Stephanie Buckley (@eatsleepchicblog) is an award winning blogger and mum to two year old Phoenix. She has been running an Award Winning travel and lifestyle blog since 2013 and uses her blog and Instagram platform to share her love for food, travel, beauty and hair – as well as adorable pictures of her son. Here, Stephanie talks through some helpful tips and tricks she picked up while breastfeeding, and using her NUK Nature Sense Electric Breast Pump.
I breastfed my son Phoenix until he turned two years old – we had his last feed the day after his second birthday. During that time, I went on holiday (remember them?) for which I pumped over 260oz. I also went on two hen parties abroad and a night out here and there without Phoenix, which seems another world away now! So during my breastfeeding experience, I did my fair share of pumping and expressing milk – you could call me a pumping guru in fact, as I did so much of it.
I pumped breast milk to build up my milk stash (to feed Phoenix while I was away), and also to maintain my milk supply during my travels – I learned a lot about pumping throughout my breastfeeding journey.
Scroll down for some helpful tips and trick that I’ve learnt along the way.
Choosing an Electric Breast Pump
I used the NUK Nature Sense Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump available in McCauley Pharmacy.
The NUK Nature Sense Electric Breast Pump set includes
- NUK Nature Sense Electric Breast Pump
- NUK Nature Sense Breast Milk Container 150ml
- Nature Sense teat 0-6m S/3 holes
- Screw ring
- Sealing disc
- AC adapter
- Practical carrying strap
Breast Pump Features
The pump features 16 different settings, which regulates the pumping rhythm and suction strength whilst the practical memory function means the preferred programme can be saved and retrieved again immediately when required.
The LCD-smart-screen displays the suction speed, suction strength, time expressing and battery status.
Power and Battery Life
The powerful pump features a max. 330 mbar. This ensures even more comfort and efficiency during pumping.
The integrated LI battery is rechargeable and is sufficient for 3 sessions, each lasting 30 minutes when fully charged. The pump can also be used with the supplied mains adapter or with an external power bank.
Compatibility with Other Bottles
The NUK Nature Sense Pump can be combined with NUK Nature Sense bottles and teats (see above). The pump comes with a milk container which is compatible with the Nature Sense teats.
How to Operate the Pump
Center the soft silicone cushion and ergonomic breast shield (flange) over your breast(s) and center the nipple in the flange opening, making an air seal. Flange fit is important!
Adjust speed and suction based on comfort level. The milk flow (let-down) will be visible to you. If you feel like you’re not getting much let-down massage your breast to encourage flow.
Pumping on my way to a wedding when I was still breastfeeding, using the NUK Nature Sense Breast Pump
When Can You Start Pumping
It’s recommended that you wait 6 weeks before you start to express milk for your baby. This is to allow your milk supply to regulate perfectly to what your baby needs. Sometimes expressing before this time can lead to a problem with oversupply.
How to Help Your Milk Flow
Taking a warm shower or putting a warm moist facecloth (warm compress) on your breasts before pumping can help.
Massage your breasts before and during pumping. Gently rolling your nipple between your fingers encourages the release of hormones and helps get your milk flowing.
Pumping in the toilet on a plane, on my way to Miami
Why You Have to Pump at Work/ Holidays
While it might not be something you’re thinking about during the current climate, when life does return to normal, it’s important to know that pumping while at work, away from your baby or on holidays ensures that you maintain your milk supply.
The rule of thumb is to replace all feedings your baby takes while away with a pumping session. Depending on how old your baby is and if they are taking solids, you will want to pump every 2-3 hours while away.
I went to the Bahamas (without Phoenix) during the time that I breastfed him and I pumped roughly every 4/5 hours. On my return, I didn’t have as much supply as I had before I’d left and Phoenix was a little agitated when feeding. It took about four/five days for my milk supply to get back to normal.
Best Time to Pump
If you’re a breastfeeding Momma:
Pump in the morning. Many moms get the most milk first thing in the morning. From personal experience, I found the early morning pump between 4am -6am was the most plentiful pumping session. I’d get about 2oz per breast – which is good for me.
Pump between breastfeeding, either 30-60 minutes after nursing or at least one hour before breastfeeding. This should leave plenty of milk for your baby at your next feeding.
How to Store Milk
Store your breast milk in breast milk storage bags. These are very handy for storing small amounts of milk. You can also write the date and quantity on the bag for reference.
Store milk bags flat, to save space in your freezer.
How Long Does Pumped Milk Last in the Fridge/Freezer
Sealed outside of the fridge for up to 4 hours in temperatures less than 20 degrees.
Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator for up to five days in clean conditions. Do not store in the fridge door as the temperature is less consistent.
Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in a deep freezer for up to 6 months.
Can I Mix Milk Pumped at Different Times
Yes. You can add freshly expressed breast milk to refrigerated or frozen milk you expressed earlier – provided the milk is at the same temperature. Thoroughly cool the freshly expressed breast milk in the refrigerator before adding it to previously chilled or frozen milk.
Tips for Thawing/Warming Up Milk
Breast milk can be defrosted in the fridge, normally in around 12 hours.
Previously frozen breast milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours after thawing. This means that you can thaw the milk for all your baby’s feeds overnight in the refrigerator if you wish.
Alternatively, hold the bottle or bag of frozen milk under warm running water (a maximum of 37 °C or 99 °F). Don’t leave frozen breast milk to defrost at room temperature.
Once fully thawed, previously frozen breast milk may be kept at room temperature for a maximum of two hours or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Don’t Use the Microwave
Don’t thaw or heat frozen breast milk in a microwave or in boiling water. These can damage its nutritional and protective properties and create hot spots that could scald your baby.
When to Discard
Thawed breast milk left at room temperature should be fed to your baby within two hours or thrown away.
Never re-freeze breast milk once thawed.
To avoid wasting expressed milk, it’s always a good idea to store it in small amounts, and only use what you need.
This way, if your baby only takes a small amount, there won’t be as much waste. Storing in smaller amounts also means quicker defrosting time if your baby wants more.
I store my milk in bags of 4 Oz.
When is Pumping Not Recommended
When the breasts are overly full in the first week postpartum. If your baby is nursing well, continue to nurse frequently and your breasts will adjust to the amount the baby takes.
You’ll find pumping gets quicker and easier with practice.
Please remember, each mom and baby are different, plan your pumping sessions around what works best for the two of you!
This blog post is sponsored by NUK (@nukireland)
As always, all opinions are my own.
Stephanie Buckley (@eatsleepchicblog)
You can shop McCauley Pharmacy’s full NUK range HERE