Breast intentions ... breastfeeding and you

Breastfeeding is an amazing gift only you can give your baby. We are strong believers that breast is best.

And most women want to breastfeed their baby, but sometimes things just don’t go to plan. It’s very common to experience challenges during breastfeeding – you’d be a miracle mother if you didn’t!

If you are experiencing difficulties, it’s important to get support.

There are many professional organisations that support breastfeeding mums.  The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a good place to seek practical help. And there are also some very effective and easy-to-use products which support mums during breastfeeding.

When it doesn’t go to plan!

Breastmilk is the most important start to life you can give your baby. It protects your baby from illness and infection. Even a small amount provides important nutrition and health protection.

But sometimes, despite our best intentions, our patience and our dogged persistence, it doesn’t work out. We respect a mother’s informed decision not to breastfeed.

It can be a terrible feeling if you are unable to breastfeed for as long as you would like, or at all. That’s understandable. But it’s important to remember that regardless of whether you exclusively breastfeed, exclusively use formula, or choose a combination, you have an incredibly close bond with your baby.

And you are the best mum for your baby.


Breast to bottle

If you are struggling with breastfeeding but don’t want to stop, then there are a number of things you can try.

Some mums find expressing milk and feeding with a bottle works, or try a combination of expressed and breastmilk. Topping up baby’s feed with formula after breastmilk may also be an option.

If you are using bottles in this way, then look for a brand that simulates breastfeeding.

You will also find bottles clearly labelled in age ranges so choose the right size and teat for your baby.

MAM’s silk teat helps you to bottle feed and breastfeed in combination as baby will not suffer from nipple confusion.

Sterilise Feeding Bottle

Sterilise, sterilise, sterilise

If you’ve decided to use bottles for a baby under 12 months, then sterilising will be part of your daily routine.

Welcome to groundhog day!

MAM has a range of self-sterilising bottles which are well worth considering. These bottles can be reassembled to sterilise in the microwave in three minutes – a quick and easy option.

Sterilising kits, microwave and electric, boil multiple bottles simultaneously. But the bottles and teats must be cleaned and rinsed before being sterilised.

Traditional boiling is an alternative method. Boil the feeding equipment in water for at least 10 minutes, making sure that all items stay under the surface of the water. Remember that teats tend to get damaged faster with this method.


Express yourself

Expressing milk gives mums a number of choices. It’s not for everyone, and some mums struggle to express sufficient quantities. Whether you want to share feeds with your partner or a carer, or you are returning to work and leaving breastmilk for your baby in your absence, expressing is definitely worth trying. You may need a well-earned break from feeding and to give your breasts a rest. Or your breasts may feel full and uncomfortable.

There are many ways in which expressing milk supports a positive breastfeeding experience.

If you feel comfortable hand expressing, go for it … but for most of us, the express pump is a genius invention and you feel a little less like you’re being milked! A breast pump shouldn’t be complicated.

Make sure the suction part of the pump is comfortable; a model that allows you to change the strength helps. An adjustable funnel means you can manipulate the position of the pump, and padding support gives you a more pleasant experience.

It’s important to be comfortable and relaxed while you are expressing. This helps with the let-down reflex.

Breastmilk supply

Supply and demand

The amount of milk you express is no indication of your overall milk supply. Your baby will always be able to get more milk from you.

And if you express regularly you will build up the volume of milk from each breast.

Try expressing small amounts frequently if you do find it a challenge – up to 30 mL every one to two hours is a rough guide.

But every mum’s experience will be unique so don’t fret if you are not getting these volumes. Remember to sit somewhere quiet and try to relax; thinking about your baby will help with the let-down reflex too.

Expressing milk can take longer than a breastfeed so make sure you are not rushed. And how frequently you decide to express may be dictated by how much time you have to dedicate to the task.

How long can I keep stored breastmilk?

Freshly expressed milk can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for up to 72 hours. It can be frozen for up to three months in the freezer section of a fridge with a separate door. But only freeze for two weeks if your freezer compartment is inside your fridge.

Clearly label each container with the date and time you expressed the milk. That way you know which needs to be used next.

Sore nipple

Don’t settle for sore nipples

If you experience pain when breastfeeding then it may be because you’ve got tender, cracked or inverted nipples.

Smearing a little breastmilk on your nipples after a feed can help soothe a cracked nipple.

Remember to change your nursing pads or bra if damp.

MAM breast pads have maximum absorbency so they keep you dry for longer. And they are extra thin, which means you don’t get that bulky look or feel.

Try applying a soothing nipple cream which will moisturise as well as protect sore or cracked nipples. But be sure to choose one that is non-toxic. The GAIA skin and nipple balm is made from pure, edible organic oils, including sunflower and avocado, so there is no need to rinse before feeding.

See your medical adviser if these measures do not promote healing, or if the area becomes inflamed or infected. A nipple shield can be an effective, short-term solution.

A nipple shield is a thin flexible silicone cover which a mother places over her nipple prior to breastfeeding. It protects your breast while still allowing baby to feed. It looks like a hat with a brim and crown and closely resembles a mother’s nipple shape. The MAM care nipple shield uses the patented silk teat technology which gives the nipple shield a teat-like feel.

Look for a narrow-shaped nipple shield which provides baby with maximum contact with your skin while feeding. Each feed may take a little longer as the nipple shield will slow the flow to some extent. You’ll know your baby has been getting your milk if the crown of the nipple shield has milk in it at the end of the breastfeed.

Nipple Protection

Tips for using a nipple shield

Express a few drops of your breastmilk onto the inside of the nipple shield. This will help prevent chafing and help to improve the seal that the nipple shield makes with your breast.

Also express a few drops of your breastmilk into the tip of the nipple shield, where the holes are.

This will help encourage your baby to attach. At the end of the breastfeed, your nipple should be neither rubbed nor sore. If it is, the nipple shield is the wrong size or shape.

A nipple shield can be cleaned in the same way as you would clean any equipment involved with expressing your breastmilk. You don’t need to sterilise the nipple shield.

You got this!

Remember to celebrate what you have achieved when it comes to feeding your baby, not what you haven’t.

Whether your baby is nourished via your breast, a bottle or both, you are the best mother she could ever have.

To see the full range of breastfeeding products, visit the BabyNest online store.