Blog Category: Breastfeeding support and Information

There are a lot of considerations to take into account when choosing what breast pump will work for you. Determining in advance what your ideal breastfeeding experience looks like is great, but sometimes your body and baby have different plans. How will you know if you need a hospital-grade breast pump? There is no right way to breastfeed, and we all have different interpretations of our ideal breastfeeding journey. Some moms plan to breastfeed exclusively, some prefer to feed by both bottle and breast, and others may be planning to exclusively pump. All perfectly good options and worth considering when preparing for your baby’s arrival. However, before your baby arrives it’s near impossible to predict what unexpected plot twists may come into play affecting your unique breastfeeding experience. For example, what if your baby is premature? We suggest waiting until after the baby is born to purchase your pump. Manual, Electric, or Hospital Grade If your goal is to breastfeed, a manual pump for occasional expression may do the trick. If you are planning to feed your baby breast milk but not breastfeed, you will most likely want (and need!) a double electric pump. However, if your baby is premature, too sick to breastfeed, or if you have issues with low milk supply, a hospital grade pump is the best option. In these situations, we also highly recommend consulting a lactation consultant. What is a Hospital Grade Breast Pump Hospital-grade breast pumps provide top of the line pumping technology and are the ideal choice for mothers of multiples or pre-term infants. They are also the best pump option for moms who need help initiating lactation or increasing milk production. You can find hospital-grade pumps as rentals from hospitals, health units, and select pharmacies. Along with your breast pump, you will need to purchase a milk collection kit to use with the hospital pump. Long-term or Short-term Solution How long you continue to use a hospital-grade pump depends on your situation and your preference. You may only need to pump short-term until your milk comes in or baby can breastfeed on their own. Or you may continue to need or want the functions that a hospital grade pump offers such as more cycle speeds and more options for increasing milk production. Once your milk supply has been established, you can move on to the next phase. If you want to continue pumping, you can transition away from your hospital-grade pump to a personal-use pump. Look for personal breast pumps that use the same kits as their hospital-grade counterparts. This will eliminate the need to purchase brand new kits. For example, Ameda Elite or Ameda Platinum® hospital-grade pumps use the same collection kit as an Ameda Finesse personal-use breast pump. Undecided… If you’re still unsure about which breast pump to choose, renting a hospital-grade pump will most likely be your best option. It can help you decide if pumping is for you without the hefty price tag. Trying to decide which type of pump you need can be tough. Some considerations include milk contamination (open vs closed system), ease of use, and comfort while pumping. Consulting a breastfeeding specialist and talking to other moms helps offer insight, but ultimately only you know what kind of pump fits your needs. Purchasing a double electric pump can be a significant investment so you’ll want to ensure you make an informed decision. Remember, there is no right way to breastfeed your baby, even the best-laid plans can go awry. Sometimes you need to explore alternatives to help you give your baby your breast milk if you are unable. Good luck and happy feeding! Related Products

Are you experiencing pain during or after breast pumping? Even though sore nipples are a common problem, pumping should not hurt. Some moms assume pumping should be painful. Not so! “No pain, no gain” does not apply here. Painful pumping means something needs to be adjusted. What’s causing the pain? The following are the two most common culprits. Breast Pump Suction Set Too High The strongest pump suction is not always the most efficient and does not always pump the most milk. In fact, too-high suction can actually slow your milk flow. Instead, set your pump at the highest suction that feels good to you…and no higher. If you’re gritting your teeth, turn it down! Pumping milk is not like drinking through a straw. With a straw, the stronger you suck, the more you get. But with pumping, most milk comes only when a let-down or milk release happens. Without a milk release, most of your milk stays in the breast. What is a milk release? Hormones cause muscles in the breast to squeeze and milk ducts to widen, pushing the milk out. Some mothers will feel tingling while others will feel nothing. A milk release can happen from a touch at the breast, hearing a baby cry, or even from thinking about your baby. Alternately, feelings of stress, anger, or upset can block milk release. During breastfeeding, most mothers have three or four milk releases, often without knowing it. To get more milk with your pump, you need more milk releases, not stronger suction. Flange