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Exclusive Pumpers South Africa

Exclusive pumping for South African women

My Exclusively Pumping Story

While most new moms are fawning over their precious little bundle while breastfeeding (or bottle feeding), I sat for the first few months of J’s life expressing 2 hourly, washing and sterilizing pumps and bottles and syringes and then for 45 painful minutes every 2 to 3 hours I would hold my screaming, writhing, jerky baby and try syringe down as much breastmilk as I possibly could.

I would dread feed times, the screaming was unbearable, it was like I was pouring hot lava down her throat, she would choke, vomit, scream, go blue and by the end of 45 minutes I was sobbing and she had had a measly 10mls.

There were days and nights were I literally wanted to grab her face and scream “eat child! Eat! Or you will die!!!” I had very little support and almost no help. My husband slept in the main room as he had to be up at 4am for work so I slept on a little single bed with a newborn who did more screaming than sleeping, I had no idea what I was doing, I was alone, scared, frustrated and was running out of steam.

The expressing was difficult in the beginning, I think the reason it was so difficult was because I so desperately wanted to breastfeed normally, I tried at every feed to get her to latch and most times she would but then end up screaming, choking and then vomiting it all up and I’d have to start all over again, I tried laying down and feeding, all the different latch positions but latching seemed to upset her terribly.
My pump schedule was hectic when we got home from the hospital, I had loads of milk and wanted to keep it that way so I was expressing every hour to 2 hours, in between I had to wash my pump, storage bottles, and her syringes, sterilize it all and start again. Exhaustion, coupled with PND, anxiety about my childs well being and being isolated on the farm started to wear me down terribly.

I eventually managed to get her to latch onto the NUK prem teats once or twice, but she would get so tired and end up having very little milk. We ended up walking and bouncing her while feeding to Kerri Hilsons “Pretty Girl Rock”, it was the only way to get any milk into her! At that stage I was barely getting half the required amount into her.

At 5 months I managed to get her to drink from the NUK size 1 teat and we have been using that same sized teat ever since.

By the age of 6 months we had been in and out of hospital 18 times for poor feeding and dehydration, that was almost every 2nd week, the pead would hook up the IV and leave, no tests, no exams, nothing. She would pass it off as me being “high strung” and baby picking up on my emotions, sometimes I wanted to just punch her in the face, of bloody course I was high strung! My baby was barely drinking or sleeping and all she ever did was scream, I’d love to see any person on the planet hold their composure while dealing with everything I was.
We eventually changed pediatricians but I was still feeling despondent and irritated because he didn’t know how to help either other than to advocate for formula or push for feeding tubes. I literally tried everything, including watering down my breastmilk, to adding chocolate nesquick to it just so she would drink.

One of the doctors thought perhaps it was my milk, so we tried formula, we couldn’t even get the bottle into her mouth, the smell of the formula sent her into full out screaming mode, we ended up trying almost every single formula on the market, the little bit we eventually got in actually ended up making things worse as she would vomit up thick, yellow bile, so I decided to stay away from formula and continue to provide J with the milk that was perfectly designed for her.

During the feeding struggles I felt very alone, no one could get J to drink, we had the first pead try a few times and she would just hand J off to the nurses and get them to try and eventually I would be handed back a full bottle and a screaming baby, the sister at Storks Nest actually took J for 6 hours one day while I slept on the couch in the clinic room, she couldn’t get more than a few mls of milk into her either and suggested we consult with a different pead and try for a gtube, our new pead tried but got so flustered he didn’t even check on us in person at evening rounds, I had our domestic worker try, my mom, my sister, my step father, my husband, friends, everybody had a turn and no one could get her to drink, it became such a difficult task that people would be so scared to fight with this tiny little girl that it ended up being ONLY me who could sit for hours trying to get her to drink. It was draining!

