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Ep. 116 – The Drop- Your Perfect Breastmilk Match!

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Ep. 116- The Drop- Your Perfect Breastmilk Match!

This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

Maureen: Welcome everybody to a very special sponsored episode of The Milk Minute Podcast. Now don’t go away because you guys know that we vet our sponsors carefully. Right? And we only accept that from companies and people that we believe in. And we just found some kindred spirits this week.

Heather: Yeah. I think this was more of a gift than anything for us because it feels kind of lonely out there when you’re like a feminist duo just like fighting the man every day. And then we happen to find maybe through kismet, maybe through cosmic forces, people that mirror us in the state of Virginia.

Maureen: Yes. Yes. In, you know, in Eastern Virginia. Yeah. We’re in West Virginia. Yeah. It’s great. I’m so excited to talk today with Kelly Cox and Celia Castleman and they have created an app to make community milk sharing more efficient for lactating parents. And it’s just, it’s gonna be easy guys.

Heather: Yeah. It’s innovative. It’s inclusive. And they’re working double time to get this app ready for you all in light of the formula shortage crisis. So they have really, really been pushing to get this thing launched and ready for use for you. So if you are in a situation where you can’t find food for your baby, you will be able to locate someone nearby that is safe and, you know, accessible.

Maureen: Honestly, it’s about damn time that we had something like this because for people who are trying to connect with other parents to share milk, we have had terrible websites. You know, Craigslist style, we have clunky Facebook pages and that’s it. So now we are going to ask these wonderful women about what, what they’re creating, how they’re making it safe, how they’re making it accessible. And I’m so excited to learn.

Heather: Yeah, I can’t thank them enough for their work and their dedication to helping families feed their babies in the best way they can. That’s obviously something we care about. But first before we get into that, we have some patrons to thank. So thank you so much, Morgan Duncan from West Virginia and Guat.

Maureen: That’s all the info we have from that patron, but we love you just the same.

Heather: Thank you, Guat. We appreciate you. Absolutely.

Maureen: We have a quick question from a patron from Asheton, who’s also from West Virginia. Woo. Woo. I feel like this is a, a day for Appalachians here.

Heather: Yes. We’re having an Appalachian fem day.

Maureen: Okay. So Asheton says, this is a follow up question to the Life Cycle of the breast Episode.

I’ve seen information floating around that you can have a better milk supply with each pregnancy and an increase in the number of milk ducts that your body grows and I’d be interested in knowing if there’s science behind that. I’ve been struggling with my milk supply for my first baby, and I know that breastfeeding relationship is gonna be different with every baby.

And I imagine that the greatest impact on breastfeeding the second time around for me is going to come from having a better idea of what I’m doing. But I’d be curious to hear if there are physiological changes that happen in the breast from pregnancy to pregnancy as well.

Heather: Well, first of all, Asheton would be a person that would a hundred percent benefit from this app that we’re gonna talk about today.

Absolutely. You know, anyone struggling with milk supply and feeling the scarcity right now should definitely go check this out after you listen to the episode, but Maureen, I’m gonna let you answer this one.

Maureen: Sure. The answer is Y E S yes. There is some scientific backing to this saying, right? So here’s the thing.

In every pregnancy, we grow a very significant amount of glandular tissue, but funny enough, also with each menstrual cycle, we also have breast development. So it’s like you, and it’s not as much, right. We have like a little bit every month and then boom, you’re pregnant. And it’s just this huge explosion of mammary stuff going on.

And for most people, the trend is that each subsequent pregnancy, we have more glandular tissue, therefore more opportunity to make milk. Right. Obviously if we don’t use it correctly, it’s not just gonna keep making milk. So you are right that knowing what you’re doing and those initial weeks of lactation are really crucial, but your body is typically set up for success essentially the more times you’ve been pregnant.

Heather: Yep. A hundred percent agree with that. And you know, the, I just, I guess the main message we wanna get across here is if you are currently struggling with your baby and feeding your baby, please don’t be afraid to attempt breastfeeding again in a subsequent pregnancy, because it really could be different.

Every pregnancy is different. Every baby is different. Every journey is different.

Maureen: I found it much easier the second time. Same. You found it. Yeah. I think that for most people that we work with, we find that’s true. So there is a whole lot of hope, Asheton, and I think, I think it’s gonna be great next time.

Heather: All right. Let’s dive into this episode with Kelly and Celia. Kelly and Celia, welcome to the show. We are obviously fans of dynamic duos in business. Yes, we are. We are, but how did you two meet and come up with the idea for The Drop and what is it?

Celia: Great. Yeah, well, so we have a funny little matching story, but basically I was pregnant with my third. I’m 45 years old so I was an older mom. And I walk into, I was just super grumpy being pregnant again. And my husband was like, you need yoga. So I walk into a yoga studio, Bend Yoga, which is the pre and postnatal yoga studio in Charlottesville. And there was a woman sitting behind the desk and I just looked at her. She said, oh, I’ve been waiting for you to come in.

