We recently attended Medela’s Conference with the theme “Overcoming Breastfeeding Difficulties”. The invited speaker was Mrs Christa B. Muller-Aregger, a certified IBCLC Lactation Consultant with over 20 years of international experience. She’s currently an International Education Manager at Medela.

medela-conferencechrista

We would like to share some gold nuggets about breastfeeding and pumping with you. We hope – as an expecting mom, a breastfeeding mom, an exclusive pumping mom – you will be empowered with the knowledge about benefits, challenges, and strategies to be successful in your breastfeeding journey. Same principal applies to all supportive husbands, colleagues, bosses, and companies. Let’s make breastfeeding an empowering journey for all mothers!

We will make this article short, sweet, and packed with necessary information:

 

BREASTMILK IS BEST

  • Human milk is for human babies.
  • It’s readily available at the right temperature and with the right amount of nutrients.
  • It contains immunoglobulin and other live immunity factors that are essential to protect your baby against childhood diseases.
  • It meets your baby’s needs throughout the day and as they grow.
  • Breastfeeding is essential for the mother’s health and wellbeing.

 

COMMON CHALLENGES IN BREASTFEEDING

Now that you know that breastfeeding is beneficial and natural, but there’s also a learning curve between the mother and the baby. When this learning process is in progress, there will be challenges. Here are the common ones:

  • Breast engorgement (common scenario when milk kicks in within 3-5 days after giving birth)
  • Blocked ducts
  • Mastitis (inflammation of the breasts, the mother will have flu-like symptoms and high fever)
  • Inverted / Flat nipples
  • Cracked / Sore nipples (nipple pain)
  • Blisters
  • Thrush

If these challenges are not overcame, it can lead to a decline in milk production, a fussy and frustrated baby who wants to feed more often or who refuses to suckle, and finally, early weaning.

 

TIPS TO OVERCOME DIFFICULTIES

See a lactation consultant/professional if you face challenges and issues in breastfeeding, especially during the first two weeks after giving birth. Don’t be shy and don’t delay!

Remember this golden rule when you are building up and maintaining your milk supply: Less stress = More oxytocin = More milk ejection reflex = More milk!

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT BREAST PUMP

Use a pump only when necessary. A statement from Medela: Breast pumps are meant to complement breastfeeding, not replace it. Choosing the right breast pump when needed, can make a big difference, both in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

Guide chart

Reason to use the pump Recommended Medela breast pump
A missed feeding Swing
Away from baby for a few hours Swing
Working part-time Swing, Swing Maxi, Freestyle
Working full-time Swing Maxi, Freestyle
Breast infection Swing, Swing Maxi, Freestyle
Sore nipples/breast engorgement Swing, Swing Maxi, Freestyle

 

Swing = for single pumping

Swing Maxi & Freestyle = for double pumping

 

WHY DOUBLE PUMPING?

  • Saves time
  • Drains 18% more milk compared to single pumping
  • Milk has 1% higher fat content
  • Mothers have an extra milk rejection reflex

 

When pumping:

  • Relax
  • Watch your nipples/breasts
  • Switch from stimulation to expression mode (or vice versa if necessary)
  • Adjust the vacuum/suction strength (you shouldn’t feel any pain when pumping)

These lead to better drainage of the breasts and an increased milk production over time (varies among individuals), so don’t compare the amount of breastmilk from one mother to another mother!

The main difference between Swing Maxi and Freestyle:

Freestyle comes with hands-free option, rechargeable battery, and memory button settings. You can alternate between stimulation and expression modes as and when needed.