First up, Congratulations on your (perhaps, soon to be) arrival! Motherhood is one of the scariest hoods, however also one of the most rewarding, wonderful journeys – and we are here for it!
So you’ve bought a Milkbar Advanced Flow Breast Pump and you are wondering; What next? Where to from here? We understand there is a lot of information, advice and guidance out there, so we thought we’d put something together to help you get started on your expressing journey x A little bit about your pump ~ both the double and single pump are certified hospital grade which is mainly referenced to the durability of the motor of the pump and its ability to withstand frequent pumping (i.e if it were in a hospital being shared by multiple users all day). Our pump is also a closed system design meaning that the milk cannot leave the suction kit and bottle, preventing back-flow of milk through the tubing and into the unit, potentially causing bacteria build up and pump unit damage in pumps without closed systems. So mama, you can rest easy knowing you have a built to last, safe and hygienic breast pump
Once you have got the fit right, cleaned and assembled your pump as per your instruction guide, you will be ready to go!
When should I express?
We suggest expressing an hour after feeding your little one and giving your body at least an hour or two before needing to feed again, as you may still be wanting to feed while you build up your supply, expressing at the same time of the day will help signal to your body that you need more milk at that time.
How long should I express?
Most mums find pumping for 15-20mins is a good amount of time, this can vary, it commonly takes expressing both sides to get a full feed for your little one too. Typically you will see an increase of how much you can collect over a week of routinely expressing, as your body adjusts to the new sensation and as you add in a new feeding session.
How many times a day should I express?
It is over to you how many times you pump during the day, many mums find four-hourly to work when maintaining supply, and will increase the number of sessions if trying to increase supply. Research says a breastfed baby needs 30ml per hour that you are away from them, so that’s always a good place to start when working out how much expressed milk you will need.
Let down tips:
To assist in getting a let down while expressing (especially as you are starting out) you can try use a warm cloth on the breast while massaging, look at photos or video clips of your baby which will help to release oxytocin, practice breathing exercises or pop on some calming music to help you relax and get the most out of your pumping session. With your breast pump start by using the stimulation mode and waiting until you have a strong letdown before changing to expression mode. You may find you need to adjust the suction level to suit (sometimes a different level is required for each breast, this can change over time as you get used to the sensation) to get a let down.
Once you have expressed (and if this is your first time, please don’t be disappointed if you only get a few ml’s ~ this is completely normal and can take a wee while to build up!) You will need to store your breastmilk safely and correctly,
Ensure that the expressed breast milk is stored in a sterilised bottle or sterilised plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, breastmilk storage bags are ideal. It will keep at room temperature for 4 hours and in the fridge for up to 2 days. Store milk at the back of the fridge where it is coldest and isn't affected as much by the door opening. Don’t add freshly expressed breast milk to cold expressed milk. Wait until it has cooled to the same temperature and only store one day’s milk per bag, i.e. do not mix different days' milk. You can also freeze the expressed milk, In a freezer box inside the fridge for 2 weeks, in a separate-door freezer for 3–6 months — stored as far back as possible, or in the deep freeze for 6–12 months.
Remembering that morning milk has different properties than evening milk (morning milk will have more sugars and works to wake and give energy for the day, where as evening milk has melatonin and fats to assist with sleep and keeping your little one fuller for longer) ~ so you don’t want to give morning expressed milk in the night 😊and vice versa.
Ensure you label your milk with Date, Time, Volume & Babies Name (particularly if this is going to a carer).
We recommend speaking with your midwife or Lactation Consultant prior to starting to express (particularly if you are looking to express before baby arrives - as frequently done by mamas with diabetes) those first few weeks are key to building a good supply and getting yourself and baby comfortable with latch and routine, so chatting to them before you start is always a good idea.
Talk to your midwife about breastfeeding help and support in your area, there are some great breastfeeding support groups on facebook too!
Most of all, please be kind to yourself and reach out if you need help xx
My Top Five Tips for Starting Out:
Keep Hydrated! Keep that water bottle near at all times, before during & after expressing or breastfeeding
Ensure you have the best suction kit fit, this will ensure optimal results (remember this fit can change over your breastfeeding & expressing journey!)
Take your time - ask Hubby to take the baby (and perhaps toddler!) for a walk so you can familiarise yourself with your pump, the fit and getting into a comfortable position and space
Don’t stress about the amounts you are pumping initially - work on being relaxed during your pump sessions, remember to check out those cute baby pictures/videos - the less you stress the more you’ll express!
Reach out and ask for help! Minor tweaks and a chat with our team or one of the wonderful lactation consultants can make a world of difference
Generally our clothing is true to size and we recommend that you choose your usual size in our pieces. Specific fit notes will be in the description for each piece. If you have any questions at all regarding the sizing of a style, please don't hesitate to get in touch.