Melanie Kissell

Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

Okay, It’s Time To Pump! How To Use A Breast Pump

In Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding supplies, Pumping on February 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Pump In Style Breastpump Backpack 08-02

Just like first learning to breastfeed, pumping is a skill – I might even say it’s an art!    When first trying a breast pump, most mothers are only able to express a few drops of milk.  That’s okay.  Don’t get discouraged.  With the proper practice and knowledge, you will become a pro at pumping.

Preparing your breast pump

1. Read all the instructions in the kit very carefully.

2. Check to see if any parts need to be sterilized before usage — most likely not — but be sure to check.

3. After use, all the parts of the pump will need to be washed in warm soapy water, then rinsed with hot water and drained on a clean towel.  The  plastic tubing doesn’t need to be cleaned unless you get milk stuck into it.  If you do wash it, it should be hung up to allow time to drain and dry thoroughly.

4. When you first start with an electric pump, the suction level should be set at the lowest

possible setting.  You can increase the amount of pressure, gradually, in small increments until you find the setting that’s absolutely perfect for you.

Let’s get started!

  • Warm compresses, gentle massages of the breast and gentle nipple stimulation will help  to stimulate a quick let down.
  • You should always relax while doing breast massages during pumping.  Some mothers prefer to close their eyes then think about nursing the baby, imagining the baby in their arms. The more relaxed a mother is, the better let down she’ll have and the more milk will be dispensed.
  • Your first attempts at pumping should be considered practice sessions with learning to use the breast pump as the goal, not how much milk is actually dispensed.
  • When you use a hand pump, quick, short pumps at the start is stimulating and will imitate more closely the way a baby breast feeds.  Once the let down occurs and milk starts to flow freely, long, steadier strokes are more effective and less tiring.
  • When you learn to pump, you should practice for 5 minutes on each side at least once or twice a day.  Always pick the least stressful part of your day for pumping.

Relaxing and realizing that the pump is your friend is the single most important thing that a mother can do.  There are several things that a mother can do to help herself relax – putting a picture of the baby on the pump, playing cards or a game with friends, watching television, read books, or talk on the phone.  Simply watching the collection bottle is not helpful and will probably put more stress on you than you actually need.

Stay positive.  Some moms pump out 4 or 5 ounces on their very first attempt!

Melanie Kissell

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Nursing Bras: Not the ones your Grandma wore

In Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding supplies, Uncategorized on January 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm

nursing bra on manequin

I want to share a link with you today that will make shopping for a nursing bra a breeze.  You can take a peek at what’s available at JCPenny, Target, Pea In A Pod, Motherhood, and many more locations.

Nursing Bras

You’ll have lots of choices in styles and pricing.  Remember to stay away from “underwire” bras during engorgement.  The wire will create constant pressure/stimulation on your breasts and aggravate the situation.  The whole concept of milk production is stimulation.

front snap nursing bra

Have fun shopping around and I hope you find something comfortable, beautiful, and to your liking!

Melanie Kissell

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Engorgement Can Be Easily Managed

In Breastfeeding, How do breasts make milk, Mammary Glands, Milk ducts and sinuses, Plugged Milk Duct on January 2, 2013 at 3:04 am

breastfeeding mom with baby at breast

Within the first two to three days after you have given birth, you may discover that your breasts begin to feel swollen, tender, and overly full.  Sometimes the swelling will extend all the way under your armpit, and you may possibly run a low grade fever as well.

What Causes This

Within the first 2-5 days of giving birth, an abundance of water-packed milk will come in and become available to your baby.  As this happens, more blood will flow to your breasts and some of the surrounding tissue will swell.  The result is full, swollen, engorged breasts.

Not every postpartum mom experiences true engorgement.  Some women’s breasts become only slightly full, while others find their breasts have become amazingly full and firm.  Some women will barely notice the pain as they go about their daily routine.  And other new moms will be constantly reminded of the discomfort.



Keep in mind, engorgement is a positive sign that you are producing milk to nourish your baby.  Until you produce the right amount:

1. Wear a supportive nursing bra, even at night – making sure it isn’t too tight.

2. Breastfeed often, every 2 – 3 hours if you can.  Try to get the baby to go to both sides at each feeding to soften the breasts.  If your baby seems satisfied with just one breast, you can offer the other at the next feeding.

3. Avoid letting your baby latch on and suck when the areola is very firm.  To reduce the possibility of nipple damage, hand express some milk out first to soften the areola before you get the baby to attach.

4. Avoid pumping milk except when you feel it’s absolutely necessary.  Excessive pumping can lead to the over production of milk and prolonged engorgement. The whole concept of milk production is “stimulation”.

5. To help soothe the pain, apply warm compresses before and in between feedings and cool compresses or ice packs for a short amount of time after you nurse.  Crushed ice in a plastic bag works nicely.

6. Look ahead.  You’ll get past this engorgement in no time and soon be able to enjoy your breastfeeding relationship more and more with your new baby.

Engorgement will pass very quickly as nursing your baby will be the best remedy.  You can expect it to diminish completely in about a week to two weeks. If you aren’t breastfeeding, it will normally get a little worse before it gets better.  Once the engorgement has passed, your breasts will be lighter, softer, you’ll feel like a new woman, and you’ll still have plenty of milk for your baby.

During this time, you can and should continue to nurse.  Unrelieved engorgement can cause a drop in your production of milk, so it’s important to breastfeed right from the start.  Keep an eye for signs of hunger and feed your baby on demand.

Melanie Kissell

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