Expressing Breastmilk

As a general rule if babies are given adequate access to the breast and are not separated from their mothers, expressing is not necessary.  However, if you have an unwell/premmie baby, are returning to work, having a few hours apart from your baby or working on increasing supply, knowing how to express your breastmilk for your baby can be a great skill to have. It’s important to remember that the amount you express is not an accurate reflection of how much milk you have – babies are often far more efficient. There are two ways to express milk – using a pump or hand expressing.  There are pros and cons for both, but both methods are a learned skill and often get easier with practice.  Having expressed my milk for several months, I have a personal interest in this topic.  With any type of expressing, the key to draining the breast is to stimulate a let-down – this makes the milk flow more freely and is how your baby gets most of their milk.  Information on let-down is HERE. Hand expressing is free, can be done almost anywhere and requires no power.  It is also much more gentle than some alternatives and is shown to be more effective in the first few days after your baby is born.  The down side is that it is very-much a learned skill and can be quite time-consuming.  This method is great for when your baby is very young or you need some milk to leave with your baby if you’re going out for the evening. For all pumps, it is important to find one that works for you and is COMFORTABLE.  Most pumps have a flange (the portion that sits on your breast) that comes in a variety of sizes.  Having the correctly fitting flange can make expressing much more effective and comfortable.  Pumps come in three basic varieties.  There are manual pumps, basic electric, double pumps and hospital-grade pumps. A manual pump uses suction to draw milk from the breast.  This is done using one or both hands.  These pumps are often inexpensive and are best for occasional expressing.  The downside is that it may be difficult to stimulate a let-down with these pumps as it’s a bit of  ‘hard work’. Basic electric pumps use either an electrical or battery power supply to do the suction for you.  Some of these pumps...
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My Facebook Page

As an LC, I try to keep in sync with expectant and new parents, and what they need from my services.  During a consultation I often need to convey large amounts of information.  It can be very daunting for new parents to take all this in.  For this reason, I set up an easily accessible platform for this information – a facebook page to provide my clients (and anyone interested) with some information on breastfeeding and gentle parenting.  The aim of the page is to give people evidence-base information on infant sleep breastfeeding information expressing tips breastmilk science supportive organisations and services resources which may be helpful to a breastfeeding mother, her baby and family This page is much broader than my website, so please feel free to have a look around the page, comment and ‘like’ the page if it appeals to you.  Look for me under ‘Stacey Revie – Lactation Consultant’...
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Asthma and Breastfeeding

There has been much discussion in the last few years about the link between exclusive breastfeeding and asthma prevention.  Here’s an article from ScienceDaily.com discussing research supporting the view that exclusive breastfeeding duration reduces asthma-related symptoms in children. Breastfeeding May Prevent Asthma, Research Suggests ScienceDaily (July 22, 2011) — Feeding a baby on only breast milk and for up to 6 months after birth can reduce their risk of developing asthma-related symptoms in early childhood, according to new research.   The study, which is published online July 21, 2011 in the European Respiratory Journal, looked at the impact of the duration of breastfeeding and the introduction of alternative liquids or solids in addition to breast milk. The researchers, from the Generation R Study, Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, used questionnaires to gather data from over 5,000 children. They ascertained in the first 12 months after birth whether the children had ever been breastfed, when breastfeeding was stopped, and whether any other milk or solids were introduced. Further questionnaires were completed when the children were aged 1, 2, 3 and 4 years to check whether they had any asthma-related symptoms. The results showed that children who had never been breastfed had an increased risk of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during their first 4 years, compared to children who were breastfed for more than 6 months. The strongest links were seen with wheezing and persistent phlegm, as children were 1.4 and 1.5 times more likely to develop these symptoms if they had never been breastfed. Children who were fed other milk or solids during their first 4 months in addition to breast milk had an increased risk of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during the first 4 years, compared to children who were exclusively breastfed for their first 4 months. While previous studies have shown a similar effect between breastfeeding and asthma risk, this research is the first that showed a link between the length of breastfeeding and the number of wheezing episodes. Also, this study found evidence that the first asthma-related symptoms occur earlier in life if children were breastfed for shorter lengths of time or not exclusively. Dr Agnes Sonnenschein-van der Voort, researcher at Generation R and lead author from the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, said: “The link of duration and exclusiveness of breastfeeding with asthma-related symptoms during the first...
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Breastfeeding Plans

