When she started Mother’s Choice Products 25 years ago, nurse Sandra Hass was looking for a new way to help support her busy husband and three young children while at the same time, giving herself the time to actually take care of them. She certainly never expected to become one of the province’s top CEOs. But that is exactly what happened. Sandra Hass is on BIV’s Latest List of Largest Female Led Businesses Recently Business in Vancouver (BIV) released their annual list of Biggest B.C. Businesses Owned by Women and once again Sandra Hass of Mothers Choice Products is on it. Sandra is modest and often attributes her success to the talents of others but once you begin to hear her story you learn that Sandra is a resilient and resourceful businessperson who knows the value of relationships. From the first day when Sandra picked up the phone at her kitchen table through economic crashes, market changes and COVID-19, Sandra has focused on quality and integrity, growing her home-based business to a large office and warehouse facility and a major supplier to both independent retailers and major chains including Walmart, Toys R Us, Save On Foods, Buy Buy Baby, and London Drugs. Mothers Choice Products Begins Sandra started out as a nurse, specializing in maternal and child health. One day, just after the birth of her third child, she realized returning to twelve-hour nursing shifts with young children and a husband busy building his career wasn’t a viable option. Sitting at her kitchen table she thought about her training in maternal health and the lack of availability of some needed quality products like Ameda breast pumps. She decided to pick up the phone and call Ameda right then, asking to be able to sell their product in her area. They agreed and sent her $617.02 of products and six weeks to sell them. She had them all sold in two. Her First Mentor Her original goal was to be able to take care of the kids and make enough money to contribute by paying the Hydro bill. But her father, a retired entrepreneur, saw what she was doing and decided to help. Offering to fly to Toronto to talk to Ameda’s head office, (if Sandra covered the flight); he was able to secure Mothers Choice Products the rights to the province of BC. Her Dad was her mentor, teaching her about sales and business and coming over to help fill orders out of the upstairs room of her house. Sadly, Sandra’s father passed away after her first year in business, leaving her to figure out the rest without him. Without her dad, Sandra relied on networking, relationships she built and nurtured, and her gut instinct. From hiring to products, she has let her intuition guide her and though it doesn’t always work out, she has always learned from the experiences. As her children grew older Sandra had the opportunity to expand her business and has fond memories of the excitement and downright craziness that came with it. Growing Pains Sandra taught herself how to import, how to create UPCs, and much more through picking up the phone and calling people she knew might have the answers. She joined the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, where she gained confidence and bounced ideas off members. There was the mouse infested first warehouse, then the one with the hidden grow-op (which was also a porn studio), and a moment of serendipity where a product producer made a choice that ended up saving her business amidst the 2008 financial crash. But there was also the sexism. Though Sandra’s husband was never part of the business, he was often requested to be present. From pitching companies to dealing with banks and financial transactions, it was expected and sometimes, (even more maddeningly), required, for her husband to be involved. Even as recently as 2007 to open a bank account and get a loan, her husband’s signature was needed. So Sandra is acutely aware of some of the barriers that still exist for women in business and says “it’s wonderful helping other women.” Looking Back As she looks back on her almost 25 years in business Sandra isn’t sure she could do what she did in today’s environment. Sandra says “I did it out of necessity and I enjoyed every minute of it!”, but she doesn’t think she’d have the same opportunities now. Where she once could just pick up the phone and reach the people she needed to talk to, now you have to make appointments to talk to people, everything is more organized, and there’s a lot more competition. She was able to do what she did because she took the initiative to reach out and create opportunities and because she took the time to develop those relationships. Relationships, initiative and intuition built her business and will keep it in the Biggest B.C. Businesses Owned by Women List for a long time to come.
