Kanika Chadda Gupta

breastfeeding mothers

Anhoni Patel – Mrs. Patel’s

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, chances are you’ve heard of Mrs. Patel’s and have tried their line of lactation teas and treats. CEO and Founder Anhoni Patel launched the company 7 years ago in San Francisco when her daughter was just 4.5 months old (inspiring, right? #momgoals). Based on age-old Ayurvedic recipes that were passed down from mothers in her family, Anhoni is keeping traditions alive while building a community of women across the globe. A former writer, she loves that she has recently tapped her entrepreneurial spirit though her passion for good coffee and baked goods.

 

What inspired you to launch Mrs. Patel’s?

I wanted to help other mothers who were struggling with their breastfeeding and postpartum healing. After I had my children my mother made me special snacks, treats and teas that aided me tremendously and I wanted to share that healing and strength with other women. These were very old recipes that had been passed down from mother to mother within our family for generations and nothing like them were available to other women.

So many of my friends had tough postpartum periods and difficulties with their milk supply, and their struggles inspired me to start Mrs. Patel’s so that women everywhere could benefit from them as I did.

Tell us about your breastfeeding journey through pregnancy and motherhood.

I tried to be as informed as possible about breastfeeding when I was pregnant with my first child. I took an excellent breastfeeding class and had an amazing midwife who was also a lactation consultant. The best thing you can do for your milk supply is to nurse as soon as you can after giving birth and to do lots of skin to skin. Drink lots of (warm) water and take a deep breathe to relax! Stress and worry can really affect supply and health. And if you are having any issues, see a lactation professional as soon as you can. It can be a lot of hard work, but if you have the goal to breastfeeding/pump, then dedication and persistence are key. Though I had several tough moments – struggling through thrush, mastitis, a bout of low supply, an accident,  pneumonia, the flu, pumping at work – I was really dedicated to breastfeeding and giving my children breastmilk due to the numerous and substantial benefits it provides.

Is your mom proud of you for launching your brand with her namesake?

Yes – she is! And, besides hearing from women around the country who we have helped, having my mother be proud of our line is one of the most satisfying and joyful aspects of the business. We still work on every single recipe together!

What is it like juggling work life and mom life? Can you take us through a typical day?

I think the most challenging part of anyone’s day- be they a parent or not, a mother or a father, is time management. And the more people, projects and commitments you have in your life, the more strictly you have to manage your time in order to be able to focus clearly, accomplish your goals and prioritize your attention. You also have to be okay with not getting through your to-do list each and every day.

Like many, my life is very busy. To keep track of everything, I rigorously plan out each month, week and day. I usually wake up around 4am; I love waking up early – the house is quiet and I relish this slow, peaceful and calm time to myself. During these hours I check and organize emails, relax, workout, meditate and get ready for the day. If the children are not already awake, I wake them up around 7am and we get their breakfasts, lunches and snacks ready. And then I drop them off at our carpool or at school. I try to get into to work before 8am. I enjoy working long hours (for the first few years I began the company, I consistently worked 80-100 hours a week), which I don’t get to do as much these days. So I like to be the first person at work and then work as efficiently as I can. I am also heavily involved in the kids’ school and if there is a field trip or class event, I am lucky to have a flexible schedule to chaperone or attend/organize school events. Either myself, my husband or one of my best friends picks the kids up from school in the afternoon. If I am not picking up the kids, I try to get home by 5pm. I spend some time with the kids and then I begin cooking dinner. We always eat dinner together as a family every night. We try to get the kids in bed by 8pm and that is also when I go to sleep! This is our current schedule but it was different when the kids were younger and it will change as they get older.

Tell us about the Mrs. Patel’s product line.

We have three lines – Pregnancy, Lactation and, our newest line, Women’s Health, which can be enjoyed by any woman no matter what stage she is in.

The Pregnancy line features teas for each trimester of pregnancy addressing the issues a woman may have during those months.

The Lactation line offers treats, snacks and teas that aid in milk production and postpartum healing. We offer 7 different flavors of our Lactation Treats, including gluten-free and vegan options, two different lactation teas – sold as loose tea or in brew bags, and a versatile Lactation Sprinkle.

As moms, we never make time for ourselves. How do you do so?

