18 Jul Breastfeeding & Pumping Milk: Increasing My Supply
I’ve been using the new Medela Solo single electric breast pump to boost my milk supply and help Zak get over newborn jaundice (gifted). Use SOLODENI20 for 20% off Medela site wide at medelastore.com.au.
While the advice is to wait 4-6 weeks before introducing bottles to a breastfed baby, we had to do so in the first couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, Zak and I experienced some trauma as he came into the world. He was delivered with forceps assistance which contributed to elevated jaundice levels. While the best way to help him recover quickly was with lots of my breast milk, it was taking a while to come in. This is totally normal but I had to ramp up my supply and ensure Zak was getting what he needed to help him heal. The NICU said I needed to start pumping milk and giving him bottle top-ups after every feed.
So, I was glad when Medela sent me one of their breast pumps to review. The new Solo (Swing Flex reborn) is the most compact, effective and easy-to-use electric breast pump. I love the built-in battery, which charges via USB, the unique two-phase expression tech that mimics baby sucking, and the super comfortable breast shield.
A Powerful Compact Breast Pump
The Solo actually arrived a few days after I needed a pump, so we hired a hospital-grade one worth thousands from the pharmacy in the meantime. It was a large, heavy machine that pumped both breasts at once. I felt like I was being milked and it all felt very industrial. It was not a great experience.
As soon as the Solo arrived, I tried it out to compare and was amazed to find I got the same amount of milk out in the same amount of time – with a pump costing under $300.
Also, the Solo is so portable which I love: I just put the machine in an over-the-shoulder bag and go about my day hands-free while pumping!
I first used the Solo to express milk so I could top Zak up with bottles after every feed (that’s 6 times a day – every 3 hours on the clock. We used vegan formula for the 2 overnight feeds as I needed to sleep, not pump!). This was insanely exhausting but with Zak’s good breastfeeding and the help of the Solo, which helps extract 11.8% more milk, my supply quickly increased and we were soon back to exclusively breastfeeding on demand.
While we were doing the bottle top-ups for about 3 weeks, I wanted to make sure Zak would not be put off breastfeeding. It’s easy for babies to get a preference for the bottle as it takes more work to get milk from the breast. To help with this, I booked a session with lactation consultant Jo Terry, who taught us about the best methods for slowly and consciously bottle-feeding breastfed babies. Thanks to this, Zak is still a champ breastfeeder and will also take a bottle.
Mitigating Fast Let-Down
Now that my milk supply is in – this may sound scary and it is pretty disturbing to see – my let-down is quite fast and Zak sometimes chokes on my milk. This is quite common. The fact I have all this milk is a great thing and means I can feed, grow and heal my baby. But I need to try to mitigate the gush.
So, I burp him regularly and let him suckle on one breast per feed instead of both. This allows him to drain the breast completely and get full from the thick hindmilk – while I express the opposite breast. I tend to use a silicone breast pump for this as I no longer need to increase my supply.
The expressed milk goes in the freezer to be used for bottle feeds. Soon we will consider reintroducing the occasional bottle into Zak’s routine. Hopefully, this will allow me some freedom and Andrew another way to bond with our son. We will also need a bank of frozen milk for when Zak starts daycare in December at 6+ months old.
Going forward, I’ll be using the Solo every time I need to pump out a full and engorged breast, and when Zak is not feeding at the breast but it’s time for his usual feed. This will be a daily practice when I go back to work and need to pump during office hours. The Solo is efficient and extra quiet so ideal.
If you want to get one yourself, I’ve got a special code to get you a great discount with Medela. Use SOLODENI20 for 20% off Medela site wide at medelastore.com.au!