Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips from Daniela of SOLMA Tea: Podcast Episode #225
February 14, 2024

Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips from Daniela of SOLMA Tea: Podcast Episode #225

Kristin Revere and Daniela Procopio discuss how her breastfeeding journey led her to create SOLMA Tea.  She also shares tips for support and balance as both a mother and an entrepreneur.    

Hello, hello!  This is Kristin Revere with Ask the Doulas, and I am here to chat with Daniela Procopio.  Daniela is the founder of SOLMA Tea, and she is also a mother and obviously fellow entrepreneur.  Welcome, Daniela!

Thank you so much, Kristin!  I’m excited to be here!  Yes, I’m a mother.  I’m an entrepreneur.  I, just like you, wear different hats.

Yes, I’m excited to chat about all the different hats you wear in your own personal journey, as many of us who work in the birth and baby space, our own journeys really help us to solve issues we had with our own pregnancies and early parenting phases of life. 

That’s how things get started, right?  You start solving something that you went through, and you think to yourself, wouldn’t it be great if I’d had this?

Exactly.  So fill us in about your own breastfeeding journey and how that led you to solve issues you found.

Absolutely.  I am a mom of three kids five and under, and I remember when I got pregnant, everybody would talk to me about the road to pregnancy, and then pregnancy, and then childbirth, and then that was it.  Nobody really spoke to me about anything post-childbirth.  So it wasn’t until I had my first and I came home with a baby, and I started on the breastfeeding journey that reality hit me right in the face.  Honestly, I was just shocked at the many, many different challenges that I experienced while on my breastfeeding journey because everyone had always spoken to me, when I’d heard about breastfeeding, “Oh, it’s so beautiful and it’s natural, so it will come natural.”  And yes, it’s beautiful and natural, and it can also be hard, and it can also be challenging, and there can be a lot of unknowns.  Sometimes there’s pain in the beginning, and the list goes on and on and on.  And it wasn’t until I was on my first postpartum journey that I realized all of this.  I was shocked.  I personally encountered latch issues, and I also encountered undersupply issues that became very, very challenging when I went back to work.  Because I had those undersupply issues predominantly, I started looking at various products in the market to help me boost my supply.  And the products worked for me, and I loved them.  I loved the cookies.  I loved the mother’s milk teas that you steep.  The only thing was, as one child became two, and two became three, and life got busier and busier, I realized there was really a need for me for a ready-to-drink product that I could grab and go and still deliver the same ingredients.  So when I couldn’t find something like that that existed, I created it.  That’s how SOLMA was conceived, from that idea.

Beautiful.  I love it.  How did you go about the process of research and product development?  Obviously, you would have hired experts, physicians and lactation consultants to begin this process?

Absolutely.  Absolutely.  I have the experience as a mother who tried these different products, but also, I know that my experience is limited in certain areas, and it’s very important to reach out and hire experts to help you get over the finish line.  So I did work with a lactation consultant.  I worked with a doctor.  And then I also worked with a beverage developer who was able to help me finalize the formulations and really do the production in order to get to my formulation exactly as I wanted it with the ingredients and the dosages, exactly as I want.  So I worked under the guidance of many different experts in order to get me the product that I ultimately ended up with.

Obviously, as far as having some focus groups and hearing from other mothers and what their struggles are, it seems that, again, the convenience factor is missing with having the steep tea.  The ready to go is important for busy, working moms or even stay-at-home moms who are juggling, say, three kids and trying to get out the door for all of the appointments and school, daycare, whatever it might be in a day.

That’s exactly it, Kristin.  And the thing is, for me, I can only take from my own experience.  I had three kids, working full time, so I was the mom on the go in that area.  But other women that I’ve spoken to, perhaps they only have one child, but they’re also helping take care of an elderly parent, or they have other caretaking responsibilities, or they also just have a very, very hectic schedule for whatever reason.  Sometimes they don’t have time to steep tea.  Or sometimes – one of the reasons I started shying away from the steeped tea is, when you have so many little kids, you don’t want a hot beverage near them where they could easily knock it over and possibly hurt themselves.  Because of all those reasons, and to meet women and breastfeeding mothers on their journey wherever that may be, that’s why it was critical for me to really create this product and address that need.

And so as far as balancing everything, how did you go through this product development, marketing concept, branding, and maintain a busy household and take time for yourself and your family?  I’m curious as a fellow entrepreneur how you balance all of that because a product is so much different than a service-based business like my own.

Right.  I’m still figuring out what works.  Every day is different.  I can only say from my own personal experience, and that is that I’m lucky that I have a very supportive partner.  As you know in the entrepreneurial space, every day can be different.  I have a partner who is able to pick up on the days where I can only give 10%.  We have what we say “office hours” at night.  Not every night, but once the kids go to sleep, we take a look at our schedule for the next few days, and we sort of map it out.  Hey, can you do drop off?  Can you do pick up?  Our oldest needs to go to the doctor.  Our youngest needs a dentist appointment.  Can you do this, that, and the other?  And sort of just having somebody on your team that is able to help you manage all the various logistics was really helpful to make sure that, as best we could, we didn’t drop any balls at home.  And then just in general, it was – I will say it.  One of my biggest things is you cannot pour from an empty cup, and it’s important to practice self-care and be gentle with yourself because it’s so easy as a mom, as a – if you work in or out of the home, if you have different dreams, like having your own business, it’s really easy to be go-go-go all day, every day and run yourself down.  It’s so important for me to practice self-care, and that can be something as simple as taking five minutes for yourself in the morning and journal a few things, or meditate a bit.  If you have the ability to make it work, meet up with a girlfriend or grab a coffee or something like that.  Anything – whatever self-care looks like for you, that you’re able to wing at that stage in your life, given the support that you have – I’m a big, big advocate of that because those are the two things that I feel have brought me the success and where I am at this point, having a strong support person that will help you through on the most challenging of days and also making sure that you take care of yourself so you can continue pouring out, into your business and into your family.

Very helpful.  So Daniela, we did address, obviously, the challenges of breastfeeding moms, but SOLMA Tea would also be a great resource for exclusive pumpers or working moms who pump while they’re at work and breastfeed at home and the supply issues that come with pumping.  How did you address that when researching and creating SOLMA Tea?

Yeah, so when we say breastfeeding moms, that’s just like you said; it could be if you’re breastfeeding all day.  It could be if you’re solely pumping.  We wanted to make sure to have a product that would both hydrate and also deliver five of the most well known galactogogues and to promote milk supply.  So that was one of the reasons that was very critical for me.  I wanted to have the bottles.  The SOLMA bottles come in 16.9 ounces because I wanted to make sure that in addition to delivering the ingredients, the galactogogue ingredients to help boost milk supply, you’re also hydrating, because I feel like no matter where you are in this stage, if you’re solely breastfeeding, if you’re solely pumping, if you’re supplementing, whatever it is, wherever you are in your postpartum journey or however it is that you’re choosing to feed your child, if it involves breastfeeding or pumping or anything like that, we wanted to make sure our product was able to support women through hydration and through deliverance of the galactogogue ingredients.

I agree, hydration is so important, and it can be a very depleting phase when you’re breastfeeding, pumping, supplementing.  There’s not enough time to continually nourish yourself and focus on drinking enough water.  It’s very helpful that you kept that in mind to make it easy to drink, and again, not anything that you need to watch or could potentially burn your child.

Right.  And for me, I will be the first one to tell you, I am not the best water drinker.  I don’t really get thirsty.  But every single time I started breastfeeding, I would get this unquenchable thirst.  My husband would know – when you come home from the hospital, they give you this big water bottle, and my husband would know, the minute the baby latched on, he would go refill this water bottle because I would get this unquenchable thirst.  So for me, as a breastfeeding mom, I realized, okay, I’m so thirsty.  It’d be great if I had something that could help quench my thirst and continue to hydrate me because sometimes those teas that you steep are really great for early morning or late night or when it’s cold outside, but if you’re unquenchably thirsty, it doesn’t really quench your thirst.  Or also in the peak of summer, you don’t really necessarily want something hot.  And so all those different reasons were our inspiration behind SOLMA and the ready to drink format.

So where can our listeners find SOLMA Tea?  How are you working on distribution at the moment?

Your listeners can find SOLMA Tea – we are exclusively ecommerce at this point,  And so you can order directly on our website.  Also, if your listeners have any questions, any comments, or anything like that, anything they want more clarification on or they’re just curious and want to know, we also have a chat service on our website.  I personally answer all the messages that come through.  You can also contact us through social media @solmatea or through email.  Again, I’m the one who fields those questions.  That’s how your listeners can find us!

And what’s next for SOLMA Tea? 

Oh, so what is next?  We are actually in really exciting conversations to continue expanding.  Like I said, right now, we are strictly ecommerce.  We’re looking to get into a few retail locations, so a few exciting conversations in the works there.  Later this year, we are also looking into adding an additional flavor.  Right now, our product comes in three different flavors: chamomile, rooibos, and lemon.  We have one more flavor that we currently have in the works.  So lots of different expansion plans and exciting plans for SOLMA as we continue to grow.

Love it!  Very exciting!  So what tips do you have for our listeners?  As you mentioned, there isn’t enough focus on that postnatal time and planning.  What can our listeners do to make their life a little bit easier?  I know some of the highlights in our conversation, as you mentioned, convenience, talking to your partner, developing a schedule, and having that teamwork.  But what else comes to mind when you think of just the need to really ask for help and create a postpartum plan the way you would a birth plan?

Yeah, so for me, like I said, the biggest thing that I felt was really helpful for my second and my third postpartum period was that now I had the experience of my first, and I knew what to expect.  Obviously, not everybody has that when they’re going through.  They don’t know what to expect.  So being open to that.  Being open to realizing, this is your first time going through it, so be okay with some of the unknowns.  Understand that it’s important to have support, whatever that may look like for you.  So if you have support at home to help you on your postpartum journey, that’s great.  If your support is through a community online, that’s great, too.  Have some sort of support lined up so that in the middle of the night, when you’re in the trenches, you are able to reach out to somebody if you have questions, if you just need a shoulder to lean on.  I think that’s also very, very important.  And something that I always like to say, for women who do have a job outside of the house and are planning to go back to work after a certain time, I think it’s very critical to be able to set expectations with your employer if you are planning on breastfeeding or pumping or anything of that nature, just to understand what sort of facilities and what they look like where you’ll be pumping at work and things like that.  Because for me, having an understanding of what that will look like and setting schedules helps, obviously, ensure that you will be able to have success by having put steps in place to make sure that you are successful.  I’d say those are my few little nuggets in order to help prepare for postpartum.

Thank you!  And so you did mention, again, the research that went into creating SOLMA Tea, but I’m wondering what resources you would recommend for our listeners who are preparing for their breastfeeding journey, whether it’s baby one or baby five, or who do have plans to pump when they go back to work?  What are your favorite resources, whether it’s local or national, to get that help and support when it comes to feeding their babies?

Absolutely.  Two things come to mind.  When I was in the hospital, the lactation consultant came by, and I didn’t realize how important her visit was until later on.  But the hospital where I delivered, and many hospitals, I’ve found since then, have a lot of lactation support groups in order to really help you and other women who are in the same phase as you, the same postpartum phase as you, going through similar challenges, going through similar experiences.  I would definitely tap into that.  If you have a local hospital near you that has this sort of support, I would definitely start there because it’s so much easier when you’re in the middle of the fourth trimester if you have something close to you to be able to support you.

And then for me, the baby center, baby cafés.  We have a few locations near me, and that was another very, very helpful group have nearby because, again, you meet other parents that are in similar stages of the postpartum period.  You meet lactation consultants.  You meet experts in the field.  And you just meet people who’ve been there before you which, honestly, sometimes just having a friend who has had an experience, who’s six months ahead of you and has had that experience, is really helpful.  It’s like having a big sister to tell you, this is what to expect, or don’t worry about this, or oh my gosh, I’ve been there.  This is what I did to fix that.  So I’d say those two things.  Definitely lean on your hospital support, and then look for community support like the baby cafés in your area.  La Leche League is also very big, and if you go on their website, you can also find chapters near you that you might be able to find.  So lots of different resources.  It can be a little overwhelming, but there’s lots out there to help ensure that however you decide to feed your baby is something that you are comfortable with.

Perfect.  And many of those support groups are free, or some are covered by insurance.  For those who are in a rural community and don’t have access to some of these community groups or La Leche League groups, certainly there are many virtual communities that you can get that support.  But nothing replaces the in-person connection and just sitting with other moms and having that camaraderie and community, even if you’re not struggling with breastfeeding.  Sometimes I would go just to chat and get out of the house because it can be quite lonely in that postnatal phase.

Exactly.  I agree with that.

Well, if you would fill us in on your website one more time, Daniela.  It was so lovely to chat with you today.

Kristin, it was so wonderful to chat with you.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity.  Yes, our website is  Our social media is @solmatea.

Thank you!  And can’t wait to see what’s next beyond your upcoming flavor.

Thank you so much!  We’re so excited.  There’s lots of growth coming for SOLMA, and we’re just excited about our journey from where we started and the people that we’ve reached thus far.  We’re excited to continue growing and see where the year takes us!

Yeah, and getting into retail is exciting!  I’ll be looking for you!

Thank you so much!



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