Search

Exclusive Pumpers South Africa

Exclusive pumping for South African women

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.


Featured post

12 Reasons Why Moms Should Ignore Vania Rossi’s BabyGaga article

It’s not every day I have a “hold my ear rings while I sort this BS out” moment, but today took the cake when i happened to come across this article, so here goes….

DEAR VANIA 

As an ex-exclusive pumper of 4,5 years and mom to a healthy 9 month old exclusively breastfed baby, let me tell you why your opinion piece is bullshit…

1. BODY MAY RESPOND NEGATIVELY

Here you actually have your facts straight, well done. However you aren’t directing this to exclusive pumpers, who, by the way, 90% of the time EP out of NECESSITY. A nursing mother shouldn’t pump within the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding because your supply is still establishing and this can cause over supply, if you are exclusively pumping then you are good to go from whenever necessary, in fact,  in situations such as sick or premature babies, you should start pumping immediately, and seeing as though a large portion of exclusive pumpers start out because of premature or sick babies, they have to pump from the get go.

2. BREASTFEEDING SPEEDS UP POST PARTUM RECOVERY

Again, well done on getting your facts straight, breastfeeding does release hormones that help the uterus contract which prevents post partum hemmorage and speeds up recovery – however, you seem to think that exclusively pumping does not fall under breastfeeding in general. While there is no substitute for a baby suckling at the breast,  some CANNOT, and those mothers, due to the hormones secreted during lactation, still benefit from the post partum healing while using a pump.

Ask any EPer about the post partum uterine contractions during pumping and we will be able to inform you that they are as strong.

3. CONFUSES THE BABY

Yes, bottle feeding during the first few weeks WHEN breastfeeding is going well can cause something called nipple confusion and bottle preference, which is why mothers who are successfully breastfeeding are encouraged not to top up with expressed milk or artificial infant milks.

However, an exclusive pumping baby, affectionately known as a “pumpling”, is exclusively bottle fed the good stuff, or tube fed, depending on the situation from the get go.

4. INTIMATE BOND IS LOST

Quite frankly you can stick this one right up where the sun don’t shine because you are implying that bottle fed babies do not have an intimate bond with their mother, I can assure you that the bond I have with my daughter while bottle nursing her using paced feeding is as strong as the bond I share with my son who nurses directly.

5. MAY REDUCE MILK SUPPLY

Exclusive pumping can reduce your supply if you do not follow a strict schedule, that is the truth, however, we have fantastic support groups who advocate pumping every time baby feeds, exactly the same as if nursing baby, yes, it’s double the work, but some moms don’t have any other option. Personally I exclusively pumped for 4,5 years with enough stash to get my daughter past her 5th birthday and my milk was the ONLY milk she has ever had. If an EP mom has a good schedule then NO, pumping does not reduce your supply.

As for your claim that the same hormones are not secreted during pumping is beyond inaccurate,  and EP mothers understand the mechanics of their pumps, such as flange size, suction speed and hands on massage to empty the breast to reduce the chances of FiL  (feedback inhibitor to lactation – a whey protein that builds up in the breast if milk is not effectively being removed) building up and reducing supply, funny how you claim that the hormones released during breastfeeding are not present during exclusively pumping – except the negative ones, hey?

6. UNNECESSARY PRESSURES

You are right, we don’t need unnecessary pressure, and some mothers cannot breastfeed, but they can pump, and they can do it hands free now too, so they can get stuff done while making milk.

In my experience,  EPing and breastfeeding directly are equally as demanding in different areas and at different stages, new moms don’t get rest, regardless of how they feed, so your point is invalid.

7. NUTRIENTS ARE LOST

Bullsh*t!

First off, breastmilk contains a wonderful little thing called IgA, so breastmilk that has been exposed to the elements for a period of time is as sterile as milk just expressed, because it kills germs, breastmilk is amazing isn’t it? Maybe you should study it a bit more….

Human milk contains all 5 immunoglobulin,  IgA,  IgG, IgM,  IgD and IgE, the most prominent being IgA.

Secondly, refrigerated or frozen breastmilk is STILL preferential over artifical infant milks, it still contains high concentrates of immune boosting cells, it still contains high chain fatty acids and nutrients and minerals, and a gentle swirling action actually releases the fat from the side of bottles and jars, image that!?!

Lastly, you are right, one should NEVER microwave breastmilk, in fact one should avoid microwaving any foods due to that exact reason, but warming your milk up in a bowl of warm water is a good way to get your milk to a preferred temperature.

8. PUMPS DON’T COME CHEAP

You are right, but again you are assuming that in order to succeed you need top of the range, you don’t.  You need a pump that your body responds to, my body responded really well to a reasonably priced manual pump. It’s all I needed and still use it occasionally when I donate milk.

9. HECTIC SCHEDULES

Yes, the schedules are hectic, but do-able. Encouraging EPing mothers to “stick to what is reasonable” is a sure fire way of screwing her supply up. Unfortunately mothers who EP have to be strict, it’s a labour of love and with or without a good support system we can manage, we certainly don’t need someone who has clearly never pumped exclusively or enquired into WHY most EPers pump doubting our super human abilities!

10. REAL WORLD LIMITATIONS

Yes, carrying extra baggage is annoying, but hand pumps are quite small and discreet, some moms have mastered the art of hands free pumping in the car, others schedule outings around pump sessions and occassionally drop a pump once in a blue moon in an emergency.

As for working moms, by LAW they are entitled pumping breaks and a safe secure space to pump, although many do not get what is rightfully owed to them, we make it work, and we are pretty damn good at making it work, so what the hell is up with you doubting woman? Perhaps your own personal baggage? That must be exhausting to carry around….

11. CAN LOWER MOMS SELF ESTEEM

Hunny,  you are doing a mighty fine job of this all on your own!

Yes, moms can have unrealistic expectations of how much baby should be getting,  however, we have some pretty awesome support systems who happen to be experts when it comes to breastmilk and feeding babies, they are called lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders. 

Pumping is an art, you need the correct size flanges, a pump that responds best to your body, a good understanding of how breastmilk production works and a few good techniques, like hands on technique.

Some mothers need to pump more often than others because we all have different storage capacities, which just FYI does not have anything to do with breast size, it’s a reality for both direct nursing mothers and EPers,  some moms pump more often just like some moms have babies that need to feed often. 

Having realistic expectations of how much baby actually needs using the La Leche League method of calculation and using paced bottle feeding can take off a lot of the pressure.

12. MORE TIME SPENT CLEANING

Well I can’t deny this one at all. There is a load more washing up to do with EPing than there is with direct feeding, but it’s pretty much on par with formula feeding so I guess that’s the norm..

Listen Vania, I get it, I am a fierce breastfeeding advocate,  I am also a fierce EP supporter because I was one, and I know that unfortunately my circumstances didn’t allow for me to direct feed, there was nothing I could do to get my daughter to latch, like SO many other EPers.  

I get the want and need to help mothers pursue direct nursing because it’s the biologically normal way to feed an infant and it’s easier, but some don’t have that luxury and others are not supported, some are bullied and are left with lower self esteem that pumping could ever cause. Some have issues with breastfeeding due to past sexual abuse, some babies cannot latch, some moms hurt for years after not being able to feed directly, some, like myself are lucky, and we get a second chance, most don’t even attempt breastfeeding after the first experience,  some are so traumatised that they even avoid having another child, so bagging on these women,  when you obviously do not even have the basic understanding of why they pump is worse off than any of these 12 (mostly imaginary) reasons not to pump.
I encourage you Vania, to make some time to hear the stories of some EPers and see how strong and capable they are!

Freemie Breast Pump Review

Almost nine months ago I gave birth to my miracle rainbow baby, he was born 6 weeks early with a congenital birth defect called myleomengocele spina bifida, he was in high care NICU for just over a month and a half and had 3 major surgeries in his first 3 weeks of life.

Shortly before giving birth I was gifted the Freemie Freedom Deluxe set, because I gave birth in a government hospital, there were no pumps or bottles allowed and once I was discharged to the NICU mothers lodge,  my husband brought me the pump.

The NICU environment is extremely overwhelming and the set schedule is draining and leaves very little time for anything, so it was a blessing to be able eat, research, update, relax or even sleep, while pumping!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the electric pump in the mothers lodge, due to the lack of security I was told I had to send the pump home, but the hand pump worked fantastically well too, I was able to get out of the mothers lodge and stretch my legs, during my sons operations it was a God send because I was able to sit and pump in the operating theatre waiting room. I could also pump while in meetings with doctors or just running down to the coffee shop for something to eat.

Cleaning and storage was complicated due to circumstance, for the entire 5 weeks I lived out of a tiny cubby that didn’t lock, and the shared kitchenette was tiny. Cleaning the cups was quick and easy and I would use boiling water to sterilise my parts and store them in a zip lock bag in my drawer, the tubing and pump were easy to roll up and hide under my pillows.

Both the hand pump and electric pump work wonderfully and the added freedom of having both hands available (with electric) while pumping is revolutionary, the hand pump is easy on the hands and silent and discreet enough to be out and about while making milk!

The Freemie pump comes with collection cups, sized flanges (bonus!), tubing and a pump similar to that of the Spectra, I found this pump extremely effective, easy to use, clean and store and the mere fact that I had my hands free during pumping makes this pump and instant winner.

Freemie Freedom Deluxe set 


Freemie Equality manual set




I would highly recommend the Freemie pump any mom who works, NICU mom, moms with busy babies, moms with more than one kid, heck, I recommend it for all moms who appreciate convenience, discretion and being able to take a nap, make a snack,  do some work or entertain a kid while making that liquid gold! 

My Personal Top 5 Pumps

It feels like forever since my exclusive pumping journey ended, but I had one last opportunity to use my pumps when my son Elijah was born and I took full advantage of trying ALL my pumps again along with 3 new ones, here is my top 5 pumps in no particular order. 
My son was born with a congenital birth defect which required surgery, thankfully when he was born he latched like a pro and I was able to breastfeed him for the first week of his life until his first surgery.

After his first surgery is was unable to hold him for over a month, this meant he was tube fed and so I had to pump. It was a grueling, terrifying and exhausting period of time, but I am grateful that I was able to pump and help him heal and grow.


My all time favourite will always be the Philips Avent manual pump,  I just respond so much better to this pump than I do any other. They have changed their design and I have to admit that I was hesitant, and a little disappointed,  I absolutely love the old style and wish they would continue to produce it as a classic range, but the new style was fairly similar. 

I did find the flange size bigger and that created a bit of an issue for me, but nonetheless it was effective, easy and convenient. Even though the pump was pleasant, everytime i had to pump i was literally drafting a letter to Philips Avent along the lines of  “Please Philips Avent,  keep the old style manual pump and create a classic line, that was the best pump you have ever made!”. My old pump is stored in a cardboard box filled with stuffing so it never breaks!

The second pump is tried is the Freemie double electric, it was a dream to sit and pump while eating, reading or even sleeping, and there were several times I would prop myself up on the bed, attach my tubes and close my eyes for a bit while the pump did all the work for me! Just be careful though because if you end up falling a bit to the side or too far back the milk does get into the tubing. The NICU schedule can be hectic and having that little bit of convenience was a sanity saver.

The third pump was the Freemie manual and this pump was my saving grace during my sons surgeries as I could sit outside the operating theatre or in the waiting room and discreetly pump, which as any NICU mom knows, pumping gives you meaning, something you can do when there is absolutely nothing you can do. I even managed a few therapy sessions, meetings with surgeons and a lunch down at the coffee shop all while pumping and no one would have even guessed!

The fourth pump is used was a Medela harmony, I have used this pump before and I always felt the handle was a little fiddly and short which made pumping a tad uncomfortable, but this time it seemed to be a bit better, (did my hands shrink perhaps?). I used this pump when visiting my mom and had forgotten I had it stored in one of her cupboards.

The fifth and final pump I have used the second time around was the Medela hospital grade pump, after my son was released from the hospital he was born at and transferred to our local hospital where my daughter was in NICU when she was born, I ended up using the hospital grade pump a few times simply because it was there and the boarder mom room had no TV, so if I wanted to watch something, I had to pump, and pump I did!

Pumping is probably not the most fun thing to do for many moms, EP moms often do it out of necessity, sometimes by choice, moms who work have to find safe spaces to pump in and contend with the corporate world while trying to provide for their babies and donor moms are angels in disguise, we all have one priority and that is providing our milk for our babies, we all have that added stress and anxiety surrounding our milk supply, but being a NICU mom and having to pump has such special meaning for many mothers, it gives us the ability to do something for our child when we sometimes feel like we cannot do anything, so having a good pump, one that meets our every need is important, the abovementioned pumps are all fantastic and I am extremely grateful that I was able to use them, the Freemie that was so graciously gifted to me by Freemie SA, and not one, but 2, Philips Avent manual pumps that have certainly been used, even after leaving the NICU to pump for donation.

There is one last “pump” I used, and still consistently use daily and that is the Marmet Technique, this technique of hand expression is a must for all moms to master, it should be taught in antenatal breastfeeding classes and in the early days of any mother who has a baby in NICU,  it is fast, efficient, convenient and extremely beneficial to help with stimulating supply, especially when you feel like all you do is pump, eat, barely sleep and stress out!

For more support, reviews and information on exclusively pumping, please join the Facebook group Exclusive Pumpers South Africa

 

Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk Book Update

The book Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk for South African Women book was due to be published at the end of November 2016.

Everything was in place and final adjustments were being done, unfortunately  my son was born 6 weeks early and with a congenital birth defect called myleomengocele spina bifida and the book was put on the back burner for a while.

Fast forward to today and things are yet to start moving again, unfortunately the funds we had allocated to the publishing of the book were spent on doctors visits and other important things in the care of our very special little boy Eli, who’s journey you can follow here on the Eli Rylee Support Page.
I am currently working with a Web designer who is helping me create an online store for the book where I will sell the pdf /kindle version to help raise the money to publish hard copies, until then, the book is available in pdf form on request for R50, if you would like to purchase the pdf version, please send an order to exclusivepumperssa@gmail.com.

Balancing Milk Supply and Rest in the NICU Environment 

Having a baby in the NICU is a stressful situation,  whether your baby is a micro preemie, late preterm or has a congenital birth defect, the NICU environment can be draining, scary and overwhelming.

Keeping up your milk supply can be difficult to manage under the stress and lack of sleep, but it is extremely important to empty the breast frequently as you would in any other situation, perhaps even MORE important because your baby’s health and well being depend on getting human breastmilk to avoid debilitating life threatening issues such as NEC. 
There are some fundamental basics that a mother needs in order to maintain supply in such a stressful situation and I will touch on each and give some helpful tips and tricks to not only maximise milk supply, but also rest.
Support


Support is huge in any breastfeeding relationship or new parent situation, without support, your chances of succeeding diminish greatly.

Not only is the support from your partner important, but family, friends and hospital staff can all have either positive or negative effects on your ability to succeed.

Support comes in many shapes and forms, making sure you are hydrated by bringing you something to drink, making sure you have eaten, wiping your sweaty brow while pumping under the heaters of your baby’s bassinet, encouraging you through reminding you of the facts and benefits of providing breastmilk and letting you rest between feeds.

Making sure you have a supportive network is important, so remind those closest to you to not phone between feeding sessions when you should be eating and sleeping, have dad take on the role of information hub and turn off your phone between feeds.

Arrange for snacks and meals to be brought immediately after feeds, that way you are able to eat and drink quickly and lay down and rest.

Make sure that the nursing staff understands how breastmilk production works so they do not tempt you into sleeping through the most important pumping sessions, although they may mean well, this kind hearted suggestion could be potentially harmful your supply.


Frequency


Making sure you empty the breasts frequently is extremely important, although in the first few weeks of breastfeeding your supply is predominantly hormone driven, it is setting the foundation for the supply /demand stage, so it is vital that you aim to empty the breasts between 10 to 12 times in a 24 hour period, majority of women will pump every 2 hours during the day and 3 at night.

While rest is important, understanding which sessions you could potentially skip if you are becoming exhausted can help you to get the best of both worlds. Between the hours of midnight and 5am, your body naturally increases the production of prolactin, a hormone that helps in the production of breastmilk, so avoid skipping your midnight and 3 am feeds, instead, every once in a while take a longer nap around your 6am feed, avoid skipping any session on a regular basis as this leads to an increase in the whey protein FiL which can lead to your supply dropping.

Remember that 5 minutes sessions every hour are far more beneficial than an hour session every 3 hours as stimulation is key, mastering the art of hand expressing can be far more convenient and give you a lot more freedom to express wherever you are.

Sustenance 


Making sure you always have food and water available will help you maximise time between sessions, ask the catering staff to keep your food warm until after your session so you can quickly eat and climb back into bed.

If you are unfortunately not able to board at the hospital and need to travel back and forth, arrange for a family member or friend to bring you meals. 

Rest


Sleep is a hot topic, even more so in a stressful environment like a NICU with a sick or premature baby, so pacing yourself is important.

Hospital schedules generally run on a 3 hourly routine, 3, 6, 9 and 12 over a 24 hour period, so plan with family and friends to help get you the most rest.

Hospitals are very clinical and it helps greatly to put pumping into that clinical mindset, after all, it is the best medicine for your baby, so don’t be shy hand expressing next to baby’s bassinet, medical staff have been through a vast majority of training and have probably seen far worse than a lactating breast, if you do feel shy, ask for a screen to be put up or allow time before visiting the NICU to pump in your room. This will allow you to maximise your time so after your visit so you are able to just rest.
If you are unable to board at the hospital, ask the hospital if you can make use of their comfort room and take a nap between sessions.
You are not obligated to keep everyone informed, appointing a family member or friend to update everyone can be helpful and give you the time to rest, ask family and friends to check in with you first before coming to visiting hours, turn off your phone between sessions or have a designated time where family and friends can contact you.
Rest doesn’t always necessarily mean sleep, sometimes due to baby’s condition or just the stress of the situation in general can make sleep hard to achieve, so put your feet up and relax as often as you can, if you find rest in prayer, or meditation or you find rest in reading or watching TV,  then take that time to get what you need in order to provide what your baby needs.

Knowledge is power


Understanding how breastmilk production works and how to best optimise pumping sessions can be hugely advantageous.

Breastmilk production works on the basis of supply and demand,  so the more often you remove milk from the breast, the more milk your body will make. Breasts are not passive containers so they do not need time to fill up, they are more like factories, so when milk is taken out, more is produced, if milk is not removed frequently then production slows down.


Hand expressing can be very convenient and efficient, but if you choose to use a pump make sure that it’s the right pump for you. Some moms respond better to electric pumps and others to manual, some hospitals provide a hospital grade pump and others require you to bring your own, either way, make sure that your flange size is correct and that your spares are new and changed often.


Using techniques such as hands on pumping can also help get the most out of your sessions.

Having a great support system, access to a certified lactation consultant  (always check certification), or access to La Leche League South Africa and a leader and a good understanding of breastfeeding,  you can reach your personal goals.
I have personally had both my children in NICU,  my first born at 34 weeks was in NICU for almost 2 weeks for breathing, temperature control and feeding,  she never latched and I exclusively pumped for 4,5 years giving her only my breastmilk until just after her 5th birthday and my second born, also born at 34 weeks with a congenital birth defect, was in NICU for just over a month and had 3 major surgeries, so I am familiar with the stress that comes with a NICU stay, if breastfeeding is important to you, then you will always find a way.

Product Review – Avent Microwave Steriliser Bags

I have been sitting on this post for a month now, tonight my velcro baby is happy sleeping next to me as opposed to on me, for now!

When I was in hospital with baby E, I was living in the NICU mothers lodge, which is pretty much a communal ward for the mothers of sick babies, we had a bed, small cupboard and shared bathroom and small kitchen.
There wasn’t much space to keep big bulky sterilisers, and luckily I was gifted 2 bags (thank you Carol!).
These bags were life savers; compact, convenient and easy to use!

The bags easily hold a pump, bottle, a few dummies and teats.


The bags are super easy to use, just 60 mls of water and depending on your microwave your parts can be sterilised anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes, leave the bag to cool for 2 minutes, pour out the water and you are all done.


The bags have a steam port and cool spot for safe handling, I love these safety features because I’m often in a hurry and waiting for the bag to fully cool isn’t always a choice!

They are also reusable (yay) and can be used up to 20 times per bag, and at R220 for a set of 5 bags, that’s really economical.

The bags are available at Clicks, Baby City and Dischem.

These bags are a must have for working moms, moms with babies in NICU and just for having around the house incase.

They are definitely going to be on my gift list for baby showers for the foreseeable future (heads up preggy fairies!) and we have already bought a couple of sets to keep for dummys and pumps.

The Philips Avent Steriliser Bags are a fantastic product!

Featured Breastpump: Difrax BtoB Breastpump 

A few days ago, quite by chance I found myself entering a competition on Facebook, one of the requirements was to go check out a companys web page and see which product I found interesting, although sadly I didn’t win the competition, I did find a new pump on the market, one I had not heard of yet!



Difrax is a Dutch company from the Netherlands and has recently moved its market into South Africa.
Their Breastpump, the BtoB, is not only unique, but sounds as though it is something that many pumping moms have long been dreaming of and is the winner of several prestigious awards.

The design is beautiful to look at, and the features sound as though this breastpump could be what pumping dreams are made of, take a look at it here:

Features include:

  • Easy to clean tubing.
  • 3 different sizes of flanges
  • Hands free and discreet
  • The outer shell of the flange is soft and comfortable
  • Operates on AC power and batteries
  • Has two modes (let down and expressing modes)
  • Eight adjustable suction levels

The pump can be used with the handy storage containers or their unique s-shaped bottles.

The hands free flange design comes in 3 sizes and has a soft, flexible outer for maximum comfort and perfect fit, the small size makes it easy to achieve discreet pumping.


The pump will be launched at the Mama Magic Baby Show in Decemeber 2016 and will be available online through Difrax South Africa, but they are working with a retailer who will stock their products very soon.

They are open for pre-orders for anyone wanting to purchase a pump before the official launch!

Spares and after sale services are available through Difrax South Africa and once they have finalized a retailer they too will stock spares.
New things are always exciting to find, and we can’t wait to see how this pump does in the South African market!

Keep your eyes peeled on the blog and the Exclusive Pumpers South Africa page for an exciting competition coming in October where you could be the proud owner of a brand new Difrax BtoB Breastpump!
Would you be interested in buying a Difrax BtoB breastpump?

The WHO Code

The WHO code, or better known as the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, was designed by the World Health Organisation to help prevent predatory marketing tactics from artificial infant milk manufacturers that directly impact the “choices” new mothers are faced with when it comes to infant feeding.

Under the Code, the following stipulations apply:

  • No advertising of breast milk substitutes to families.
  • No free samples or supplies in the health care system.
  • No promotion of products through health care facilities, including no free or low-cost formula.
  • No contact between marketing personnel and mothers.
  • No gifts or personal samples to health workers.
  • No words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants, on the labels or the product.
  • Information to health workers should be scientific and factual only.
  • All information on artificial feeding, including labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and the costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.
  • Unsuitable products should not be promoted for babies.
  • All products should be of high quality and take account of the climate and storage conditions of the country where they are used.
  • No advertising of products under the scope of the Code to the public.

Products “under the scope of the code” include breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, food and beverages, including bottle-fed complimentary foods, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total replacement of breastmilk; feeding bottles and teats. So basically, infant formula, follow-up formula, bottles and nipples.

Exclusive Pumpers South Africa strives to adhere to the WHO Code.

You can download the CODE here.

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.
You can join the Exclusive Pumpers South Africa Facebook group to discuss pumps, pumping and get personal reviews from other moms who use the pumps.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