Plastic surgeries, lasers, chemical peels – there are millions of procedures people undergo to hide the signs of aging. As a rule, they are pretty costly and, unfortunately, only lessen the appearance of the problem rather than solving it. But don’t worry! Nature has its way of aiding us, and our own body is our ally – as long as we know how to address them, wrinkle reduction can be a surgery-free process. As we get older, the skin gradually loses the protein that gives the tight, smooth surface – collagen. No one is immune to that, and as time goes by, we all end up getting wrinkly. With continuous loss of collagen and thinning dermal layer it may seem that wrinkle reduction is a losing battle, but don’t give up just yet. While the process of aging cannot be stopped, there is a list of things that can be done to slow its speed and level of damage. And trust us, they are much more cost-effective than surgery, injections and other short-term solutions. Vitamin C Growing up you would have most likely heard that vitamin C is essential to boost one’s immunity against colds. This isn’t its only benefit. In fact, vitamin C is crucial for your skin too, according to the National Institutes of Health. Keeping yourself replenished with vitamin C will help you with fine lines and discoloration caused by sun damage – all you need to do is either take some oral supplement or use an exfoliating topical vitamin C face mask. Or, simply rub some fresh lemon juice into your face – be mindful of the amount, though: too much of it can cause dryness or flaking. If that happens, a daily moisturizer will help you. Silky Dreams You would be surprised to learn that quite a few of our wrinkles come from sleep – a process we think of as the time our body regenerates. According to American Academy of Dermatology, sleeping on your side will increase the number of wrinkles on your cheeks and chin, and sleeping face-down results in a furrowed brow. In other words, the only way to reduce wrinkles is to sleep on your back, right? Unfortunately, we do not control our position when we sleep. However, the way our skin resists or creates wrinkles can be influenced not by just our sleeping position but also on what we sleep on. Invest in pillowcases with high thread counts such as satin – they are known to aid wrinkle reduction. Banana Mask Bananas are rich in potassium when eaten, but they also work miracles on your face when you put them on it! Mash up a banana with a teaspoon of plain yogurt and a teaspoon of orange juice, apply it to your face and keep it on for 15-20 minutes. The potassium will hydrate and moisturize skin cells, while the vitamin A will fight dark spots and blemishes. Vitamin B is the one to prevent aging, and vitamin E will boost your skin’s resistance to UV damage. Face Massage Working in a similar way to the micro-current procedure, you can give yourself a face massage using nothing but your finger. With your index and middle finger massage 20 rotations between your brows, then apply light pressure to each temple and jaw joints for 10 seconds while clenching your teeth. This will relax your muscles, stopping them from making the micro-movements that cause tension and stress and result in wrinkles. Superfoods There are plenty of foods that provide great replenishment to your skin by giving it water, fats and proteins. These foods are so rich in useful nutrients that they have been labeled as ‘superfoods’ and they mostly include berries, nuts and veggies. For example, blueberries are full of collagen-protecting vitamin C and high concentrations of antioxidants. Tomatoes contain lycopene that improves the vascular system, in turn giving your skin a natural glow through extra blood circulation. And almonds are packed with skin-plumping and hydrating fats – what’s not to love? Micro-current Treatment The human body is full of electric signals – from blood flow to nerve signals that are responsible for us feeling sensations. Adding gentle stimulation to your skin can aid in wrinkle reduction as well as lift and tighten your soft tissues. TensCare went an extra mile here and developed a device that helps with not just wrinkle reduction but also other signs of aging using this method. The muscle stimulator Perfect BEAUTY is a Health Canada approved device that can help you to reduce the signs of aging. Aging is a natural process everyone goes through. There is no way of stopping it, but there are ways of slowing it down. Surgery and injections are likely to remove visible effects for a short term but they won’t address the underlying issue. Wrinkle reduction can be done from the comfort of your house – and it is less pricy than you would assume. You can buy it on Amazon here
Taking your first vacation away from your little one? You may have questions about how to keep up your milk supply while you are away. Here are some tips: 1. Bring a portable, light, effective breast pump & extra pumping parts with you 2. Bring a hand pump as back up, especially if traveling on a long trip or to a place with limited electricity 3. Use storage bags – easier to travel with! 4. Make sure you have the right electrical adapter if you are traveling outside of the country 5. Pump when your baby would normally breastfeed 6. Store your milk safely, ask ahead of time if you’ll have access to a fridge or freezer & bring a cooler bag for transport– here are storage guidelines for your reference, https://www.ameda.com/milk-101-article/how-to-store-breast-milk-safely/ 7. Know your airline’s rules about bringing milk back on the plane or plan to ship it back with a reputable milk shipping company 8. And, have fun & relax! Written by: Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLCCertified nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife
As we all continue to navigate the current global COVID-19 pandemic, Mothers Choice Products would like to share and re-confirm to all of our clients that our supply chains have been maintained and we are able to provide readily accessible products throughout Canada. We continue to maintain stable inventory levels and do not foresee any disruption, delay or limited access of any of our products due to our frequent and focused communications, with our partners. Our team has also evaluated and confirmed with Ameda that there is a full supply of pump kits on-hand. This was critical information to share as we wanted to ensure that all of our clients could confidently encourage utilization of their pump kits with Ameda pumps. This is strongly recommended as it will maintain warranty status and ensure optimum pump performance and safety. Mothers Choice also has healthy inventory on hand to provide stable supply of kits. If you come across material sharing news counter to this, please let us know right away to ensure that we are all dealing with accurate and up to date information. To re-confirm, Mothers Choice Products has all Ameda pumps, HygieniKits, consumables as well as our Sterifeed bottles well stocked in our Canadian warehouse. Mothers Choice Products team is set up and working remotely, including our customer service and product experts that are available to ensure that you have the resources and support needed. Our communication and support may be mostly digital at this time but be assured we will continue to strive to provide the exceptional service Mothers Choice Products is known for. If you have questions, concerns or support related inquiries, please keep the following contact information handy: Phone: 604.275.9221 1.800.604.6225 Hours: 8:30AM – 4:30PM PST Email: email@example.com Thank you from the entire Mothers Choice Products Team. We will get through this together.
