Breast is always best, but what happens if you can’t breastfeed directly - If you are returning to work, or out and about? A breastpump could be the answer as it enables you to express milk so you can continue to breastfeed. This may sound like a daunting idea, but Sioned Hilton, Lactation expert from Medela has been working with breastfeeding mums for more than 20 years and has a few tips to help you get started:
• A breastpump can be intimidating but they should never be painful. They work by applying and releasing pressure which gently removes the milk and can be adjusted so that it is comfortable and pain free. If you experience any pain ensure you have the right size breast shield.
• ‘Let down’ should once within 2-3 minutes of pumping and on average will take 15 minutes per breast
• It is normal to get 30-100mls. It depends on breastfeeding pattern and your unique breast milk storage capacity
• When an infant is taking very little from the breast especially in the newborn period, mothers need to express 8-10 times during a 24hour period for at least 2 weeks until she is producing around 750mls/day, then she can adapt her pattern to maintain a good milk supply. Expressing during the night is also crucial to a good milk supply
• Fresh breastmilk is best. This is breast milk that has been expressed within four hours. However breastmilk can be stored as long as it is done correctly. If the milk is not to be used immediately then storing your milk in the refrigerator is recommended. Breastmilk can be stored at the back of a refrigerator for 3-5 days, although hospital guidelines do vary
• You can also Freeze your breastmilk to ensure a continued supply over a long period of time. It can be stored in a domestic freezer for six months. But remember to use frozen breastmilk in chronological order, day one first.
• Just because you are not feeding your baby directly it is still important to ensure skin to skin contact, this helps calm both mother and baby and it stimulates milk production
• If you are not with your baby while expressing have a picture of your baby or an item of clothing that he / she has worn, this can also trigger the ejection reflex and aid the flow of milk
• Find a suitable feeding device to support the move from breast to bottle and back again. Calma, from Medela is an innovative solution to ensure a baby maintains his/her natural breastfeeding behavior
• A breastpump is a personal product and one which should provide the ultimate support to ensure you can breastfeed for as long as you want – research the options, make a considered choice and do not be led by cost when purchasing your pump
• Help and Support is always available when using a breastpump, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance! You can ask for help from the retailer or go to the manufacturer’s website or helpline.
• For breastfeeding support, ask about local mum to mum support groups, and health professional support. You can also get support and advice from the national breastfeeding support groups such as the NCT or ABM.
Medela are here to support new mothers and lactation professionals to ensure breastfeeding success. Visit their website www.medela.co.uk to discover more about education, products and solutions to assist during this important time.
All their products can be ordered directly from Medela by telephoning 0870 950 5994. Their office is open Monday - Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm.