’s what makes Naya Health possible. I work with a group of renowned physicians, lactation experts, and healthcare technologists who have joined me on this journey to help moms.  

We believe that all mothers deserve better, smarter, and more supportive solutions. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to introducing more products that make their lives easier and more pleasant. 

Janica Alvarez

CEO Naya Health and Mom of 3

Naya Health is a sponsor of the 2016 Let Good Grow Tea.

Got Bags?

Ever finish a conference or trade show and find that you over-ordered the swag? Wondering what to do with all those tote bags that have outdated info or messaging?

Let us help!

We are currently on the lookout for corporate in-kind donations of any type of reusable bags. We’ll be giving these bags to mothers to help them carry packages of diapers. And we’re not picky – we don’t mind branding or logos on the bags. We just want to give your old bags the chance to do good, and give parents some help carrying their things. Let’s get that swag back into action!

If you or your company is interested in clearing out overstock and donating it to our cause, let us know! Please contact Nora by calling 415-938-6667 or by emailing nora@helpamotherout.org.

A.B. 717: CA Sales Tax Exemption for Diapers

Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez et al.  has just introduced A.B. 717 into the California State Legislature. The bill would allow for a sales tax exemption with regard to diapers for infants and toddlers. This is an important step in recognizing diapers as a basic human need. We wholly support this legislation.

Special thanks to Asm. Gonzalez and her co-authors for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation. You can find the bill here.

We urge our California community of supporters to contact your Assembly Member and State Senator to express your support of A.B. 717. Find your State Legislators here.

When Everyone Does Something – the 3rd Annual Let Good Grow Benefit Te

 

The 3rd Annual Benefit Tea in support of Help a Mother Out happened on Saturday, May 11, at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco. It was a beautiful spring day with just a touch of fog left clinging to the edges of the amazing view from The Top of the Mark – the restaurant on the highest floor of the hotel that welcomes visitors to glimpse out the windows for a photo op.

But the best view of all was the sea of faces of the guests gathered around the tables in the Peacock Room where HAMO supporters showed up in person to enjoy each other’s company and listen to how they have helped the mission grow, and how they can continue to do so. The program, emceed by KABC 7’s Kristen Sze, opened with Kirsten Patel reading a piece called “The Club,” an excerpt from the Listen To Your Mother show that partnered with HAMO for a productive and beneficial Mother’s Day weekend.

Time to eat and sip some tea followed, with mingling and chatting and meeting new people.

Our table hosts created lovely table decorations and favors

The program continued with testimonials from HAMO beneficiaries via the new documentary featuring three brave women – Jasmine, Kim, and Abaynesh – and a speech from a worker at a partner shelter. Co-founder and executive director Lisa Truong spoke about guilt, and how government agencies routinely call her for diapers because HAMO is one of the only games in town when it comes to family support for diapers. And then HAMO board member Catherine Hazelton, visibly pregnant and a picture of motherhood, introduced the pledge cards and the newest way of supporting HAMO, the multi-year angel. Donors can now select to give one, five, or ten thousand dollars a year for five years – a wonderful option especially if there is an employer who gives matching funds.

Several amazing guests at the tea stood up to announce their intent to donate at one of those levels. In the end, the pledges bested last year’s total, and got us nearly half way to our 2013 fundraising goal! At this rate, we’re moving from “shoestring to sustainability,” which will allow us to help more people.

The most powerful thing about the tea was that all those people came, donated at whatever level they chose, and took away the power of the mission.

Let good grow.

Thank you to our event volunteers from partner agency WDDC, as well as our event sponsors including Alyssa Brennan, Clover by Clover, Earth Baby, Lucy’s Cookies, KidsintheHouse.com,  Plum Organics, UrbanSitter.com, and Skincare by Feleciai.

Thank You For Helping Us Show the Power of Parents!