When someone finds out they are having a baby, a whole new world opens up.  There is often a huge focus on when/where/how the birth will take place.  People discuss at length, exactly how they are going to manage labour or a C/S.  No detail is left to the imagination and friends and family often like to give you their opinion on what your choices should be. This is not always the case with breastfeeding.  I often find that when I’m talking to mums of young bubs, they felt totally unprepared for the reality of life ‘on the other side’.  Most women think that because it is such a natural process that they don’t need to do any preparation for breastfeeding.  And while this is true for alot of mums, many women find that being informed may well have made their journey much easier. What are your choices in terms of breastfeeding, what can you do to help get breastfeeding off to a great start, what can you expect from a breastfeed and a breastfed baby, when do I need to get help, how long should I feed a baby, when should I change sides, how do I know that my baby is getting enough?  These questions are best answered before the baby arrives – when you (and your partner) are calm, well-rested and able to absorb information that can help you to make a smoother transition into breastfeeding.  It can also help to already be in contact with someone who is able to support you once your baby arrives, knows your individual situation and is expecting your call. Having a breastfeeding plan and information suited to your individual situation has helped many people to make better choices during the first few hours and weeks with their new baby.  If you would like to have a breastfeeding preparation session with me or would like to discuss  your individual breastfeeding needs, please feel free to contact me.   Image by adamr...
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Partners Can’t Breastfeed

When expecting a baby, many partners find themselves in unfamiliar territory.  The physical changes are all happening to the mum – the belly is growing, the skin stretches when the baby’s foot kicks and the mother often feels very different.  Partners on the other hand, don’t usually feel any different physically but do start taking on other various roles – like protector and support person. It is these roles that can really make a huge difference to a mother and baby’s success at breastfeeding.  Research by the World Health Organisation suggests that a mother who’s partner is supportive of breastfeeding is more likely to reach their breastfeeding goals. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that when the baby’s parents are on the same page about breastfeeding, it helps them to make informed decisions about what is best for their baby and how to access support if there are breastfeeding challenges. Before a baby arrives, a partner can Go to a breastfeeding education session Learn about what’s normal for breastfed infants Talk to the mother about what their breastfeeding plan Know where to get help if it’s needed After the baby arrives, a partner can Advocate for your baby.  This means that the partner can be the ‘gate-keeper’ to the baby for hospital staff and visitors.  It may mean that you ask for information before making decisions, ask about alternatives, organise the visitors so that the mother can spend her time and energy on getting breastfeeding off to a good start and generally trying to make sure the mother and baby are supported. Do all the nappy changing (I can hear you groan, but she DID carry the baby).  This helps the partner to be aware of the fact that what goes in must come out.  It is often the partners who suggest that the baby is ‘always hungry’ and this can help them to see what the baby is really getting. Settle the baby after/between feeds.  Babies quickly learn that love comes from people other than their mother (and that love is not always associated with food).  Partners often develop a wonderful way of settling babies that is very different to the way a mother settles them.  This can really help the mum feel nurtured and the partner feel important and necessary in their baby’s life. Take the baby while mum sleeps.   This means that...
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Breastfeeding Is Good For Mums Too

There are many advantages to breastfeeding – most people know how healthy it is for our babies, but not so many people know about the major advantages to us – THE MUMS.  Breastfeeding your baby is good for you -it…. Reduces a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer Reduces the risk of obesity in later life Women who breastfed for at least six months, in line with Government recommendations, had a lower body mass index in their 50s than those who had not Reduces risk of ovarian cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other serious health conditions If you need help reaching your breastfeeding goals, you can contact me to discuss your situation.  ...
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