Fluids became such an issue with me because I was so terrified of her being admitted again and having to hold her down while they poked around to get an IV in that I started keeping a “fluid diary” on every single ml she took, I thought it would help, that maybe she was really taking more than we thought but in the end it just scared me more because at one stage she was meant to be getting up to 700mls of fluid a day and she was taking between 200 and 250mls.

Around a year I had settled nicely into a pumping routine, it had become a way of life instead of a task, although I still longed with every fiber of my being that she would latch, she was just not interested.

This is the schedule i followed for the first year

This is the schedule i followed for the first year

At 14 months she was admitted for a stomach bug and that is when we discovered she had a Class 4 lip tie and silent reflux and a new diagnosis of sensory processing disorder, all things the delivering pead, lactation consultant and storks nest sister SHOULD have picked up at the many, many times I frequented their offices desperate for help.

For me breastfeeding via exclusively pumping became one single act I felt I had control over, it was exhausting, stressful and demanding, but it was in my control, and when you feel like you have lost control of everything else in your new role as a mother, it becomes something that you will fight for tooth and nail.

At 22 months I dropped down to 2 pumps per day, in a way it sort of felt freeing to not be tied down to a pumping schedule and luckily I was able to maintain my milk supply at 2 pumps per days for over 2 years.

I have a love / hate relationship with my pump, I feel lost when it breaks and need to replace parts, I hate anyone else washing it or touching it, let’s face it, you wouldn’t let someone else wash your boobs, would you?…. Its a part of my body, its hard to explain but I’m sure other EPers might know what I’m talking about when I say that it becomes our most precious yet hated possession.

January 2014 marked 3 years of exclusive pumping, looking back it has been a journey filled will late nights, fear, hardships and tears, but it is also a journey of dedication, self-growth and pure unadulterated love, and its a journey I wouldn’t change for the world!
*UPDATE: On July 22nd 2015, I officially weaned due to PCOS and insulin resistance related supply issues, I was able to provide breastmilk for 54 months with enough stash to make it just past my daughters 5th birthday, she is still struggling with feeding and sensory issues and has a diagnosis of ARFID which we continue to work on in the hopes that in the future she will develop a healthy attitude towards healthy food.

Exclusively pumping is HARD, but then again, nothing in life that is worthwhile doing is ever easy.

Pump On Mumma

Featured post

What World Breastfeeding Week 2016 Means To Me

What does WBW mean to me?

This was honestly such an extremely loaded question for me as I face yet another difficult start to breastfeeding with my current unborn son. Due to a birth defect he will need a prolonged hospital stay as well as spinal and brain surgery shortly after his birth which will require me to exclusively pump for at least the first few weeks. The impending loss of yet another “normal start to breastfeeding” was devastating at first, but I have built the most amazing support structure around myself with breastfeeding experts, lactavists and pro-breastfeeding fighters! 


I KNOW I WILL SUCCEED and it’s due to the lactavists and breastfeeders and the information and unconditional support, love and concern that they continually share to help mothers like myself and others get access to true factual information and support in difficult circumstances.

So, WBW means support to me, it means education and it means it’s a chance for me to give back and help others as they so often have helped me.

Iv been accused of being anti-formula feeder so many times, and the honest truth is that I don’t like formula, I don’t think formula is as healthy or natural or even necessary in most cases, I however do acknowledge, respect and support mothers who legitimately cannot breastfeed due to illness, surgery, true low supply and other complications that have no choice but to lean on artificial infant milk, most new mothers who desperately want to breastfeed are told that they “don’t make enough” or “your milk is not nutritious enough” which plainly put is a heaping, steaming pile of BS, it is important that mothers get the right information and facts to help them make such a personal and heavy decision, that does not make me anti-formula feeder, it makes me pro-informed choice and pro-fact, it makes me pro-mom &baby. 

I support all mothers, I support facts and I support our planet, I do not support greedy formula manufacturers who pray on new mothers insecurities and use predatory marketing tactics to create imaginary wars to sell product, there’s a difference! 

