Just over a year ago, we officially launched Babble Soft’s first web and mobile application (then called Baby Manager, now called Baby Insights). A prominent blogger, Jennifer Laycock, whose personal blog is called The Lactivist, a popular blog on breastfeeding, saw the release and created a post that made me feel shocked, anxious, depressed, angry, and misunderstood at the same time. Jennifer also happens to be the founder, editor, and a writer for Search Engine Guide, a widely read blog on all things search.
Fortunately, soon after discovering Jennifer’s post, I contacted Connie Reece who blogs at Every Dot Connects. Connie helped me set up the first incarnation of this blog and gave me advice on how to get started blogging. She is a veteran blogger and a social media guru. I took several deep breaths, typed up something that I felt would be a good comment to Jennifer’s post and sent it to Connie for a sanity check. She gave me a few recommendations and I posted it.
Turns out that comment led to a few other comments and then an amicable online relationship with Jennifer when we both realized that we were supporters and donators to our local Mother’s Milk Banks. Jennifer and I now follow each other on twitter and read each other’s blogs. [As an aside, we offer all eligible milk bank donors a free subscription to Babble Soft applications to help them keep track of their pumped milk!]
Last week, Connie decided to create a case study on the incident and did a post called Case Study: Engagement Turns Critics into Allies. Where she outlines what happens:
Babble Soft, provider of Web and mobile software for parents of newborns
A press release for a new product launch was picked up by an influential blogger who wrote a very negative review.
Every Dot Connects worked with Babble Soft on a strategy to engage the blogger in constructive conversation.
The blogger apologized for the tone of the review and continued to interact with Babble Soft founder via her blog, email and, later, on Twitter and other social networks.
Well soon after, Mack Collier who blogs at The Viral Garden and Marketing Profs did a post about it too called Worried About Bloggers Dissing Your Company? Read This and he starts with:
“Babblesoft founder Aruni Gunasegaram found herself in a position that any company would dread. She had launched a new product that she had hoped would be well-received by her target audience, mothers who breastfeed their children. Unfortunately, the product was immediately reviewed, and shredded, by Jennifer Laycock, a very popular mommy-blogger who blogs at The Lactivist. What happened next is a great lesson for companies wanting to handle crisis-management in the blogosphere.”
Then, Jennifer decided to write her own post about it. I was just beside myself with 3 blog mentions from 3 prominent bloggers within the span of a few days! Jennifer called her post Bloggers Need To Accept Responsibility Too and she says:
“Last year Aruni was launching her new parenting software. I happened to pick up the press release right as it went across the wires and had some pretty harsh words for the idea on my Lactivist blog.
‘Apparently, the company feels that there’s an untapped market in parents with extreme breastfeeding OCD issues, so they’ve made available some snazzy (I use the word loosely) new software that will allow these Ezzo-wannabes the absolute, total scheduling control that they long for.’
It got worse though. In fact, rereading that post I made more than a year ago I found myself chuckling and wincing at the same time. Chuckling because some lines in my post were really funny, but wincing as I realized just how biting and scathing my critique was. I’m generally a pretty easy going and nice person. I don’t tend to like to rely on snark, and yet there I was, throwing out snark like I was Perez Hilton.”
“Ultimately, many of my readers ended up checking out the software and seeing the value in it for certain situations and while I still think the software’s a little on the anal side for the average mom, I fully recognize how helpful it could be for moms who DO need to track things.
Even more important to the story is the relationship that developed because of the way Aruni responded. Aruni became a regular reader of my blog and I became a reader of hers. We follow each other on Twitter and we’ve exchanged quite a few emails over the past year. Not long after the incident, I ended up sending her an email to share how refreshed I was at the way she handled things.
‘I want to compliment you on the way you handled your response to my blog post. I was pretty hard on you guys and you came in with class and style and really did a great job of turning the situation around to make yourself look good. I work in online reputation management and it’s rare to see a company respond so well. Just thought you should know that you gained my respect with that.’“
So needless to say, I am honored at their mentions and I have learned a lot in the past year. I hope I have at least become a better press release writer.
Personally, I think the biggest lesson that I have learned over the year is that although Jennifer’s choice of words were hard to read, her sentiments are reflective of what most new moms and parents think. It’s not easy to introduce a new way of doing and looking at things to the truly oldest and arguably the most important profession in the world: parenthood!
I think our applications can help a new mom having trouble with breastfeeding reach the other side of the breastfeeding bridge. It can help her and her family understand patterns, positions, pumping schedules, etc. But at first blush, most people don’t think of what we do that way. The reasons why that’s the case would be a good topic for another case study! It always takes longer and costs more money to build a business than anyone ever thinks when they first start out. Hence, my recent Fork In The Road post.
I just read a quote I can definitely relate to by James Cherkoff left in the comment section of a blog post that Fred Wilson of A VC did about sharing information on your company:
“Or in the words of Howard Aiken: “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”"
I saw it as I was finishing up this post and it made me smile laugh out loud!
| Filed under: blogging
, case study
, milk banking
, The Lactivist
| Tags: blog reactions
, connie reece
, jennifer laycock
, mack collier
, Mother's Milk Bank
, The Lactivist
| 13 Comments »
I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley. If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! To check out more baby advice, check out the baby tips category.
7 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
by Aruni Gunasegaram
My now 5 ½ year old son was born by emergency c-section making my post birth recovery time challenging because a) I was exhausted, b) he didn’t seem to sleep very much and c) I developed a breast infection. Now a) and b) are par for the course when having a baby but c) knocked me senseless. I didn’t want to take any more medication given that I had just come off of several after the c-section so I waited to see if the pain would go away. When I reached the point where I would wake up from a restless sleep with tears in my eyes from the excruciating pain and I began having thoughts like “I wish I could die right now, but I can’t because I have to feed my baby,” I began a round of antibiotics. Within a week or so I felt sane again.
Now part of the reason I contracted the breast infection was because I wasn’t breastfeeding correctly. It took about 7 to 10 days for my milk to come in and then because of the infection probably 10 weeks for me to quit wondering how the human race survived before bottles and formula! I ended up breastfeeding our son for about 7 months and our daughter about 9 months when it was apparent to me that we were ready to move on to the next phase of our mother/baby relationship. Here are some tips that helped me establish a successful breastfeeding relationship with my children.
1. Mentally prepare yourself that it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks. Some insightful person…maybe a nurse or my lactation consultant, told me “Give it 8 to 12 weeks before making a decision on whether you want to quit breastfeeding.” So I told myself ‘this is a marathon, breastfeeding is important to me and my husband, and I can’t quit before 12 weeks.’ I remember saying that to myself almost every day and when I was 10 weeks into it I realized “Wow, this isn’t so bad. In fact it’s pretty darn neat!”
2. It’s OK to supplement! I know I will be chastised by the pure breastfeeding advocates for saying this, but in my opinion it is OK to supplement with formula especially if you feel something is wrong with you or your baby. I was so afraid to supplement because I was repeatedly told that supplementing was the worst thing I could do, which of course made me feel like an awful mom. But let me tell you, if you are exhausted and your baby isn’t gaining weight, it is one of the best things you can do. After feeling guilty for a week because my milk wasn’t coming in and my baby wasn’t gaining weight, and trying to survive a breast infection, I decided to supplement just a little bit and what a relief because it helped me gain my confidence back. I had more confidence when our daughter was born 2 ½ years later. I smiled at the nurses who said I shouldn’t supplement and did it anyway for the first few weeks of her life. UPDATE: Based on a reader’s comment below, it wasn’t clear that even though we supplemented in the first several weeks, I also continued to pump. It is so true that if you quit pumping, your body will think you need to produce less milk. So I pumped and I took time to rest a little longer to build up my milk supply and that’s why my milk came in! Supplementing is not for everyone but in my opinion the sanity and health of the mom and baby are of utmost importance!
3. Don’t be afraid to take that baby off! Some well meaning nurses told me that when the baby is finished he will fall off. They didn’t know my son. He would stay on for over an hour on each side just suckling half asleep if I let him. I remember breastfeeding sessions that would last 90 minutes which when I had to start over again in an hour and a half reduced me to tears. I believe not pulling him off when I thought he was done contributed to my getting the breast infection. With my daughter I produced so much milk that after 8 to 10 weeks I was able to take her off sometimes at 7 to 10 minutes!
4. Keep a breastfeeding log. So that you have an idea of how much time you are breastfeeding and maybe even what position you are breastfeeding in, keep a breastfeeding log. When our son was born I used a form I created in Microsoft Excel to jot down often illegible notes. Fortunately when our daughter was born, we had an alpha version of our mobile software program, Baby Insights, available. I could easily keep track of my pumping and breastfeeding schedule which helped me understand her feeding patterns and how much milk I was producing.
5. Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating well, and getting good rest is a huge contributor to successful breastfeeding. In fact a vast majority of breast milk is water. Keep a bottle of water next to you when you breastfeed.
6. Ask and/or pay for help. Whether it’s a lactation consultant, a post-partum doula, your significant other, or a friend who has breastfed before, ask for help. A good lactation consultant can give you great tips on how to get your baby to latch on and feed properly. If you can afford a post-partum doula a few hours per week, they can be a god-send with both household and breastfeeding support. Ask your spouse to help you keep the breastfeeding log, bring you water, fresh fruit, snacks, and the baby!
7. Relax. I know this is easier said than done, but I found the more relaxed I was, the more my milk flowed. Lack of sleep and stress actually reduces your body’s ability to create breast milk. And worse you may start to resent the process and maybe even your baby! Watch a funny show or movie. Take a nap. Take a leisurely walk. Chat with a friend. Or just bawl your eyes out…we all know what a stress relief that can be!
Once your milk flow is established consider donating to a Mother’s Milk Bank near you. I donated to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin with my daughter and it was a wonderful feeling knowing that my milk was going to help sick and premature babies.
If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:
Increasing Breast Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex
15 Tips for Surviving The World’s Youngest Insomniac by Rose at From the Park Bench
Why Keeping a Daily Journal Is Important for Moms and Nannies
How To Properly Swaddle A Baby
Tips on Co-Sleeping and Ways to use a Co-sleeper
Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com
Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!
| Filed under: baby
, baby advice
, baby care
, baby insights
, baby tips
, breast milk
, breastfeeding schedule
, milk banking
| Tags: baby advice
, baby food journal
, baby sleep
, baby swaddle
, baby tips
, breast milk supply
, breastfeeding schedule
, breastfeeding support
, co-sleeping with baby
, from the park bench
, how to swaddle a baby
, milk banking
, Mother's Milk Bank
, successful breastfeeding
| 8 Comments »