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Every expectant mother is faced with a question as she nears the time of her delivery. Do I breast or bottle-feed? Of course, I believe that most new moms-to-be have already decided that breast is best and so begin their search for breast pumps. There are several on the market to choose from, but few that do the job efficiently. As a registered nurse, I want to give a few pointers on this subject and introduce you to the #1 brand that doctors recommend for breast pumps. That brand is the Medela Breast Pump, a hospital grade pump with the best performance and efficiency.
The first feeding
The first feeding should take place within the first hour after birth if both mom and baby are stable. At this time, infants are alert and many begin to nurse at once. Others may nuzzle, lick or suck on and off at the breast which in turn will stimulate the production of milk. Feeding at this time also establishes early bonding.
Position of mother and infant
Both mother and infant should be positioned properly for optimal breastfeeding. An awkward position or pain may interfere with “let-down” – also known as milk ejection reflex. I will give you 3 positions that are best for breastfeeds.
1. Cradle hold. Position the baby with her head at the inside of your elbow and level with your nipple with your arm supporting the baby’s body. Use support pillows under your arm to prevent tiring.
2. Football hold. Support the baby’s head in your hand with the baby’s body resting on pillows alongside your hip.
This method allows you to see the position of your baby’s mouth on your breast, helps you control your baby’s head, and is especially helpful if you have heavy breasts.
3. Side-lying position. This position avoids pressure on any abdominal or perineal incisions and allows you to rest while breastfeeding. Lay on your side with your arm supporting the baby’s head or surrounding her head. Put a pillow behind your back and between your legs to provide comfort. Your upper hand and arm are used to position your infant on her side at nipple level and hold the breast. When the infant’s mouth opens, lean forward or draw the infant to you to insert the nipple into her mouth.
There are techniques that you can use to help your infant “latch-on” to the breast. The infant should be awake and hungry. Talking and cuddling can help a sleepy baby awaken and also calm an upset infant. To elicit a latch-on, there are 2 methods recommended.
1. The palmar or “C” hand position. Hold your breast with your thumb on top and fingers against the chest wall and supporting the underside of the breast. Your fingers should be behind the areola and your thumb should not press on the breast enough to make the nipple tip upward or your infant will suck improperly and your nipple may become sore.
2. The scissors hold or “V” position. Use your forefinger and middle finger to support the breast. You must be careful to place your fingers well back on the breast so that your fingers do not slip down the wet areola and interfere with the placement of your infant’s mouth. Remember to support your breast in place if its weight makes it difficult for your infant to hold it in her mouth for the first few weeks.
Eliciting a latch-on
After positioning your baby to face the breast, hold your breast so that the nipple brushes against the center of your baby’s lower lip. A hungry infant usually opens her mouth as soon as anything comes near it, but some need up to 1 minute of stroking the area around the mouth. The breast should not be inserted until your baby’s mouth is opened wide or the baby will compress the end of the nipple causing pain and trauma and little milk flow.
The positioning of your infant’s mouth is critical to preventing painful, sore nipples with poor milk production. As much of the areola as possible should be in your infant’s mouth to allow the nipple to be drawn toward the back of the mouth. Your infant’s lips should be about 1 to 1.5 inches from the nipple base.
One more important detail. While your baby is feeding, gently pull the lower lip down. The tongue should be under the breast and over the top of the lower gums. The lips should be flared outward. Be sure that the lower lip is not turned in, which may result in a friction burn on the lower nipple.
Expressing your milk
When milk expression is needed, a breast pump in my opinion is your best method. Although some mothers may want to try hand expression, it is not as effective. Hand expression or breast pump expression is very useful for the mom who wants to save her breast milk for another feeding or whose areola is so engorged (filled to excess) that the baby cannot grasp it.
For the mother who wants to express her milk for a prolonged period of time, I highly recommend the Medela Symphony Breast Pump which is a hospital-grade breast pump with a 2-phase expression technology. It is known for its comfortable pumping and is quiet running. The hospital-grade or large electric pumps are most efficient than hand or battery pumps and are indicated for maintaining milk supply for a long period of time.
This breast pump can be used on both breasts at the same time which will save you time and increase your milk production. Use of the breast pump should begin within the first 24 hours after birth if you cannot breastfeed your infant. You should pump your breasts about every 3 hours during the day and at least once at night when prolactin levels are elevated. Sessions last about 15 to 20 minutes. A total of 8 or more sessions in each 24 hours is best to maintain milk supply.
Prepare your breasts and let the milk flow
Massage and heat application before pumping helps initiate the flow of milk. Massage each quadrant of your breast during pumping, it increases the amount of milk obtained at each session. In addition, the reason why I highly recommend the Medela Symphony breast pump is that it is an electric pump with the ability to reduce pumping time through faster let-down and milk flow and it will remove as much milk from your breast as your infant does while feeding.
Medela Symphony Breast Pump
The features of this hospital grade breast pump are as follows:
- This breast pump is known for its 2-phase expression technology which simply means that it mimics the way your baby nurses at your breast. This promotes increased milk production.
- You can choose either single or double breast pumping.
- It will allow you to switch from single to double pumping by applying or removing the second collection kit.
- It will initiate and maintain your milk supply. In other words, by pumping your breasts regularly you will be able to keep producing milk for your baby.
Medela Symphony Breast Pump Kit, Double Pumping System
The Symphony Breast Pump Kit Double Pumping System is for the Medela Symphony Breast Pump. It has everything you need to get started. It comes with the tubes, membranes, valves, personal fit breast shields, connectors and breast milk bottles.
Please note that you can only use Medela products with this breast pump. Do not use other brands or off-brands for replacement items in this kit as they will cause damage to your breast pump unit.
All Medela breast pump parts and accessories that come into contact with your breast milk are BPA-free. This includes the 2 5-ounce bottles that come with this kit.
Remember breast is best
Breastfeeding your baby is always best and with the Medela Symphony Breast Pump and kit, you will be able to express and store your milk efficiently and with ease. Hospital-grade means that this breast pump will work as well as the ones hospitals use.
Get your Medela Symphony Breast Pump and kit here!
Questions or comments?
Please feel free to leave me your questions or comments in the comment section below and I will respond to you promptly.
Always yours in researching the best for our babes,