This just in:  Help a Mother Out is featured in the March 2013 issue of Parents Magazine! A big thank to all of you for making it possible for us to keep helping babies, and applause to Parents for sharing our mission with their readers, and for their support!

Who We Serve

Since inception we’ve distributed diapers to a number of organizations in California and elsewhere in the U.S.  Between January, 2011 and January, 2012 we served families through the following agencies. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this happen! Special thanks go to our friends at Huggies Every Little Bottom and St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. 

Southern California

  • Ascencia (LA County)
  • Building a Generation (Inland Empire)
  • LA Diaper Drive (LA County)
  • Salvation Army,East Los Angeles Community Center (LA County)
  • Bayside Community Center (San Diego County)

Northern California

Alameda & Contra Costa Counties

  • Brighter Beginnings
  • Center for the Vulnerable Child (Children’s Hospital of Oakland)
  • Oakland Early Head Start
  • St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County (West Oakland Women’s Center)
  • Operation Shower
  • Prenatal Care Guidance (PCG), a program of the Contra Costa Public Health Dept.
  • Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (WDDC)

Monterey County

  • Monterey County Association of Families Caring for Children

San Francisco County

  • Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP)
  • Bayview Mission
  • APA Family Support Services (APA)

San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

  • Baby Basics of the Peninsula
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford (Social Services)
  • Star Vista (formerly YFES)
  • Creation Home Ministries
  • West Valley Community Services
  • City Team Ministries, San Jose
  • EHC Lifebuilders

Please Read: Leave it to the Big O, aka my Oprah story

A mother whose child did not yet have medical insurance had to use the last of her money to pay for medicine. This left her without money for diapers so we gave her a few days supply. Those diapers made all the difference.

~ Peggy, Social Worker

Dear Friends,

Before I co-founded Help A Mother Out (HAMO) I was a stay at home mom, focused on raising my two young children (then ages 9 months and 3 years old). I remember poring over countless parenting books and blogs, and fretting about whether my kids were getting enough sleep, nutrition, and intellectually stimulating experiences. And while I wasn’t keenly aware of it then, I now know that my husband and I are extremely blessed to be able to provide the most basic needs for our kids.

On a day in February 2009, after viewing the Oprah Winfrey show about how the Great Recession was impacting struggling families, I knew I had to do something to help. My first thought was to host a children’s clothing drive, but after reaching out to a handful of social service agencies, I learned about diaper need. The thought of a young child spending the entire day in the same diaper just broke my heart. I quickly learned that reliable access to diapers is the cornerstone for healthy babies, healthy communities, and a family’s ability to thrive.

Everyday I am grateful that HAMO gets to do something about this problem. Everyday I am in awe that a home grown project with a start up investment of $100, could help so many struggling families, as well as inspire action in many others (including many of you!). Together we have done a lot of good. Nearly 750K diapers have been distributed through our network of partners, including homeless centers, family resource centers, public health departments, and food pantries. Equally important, we have raised awareness and advocated for needy families. And, we’ve accomplished all of this on a tiny budget.

We are proud of our accomplishments, but the truth is our organization has a lot of work ahead of us. Our vision is a day when every baby has an adequate supply of diapers, and for every agency we have been able to help, we have had to turn two away due to lack of resources. Advocating for and getting diapers to families in need takes real financial resources. We are inviting you to “adopt” Help A Mother Out this holiday season.

For us to do our crucial work we need funds to pay for general operating and program expenses. You may think that your gift of $30, $50, $100, or any amount that is meaningful to you, may be just a drop in the bucket, but in reality, your help is actually what makes this whole operation possible. Since we started Help A Mother Out, 85-percent of monetary gifts collected have come from individuals like you.

Thank you for helping us to help more mothers, children, and caregivers in 2012.

Wishing you and your family peace, joy and abundance,

Lisa Truong, co-founder, executive director

On behalf of the entire Help A Mother Out family and network

p.s. We are pleased and very grateful to announce between November and December 31st, our friends at Huggies Every Little Bottom will match your monetary gift for unrestricted funds, with an in kind diaper donation – up to 300K diapers. Your timing doesn’t get any better to help.Thank you for your generosity and believing in our work.

