When Mia Holliday’s first daughter was born, she had latching issues and could not breastfeed directly. Holliday wanted to exclusively pump for her daughter, but was told that she couldn’t possibly make it to a year of exclusive pumping. These words crushed the mom, but made her more determined than ever to get the pumping thing down and provide as much breast milk as possible to her baby.
After conducting extensive personal research on techniques to increase her supply and testing nearly every milk-boosting product on the market, Holliday was able to produce a full supply of milk for her daughter. She even had some left over to donate.
“I had a lactation consultant pretty much tell me I should give up because I would never make enough milk to provide my daughter breast milk for a year,” Holliday tells Babble. “Well, I was very determined and stubborn and made it the whole year and donated thousands of ounces to mothers of NICU babies.”
Holliday’s experience made her realize that many moms don’t have the information and support necessary to overcome breastfeeding challenges. That’s when she came up the idea for a breastfeeding subscription box that would supply products, information, and much-needed support for breastfeeding moms.
“My experiences fueled my desire to help mothers and the subscription box idea was born,” Holliday shares. “I wanted to educate mothers to know more about breastfeeding, pumping, the struggles they may come across and how to overcome and prevent them.”
Soon after, Holliday took her idea to a local marketing firm where she met Jessica Smith, another local mom who had overcome harrowing breastfeeding challenges. Smith absolutely loved the idea of a breastfeeding subscription box, and the pair quickly became business partners, naming their company Colson & Joe (after their two sons).
Smith’s particular breastfeeding challenges centered on her experience pumping for her baby in the NICU. This is one of the reasons why a focus of the company is to give back to NICU moms and babies.
In 2015, Smith was 25 weeks pregnant when her kidney unexpectedly ruptured. As a result, her body went septic and she had to deliver her son Joe prematurely. The pair was separated: Smith was placed on a ventilator as she recovered, and little Joe was in the NICU with a brain bleed.
Still, Smith was determined to provide breast milk for her son. Lying in her hospital bed, unable to speak, she wrote a note to the nurses at the hospital saying, “pump me.” Miraculously, she was able to provide milk for Joe every two hours until the pair both recovered and were released from the hospital. Joe is now a thriving little boy.
Colson & Joe’s subscription boxes have many of the essentials that a breastfeeding mom would want, like lactation cookies and herbal supplements for mothers who are struggling with milk supply. The boxes also include products for moms and babies, such as nursing/pumping-friendly clothing, breast milk bags, and nipple creams.
But the boxes also provide breastfeeding support information for struggling breastfeeding moms who might feel like they’re in it alone.
“Many of the issues we run into as breastfeeding moms are much more common than we know because the education is not as easily accessible as it should be,” Holliday tells Babble. She adds that she thinks having a box with everything she needed for breastfeeding would have really made things easier when she was struggling.
The pair launched their company in November 2017 and their first boxes shipped this month. Boxes can be bought on a one-time basis or as a monthly subscription. The company is all about giving back and will continue to donate a portion of their profits to NICUs all over.
“A portion of the profits from each box sold goes towards our NICU giveback program,” Holliday explains. “In December, we ran a one day ‘get one, gift one’ and donated one box for each box purchased. We are very passionate about our NICU giveback program and gifted 64 boxes to St. Joseph’s NICU in Tampa last month.”
St. Joseph’s NICU is where Smith’s son Joe spent his first months of life and the company will continue making giving back to that hospital a priority. This spring, their first donation of free boxes will be sent to St. Joseph’s as well.
So kudos to these two incredible moms for bravely overcoming their difficult breastfeeding hurtles and using their experiences to help their fellow moms!