Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pumping Milk: Things i learned along the way :)

       Having exclusively pumped milk for my two children, I have picked up a few things here and there. Here's some of them:

On Breast Pump
     When it comes to pumps, there are no hard and fast rules. Some women get great results from using manual breastpumps. A few moms i know swear by hand-expressing milk. Others still, like me, find using electric breastpumps more efficient and convenient.

     I've been using a Medela Pump in Style (already phased out) throughout my breastfeeding journey with River (one year and 7 months) and I'm still using the same model now with Hunter. I'm completely satisfied with it. Every 3 hours, I'm able to pump 7-8 ounces in just 15 minutes.

     Another great electric breastpump option is Spectra.  It's not as costly  and I have heard amazing reviews from friends using it. Check out Spectra and other fairly affordable, high quality pumps at     
     At the end of the day, i think the key is finding something that will work best for you.

My trusty friend :)

On Breastmilk Storage Bags

      I have tried a lot of breast milk bags and  i have to say, it took a lot of trial and error  on my part to find the best one. Some were too flimsy. Some leaked. The zipper wont close properly. has sharp edges that puncture other bags.

Don't get this. One of my fail bags.It just has one seal that is a pain to close and you have to use scissors to use them.
        For a long time my favorite were the Lansinoh ones. They didn't leak, had double zips and a tab to put the milk information on. A few weeks ago, someone gave me a box of Honey Suckle bags and i must say I'm loving them. They felt somewhat sturdier, "cleaner" and they also haven't leaked so far.
Both come in boxes of 25 and cost almost the same. (around Php 400)

Honey Suckle is completely sealed at the top while the Lansinoh is not.

On Water, Galactagogues And Other Tips to Increase Milk Supply

     Over the course of my breastfeeding journey, I have tried a lot of ways to increase my milk supply. Some worked, some didn't.

     1. Water/Fluids. Ive seen that when I'm not hydrated enough, my milk supply takes a dip too. So now i drink anywhere from 3-4 liters of water a day.

     2. Oats. Flax Seeds. Brewer's Yeast. I haven't taken these three separately because i always consume them in the form of cookies or bread. I often see the effect after a day or two of consuming them.

     3. Mother's Milk Tea. Fenugreek. Didn't really work for me or at least i didn't see a big difference in my milk output. And it made me smell weird well at least the Fenugreek did.

     4. Malunggay/ Moringga. Natalac. I took these in the form of capsules and  took them 2-3 times a day and only when i feel that my milk supply is dwindling. I can feel the effects the day i take them. If you dont feel like taking capsules, you can have the malunggay leaves as is OR you can turn it into malunggay powder which you can then mix with your drinks, smoothie and food.

     5. Frequent Pumping. This is by far the best (and cheapest!) way to increase milk supply. Well, at least for me. It is the equivalent of unlilatching for those moms who directly breastfeed. The key is to pump more frequently if you feel your supply going down. The longer the intervals i have between pumping, the lesser the milk i produce. Also, following a pumping schedule makes things easier.

Other Tips
     * Use a Sharpie when labelling bags. I know from experience that ball pens have tips sharp enough to  puncture milk bags. Other pens fade and gets smudged easily. A Sharpie was the only thing that worked for me. It also lasts a long time. Ive been using the same pen for more than two months now.

    * Freeze flat. When freezing your milk, freeze them flat. They will be easier to store and stack that way. They will also thaw much faster.

     *Be aware of the Storage Guidelines. When i was just starting to store my milk, i made so many mistakes to the point that i had to throw away a weeks worth of milk. To know more about how long you can store milk, check out the chart below or you can visit the  La Leche League website.

     *Okay this might sound unhygienic but i only wash my pump parts once or twice a day. Some women do it every after pumping which is great but not really practical. If you're  like me and you pump at night then you know it's a hassle to wash every time. Ive done it since i was pumping for River and I'm still doing it now.

     *Massage breasts before pumping, Doing this made a difference in my output and helped me empty my breasts even more.

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