SoCal: #BlogHer11 Virtual Diaper Drive #hamo

This coming week some of the team will be at BlogHer ’11.

In case you haven’t heard, we’re hosting a service project to coincide with the conference, in hopes of raising much needed diaper funds we’d like to raise to benefit our Southern California families. Specifically, we have three agencies located in San Diego, Inland Empire, and east Los Angeles, who are currently on the waiting list to receive diapers.

Whether you are attending the conference or not, you can help us make a difference.

Bonus: We’re giving away an iPad, generously donated by our friends at Momversation, to one lucky online donor. And as of this writing, your chances look really good to win!

How you can help:

Spread the word about our virtual diaper drive. Official rules and more good stuff can be found via our event page.

Your online gift of $10 or more enters you to our iPad giveaway contest. Go ahead, click the BLUE button and help a mother out!

Thank You, Ladies Home Journal

Updated 4/21/11: A little bird told us that LHJ will be on CBS The Talk on Tuesday, April 26 talking about Mother’s Day – and they will feature HAMO in their segment! Yes, Virginia – HAMO will be mentioned for the first time on a daytime talk show! Check your local listings…

A big HUG to Ladies Home Journal for giving us a shout out in their latest issue, May, 2011. Yep, we are on page 160 (the last page!), where LHJ encourages their readers to honor Mother’s Day with acontribution to HAMO!

We’re deeply honored for the unexpected shout out, LHJ.

Thank you!

31 Days of Giving: We’re Day #21 in Glamour Magazine’s December Issue

Sarah from Children’s Council of San Francisco was thumbing through the pages of the latest Glamour Magazine and found us (page 226) in the magazine’s feature: 31 Days of Giving (HAMO is December 21st).

Thank you Sarah for alerting us to this important news item and big hugs to Glamour Magazine for honoring us with this mention. May we diaper beautiful babies together 

You can check it out here.

Happy holidays!!

Carolyn’s Thoughts on a Monday, Cook for the WDDC

We wanted to share a little glimmer of hope that many of you have had a big part of. This is a guest post from WDDC’s Monday cook, Carolyn.

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Photo credit: www.sistersproject.org

I often wish news agencies would publish more hopeful, positive articles in this era of, more often than not, bad news. So I thought I’d give a shout out to those folk who quietly make the world a better place. I cook lunch every week at a women’s shelter (Women’s Day-time Drop in Center in Berkeley). This center is located in a small house next door to a playground and staff by some of the kindest and dedicated folks.

Here’s a snapshot of my Mondays.

As I peel carrots or slice bread in preparation for lunch I’m in awe of all the folks who make that possible. My kitchen partner, Sandy, who’s showed me the ropes with her 15 years of weekly volunteer experience at the shelter, Then there’s the 91 year-old gent who picks up leftover bread from local bakeries and drops it off. We smile when we see him as he’s spry and in his vision of a perfect society he’d like to “put us out of business” as he hopes there would be no need for homeless shelters. Amy stops by each week with produce from her garden so I can put fresh chard in a frittata and than there’s Victor who bring us extras—pasta from Chez Panisse or tomatoes from the Farmer’s market. David, a general contractor showed up yesterday to rebuild the bookcases and put shelves in the storage shed and Wendy leads a craft session each week with the ladies. I love the smiles on the client’s faces as they show off a necklace or earrings they just made. Lisa and Rachel show up with diapers, toiletries and school supplies as they are running a back-to-school drive through a website they have created (helpamotherout.org) So when the world news gets me I look forward to my Mondays.

– Carolyn Weil, Monday cook for the WDDC

By donating diapers to our campaign you are directly supporting our partners like WDDC. Together we’ve made a difference Bay Area and beyond. Thank you for being a part of this.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.