And I never met her before. And I was like, who is this fairy godmother? And I just immediately said, like, I think my vagina’s broken. She just popped out from; she was like sitting on the purple bouncy ball. She popped out from behind the desk and she was like, let me show you some stretches. I mean, that’s literally like, it wasn’t even, hi my name is.

That was how we met and so I started doing prenatal yoga, and I strong armed her into becoming my doula, even though she had a client with a similar due date. And so we know each other very intimately and I will let Kelly, it was her brainchild with the idea for The Drop. So I’m gonna let her tell you.

Kelly: I will never forget that morning Celia walked in. She literally just looked at me and she said, Are you the vagina whisperer? And I laughed and I thought, well, I’ve not heard that one before, but sure. Yep. That’s me. So I owned and operated Bend, this great yoga studio in Charlottesville. And of course we did yoga, which was all kind of aimed at helping pregnant women feel better and kind of prep for our, for delivery.

But, but that just kind of, I guess the fluff of it. What we really did was we did a lot of supportive services. So we had grief and loss support group. I ran a class for women who were struggling with fertility, all sorts of issues. By far, the most utilized resource was we had a free lactation support group.

It was free to anyone in the community who did not have to be a client. And it was packed every Friday. And what I found from listening and being a part of that was I think the number one cause of postpartum depression is around feeding your child. We talk all the time about breastfeeding is the most natural thing you’re ever going to do.

It’s the entire reason women have breasts. And of course we know that it’s very, very difficult for a lot of reasons. So I was, I was at home one evening. I had a really long day at the studio and I came home and I poured myself a glass of wine and I checked my email and there was an email from a client. It literally said, you need to help me get rid of my milk.

We are moving, I have a freezer full of milk, and I, we can’t take it with us. And then immediately another client emailed and said, Hey, I’m about to give birth and I, she just already knew that she couldn’t, she wasn’t gonna be able to lactate and feed her child. So can you help me get milk? And so, as I am writing an email, introducing, I got a notification from Bumble and I had had this match.

And I instantly, and I could see like he was 10 miles away and instantly my head was like, this, my mind was blown. I’m like, wait a second. Why we can, first of all, we can do anything on our phones. Right? We order a car. We can order pizza. We can order someone to date and I, and I thought. We just, and I knew that these, these families, I knew both of them and they were just mere miles apart.

And so I thought, well, okay, whatever. I’ll get back to this dude here and talk to him later, but more importantly, this should be available for families. And so it just, it has been sitting in the back of my head for about six years, but of course I was busy and I was running a studio and very active in the community and I had a relationship and all these things.

And so I couldn’t focus on it. And then we closed the studio during the pandemic and Celia was furloughed and I just sat there and thought well, what else am I going to do? So that’s how the app came to be.

Heather: That’s incredible. That’s a great story. So first let me give you guys some props for investing in an idea that’s actually designed to make feeding babies easier, especially in a time when it’s only getting harder. You know, and I’m sure you guys know that the Formula Act was just shot down in the Senate, along with the Pump Act, which was supposed to help lactating parents at work, like 9 million more parents breastfeed better and be able to provide you know, milk, that’s pumped at work in a better way.

And you know, the Formula Act was supposed to basically increase access to formula. So how has this formula shortage as well as current events impacted the building of this incredible app? Has it affected it?

Celia: Yeah, so, well, well, we had, like Kelly had mentioned, we were thinking about putting this together before the formula shortage.

So we’ve been working on it for about almost two years, really. And I had had thought, oh, this is going to be really great during crisis situations too because even when like the war in the Ukraine, they were saying, don’t send formula, we don’t have clean water. So I thought, okay, droughts, wildfires, electricity, like loss of electricity.

This is gonna be a good resource, another tool to have. And then when the formula shortage crisis became a thing we started just putting the, the kind of gas pedal down. We were like this has to come out now. We thought we were going to launch during world breastfeeding week in August. And we just were like, stop everything.

This needs to like go right now. People are suffering. Families are suffering. It’s already stressful enough being a new parent. And I just can’t even imagine how stressful it is. And I was anxious as a new mom without the, you know, without Covid and wars and shortages and inflation. And so this was one more thing and it also is a.

It does feel, and I don’t want to sound like a raging feminist right now, but if you just give me this one minute to say it just seems like everything is stacked against us. Like constantly. Yes. All of these barriers, all of these kind of controls and it’s like, no, no, no, no. We gotta, like, the women are gonna come together and band together and figure it out and help each other and support each other because we’re the only ones that are thinking about each other.

Maureen: Absolutely.

Heather: Ain’t that the truth and you’re in good company. You can have more than a feminist minute if you like on this show.

Celia: I might need it.

Kelly: You could, you could have a whole feminist hour with Celia Castleman. Yes.

Heather: We’re here for it .Signing up right now.

Maureen: So we have we have a reason and we have a solution. And it’s launching soon. So can you give us like a audio walkthrough of the app? Right. I’m a parent I’m looking for donated milk. How can I get that through the app? What does it look like when I open it? What, just like give us a vision.

Kelly: Well, first of all, it is completely free, so it is free to download and it is free to use.