Fit Issues Many mothers pump comfortably with the standard size flange (25 mm diameter nipple opening). But if pumping hurts even on low suction, this is most likely a sign that you need another size. If the standard flange is too small or too large, a better-fitting flange will feel more comfortable and may even allow you to pump more milk. Flange size – and your fit – is determined by the width of the flange opening. To check your flange fit, watch your nipple during pumping. Your nipple should move freely in the breast flange tunnel. If there is a little space around your nipple as it’s drawn into the flange’s nipple tunnel, you have a good fit. If your nipple rubs against its sides, the flange is too small. And if too much of the areola is being pulled in or if your nipple bounces in and out of the tunnel, it is too large. Nipple size changes with birth, breastfeeding, and pumping. This may mean that the pump flange that fit when you first started pumping may need to be changed the more you pump. For that reason, you’ll want to recheck your flange fit from time to time. Thankfully, Ameda has several different flange sizes available so you can go larger or smaller, as needed. Other Causes of Breast or Nipple Pain There are other possible causes of pain during/after pumping that are related to breast and nipple health. If your pain doesn’t seem to be caused by a high breast pump suction or a poorly fitting flange, it is time to ask more questions and seek assistance from a professional. Do you have nipple trauma (broken skin on the nipple)? Could you have a bacterial infection of the nipple (can occur with a history of nipple trauma)? Do you have an overgrowth of yeast (also known as thrush or candida)? Is mastitis a possibility? Does your nipple turn white, red, or blue after pumping? If so, see your lactation consultant or another health-care provider to rule out other possible causes, including Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Adapted from Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding ProductsCoauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers

Once you have your breast pump, you can start breast pumping and collecting milk any time. But be mindful, in the first two weeks after your baby is born, it’s best to pump occasionally to relieve engorgement – don’t get carried away! Pumping a lot in these early weeks tells your body that you had triplets. Your body will then reciprocate by producing an enormous amount of milk. Remember: more milk out = more milk made! While this may sound like a good thing, it will increase the likelihood of breast problems such as clogged ducts and engorgement. When your baby is a little older (2-3 weeks), and you are ready to start pumping regularly, you will most likely get very little milk. This is normal. After all, you’ve just spent the first weeks of your baby’s life getting your milk supply into an exact balance with your baby’s needs. It’s the basics of demand and supply, your body is providing what your baby requires, there isn’t supposed to be any extra. What you’re doing by pumping in these early days is building a little bit of a stash, and getting used to pumping. You’re also increasing your milk supply bit by bit. Note: It is important to ensure that breastfeeding is progressing well before you start incorporating pumping. When to pump: The first step in pumping regularly is to start including it into your daily routine. To do this, start by adding a pumping session at about the same time each day. By pumping at about the same time each day, you’re telling your body that it needs to make a little more – tricking it into thinking that your baby has really taken to that 10am feeding! Even if you pump and no milk comes out at all, you’re placing the order for milk to be made later. Learning how to pump: It may take you a while to get the hang of pumping. You may be tense and worried about whether you’ll be able to pump enough (don’t worry, you will). You may be uncomfortable with a machine hooked to your breasts (imagine!). Don’t worry, that’s why you practice. This time pumping at home teaches you how to set up your pump, how to set it so that you get the most milk in the least time, and most importantly, how to relax when you’re pumping. A hands free pumping bra can help you if you are double pumping and find it hard or awkward. How often to pump: When you’re pumping at home to build up your supply and milk stash, once a day is plenty. Don’t make yourself crazy with it! If your baby nurses every two hours, you may need to spread out your pumping sessions a little more, but make them a bit longer than your baby typically nurses. If you don’t have enough time to include pumping sessions during the day, pump when you get up, before work, after your baby goes to bed, or during the night – it can be done, you may just need to get creative! Having an extra set of collection kits can help so the washing and drying doesn’t get overwhelming. If your baby nurses very infrequently, you may need to pump more often, since the baby is usually more efficient at getting the milk out. How long should you pump? In short, you