On this last day of WBW, I wish more mothers had access to the amazing support system I found (granted it was 5 long months into my EPing journey), I wish more mothers had access to educated health care providers who had a deep understanding of breastfeeding and how milk production works and the importance of breastmilk to the human immune system and growing brain, I wish more mothers had the knowledge of normal infant behavior and were supported by health care professionals, family, friends and their employers. I wish all mothers knew that THEY DID NOT FAIL, they were failed by predatory marketing, lack of educated support and a society that places little to no importance on mothers and babies. I wish that society would stop sexualizing and demonising a natural act of feeding, heck I wish they would stop sexualizing women in general, we aren’t a commodity just to sell products, our bodies grow humans, the next generation and our bodies can nourish them too. We are more than just play things. I wish women would stand together in the importance of what we feed our children, because it does matter and it should matter and we should all be fighting for women’s rights to access education, support and better maternity practices so more mothers have the choice to breastfeed, not only for our children’s health, but for ours too, we should be fighting for our planet so we have something to actually leave our children.
I wish more mothers were given true information on the risks of not breastfeeding, and then were given quality hands on support to get started, to stay strong during those difficult first few weeks and then celebrated when they reach their goals. I wish human lives mattered to big corporations far more than their bottom line, I wish mothers knew that they have this amazing, life saving, beautiful gift to give to their children that benefits them far into their lives, I wish women KNEW what they were capable of, instead of being made to feel like their bodies are broken or “not enough”.

WBW means I get to be part of this amazing, supportive community who fights every day for these things, it’s something so much bigger than myself, or any singular breastfeeding relationship, so much bigger than a week and so much more important than so many realise.

It’s a chance to help save infants lives, to support women with honest, true information and facts, to empower women to trust in their bodies and their babies, to save women’s lives and to save this beautiful planet we call home, because breastfeeding matters and I am proud to be a part of it!

Galactagogues, Medications and Other Lactation Aides

Boosting supply is one of the most common topics in all breastfeeding groups, as mothers we tend to worry constantly over everything, and worrying about supply is no different.

Breastmilk supply is based on the basic principles of demand and supply, the more removal of milk from the breast, (demand), the more your body will produce (supply) to meet those demands. The most effective and safe way to maintain and increase supply is to empty the breast frequently and effectively, whether by feeding your baby on demand at the breast, or sticking to a schedule of 8 to 10 pumping sessions within 24 hours in the first few weeks of exclusively pumping.

Often new mothers are quickly prescribed medications by their baby’s pediatrician or by their gynae without first finding out if there is true low supply or what could be causing symptoms of low supply or slow weight gain. More often than not, it is due to something such as incorrect latch or a weak sucking reflex in baby, or unrealistic and unnecessary scheduling of feeds or sleep training, all of which are easily remedied without the need for galactagogues.

A lot of the times when a mother feels her supply is low it is due to perceived low supply, and not true low supply, as explained here and here.

If you feel your supply is low, it is best to consult with a breastfeeding expert such as a certified lactation consultant or La Leche League leader to address any underlying issues to help with supply.  

Stress, dehydration and exhaustion can all impact supply and on top of the underlying stressors of everyday mothering, the added worry can further impact supply issues, it is important to find balance and ask for help where needed, safe co-sleeping practices can help you achieve more sleep, keeping hydrated and making sure you eat a diet high in healthy fats like avocado, nuts and berries can help boost your energy levels, avoid high sugary foods and drinks or highly caffeinated drinks as they can spike your energy levels and leave you feeling even more drained once they wear off.
If you genuinely feel that medication is your only option, then it is important to discuss all side effects and information with your doctor.

Medications such as sulphide (eglynol and esperide) are often prescribed off label as a lactation aide, but their primary use is for the treatment of schizophrenia and severe depressive disorders. If you are taking enough of a medication to “benefit” from the side effects then the medication is having an effect on your brain. Weaning from anti-physcotics should be done slowly and under the guidance of a certified medical practitioner. 

Other medications such as Domperidone can have adverse reactions with mothers who suffer underlying heart conditions, but according to Dr Jack Newman, this option is still safer than other medications such a sulphides.

Always consult with a certified lactation specialist such as a Le Leche League Leader or certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC or SACLC) with regards to supply issues, unfortunately not all medical practitioners specialize in breastfeeding and have a very limited and outdated knowledge on breastmilk and breastmilk production. It is important to rule out any easily resolved issues before leaning towards medical or herbal medicines for supply issues.

If you are looking for trusted breastfeeding support, check out this link for names of certified lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders near you.
Herbal supplements, although natural, are not always safe or free from side effects, you should discuss taking any supplement with a knowledgeable practitioner. Always be aware of any changes in behaviour and bowel movements with baby when starting supplements. Most galactagogues are anecdotal and offer only temporary increases in supply.

Some mothers or babies can be allergic to herbal supplements such as fenugreek as explained in this article.
Jungle juice is frequently recommended for use to boost breastmilk supply, however there is nothing in jungle juice that is considered a galactagogue. 

Jungle juice is simply a very sugary hydration solution, and as far as hydration solutions go, there are several healthier and more effective alternatives to this high sugar, high calorie drink.

The ingredients in jungle juice can cause thrush due to the very high sugar content, can lead to weight gain and is extremely dangerous for mothers who are insulin resistant or diabetic. 
Jungle juice does not increase supply, it increases hydration, which can aide in lactation. Some healthier alternatives to jungle juice are: plain water, homemade fruit infused water and coconut water.

It is important to understand that there are no magic pills or foods that will increase your milk supply if breastmilk is not being removed effectively and frequently from the breast.

One of the most effective and safest manners in which to increase and maintain supply is to pump often, feed on demand if nursing or using techniques such as power pumping.

World Breastfeeding Week Day 1

This years World Breastfeeding Week theme is sustainable development.

It is amazing how breastfeeding has such a huge and profound direct impact on so many things, from water preservation to reduction in poverty.

As breastfeeders, we have a duty to educate and encourage new mothers to breastfeed, not only for their health and that of their infants, but for the sustainability of our world.

Today EPSA is focusing on water preservation.


With water in serious short supply here in South Africa it is our DUTY to our planet and to our country to not only protect breastfeeding mothers, but to promote breastfeeding for a sustainable future and preserve the very little water we still have.

#breastfeedingsaveslives #breastfeedingsavestheplanet

Exclusive Pumping As A Long Term Viable Option When Breastfeeding Isn’t Possible

The World Health Organisation lists optimal infant feeding practices in the following order.

  1. Direct breastfeeding.
  2. Expressed breastmilk from the mother.
  3. Donor milk from a registered donor organization.
  4. Artificial infant milks.

And yet in most cases when breastfeeding is not working out mothers are quickly pushed from first option, to fourth with very little consideration for long term viability of option number 2, mothers own expressed breastmilk.
Breastfeeding is the biologically normal way to feed an infant, human breastmilk is made in the mothers blood and contains important nutrients, proteins, fats and immunological properties that are perfectly designed for growing human babies. Nursing at the breast provides far more than just nutrition, it provides comfort and a sense of security and is the perfect mothering tool to fix any and all complaints our tiny humans have, but due to certain circumstances, a mother may find herself unable to get baby latching.

A few of these circumstances are:

  • Premature birth
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Severe tongue and lip ties
  • Birth defects
  • Sensory disorders in either mother or baby
  • Poor milk transfer / immature suckling reflex
  • D-Mer (dysmorphic milk ejection reflex) or past sexual or traumatic experiences
  • Working away from baby from early on for long periods.

Although several of these circumstances can be overcome with knowledgeable support from certified lactation specialists such as an internationally board certified lactation consultants or La Leche League leaders, some mothers are unable to overcome them and often turn to alternatives to formula, such as exclusive pumping or donor milk.


So what does exclusively pumping entail?

Well for starters, it demands extreme dedication, just like direct nursing, the same principles of breastmilk production apply. The more often milk is effectively removed from the breast, the more milk your body will produce. An exclusive pumper should aim to pump between 8 to 10 times within a 24 hour period in order to maintain supply, and while this seems extreme and undo able, it is actually quite easy to accomplish with the right equipment and techniques.


Understanding the basics of how breastmilk production works and how your milk is made within your body can give you the added confidence and knowledge to succeed with exclusive pumping.

Choosing the right pump

Choosing the correct pump for your personal needs is obviously a huge factor, there are so many options out there for mothers to choose from, but there is no one single type of pump that is better for exclusively pumping than another, I personally exclusively pumped for 4,5 years using a good quality manual pump, while other mothers have been able to master the marmet technique of hand expressing and exclusively pumped for well over a year using just their hands, many mothers however prefer double electric pumps to pump breastmilk, it is important to understand that choosing a breastpumps is a unique experience, not every pump is going to work for every mother.

Using your hands to help stimulate the breasts and milk ducts while pumping is a fantastic way to not only speed up the emptying process, but also to achieve a higher yield while pumping. This technique is aptly named the “hands on technique” and as an added bonus using this technique regularly also helps to cut down on blocked ducts.

Flange Size

Flange size and spares are foreign words to most new moms, but exclusive pumpers learn the importance of these words very quickly, the standard size flange, which is measured from the diameter of the nipple, not breast cup size, is 24 mm, this size only fits 45% of all mothers, flange size can greatly impact your ability to effectively pump breastmilk, it can cause friction burn, pain, and blocked ducts. Finding a pump which offers sized flanges is extremely important if the standard size does not fit you or causes pain.


Spares and maintenance 

Spares are the removable plastic pieces such as the diaphragm and duck bill, microscopic tears can drastically impact your pumps ability to function optimally so spares should be changed every 3 to 4 months or as soon as your pump begins to start feeling sluggish. 

So does exclusively pumping mean that I will have to top up?

No, not at all. If a mother sticks to her schedule and maintains her pump correctly, she can successfully feed her infant well past the WHO recommended 2 years with only her breastmilk. Unlike artificial infant milks which are static in their ingredients, breastmilk is a living substance that is continually changing to meet your baby’s individual needs, therefore, unlike formula, the amount of breastmilk needed after the age of 6 months pretty much stays around 120 to 150mls per feed.

As I just mentioned, breastmilk is a living substance full of not only essential nutrients, fats, sugars and proteins, but also antibodies, stem cells and hormones, so storing and heating breastmilk are extremely Important.


Breastmilk can be stored for approximately 5 to 8 days in the back of a refrigerator, 3 months in a fridge freezer, and up to a year in a freestanding chest freezer.


Heating can also damage or denature the enzymes and nutrients found in breastmilk that can impact absorption of those nutrients. It is not recommended to heat breastmilk in a microwave or bottle warmer as the temperature rises above body temperature quickly, these methods can also cause dangerous hot spots within your milk, instead it is recommended to warm gently under warm water or in a bowl of warm water, some baby’s will happily take cooler milk while others are a bit more picky and prefer the perfect temperature of approximately 34 degrees.


Bottle Feeding your Breastfed baby

Bottle feeding is something we have all witnessed in society, but bottle feeding breastmilk is best done using paced bottle feeding or respectful bottle feeding. Feeding your baby using paced bottle feeding can reduce choking hazard, gas, over feeding and stomach complaints in breastfed infants. The basic principles of paced feeding are to:

  • Feed baby in an upright position
  • Bottle should be parallel to the floor and not tipped up.
  • Baby should be encouraged to actively suckle for milk.
  • The bottle should never be forced into baby’s mouth.
  • Baby leads the feed, baby should not be forced to finish the feed.

Often moms report baby guzzling down the milk and the crying for more, but more often than not those cries are misconstrued as hunger when they are more likely due to discomfort.
Because breastmilk is much thinner in consistency, a baby left lying down with a bottle is often overwhelmed by the flow from the teat, they are unable to regulate the flow so they gulp the milk down in an attempt to not choke and protect their airway, this gulping of milk can lead to painful tummies, gas and reflux symptoms which leads to crying after a feed, which is why it is so important to always use feeding time as bonding time and hold baby as upright as possible while bottle feeding breastmilk.

Using a number 1, slow flow teat is the only teat you will ever need as breastmilk does not change in consistency like formula.

Increasing supply

Increasing supply is a popular topic in all breastfeeding circles, there are many supplements, foods and medications that mothers swear by to increase supply, however many only offer superficial boosts to supply, the most effective and safe way to boost supply is to empty your breasts frequently, regardless of how many galactagogues or medications you take, they will never have the desired effect if milk is not being removed. Power pumping is a good example of how to increase supply using frequent stimulation and removal of milk from the breast.

Lastly, I want to touch on support systems.

Support is such an important part of mothering in general, often finding a support system that understands and respects your choices can be challenging, and sometimes you need to become your own support system. If you are looking for support with breastfeeding or exclusively pumping, I cannot recommend La Leche League South Africa enough, alternatively for more specialised support specifically for exclusive pumpers you can join the Exclusive Pumpers South Africa group on Facebook. 


World Breastfeeding Week 2016

World Breastfeeding Week is one of my favourite awareness weeks, I believe that the increased awareness, sharing of information and support goes a long way to increase breastfeeding rates in South Africa, which ultimately saves lives.

 

This year, the theme is all about sustainable development, do you know just how much breastfeeding impacts sustainable development?

Well stay tuned for the week of August 1st through to the 7th to find out just how amazing breastfeeding is and how much of an impact it has on everything from poverty reduction to water preservation!

 

Here is a sneak peak on how breastfeeding impacts our world and our ability to live sustainably.

 

IMG-20160706-WA0007

Finding Trusted Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding is normal and natural, but so is walking, and just like walking, we first need to practice and learn how to do it.

 

Not all breastfeeding relationships will be problem free and so finding a trusted lactation expert can help you get off to the right start. La Leche League South Africa is part of a world wide organisation that helps mothers on a voluntary basis, speaking to a La Leche League leader is free and once a month they host meetings where all mothers and mothers to be can join them to chat and get hands on assistance.

You can also contact a leader and arrange to meet her for help when you are struggling.

 

Here is a list of La Leche League leaders in South Africa:

GAUTENG:

Benoni

Juanita (011) 395-1864

Cecilia (011) 918-7924

Joan (011) 849-8250

Annatjie (011) 973-1900

Lisa (083) 286-0009

Pauline (083) 659-4986

Ena (083) 260-9097

Pretoria

Jessica (012) 332-2564

Tobie (012) 430-3334

Sina (079) 448-5975 (German enquiries only)

Centurion

Leonie (012) 654-6961

Nicole  (012) 345-4898

Petro (083) 656-1604

Sydney (082) 694-8687

Randburg

Sharon (011) 795-4209

Leani (072) 052-9907

Sandton

Laura (083) 301-2826

Ute (082) 652-6436

Tanya (083) 408-0785

Krugersdorp

Ena (011) 476-3439

Springs

Bernadette (082) 674-4762

 

KWAZULU-NATAL

Durban

Jane (031) 309-1801

Amamzimtoti

Claudia (031) 903-4908

Munster

Ruth (039) 319-2054

 

WESTERN CAPE

Bonnievale

Sonja (023) 616-3192/(072) 259-3521

Brackenfell

Nelia 072 234 8981

Vania 0731659678

Tygervalley

Laura (073) 183-5269

Marna (072) 453-2471

Trudy (021) 976-2598/(082) 864-0260

Wilna (083) 539-6557

Yolandi (083) 267-6351

Justine (083) 442-6752

Helderberg

Leana (021) 855-4657/(083) 415-4657

Marian (083) 419-4988

Parklands

Simela (021) 553- 1664

Juliet (021) 556-0693

Southern Suburbs

Natashia (082) 814-7210

Hannah (021) 762-9790

Katherine (021) 761-6219

Paarl

Wilma (021) 201 2641

Florence (021) 863 0448

Parow

Dilshaad (021) 930-2475/(082) 927-2161

Rahmat: (082) 826 4600

Stellenbosch

Suzanne 083 231 9188

Knysna

Vicky (044) 384-0426

Tonya (076) 217-8874

Other

Sophia (021) 393-1634

Olga (082) 062-0206

Elizabeth (021)782 6999

 

EASTERN CAPE

Port Elizabeth

Nan (041) 583-1577/(082) 823-5491

Naomi (072) 130-9879

East London

Rensche (078) 277-7385

Michelle (043) 748-2763/(071) 386-8502

 

NORTHERN CAPE

Other

Esme Hough (027) 692-3041/(079) 1616-319

 

NORTH WEST

Potchefstroom

Frieda (074) 740-2150

SueYen Nel (079) 496-2215

 

Another lactation specialist you could seek is a certified lactation consultant, however it is vitally important to check credentials,  often midwives or dieticians claim to be lactation consultants but are not certified.

You need to make sure that your lactation consultant is IBCLC or SACLC certified. You can check if your lactation consultant is certified through the South African Certified Lactation Consultant website or the International Certified Lactation  Consultant website.

Alternatively you can download this lactation consultant list for easy access to the list of certified lactation consultants practicing in South Africa.

 

5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying A Pump

Buying a breastpump can be very daunting and confusing, there are so many types and styles of pumps out there and each mother responds differently to each pump, so here are a list of questions that might make your decision just a little bit easier.

 

  1. What is your budget

You don’t need the most expensive, top of the range pump in order to succeed, but getting the best quality pump that fits your budget is definitely the best option. Find out if your medical aid  covers a breastpump or not and then base your budget on what you can afford.

 

2. What does the manufacturer of your chosen pump offer?

Now that you have sorted out your budget, and looked at the options in your price range, it’s time to investigate what the manufacturer offers. Are spares easily available?  Do they offer after sale services in the form of repairs, telephonic troubleshooting or maintenance? Do they offer sized flanges?

Another good question to ask when looking into the manufacturer, is if the manufacturer is local, some international brands are not able to offer spares or maintenance and shipping in parts can become expensive and difficult.

 

3. Open or closed system?

Along with budget and after sale services, you also need to consider your environment and the possibility of resale. Open system pumps pose the risk of contamination from the air around you and the environment in which you will be required to pump. Open system pumps should not be sold or bought second hand due to the risk of contamination from bacteria, viruses, mould and allergens.

Closed system pumps are usually more expensive, but they also have a better resale value if looked after.

 

4. How often will you pumping?

Are you going to be exclusively pumping, or pumping at work? Or will you just be pumping occasionally for donation?

These are important questions to consider because some pumps are better suited for high intensity pumping, the worst thing would be to invest in a pump meant for occasional pumping and within a couple of months of returning to work, your pump breaks. Speak to other moms and look for reviews on the pump you have chosen.

 

5. Is your pump quiet, convenient and easy to transport?

With the high demand on moms to “do it all”, having a pump that is discreet, convenient and easy to transport are musts.

Can your pump be used hands free? What is the noise level like? Does it have a battery pack option? Is it easy to carry around?

 

When choosing a pump it’s important to get the best option that suits your individual needs, budget and demands, don’t be shy to ask lots of questions to the sales person where you intend to buy your pump, make sure that you are happy with the information given to you and make sure that you have the contact details for the manufacturer and supplier of your pump should you have any issues.

What’s that pain? Thrush in Exclusive Pumpers

Thrush is an overgrowth of the naturally occurring yeast in our bodies.

Yeast is an integral part of our digestive systems and helps to build a healthy immune system, just as there are good and bad bacteria that inhibit our digestive systems, there are good and bad yeasts that build up in our bodies and an overgrowth of the bad bacteria and yeast can contribute to illness and thrush.
Yeast overgrowth is generally due to diet or illness and everyone is susceptible to thrush, regardless of whether or not they are lactating. 

You can get thrush even when exclusively pumping and pass it onto your baby through contamination from your pump and bottle parts.

When your immune system is low or under pressure, or your diet is high in processed sugars and processed foods, the good bacteria and yeast are often outnumbered by bad which can lead to a yeast overgrowth and thrush. 

Thrush is easily remedied by OTC anti fungal ointments and can be prevented by taking care of ourselves and our bodies with getting enough good, healthy foods as close to their natural forms as possible.

If you find you are suffering recurring bouts of thrush, take a look at your diet. Cut out sugars, processed foods and increase your probiotic foods like kefir, lemons, garlic, fruits, vegetables and nuts and legumes, avoid taking Brewers yeast as a supplement for a few weeks, unfortunately if your body is already struggling with a yeast overgrowth adding extra yeast will only create a bigger problem.

Thrush thrives in warm, moist, sugary environments. Keeping your breasts dry, clean and cool by gently cleaning your breast with warm water and a gentle, unscented soap and drying well before and after each pumping session and wearing cool, breathable fabrics such as cotton can also help you avoid yeast overgrowth, it is also important to change your breast pads often.

Breastmilk is high in naturally occurring sugars which are beneficial in feeding and growing your baby’s healthy gut flora in order to develop a healthy, functioning immune system, but because of the sugar content in our breastmilk, lactating mothers are at higher risk of developing nipple thrush.

Symptoms of thrush include:

  • pain and burning during pumping / nursing.
  • Itching nipples and areole
  • Peeling or cracking of nipples
  • Stinging / stabbing pains
  • Pink or red shiny skin on and around the nipple and areole

If you have thrush, treat with nystatin or gentian violet, baby should be treated as well to prevent reinfection, even if baby does not present with symptoms or latch directly onto the breast.

You should continue the treatment for at least 10 days regardless of improvement before then.

Boil all pump parts, bottles, teats and dummies in a salt water solution on the stove for at least 10 minutes, careful not to melt or burn your parts. 

Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk Book

For the last 5 years I have been researching and working on a very special  project, finally it has been realized and my booklet on exclusively pumping will be available soon for purchase online.
Initially I had wanted to write the booklet to help NICU moms like myself get the correct information in order to succeed at producing breastmilk to feed their babies, but after starting my Facebook group almost 3 years ago I realized that so many moms face challenges with pumping, not only exclusive pumpers.

My goal is to provide moms with factual and easy to understand information and tips on how to effectively pump breastmilk, whether they exclusively pump or pump due to work commitments. Every mother deserves to have information on hand.
My book contains everything from the different kinds of pumps, to the laws in South Africa that protect mothers to how to deal with common complaints like thrush and mastitis. There are even some yummy recipes for you and baby!

All of the information has been checked multiple times by midwives, lactation consultants and fellow pumping moms, so you can rest assured that the information is not only factual, but written with love and dedication to helping moms reach their personal breastfeeding goals.
For every book sold I will be donating R10 of my royalties to La Leche League South Africa so that they have the resources to help more mothers reach their goals, be it to successfully get baby back onto the breast or just become more efficient at pumping.
As soon as the official links have been provided I will upload them to the blog, page and group for easy access directly to the book. I hope moms enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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