So on both the Apple and Google app store. Hopefully you can download it around July 5th and we can certainly keep you updated with that. You simply download it; you choose whether you are a donor or a recipient. You can put your name in. We encourage as much creativity. Use your personality. We are not using profile pictures.

We are having avatars because we wanna. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you’re from. Right. It’s just about feeding the babies. So you go in, you create your profile, you state how old your child is, cuz we know that it’s always best to get milk that’s in the similar age range, not crucial.

And then any, any dietary issues you have. So as a donor, you’re gonna say I consume caffeine daily. I, you know, I eat or consume lactose, whatever your diet intake is. And any medications you take and then, or you don’t have to say, you take what medications you take, but just that you might take medication. And then when you message an app, you can talk about that.

As a recipient, you say, this is how old my child is. These are the things that we need. So if you’re a nut free family, clearly you need milk that’s nut free. And then you say geolocation. So how, how far are you willing to go to either donate or receive.

So 5 miles, 20 miles, 100 miles, and then it will populate anyone in your area that has either milk to give or is looking for milk. And then you simply message in app. So we want people to talk to each other in the app, get to know each other, ask all the pertinent questions you need and then hopefully meet in your community and donate milk or receive milk.

Celia: And we also say, so if you’ve been on a dating app, like many people have, it really is a dating style. So in instead of like clicking on, like, I love long walks on the beach, you’re just filtering through your dietary wants or preferences, sensitivities, and then you’re just connecting with your match.

Maureen: Do we get to swipe like Tinder?

Celia: No, you don’t. Cause we, we did think about things like that. We really wanted it to be just really inclusive. It really is for the LGBTQ + community, it’s for adopting parents. It’s for breast cancer survivors that I, I know a lot, like we always say moms, but it’s however they identify it’s for their baby.

Heather: That’s amazing. And just quick question, is this just in the United States or is your location map all over the world?

Kelly: It’s just, it’s just in the United States now, but you never know. We’re gonna, we’re gonna start this. We’ll never know. Yeah.

Heather: So actually I, yeah, I had to plant that seed because we have some listeners in Australia and we’ve got listeners in Canada and, you know, so I’m sure that they are, you know, fascinated by this as well.

And they’re gonna be tapping their fingers waiting eventually. No pressure. I know you’re already doing a lot right now.

Celia: Well, and it’s, it’s funny because, you know, I feel like the US is behind on almost everything. So especially in like Australia and Canada, they have, they’re ahead of the game.

Like they find community feeding to be much more normalized and they have obviously better resources and family leave. And, and the reason why for right now we’re concentrating just on the US is actually around privacy policy, user agreements that are different internationally, but we’re, yeah, we’re getting inquiries too, of like, can it be available everywhere and, and that’s the goal.

Maureen: That’s exciting. That’s exciting.

Heather: So what if I’m like a body building, dude and I want to get jacked and tan by using breast milk. Can I hop on the app and buy breast milk for someone? Or is this app really only for lactating parents who are looking to exchange milk for free?

Kelly: This is literally only to feed infants.

So we understand that, you know, the big buff dudes might want this. Nope. This is not the, we’re not the platform for you. We literally are only here to make sure that milk goes to infants. Yep. And always, always free. We don’t want to get into ever paying for milk. I think that just opens up the doors to all sorts of bad implications.

Yeah, so it’s always, always free. You cannot get our milk, cuz you’re going to give it to anyone other than an infant.

Maureen: Yeah. We’ve talked a lot on the podcast about how paying for milk, like commodifies it. And can really enter a space of manipulation for parents with between like the milk banks and companies who are buying it from them and it, it can get really messy really fast.

Heather: Yeah, totally. Yep. On that, on that note, quick question. Is there a way to like, if someone is being very shady on the app, is there a way to like put an alert out on them and be like, this avatar might be a weirdo?

Celia: Absolutely. So we, oh, nice. We have a report, but I mean, it’s kind of like, I think about a, a lot when I was talking to our like developers or app developers, I think a lot about Uber. So, you know, there’s a report button if you have an issue. We do have standards of and guidelines for use, and you sign off on that, that you agree to those terms. And so if anyone is not behaving accordingly there, there is a report button and we, we don’t have any tolerance for that.

Maureen: I think that’s gonna make a lot of people feel more comfortable using the app, just knowing that there are safeguards in place. Oh yeah.

Heather: And you know us moms, we stick together. So if, and I would say our alerts are very high, like our brains have been rewired perhaps to make sure safety is the top priority sometimes to our own detriment where like, Yeah. Yeah. So I have no doubt that they will kick out every single creep and it won’t be an issue.

Celia: We actually call it that. We call it like the creep code. We’re like, that’s so funny. That is literally how we describe it. I love that.

Maureen: So we previously recorded an episode all about community milk sharing and you know, we talked about the risks and the benefits and went over the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s guidelines and, and really just focused on the ways to improve the safety of sharing milk.

So we were curious, you know, how can parents stay safe while they’re using The Drop to access milk for their babies?

Celia: Yeah, that’s a great it’s just a good segment because I feel like I like to give agency to the parents. So while yes, there are certain guidelines that we commit to and when users on our app are committing to, to being on the app and using it, they’re signing off on the four pillars of safe breast milk sharing, which was put out by Eats on Feets.

