For new mothers, breastfeeding can sometimes be a difficult experience to get pumped about.
To allay frustrations and provide support to those looking for guidance during this mother-baby bonding time, Hilton Head Hospital opened Express Yourself Lactation Center, an on-site store offering breast pumps, breastfeeding accessories, apparel and private consultations.
“So often, especially with first-time moms, they're learning just like the baby. They feel awkward about the process,” said Jean Magarelli, a registered nurse and board-certified lactation consultant who operates Express Yourself for the hospital. “We wanted them to have a place where they could come bounce their concerns off someone and find quality nursing products to get off to a good start.”
Prior to moving to the Lowcountry, Magarelli worked for a hospital in Pennsylvania that had a lactation retail store. She recognized the need for one on Hilton Head Island when her own daughter gave birth.
“She had two babies here, but we had to drive to Charleston to find a store that carried any good nursing products,” Magarelli said. “It's difficult to find a pump, and the sizes of the nursing bras in most stores are very limited. New moms shouldn't have to travel to find what they need.”
At Express Yourself, which is open by appointment only, mothers can schedule personalized bra-fittings and breastfeeding consultations. If they don't find a particular product in the store, Magarelli said she'll order it for them. The most popular items have been breast pumps and nursing bras, but accessories like pump-and-save storage bags and quick clean micro-steam bags for disinfecting breast pump parts and feeding accessories are also available for purchase. Magarelli's mission is to help mothers understand that breastfeeding can be a rewarding experience, albeit one that requires patience and practice.
“This is something I believe in, so I want to be able to answer their questions or let them know the issues they're having are normal and provide them with the best products,” she said. “I knew (Express Yourself) would have to start small, but the service it provides will translate into a lot of happy mothers.”
Express Yourself Lactation Center is open by appointment only. Items available for purchase or rent include:
• Medela Pump in Style
• Medela Freestyle
• Medela Swing
• Personal Fit Breast Shields
• Medela Membranes
• Disposable Nursery Pads
• Medela Quick Clean Wipes
• Medela Quick-Clean micro-steam Bags
• Medela Pump and Save Storage Bags
• Medela Nipple Shields
• Medela Nursing Bras and Sleep Bras
• Medela Breastmilk Bottle Gift Sets
• Medela Hydro-Gel Discs
• Medela Lanolin Cream
For pricing, availability or an appointment, call 843-689-8484.
In addition to the Express Yourself Lactation Center, Hilton Head Hospital also offers a prenatal breastfeeding class and breastfeeding support group for mothers in the community. The prenatal breastfeeding class meets once a month, and the breastfeeding support group meets from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Thursday. For more information or to register, call 877-582-2737.