I wake up very early and this is my special time to relax – I read, watch a show, exercise and meditate. I also have a wonderful group of friends who I love seeing on the weekends.

Who is MP’s ideal customer?

ALL WOMEN. Any age, pregnant or not, nursing or not. 20 years old or 75 years old. You just have to be a woman and like good food with herbs that can help you.  

With the popularization of breastfeeding (e.g. National Breastfeeding Month, Melinda Gates advocacy), what has MP done to make its mark?

Our mission is to support women. We offer a free weekly Q & A session on our Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/mrspatels) with lactation counselor and postpartum doula where women from anywhere in the world can ask questions and be heard. We have a private community group on Facebook where women can go to share their experiences, ask questions and support one another. Through our social network platforms, we create and cultivate community and offer authentic views about pregnancy, breastfeeding, postpartum and motherhood. And soon we’ll be launching a blog section on our web site (http://www.mrsmilk.com) addressing various topics relevant to our community, featuring posts from various experts. We are also ardent supporters of World Breastfeeding Week and Black Breastfeeding Week as well as promoting breastfeeding and women’s health in communities of color.

How are you different from competitors on the market (e.g. Mother’s Milk Tea, Milky Mama)?

A: We are the only woman-owned & mom-owned company out there using Ayurvedic herbs for pregnancy, lactation and women’s health in handcrafted, artisanal foods and teas which meld the ancient with the modern. Our special products are also based on family recipes which are hundreds of years old and have many years of wisdom behind them.

What advice do you have for mompreneurs?

Just go for it. Make a plan, of course, and go slowly, but there is only one way to start a business – and that is actually starting it and going for it.

Tell us the mantra you live by?

A:  You can’t lose if you don’t quit.

Got Milk? – Mrs. Patel’s Review

Ask any new mother about breastfeeding and she’s bound to tell you all about her personal experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though cluster feeding and sleep deprivation are no fun, I have always been fascinated by breastfeeding and its benefits so I kept at it with my boy-girl twins for nearly a year (tandem feeding using my Twin-Z pillow) and am currently breastfeeding my 4-month-old son. I am fortunate he is a good eater. At the hospital, the nurses and my lactation consultant were impressed and said, “Look at that latch. He knows exactly what to do and is a hungry hippo!” I have to admit however, like all nursing moms, I often wonder “am I making enough milk?”

This time around, I am doing all the things I used to do like taking Malunggay supplements, fennel capsules, oatmeal with flaxseed, lactation cookies (the secret ingredient is Brewer’s yeast), and guzzling 80 oz. of water a day. But I am adding one more variable to the mix — Mrs. Patel’s.

Trusted by over 100k mothers, Mrs. Patel’s features lactation teas, bars, and sprinkles. I found out about the company while browsing on Instagram and purchased the bundle package (box of lactation tea and bars for $35) to try the most popular products. Here’s my review.

Milk Water Tea (Chai Spice) – $12.99

 

Ingredients – Much like a masala chai, this is made of tea leaves and cinnamon with added all natural, ayurvedic herbs like dill seeds (suaa in Hindi) and alfalfa sprouts (rajko). Dill and alfalfa are the galactagogues, or milk-producing ingredients, while cinnamon is known to make breastmilk taste sweet. Your baby will love that!

Taste – I can’t go a day without brewing my masala chai in the morning, so I really liked this blend. Though it’s more watery than chai, it still has the distinct aroma and flavors. I stir in steamed whole milk to make it more frothy and satiating.

How I Consume It – The box comes with 7 sachets and mentions you can use each 3x. I actually steep one sachet into a medium carafe which yields 5-6 small cups of tea which I sip on throughout the day.

Did it Work? – An aunty of mine once told me that consuming liquids, be it water, milk, or soup, helps milk production. I used to concoct my own tea using dill seeds and ghee, but this tea tastes so much better and it has been working. I have seen a 1.5 oz increase to my pump sessions (I now produce 5 – 6 oz total for my 4-month-old).

Lactation Bar (Chocolate and Salted Caramel White) – $28

 

Ingredients – These bars are made of galactagogues like whole wheat flour, fenugreek (methi), and ghee, along with coconut flakes, cardamom, and a tinge of chili spice.

Taste – I have tried both the chocolate and salted caramel white flavors. I am a white chocolate lover so I devoured the salted caramel white bars. They both tasted a lot like a typical protein bar, though softer and much more rich. The glaze on top adds just the right amount of sweetness.

How I Consume It – This box has 12 bars. For nearly two weeks, I ate one bar every morning with a tall glass of whole milk. Delicious.

Did it Work? – Over the span of two weeks, I saw about a 1 oz. increase on each side which resulted in 5-6 oz total. My milk appears thicker than before. Since I breastfeed more often than I pump, it’s hard to measure exactly how much I produce so I gauge by how I feel. I essentially felt fuller and my baby seemed content after his feedings which is a good sign.

Disclaimer: I came across Mrs. Patel’s on my own and have provided my honest feedback. Since I have tried and tested these products and have seen results, I am now a brand ambassador. Use my link for your purchase here: http://bit.ly/2Dk1eBr.

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review

PrettyMommies was my skincare line of choice during both my pregnancies and hereafter, so I am proud to be partnering with the brand to offer my readers 20% off their first order. To redeem, click here

During my first pregnancy with my twins, I was literally on a scavenger hunt to find natural products for my skin. I quickly discovered that the beauty brands I swore by my whole life were jam-packed with chemicals (Retin-A, hydriquinone, etc.) and even the so-called “organic” mainstream options had long ingredient lists and weren’t completely free of harmful additives. Here’s a list of the skincare ingredients to steer clear of when pregnant.

After spending hours doing research online, asking 20 questions of my doctor during visits, and calling hotlines like the La Leche League International for breastfeeding mothers, I finally nailed down a skincare regimen comprised of 100% organic products which produced optimum results. Watch my YouTube video on my natural skincare routine here.

In this article, I’d like to highlight a skincare collection made specifically for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, which happened to be a game changer for me. It’s called Pretty Mommies and has been recognized as the #1 physician recommended pregnancy skincare line. Founder Gina Gordy launched the collection because she suffered from acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her own pregnancy. Real talk – not everyone is lucky enough to flaunt that “pregnancy glow.” She said that “as her belly got bigger, my breakouts and hyper-pigmentation worsened.” Soon after, she made it her mission to provide safe, effective skincare products to expecting women. She used her industry connections with top cosmetic chemists, leading physicians, and labs to create Pretty Mommies.

When I came across the site, I called the customer service line and actually spoke to Gina on the phone. I asked her what made her formula so unique, and she explained that her products do not contain soy or soy peptides. Soy mimics estrogen in the body and should not be ingested or used topically when our hormones are raging from pregnancy. Most organic products on the market use soybean oil, but it should be avoided. In addition, many skincare products contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a known skin irritant. Pretty Mommies uses vegetable glycerin instead, which is non-toxic, colorless, and odorless and has antimicrobial effects to heal wounds and restore elasticity. Another common chemical is oxybenzone, a sunscreen found in almost all SPFs out there. It’s a synthetic estrogen and hormone disruptor and studies have shown links to low birth weight in babies. Pretty Mommies uses a chemical-free sunscreen made of pure non-nano zinc oxide that has been micronized so it cannot penetrate the skin. I was sold. 

When I tried the 3-step system, I was really impressed with the results. The cleanser, “Let’s Be Clear,” is a gentle exfoliant and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, not to mention, it has a clean, all-natural scent from fruit/vegetable extracts. The “Truth Be Told” skin enhancer is a multifunctional moisturizer and feels as smooth as silk when you rub it into your skin. It helps brighten and reduce inflammation. Lastly, the “Protect & Reflect” sunscreen gives you superior broad UVA/UVB protection (SPF 32) and fills lines, wrinkles, and pores without clogging them. When I got the occasional pesky zit, I dabbed a bit of the sunscreen on there and it was gone by morning like magic. Amazing!

Pretty Mommies sent me the 3-step skin care system for my honest review (the first package I bought lasted a whole year which is worth the price tag!) and I have to say, I’m happy to be sharing this with expecting mothers out there. I would never endorse a brand I didn’t personally believe in; in fact, this is my go-to skincare line because I can’t imagine going back to using brands that use chemicals and parabens now.

I have a special promotion for you, my dear reader! You receive 20% off your first order using my link –  click here. Let me know how Pretty Mommies works for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories and help in any way I can! PrettyMommies.com.

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