And they’re an organization that’s been doing community feeding for over 10 years. And I think that when we think about the history of community feeding and breast milk sharing, we think about how our civilization has really like thrived on it and grown. Back in the day during hunters and gatherers, it was, you know, the lactating moms that were just feeding all the babies while people went and had survival issues to deal with.

So, so it’s not a new concept. The kind of things that we are, we are thoughtful about and the reason why we have in-app messaging is that yes, we screen for, on there are filters for common allergies and whether you’re drinking caffeine or having alcohol or prescription medications or recreational medication or drugs, but we want people to have complete authority and agency over what they’re comfortable with.

I drank caffeine when I was, I drank coffee when I was breastfeeding and I felt like that was fine for me. So we want people to continue having that conversation and ask for anything that you would want to know. So our, we have a neonatologist that’s on our board and his advice is it’s the same kind of questions you would ask before you have sex with someone.

So, you know, you wanna know their blood tests then ask for their MyChart or their screenings. If that’s important to you. And we think that you can, parents who are caring for their children are thoughtful and intuitive and can make knowledgeable, knowledgeable decisions for themselves and ask their pediatricians, ask their OBS, ask their doulas, ask their lactation consultants.

There’s so much kind of guidance around it. So we really think it can be safe.

Maureen: I love that you guys have a neonatologist on the board. It just it’s, it’s something where I’m like, oh yes, y’all know what you’re doing.

Heather: Yeah. Well, and also because neonatologists work with the most medically fragile babies and they also work with the most donor milk.

Yeah. You know, and so they’re, it’s not as much of a leap. And so just knowing that you have somebody like that, who’s very knowledgeable about it makes us as lactation consultants feel really, really good about what you’re doing and, you know, just, I, when I first heard about your app, I’ll be very honest with you.

My first thought was, oh, great. Like now another company exploiting desperate parents for money. And then I looked more into it and I was like, oh, wait a minute. There’s no fee to use the app. And I was like, oh my gosh, I feel warm inside. And then I got more excited to even meet you guys. So tell us why it’s so important that this app is free and, and what that means for parents.

Kelly: You know I, I talked before about working with families for so many years through kind of all through childbearing years and, and this, we just have to make things easier. They have, we have so many stressors in life and bringing a child into the world. It, it should be more supportive and easier.

I am a breast cancer survivor and this kind of started for me trying to get milk for survivors. You know, if you can’t, if you don’t have the ability to feed your child, it’s a very lonely and dark place. I had a couple of friends who were also survivors, who I remember when I first thought of this app and I brought it up, said, you have to get us milk. And one of my best friends is a survivor.

And I, I have promised her for years, she’s got all these frozen eggs and she’s ready to use them. And I said, I promise I will get you milk just because I mean, there. Why would we charge for it? It’s just, it’s liquid gold. Every, every mother I have ever met, who has an oversupply is desperate to give it away.

She understands how precious it is, how much time it takes to pump. How much, everything that goes into feeding a baby. And I’ve never, ever met a single woman who said, Hey, I’d like to make some extra money on this side. Can you help me sell this milk? No, it’s like, please, please, please help me find someone in need.

I just think it’s, it’s a vital part of the community is how, how can you give back without needing anything in return? So we’re trying to kind of build that kind of community.

Maureen: I love that. Yeah. And it’s, it’s removing barriers, right? Because there, it’s just hard to get in touch with other people and to feel safe doing it.

Heather: Right. And it gives people another option for donation. Yeah. You know, because there are companies out there that seek out people that are looking to make money off of their breast milk and like planting seeds of, oh, are you out of work and during your maternity leave and you’d like to make more money? You know, sell your breast milk to us.

And they realize their marketing is so manipulating. They, they just started disclosing that they’re for profit companies. Yeah. And they, they use that milk to upcharge at 600%. And it’s just like, gosh, it’s, I’m so glad you’re giving us something that we can feel good about. Yep. Yeah. And so speaking of feeling good about it, you know, can you maybe describe a typical candidate who would be an excellent person to use your app to donate?

Celia: Yeah, it’s actually kind of amazing because now that we are getting beta testers to use it, we’re getting more inquiries and, and users that are donating. So the person that donates, I mean, and obviously like I have, so I, I could just say that, it takes so much time and energy to pump that I could not imagine wasting any of it.

I mean, it’s all so precious. And knowing that it’s, there’s so many world problems that I can’t control and I can’t feel so helpless about this is one thing that like, I, oh, I can do this. And so I think that the, the, the people that are donating are completely altruistic, they wanna do something. They, they feel like this is already in their wheelhouse.

And there are a lot of women that had problems nursing maybe for their first baby in their first few months and they were the recipients of donor milk. So they wanna give back. Those are the, those are the kind types of people we’ve seen.

Heather: That’s really cool. And I even had a patient just yesterday and this is kind of when it first hit me.

I went to her house and she was bawling her eyes out because she’s going back to work on Wednesday and it’s her first baby. And she’s like, it just doesn’t feel natural and everything going on in the world. It’s just so stressful. And then she told me that she actually had 150 ounces in her freezer already.

And she disclosed that she was like afraid to tell me, but that she’s been pumping extra because the formula shortage has her anxiety at like an 11 out of 10 right now. Yeah. And that’s how she’s been coping with it. And she’s like, I know you told me that it’s really not necessary because then your baby starts eating solids.

You know, at some point, you know, after six months and you know, so many people end up having 300 plus ounces in the freezer that they don’t know what to do with. Like their baby, just literally won’t be able to take it cuz they’re still making it and she’s like, but you know, this is just where I’m at right now.

And so I think you’re gonna end up having a lot of people that are in that situation who pumped preemptively because of the formula shortage. So, you know, again, I’m just, I’m glad that you are, you’re kind of highlighting the person that this is for on the donation side.

Celia: Right. And in addition, so we’ve had friends too that that find out that their baby is like lactose intolerant and they have a freezer full of, you know, milk that they’ve been eating cheese and ice cream and, and dairy and they, and their baby can’t have anymore.

So those people also donate milk, that milk for babies that it’s okay to have lactose.

Heather: Yeah, for the, for the milk protein allergy babies, that’s really big. The, the babies that are allergic to lactose, it’s like super rare, but very, you know, concerning. Like galactosemia it’s like one in a million, but that, for that one, baby, that absolutely can’t have it, you definitely wouldn’t want that milk to go to waste. So let’s talk about the inevitable pushback that you received.

Maureen: Oh, I have questions cuz every time we talk to somebody who is fighting to make things easier for parents and doing something that involves women’s bodies obviously somebody’s mad about it.

So what are the critics saying to you guys? You know what are they, what are they criticizing and what do you have to say back?

Celia: Yeah. So this is, I mean, this is our first kind of real startup together. And a lot of you know, we put our pitch deck and we have had zero funding. And so, I mean, Kelly is just using up her life savings and we are self-funding this because we think it’s so important.

And so a lot of the times we’re in a room with a bunch of men and they just don’t get it. And they’re like, oh yeah, I think my, is that a thing? Do people do that? And I have been trying to, to say yeah, we’ve been doing this forever. We’ve been sharing breast milk. You know, they’ll say something like, oh yeah, I remember when my wife was breastfeeding or like, okay, well, like that’s not the point.

And so, you know, they’re like, how are you gonna make money? I’m like, I’m not really sure. You know, I don’t know if this is going to make money. It’d be great if we could get some advertisers on, on the app. And maybe down the line, we will, but that’s not the important thing. It’s like a social impact.

So, and, and we definitely have gotten feedback like, oh, it’s not safe. You need to have screenings. And like, there is a safe way to do it. This can be safe. So those are the things that, that have kind of been hurdles for us. And it’s just, it’s so frustrating to me because I do think that we are constantly in the system where government or white men privilege from a point of privilege are continuing to tell us what to do or how to do something.

And we’re in this even with, even with the formula shortage, a simple message that was telling families, oh, just drive a little further and maybe you can find formula. I was like, well, that comes from such a place of privilege. Right? Some people can’t drive. Some people don’t have a car. Some people can’t drive like further gas is so expensive.

So those are the, the naysayers for us and we’re just kind of forging on.

Maureen: Yeah. I, I feel like, I don’t know, the United States might be like the most capitalist country and any, any time you say you want to help people for free the majority of the people around you look at you, like you’re just crazy.

Heather: Well, and also I argue that we’re an end stage capitalism. Like end stage renal failure, you know, it’s just like, the drags of it. So I can only imagine bringing a pitch deck to somebody who’s like, so entitled that they’re like, oh, sorry ma’am, we’re looking for a billion dollar business. And this one is only potentially a $2 million business and you’re like, O okay, I’ll take it.

Like I get to help people. And, you know, a couple million dollars. That sounds yes. I mean, yes. Sign me up. Yeah, yeah. You know, it’s wild.

Kelly: Or we get this feedback and they’ll say, well, should this be a nonprofit? Maybe this should just be a nonprofit. And, and I I’m like well, we are, we are actually smart women.

I’ve run a business before. I mean, yeah, we, we can do really good work and still be a for-profit business, but it’s just right around these like, oh, look at these two little ladies over in Virginia. They’re just doing this really cute thing. Maybe they should just get, get some grant money.

Maureen: From two ladies in West Virginia, we are behind you.

Heather: Yeah. And you’re speaking my language, cuz I get that all the time where people are like, oh, you host a free support group for lactating parents? You should just go nonprofit and you should get grant funding.

Maureen: I’m like, sorry. Have they ever done 501-C3 paperwork? I think not.

Heather: As if it’s easier, first of all, as if it’s easier and I get the sense that you’re trying to build something that is sustainable. You’re trying to change the culture of how we think about milk sharing. And that is no small feat and it’s nothing to scoff at. And it’s not a cute little thing that you should pat somebody on the head and be like, oh, look at you, cute little nonprofit people. Good for you with your big hearts.

Yeah. It’s like, no, I’m a boss bitch. And I want this to be a sustainable thing that people can use for the next a hundred years. Absolutely. Or however long we still have apps. Yeah.

Kelly: I know. I mean, but you think about environmentally how much safer it is. Like there’s so many aspects of it and, and what we’re really literally, my big mission is get outside your door and talk to your neighbor.

So we’re just doing this about sharing breast milk, but like, let’s just, let’s leave our house and talk to our neighbor and, and. I mean, I don’t want, of course I want people on their phones cause I want them on our app. But like put, put down the technology and just build community because you go back to like, what really keeps the village alive is the village.

And so get out there and start sharing and, and, you know, my hope is that you make friends. Or, you know, so I’m, I’m actually in Washington state here for memorial for my mom and, and it’s all this, like all the community comes out and it’s all of our friends and all of our family. And I’m in this situation in life where I’ve lost a lot of my family, but yesterday was such a beautiful day of like, oh, I’ve got this auntie over here.

Is she really my auntie by blood? No, but she’s been in my life and it’s, it’s this, the community that comes out and supports each other. That’s really, we wanna feed the babies, of course, but that’s my mission. Is let’s build this beautiful community so that we always have support no matter what’s going on in life.

Heather: Yeah. And you know, this is something that has never been done before. So it’s this isn’t gonna be the final iteration I’m sure. You know, and it sounds like you two are really listening to what people want. That’s how you got here in the first place. And it’s not like you’re gonna build it and be like, and we’re done, you know, that’s just not how business works.

So, I mean, I’m very curious to see how people end up using your app and what they are asking you for next. And, you know, I’m very excited to see what happens next with you all and follow your journey.

Maureen: And honestly, I’m just like, thank God it’s not gonna be clunky anymore. Cuz the Facebook milk sharing is so, it’s been so difficult like to, I love Eats on Feets and Human Milk for Human Babies and all that, but it’s like, okay, you post to this group. And then this admin posted here and then like maybe you get secondhand replies and maybe it DM. It’s, it’s just, it’s been hard.

Celia: Yeah. And it’s very antiquated. And when I studied it just while for this app, it was heartbreaking because you saw, if you just stayed on a group and watched, you would see these missed messages. So like they were so close to each other, but because of their algorithms and the antiquated kind of system, you didn’t get that direct message.

So I would see it. I’m like, oh my gosh. If someone directly message this person, cuz I see that they have milk and this person needs it and they’re right in the same town. It was just, and, and that goes back to like the whole investment of this it’s like you would like, billions of dollars are invested into formula advertising and marketing.

And I, it just these kind of like ridiculous things and, and we have not seen a drop of that.

Heather: Yeah. Well, I think you will, honestly. I, I think you will. And I think that historically, when women see other women working hard for the group, they lift each other up and we have experienced that just through the podcast.

You know, our patrons are wonderful that support us and our community on Facebook that’s always lifting us up on our worst day. Just being like, keep going, please keep going. So share with us some of your happy stuff. So how has this app changed your life, changed your perspective on breastfeeding/ chest feeding, you know, is there a positive ripple effect that’s happening?

Kelly: Yeah, I hope so. I, you know, I, I talked about this yoga studio that I owned and it was in hindsight probably should have been a nonprofit because we, we did a lot more community building than really like making profit off of, you know, $15 yoga class. But when we, when we closed the doors we had this huge outpouring.

You know, messages and support, and we loved you, but these, we, some clients of mine started this, like, what is your Bend story? And all of the clients like wrote in and posted these stories and it, they were all about how they felt supported within those, those walls or how they met, like met their best friend and still friends with them to that day.

And so it’s more, I realized like, Hey Kelly, what you’re really good at is bringing people together. And it wasn’t, we paid a lot of money for this, for rent to be on this fancy downtown mall. We had all these cute shirts and I would come up with all these, you know, kind of marketing gimmick things, but it was really just, how do you bring people together and make them feel supported?

And so that’s kind of our mission with this is like it doesn’t matter what it looks like or how fancy it is or if we come up with, I mean, well, we love the name, The Drop, cuz you can do all this, like mic drop, drop it, like it’s hot. Where are you gonna drop the milk? So it’s all like cute, but really at the end it’s like, did I make someone smile?

Did I make someone’s life easier? And already the support, especially we were talking about like beta testers, people just email us and say, oh my God, I love this idea. I already have a freezer full of milk. So we can see it, even though we’re not live. And we won’t be live for a couple weeks, there’s already this momentum and people that we do not know that are just seeing us on Instagram and Facebook and reaching out.

We already know that it’s working. So for, for me, like Celia talks about, I’m spending my life savings. I sold my house. I, you know, I’m literally doing everything I can because to me it’s already working. So if the app launches and no one signs up, I already feel like we’ve made a difference. So to me, that’s the happy stuff already.

Celia: Yeah. And I say like, I keep telling Kelly when things are getting tough, I’m like, this is our legacy. We are, we are doing something that is gonna leave the world a better place that, you know, like I said before, where there are times where we feel so helpless and like the world is just like crumbling around us and it’s like, wait we are making good in the world.

If like one parent just feels like, oh my gosh, like I was really stressing cause I couldn’t find breastmilk. I couldn’t lactate or I didn’t have enough or whatever. And this took that off, that pressure off, like we’re winning. We’re just like we’re winning. And I think too, like the happy stuff for me personally, I mean, Kelly saw something in like I never thought we would like co-found like a startup, like never.

And now I’m like, oh my God, I am a boss bitch. Like I, this is coming to fruition. We have this concept and this idea, and it’s, it’s actually real. It’s kind of awesome just like internally to, I’m 45 years old. And I’m like, wait, I think I just like reinvented myself. And that, that just feels pretty cool.

Maureen: hell yeah.

Heather: Yeah. That is, I’m all about it. Beautiful. That is absolutely beautiful. And we are so proud of you both and you know, we feel that same way too. Yeah. Where you never quite feel like you’ve made it because there’s always something more that you wanna do, but there are some times where you look around and you’re just like, Oh, damn like, look what I did.

So tell us,

Maureen: Oh, wait, wait. I’ve got a, before you do that. Oh, okay. I have a question from a patron. Oh, okay. So we always ask our patrons on Patreon if they have questions for people we are interviewing. And this time we have a question from Maddie and she said, quote, “I have a question for the founders. How do they deal with privacy of what donors and recipients share through the app given that health information needs to be shared?”

Celia: Yeah, so we actually we were really thoughtful about this too, and that was a concern. So there’s this in-app messaging part of the app where we’re not keeping any, like, we don’t have a everything’s encrypted basically. So if you’re sharing, you had an illness with the other person think of it like a WhatsApp.

We’re just the platform. And we want people to continue having that conversation and they can take that offline, but the like food sensitivities are not something that people should be concerned about or whether they drink caffeine, that’s not going to be an issue. So we don’t, we’re not we don’t host like MyChart or your blood type or anything like that.

Heather: Okay. Well, and you know, just to add onto that, the app that I use for my patients in my clinic, like my actual practice, where health information is shared is an app based charting system. Yeah. You know, so that’s happening all over the place and it’s, this is not a new thing. Like you are able to share private health information via an app safely.

So I feel very confident about it. I communicate with my patients regularly. I let them know via the app. Like if you text me outside of the app, I cannot guarantee that that’s HIPAA compliant. You know, I have no control over that. If you’re going to talk to me, talk to me in the app. Share things with me in the app and you know, then the app kind of does its encrypted thing and you know, so that’s, that’s a perfectly safe way to do that.

And it has been proven to be so for quite some time now. Okay. So Kelly and Celia, what do you want listeners to take away from this conversation and where can they find you?

Celia: So they can go to They can download the app when it launches in both the Google and Apple stores. And I think the biggest thing that for me, that I want people to take away is that there isn’t a one size fits all.

People have so many different needs and differences, and this is just another resource to have. This isn’t, we’re not gonna preach to you. This is the best way. This is something that you have to do. But it’s just out there and it’s completely free. It is so accessible and it’s for both like new moms, lactating moms, but also gay parents and breast cancer survivors.

And we just want it to be a safe space and accessible.

Kelly: And we really want to get the word out. So really what would help tremendously is for everyone to follow us, follow us on Instagram, follow us on Facebook, share it with people because we want, if we don’t, if people don’t know about it, the app won’t work.

Right. One of my fears is we’re gonna launch and you know, someone in Des Moines is gonna go on and there’s no one in the area to either donate or get milk from. So, and then they’re, they’re kind of left, just like, oh, the app doesn’t work. So our app is only gonna work if people far and wide know that it’s an option.

So follow us wherever you can. Tell your neighbors, tell anyone you know who’s about to have a baby. Tell anyone you know who’s about to adopt a baby. Just get the word out because we have to create this village and Celia and I talk all day about this and we tell as many people as we know, but we’re only two people.

So just to share the word.

Heather: Well, two people can make all the difference in the world and we are so thankful that you have taken this leap, that you have put everything on the line for making this better for women for lactating parents. We really appreciate it. Thank you so much for coming onto the show.

We will be sharing all of your stuff on all of our social platforms, and we might even be able to make a TikTok and download the app and show people how to use it. And we’re happy to support you anyway we can.

Kelly: Thank you so much.

Celia: Thank you.

Maureen: Thanks.

Oh, my gosh, I love this so much.

Heather: I love it. I wanna go to Virginia and I want them to throw a launch party. I wanna launch party.

Maureen: I want one. I wanna go party with them. They sound great. And I very, I wanna go to yoga with them. But really like, I, I think you guys know that we strongly support making your own best choices for your body and your baby.

And if the best choice for you is community milk sharing, then that is wonderful. We want you to do it safely. We want you to listen to our episode about how to do that safely. So we’re gonna link that in the show notes, and we want you to try out The Drop.

Heather: Yeah. And even if you don’t have milk to share, you might know somebody that does.

So if you could just share this app on your social media and just let people know that it’s an option. They rely on people signing up to be donors for it to work. So if you can’t be a donor, that’s fine. And that’s, that’s totally cool. But somebody, you know, might be able to help a family in need. So let’s all band together during this time where everyone is getting squashed who has reproductive parts that, you know, make babies and feed babies.

It’s a, it’s a tough month guys. It’s been a tough summer for us here, but this is one small way that you can help support these two amazing people that have put everything on the line to make sure that this is available for people and also make it available to the people that really need it. And eliminate some of that fear about feeding babies postpartum.

Maureen: Yeah, absolutely. Check it out. It’s gonna be on the Apple and the Google app stores and I don’t know, I’m gonna download it and look at it and just, I’m so excited.

Heather: Yeah. Just tune in. Be sure you follow us on TikTok so you can watch us use the app.

Maureen: Yes. I’m. I’m gonna try to make a video about how to use it. It’s gonna be so good.

Heather: Yeah, and I can’t wait to keep following up with Kelly and Celia and just follow their journey just from a business standpoint, it’s just brand new BFFs. You know, it’s, it’s really hard to do new, innovative things, you guys. It’s like definitely in this climate that we live in today.

Maureen: Especially as women in Virginia, like.

Heather: Yeah. It’s not easy. Anyone that is taking that on head on, I wanna be on their team. Yes. So thank you guys.

Maureen: We’re on their team.

Heather: Yeah, we are on their team. Yes. So thank you all for listening. Before we go, we would like to give an award to a very well deserved listener.

Maureen: Who gets an award day a a?

Heather: I’ll tell you right now, who’s gonna get the award.

Maureen: Awards in the alcove. All right. This award is for Maddie M from Washington state, and let’s see what she has to say. Oh my goodness. So she has made it to two weeks of exclusive nursing. Her daughter was born at 35 weeks with severe IUGR. That’s tough. And spent 54 days in the NICU and about as many days at home.

Now they only used bottles for giving her some vitamins at this point and the rest is straight from the tap. Oh my goodness. That transition is so hard. Wow. The day after she was born, they started working on latching, but she was smaller than the whole boob. And around the 40 week, mark, she nailed the latch, took a couple weeks to practice and build stamina.

And they stopped triple feeding. Maddie is so proud of her tenacity and her hard work pumping and learning how to support her herself and her baby. She’s got a great husband cheerleading, bringing snacks and food and walking laps around with their daughter to calm her down when she gets frustrated at the boob. It was the family goal and a huge family win.

Maddie’s been able to downregulate her supply now and just pumped to replace bottle feeds and is going back to work next month. So holy crap. Yeah, that’s a lot and you absolutely deserve an award. And we’re giving you the Fierce Family Award.

Heather: Yeah. Maddie, we want you to have the Fierce Family Award because you gotta be a real boss to get the whole family to work towards the same goal with that level of sleep deprivation and NICU visits.

Yeah. And boob to baby mismatches. And, you know, gosh, those preemies really come with their own set of difficulties don’t they? Absolutely.

Maureen: So lots of perseverance and hard work all around. Baby mom and dad.

Heather: Yeah. We’re so super proud of you. And you know, if you’re listening to this and you were in the NICU and you were a recipient of donor milk, you know how important it is to have donors out there.

Yeah. So again, we’re just going to remind you. Please go download The Drop and you know, support the whole team. All of us, the team is all of us, you guys.

Maureen: One last thing. If you liked this episode or literally any other episode, could you leave us a review on Apple?

Heather: Yeah. Here’s the latest review from AbigailElrod1. She gave us five stars. Appreciate that. Thank you. You, she says simply the best. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You ladies are the absolute best. I get so excited to listen to your podcast weekly. I’ve learned so much from listening. I nursed my first baby for 22 months and now my second baby is 10 days away from his first birthday and still going strong.

I follow your Instagram and I often have to remind myself to not comment on your post like we are friends because I definitely feel like we are friends. You guys are just very ,relatable so full of knowledge, help and good ideas. I share your podcast with all my mom/ nursing/ pumping friends. My almost one year old nurses constantly during the day on the weekends, or now that I’m home all the time, because I’m a teacher, he nurses 237 times a day.

Sometimes for two minutes, sometimes for 25 minutes. Is this normal? Yes. . Yes. Yeah, she says, thank you for being amazing. Keep up the good work. Your number one groupie from Tennessee, Abigail.

Maureen: So I think I’ve read every review on apple. There’s like over 300 or something. Yeah, love them all. Even the bad ones. Think those are very funny. And yeah, I just like, just leave us one. We love them. We feel like they’re like personal little love notes that keep us going on the hard days.

Heather: So, yes. All right. Well, thank you for listening to another episode of the Milk Minute Podcast.

Maureen: The way that we change this big old system that is not built to support lactating parents is by educating ourselves and our friends and family.

Heather: And sharing The Drop on all of your social platforms.

Maureen: Absolutely supporting each other a hundred percent. If you guys wanna support us, you can join us over at Patreon. And we have a couple tiers of membership and, you know, choose the level that works for you and give a little back.

Heather: Yeah. And you can also just do a one-time donation. If you’re done breastfeeding, but you still listen to us because you just like the sound of our voice, we appreciate that too.

Maureen: Okay guys. We love each and every one of you. You’re doing really great. And thank you for listening all the way to the end of this episode. Bye bye.


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