Advice Column, Breastfeeding, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

Prematurity and breastmilk

  • My Breastpump
  • Category Advice Column, Breastfeeding, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

Pregnancy and planning come hand in hand. We plan what will eat during our pregnancy, how we want to give birth, the baby’s room, baby’s name and seldom is it considered that baby can come early. We all want health, full term babies, so prematurity is often not even considered but unfortunately about 1 in 7 pregnancies in South Africa are born prematurely. This is about 84 000 babies born per year too early. As a mother of two children that were born to early, I have lived through the uncertainties, stresses and also the wins that happen when you find yourself in this situation. As a result, My Breastpump focuses on helping families with support and products that will help them during this time. 

When you find yourself in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it becomes your world. All you focus is on your babies and how they are doing. Mom and Dad may go home but their heart is left at the hospital. It can be a helpless feeling not being able to hold and cuddle your baby, but a Mom can help her little one grow and get stronger by supplying her baby with breast milk. Breast milk is the recommend milk for all premature babes as it has among other benefits: growth hormones, specialized nutrients (mothers’ premature milk is different to that of a mother from a full-term baby), easier absorption of milk and immune factors. If a mother needs assistance with breast milk she can ask for donated breast milk. The Mom can ask for information for the nearest milk bank and find out what the hospital polices are. There are several breast milk banks in South Africa: The South African Breast Milk Reserve, Milk Matters and the Net Care hospital group. If you have an over supply of expressed breast milk you can donate it to any of the milk banks. They will do all the paperwork and testing for you, they even come to your home. They make it as easy as possible for donating mothers. 

How do mothers build up their milk supply when their baby is in NICU? 

Here are our tips:

  1. Start expressing as soon as possible after birth. The ideal time is within 1 hour but if the mother has had extra surgery or complications, she can try to start expressing within 6 hours. Hand expression can be used in the beginning and then it is recommended that the mother used a double hospital grade breast pump. 
  2. Get a hospital grade double pump like the Ameda Mya Joy. The reason for this is that a hospital grade pump can drain and empty your breast effectively which increases your milk supply. It also has a reliable and powerful motor that can be used more than 8 times a day 24/7. The double pumps save the mom a lot of time, as you only pump for 20 minutes per session. This may sound insignificant, but it can reduce her expression time by half or more. This will make expression more possible and not as strenuous on the mother. Double pumping also will help her to increase her milk supply sooner. 
  3. Aim for about 1000ml of expressed breast milk in 2 weeks. This will allow the mom to keep up with her infants needs and set her up for a better breast-feeding experience later. 
  4. Make sure that the pump fits correctly. Did you know that breast pumps have different sized flanges? This is because women have different sized nipples. When pumping you want your nipple to fit inside the flange with out rubbing (flange is too small) or being pulled into the funnel much (flange is too large). If the flange is the correct fit, then you will be able to express more comfortably and get more milk. 
  5. Use a Breast massager that has vibration and heat to help you with your let down and milk flow. The My Breast Lactation Massager helps you to have a faster let down by heating the breast and also vibrates with 10 different settings to get your milk flowing and unblock milk ducts. You can find out more about out My Breast Lactation Massager on our website 

Another thing that parents may be concerned about is that it is very difficult to get the correct sizing nappies, especially for babies born before 29 weeks. My Breastpump has launched our first premature nappy which is the My Little Prem <1.1kg, these nappies are designed to help the baby be more comfortable. This aids in better sleep and decrease in pain. Both are very important for improved growth and development. The My Little Prem Nappies are soft, light, small and have a leg cut out. The Leg Cut out is designed so that the baby can be placed in different positions and allow for correct placement of their hips. This allows for correct growth and improvement in the baby’s muscle tone. These nappies can be bought on Takealot and on our website 

Some information about the Ameda Mya Joy Hospital grade breast pump:

Ameda Mya Joy is a hospital grade double electric breast pump that is ideal for exclusive pumpers like mothers who have premature babies. The Mya Joy is small, but the motor is very strong and able to empty a mother’s breast well. It is this emptying that assists the mother to increase her milk supply. The Mya Joy has 7 different flange sizes that can be used and help for comfort and better breast emptying. The Mya Joy also has a NAPPI code which can be used with some medical aids to claim back from their medical saving. Please note that this is dependent on the medical aid plan and savings. The Mya Joy Hospital Grade double electric Breastpump can be bought on Takealot and on our website 

My Breastpump also has one on one sessions that a mom can book with our lactation consultant to help her with her expressing journey, transitioning back on to the breast and making sure that she maintains her breast milk supply. Topics that are covered in these sessions are:

  • How to choose a breast pump- what to look out for
  • How to look after your breast pump and what parts to replace often
  • How to maintain/ increase your supply using a breast pump
  • How to pump if your baby is in NICU
  • How to pump if you must go back to work
  • Cleaning and sterilizing your breast pump parts
  • Managing your breast milk stash

If you would like to book a session with our lactation consultant, please book on our website 

Our goal at My Breastpump is to help families that need assistance with breast feeding and expressing. We want to help you to reach your goals and walk this journey with you. Please follow our social pages on Instagram and Facebook for more information on breast feeding. 

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