should pump until milk isn’t coming out any more. You don’t need to watch the clock, but it is a good idea to check the bottle to see if it is still flowing. In general, pumping for 15 minutes should do it for most people. (If you’re having trouble letting down for the pump, read Better Pumping, below.) Or, if you’re trying to boost your supply, pump for a few minutes after the milk stops flowing. There is no harm and it’s a great way to send your body the message that more milk is needed (if it is). Breast Pump Settings Contrary to popular belief, your pump does not get the milk out of your breasts by brute force alone. Stronger suction does not necessarily result in more milk. It may however, result in excruciating pain or damage to your breasts. What your pump needs to do to get the most milk out is imitate your baby. Pay attention to how frequently your baby sucks and the strength of that suction. Then try to adjust your pump to match your baby. From there, you can experiment to see if slightly more, less, faster, or slower suction feels better and produces more milk. What’s the best setting? The one that works for you. So don’t pay attention to how other people’s pumps are set, it’s a personal thing. Custom Control makes this easy for you to adapt as your baby changes and grows. Better Pumping Results A few tricks can increase your pumping output without increasing the amount of time it takes. The most effective ways to increase your output (aside from ensuring you have the best pump for your needs) are good relaxation skills and breast compressions – both described here. Breast Compressions Doing breast compressions during pumping can help stimulate additional let-downs, and helps to thoroughly drain all of the milk ducts. While you are pumping, use one hand to massage your breast from the armpits towards the nipple (or as close as you can get without dislodging the pump flange). Gradually increase the pressure, and finish with a few firm squeezes of your breast, like you do when you are hand expressing milk. Relax while Pumping For some people, relaxing while pumping is akin to asking them to relax during a root canal. But it can be done. Relaxing is important, because it’s really hard to have a let-down if you are tense. Here are some tips for relaxation: Positioning: Sit back in your chair, don’t tense your shoulders, and support the bottles so that you don’t have to […]

If you’re pregnant, you may have already started thinking about breastfeeding. You may even have a breastfeeding plan in place. But if you’re considering buying a breast pump while you’re pregnant or adding it to your registry, our advice is to wait. There is comfort in feeling prepared. However, it’s tough to know what you need before your baby arrives. There are so many variables that will make your breastfeeding experience unique, and you won’t know the answers until after you hold your precious bundle in your arms. What if you have breastfeeding challenges and need a hospital grade pump for an extended time? What if your baby refuses the bottle no matter what you try? The choices can be quite overwhelming: single, double, manual, electric, hospital grade, etc. Here are a few things to consider when determining what type of breast pump to buy: Are you planning to use your pump for occasional feedings or are you planning to pump exclusively? If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed with the odd bottle given by dad, grandma, etc., then a manual pump will likely do the trick. A manual pump uses hand-operation to create suction. You can collect as little or as much milk as you desire (comparable to an electric pump) but it is more time consuming and labour-intensive. Manual pumps can be great for travel as they don’t require a power source, or if you are planning to only pump occasionally. If you plan to go back to work while you are still breastfeeding, a double electric pump is a no-brainer. It’s a particularly wise investment if you will be exclusively pumping or if this is your first child and you are planning for more in the future. It will undoubtedly become one of the more useful tools in your parenting arsenal! Double electric pump: These pumps are run by a motor, either plug-in or battery-operated , and allow for pumping both breasts simultaneously with the motor doing the work for you. This will allow you to express more milk in a shorter period of time. Convenient and time-saving, a double electric pump is ideal for busy moms and frequent pumping. Do your research! Breastfeeding is a natural, unique, and rewarding experience for most families. Some will struggle and some won’t, every experience is unique. Should you decide to pump, keep in mind that a pump cannot replace skin-to-skin contact and all the benefits to mom and baby that come with it. Enjoy your pregnancy and when you start thinking about breastfeeding make sure you do your research. Take the time to really consider which pump fits you and your baby’s needs. And buy when the time is right. Breast pumps don’t usually go on sale and waiting until after you have your baby won’t change that. Good luck and happy feeding! Related Products