The first few weeks of breastfeeding can feel quite overwhelming. It’s a learning time for both you and your baby, each of you getting a feel for each other. Your baby is slowly discovering how to breastfeed and find comfort outside the security of your womb. You are learning how to communicate with your baby and offer comfort and nourishment. Be patient with yourself and your baby; it will get easier, particularly once your milk supply becomes established. Having questions is normal. Trust your instincts, but also try to prepare yourself by understanding what to expect in the first few weeks. Below we’ve compiled some breastfeeding basics and tips from Day 1 to Week 6. What to Expect Your milk production grows from about 1 ounce (30 mL) to about 30 ounces (900 mL) between Days 1 and 40. Most mothers start to make noticeably more milk starting around Day 3 or 4. Your baby should be back to birth weight by 2 weeks. You can then expect baby to gain about 7 ounces (210 g) per week or 2 lbs (900 g) per month. Most babies feed 8-12 times per day, but not at set times. They may bunch feedings close together for part of the day (cluster feed). Your baby may want to feed again soon after breastfeeding. This is normal in the beginning. By Day 3-5, baby’s black stools (meconium) turn first green, then yellow. You can then expect 3 or more yellow stools every day. Also, expect 5-6 or more wet diapers a day by Day 5. If your breasts feel very full, breastfeed more or express milk. This will make you feel better, not worse. Most babies sleep for one 4-5 hour stretch each day. This may not happen at night, unfortunately. Fun Facts A baby’s stomach stretches from the size of a shooter marble on Day 1 to a chicken egg by Day 10. Babies may take one breast at a feeding, or they may need to feed on both breasts. Let your baby decide. Drained breasts make milk faster. Full breasts make milk slower. Breastfeed only if possible. Avoid pacifiers and any other liquids General Breastfeeding Tips Breastfeed whenever your baby wants to. You’ll know it’s time when your baby’s head turns from side to side with an open mouth. Or when she puts her hand to her mouth. Ideally, don’t wait until your baby fusses or cries. When upset, it’s harder to feed well. Use a position that feels good for you and your baby. Learn to sleep while you breastfeed. Practice during the day. If breastfeeding hurts, get help. A small change in how your baby takes the breast may be all you need to feel better. Find a mother’s group near you and spend time with other breastfeeding mothers. We are stronger together! You Know You Have Plenty of Milk When Baby is gaining weight well on breast milk alone. 0-4 months: 7 ounces (210 g) a week or 2 lbs. (900g) a month When to Seek Help If breastfeeding hurts. If your baby loses more than 10% of birth weight or after Day 4, gains weight too slowly. Even when breastfeeding is going well, you may experience some of the following: Your baby has fussy times – Most babies do. She wants to feed again soon after breastfeeding -Most babies do. She wants to feed more often – This adjusts your milk production Your breasts no longer feel full – Usually at about 3-4 weeks She wants to feed less often or for a shorter time – Babies get faster with practice Frequent night feedings – Babies need to do this to get enough milk She will take a bottle after breastfeeding – Babies like to suck, this might not be related to milk supply You can’t express much milk – This skill takes practice One thing that we can not stress enough is, be patient with yourself. Breastfeeding is natural but it’s also a skill, and like all skills there is a learning curve involved. You are not expected to know it all and there is no shame in asking for help and reaching out. Seek out the support you need. Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding ProductsCoauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers