Your baby is on the way, so making your baby registry is top priority. What should you consider when selecting the best breast pump for you and your baby? What are the benefits of a manual hand pump versus an electric pump? What other features should you be looking for? Plus, additional accessories to help make your pumping experience as pleasant as possible.
Your Baby Registry: Breast Pumps
Episode 112, July 7th, 2014
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: You’re working on your baby registry but where do you even begin? You know you’d like to register for breast pump but you’re not sure what features are best or what accessories you’ll need. Today we’re talking with Dominique Gallo breast feeding peer counsellor with WIC about your breast pump options. This is Preggie Pals.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Welcome to Preggie Pals broadcasting from the birth education center of San Diego. Preggie Pals is your online on-the-go-support group for expecting parents and those hoping to become pregnant. I’m your host Stephanie Glover. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who have joined the Preggie Pals club. Our members get special episodes, bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. See our website for more information.
Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Preggie Pals app available in the Android, iTunes and Windows market places. I’ll hand it over to Samantha, our producer, who is going to give us some information about our virtual panelist program.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Okay thanks Stephanie. So if you don’t live in San Diego but you’d like to be a panelist on our show, you can still participate through our virtual panelist program. Just like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram using #preggiepals. We’ll post questions throughout the week prior to our taping and we’d love for you to comment so we can incorporate your thoughts into our episode. You can also submit your questions directly to our experts. Learn more about our VP program through the community section on our website www.preggiepals.com .
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Thank you. So we’re just go ahead and introduce ourselves. We got some panelist in the room here. I’ll go ahead and start first. My name is Stephanie Glover. I’m 32 years old. I am the host here at Preggie Pals and also a stay at home mom to two little girls, Gretchen who is almost 3 and Lydia who is 10 months. Both of my births were hospital the first being caesarean and the second a VBAC.
ANNIE LAIRD: My name is Annie. I was the host of Preggie Pals but I’m moving nine thousand miles away. So…
SAMANTHA EKLUND: But she’s still here.
ANNIE LAIRD: But I’m still here. Because I stalk Preggie…
SUNNY GAULT: We can’t get rid of her.
ANNIE LAIRD: You know I’m stalking Preggie Pals. I have three little girls, a 9 year old, a 2 year old and 8 month old and I’m a labor doula and newly stay at home mom and I’m 35 years old. I had a hospital birth from my first. My second was a home birth transfer to the hospital and then home birth with my third.
SUNNY GAULT: I just want to state that Annie is not 35 years old anymore.
ANNIE LAIRD: I’m not?
SUNNY GAULT: You’re not. Didn’t she’s have a birthday?
ANNIE LAIRD: I don’t know how old am I.
SUNNY GAULT: Your 36.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Yeah you just had a birthday.
ANNIE LAIRD: Alright.
SUNNY GAULT: You just had a birthday.
ANNIE LAIRD: That’s right I’m 36.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Trying to get away with it.
ANNIE LAIRD: I’m also old and senile. Alright.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: I turned 32 yesterday and I had to really remember that.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Okay I’m Samantha. I’m the baby of the show. I’m 22 years old. I am currently a stay at home mom although looking for full time employment so hit me up if you have a job available. I have a 20 month old named Olivia. She was an unplanned caesarean and hoping for a VBAC whenever that so happens.
SUNNY GAULT: Hey Preggie Pals this is Sunny, owner of New Mommy Media which produces Preggie Pals and we have a special interview before we kick off today’s show. As you know the affordable care act is helping many moms with their breastfeeding goals including finding pumps to help them when they’re away from their babies. Aeroflow breast pumps offer some of the most popular breast pumps in the industry and they’d help literally thousands of moms nationwide get their breast pumps. 100% covered by insurance.
Moms can apply their insurance covered special upgrades and get breast pump accessories at an extremely discounted price. They can even use HSA, FSA plans to pay for their upgrades and get a top notched pump at no cost. So we have Courtney here, mother of two, who got her breast pump through Aeroflow not too long ago. Courtney first of all welcome to Preggie Pals and thank you so much for being with us today.
COURTNEY: Yeah thanks for having me on the show.
SUNNY GAULT: Tell us about how you learned about Aeroflow and how all this came about.
COURNTEY: One of my friends who is also pregnant at that time was getting ready to have her baby shower and we’re looking at her registry and there is no breast pump for her “Don’t you need a breast pump?” and she’s like “Oh I already got that from a company called Aeroflow and my insurance paid for it”. And I was like “No way. That is like that is just crazy”. And I looked at their website. They have all these breast pumps like five different brands and they have upgrade options and they just had of a more variety than other companies then.
So I went ahead and fill out their qualify through insurance form and within 24 hours I had a phone call back from a rep saying “Hey. Breast pumps are covered you know. You can get this pump which is a dual electric breast pump and it’s completely free to you.” And I was like “oh my gosh”.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay and so you filled out the form, went through their website, they’ve contacted you back and then how quickly where you able to get your pump?
COURTNEY: They shifted it out within two business days and then it was to my house and about 3 business days all together.
SUNNY GAULT: Wow. Had your baby been born yet at that time or no?
COURTNEY: Actually no. I was due 30 days that’s when they said they could get it out and just luckily you know I was about to pop any minute then and they got it out to me before the baby came. So I had it on the hospital and you know the nurse has showed me what to do and I even upgraded to the pump that I needed because I had to go back to work. Usually these pumps are like 400 dollars and I got mine for less than half of that.
SUNNY GAULT: Wow. This kind of goes without saying but I have to ask so how happy are you with your overall experience? I know you have to get an expensive pump with your first baby, you probably thought you’re going to do the exact same thing with baby number two and then you find Aeroflow.
COURTNEY: It was a great experience. I felt I don’t even have to know these pregnant women that I see walking down the street and I’m like “hey did you know you can get a breast pump through your insurance if you’re breastfeeding?” and they’re like “No way” and I’m like “Aeroflow, go to Aeroflow breast pump and they will take care of you 100%”. It was just a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and then I can live on to worrying about something else.
SUNNY GAULT: Other concerns that new moms have right?
COURTNEY: Exactly. And then like every once in a while you need replacement parts on the breast pump.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah.
COURTNEY: They actually have a store on their website that I can go through them and get my storage bags that I needed and new tubing and some extra bottles. I haven’t had to shop for anything. I always did it online with them like it was an amazing experience.
SUNNY GAULT: Well as Courtney mentioned Aeroflow is different from other companies because they send out that pump as soon as insurance will allow. Well other suppliers make moms wait until they’ve already had their baby and they do work with a lot of different insurance companies, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare nationwide and a variety of others.
So if you like to sign up for their pump, you can go to www.breastpumpsaeroflowinc.com . That’s AEROflowinc.com to start the process and if you’re already breastfeeding, they do have that online store that Courtney was telling you about with breast pumps supplies and accessories and you can use our special promo code which is newmommy, N E W M O M M Y, and get 10% off your order at www.aeroflowmomandbaby.com . So Courtney thanks again for sharing your experience with us today and congrats on those healthy babies of yours.
COURTNEY: Yes, thank you very much.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Today we’re launching a brand new series called Your Baby Registry. We’re going to be discussing the ins and outs of choosing the breast pump that is right for you. Joining us on the phone is Dominique Gallo, breastfeeding peer counsellor from the Virginia Department of Health Peninsula WIC office. Welcome to Preggie Pals Dominique. Thanks for joining us.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Hi. Thank you for having me.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Now for our listeners who aren’t familiar with WIC, can you tell us more about WIC and what is it that you do?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Sure. So first of all WIC Stands for Women Infant Children and it is a government program for expecting mothers, mothers whom are breastfeeding and children under the ages of five. It’s a supplemental food program. So say the women on the program will receive food for you know their pregnancy or for their children.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Great. So generally can you tell us how a breast pump works?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Sure just very general without going to too much detail and make everybody’s head spin. So when you get your breast pump it’s going to have on a flange and that flange goes on to your breast. That flange will form at fill around the areola and the nipple. This will help when you turn your pump on. It will create a vacuum. The vacuum air is pulled into the flange which draws the nipple in and compresses the areola and then once the air is pull out then it releases your nipple and it releases the areola.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Great and that extract the breast milk?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Yes. Once the nipple is compress and once the areola is compress excuse me the nipple is wrong and then that’s when the milk will come out.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Great and what are some benefits of owning a breast pump?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: If you are a working mother and you plan on going back to work the breast pump will help you so that you can express your milk while you’re away from the baby. This helps maintain your milk supply. It also it makes it so you don’t have to do an alternate milk like formula for your baby while you’re away.
ANNIE LAIRD: I have a question. This is Annie by the way. Now is there a benefit for having it before the baby comes? Because you mentioned you know working mothers but if somebody doesn’t know if they’re going back to work.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: This is me personally. If you are unsure of going back to work or you’re pretty sure you’re not going back to work. I wouldn’t purchase one right away. Only because sometimes having that pump there you know means you got to use it. And sometimes at the very beginning, using that pump can make breastfeeding problems work if there are any problems or creates problems that weren’t you know already there.
So you know if you so think you’re going back to work right away or if you definitely you know you’re not going to work right away, I would personally hold off on the breast pump and so you know for sure that you’re going to need it. But for mothers that know you know there is absolutely no way that they can stay at home and they’re going to need that breast pump and they go back to work.
Then I’m okay with them having get before you know as long as they take like a form of breastfeeding class or you know she knows the lactation consultant or the peer counsellor if you’re on the WIC program so that they’ll know that just because you have the baby in your arms, you don’t need to be using the pump you know right out the gate day one if there is no other issues and you know involved.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Thank you. And can you explain to us the difference between a manual pump and an electric pump?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: So a manual pump is generally a hand pump. You don’t plug it in on anything. It has a little lever on the outside. It’s usually a single pump. There is no mechanics. You can use it everywhere. The electric pump usually has a motor or tested in, you do have to plug it in to something for it to work. It’s generally a lot bigger and comes with a lot more parts.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: And do they work the same in terms of getting the same milk output?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Not really. I like when I teach moms about breast pumps at my job I like to tell them skin to skin is usually where our body is used to what our body is expecting for milk output which is why the baby is a better pump than an electric pump. I say teach you know you’re not in a time crunch you don’t have to get things done right away I always recommend a hand pump. It’s more controlled by the mom. She can better mimic her baby’s suck. It’s more like the baby. But the electric pump can dish you know milk out in a short amount of time but it usually has less compression for a minute the suck may not be as strong like a baby so you’re output may not be as much as if you were to hand express or even to manual pump.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Now Samantha or Annie, did either of you use pumps?
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah and we were just talking about this before the show started with a manual pump and I you know here and you talked Dominique about that manual pump, I think that actually would have been a better idea instead. Because I had a double electric pump because I knew I was going back to work with my first. But yeah it was a lot of stress you know and you know what else it was when I put it on the first time I didn’t get a lot of milk so that was a total confidence buster.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Yes.
ANNIE LAIRD: And even though you know even though I ended up breastfeeding we got through some early challenges fine and breastfed for quite a length of time. Yeah that first time nobody warns me of like hey you might only get an once…
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Right.
ANNIE LAIRD: If you’re lucky you know.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Right.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Right.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: So this is Samantha here. So I did get a pump when I registered when I was pregnant. I was like “oh I didn’t need an expensive pump like I’ll just register for a really inexpensive one” and I really fortunate that I got some advice from another mom saying no you know what you get what you pay for as far as pumps are concerned generally.
ANNIE LAIRD: Samantha where you’re looking for like a single electric or what were you kind of get yeah.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Just like super basic.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: I was still a student at that time so I was like I’m going to need to pump occasionally.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Not all the time like I’m going back to work full time.
ANNIE LAIRD: Right.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: So I’ll just find really an inexpensive one. Someone gave me some really good advice and actually find a really good quality one which I used that advice and I give it to everybody else because I’m so happy with my double electric now. Because I had to use a manual a couple of times and I really dislike it just because it takes so much time and so much more effort. So I did get I just got a great really great double electric and again I don’t use it all that often only because I’m not away for my daughter all that often but when I do have to use it I’m really glad that I do have it.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. And there are so many great accessories too you know I drove to two informal appointments for my last job and it was really nice to have like the car adapter. You plug it in into the cigarette lighter and…
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Oh there you go.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. And then the busty a thingy you know something else that you can buy that holds the nipple shields the breast shields…
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Right.
ANNIE LAIRD: On your breast.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: I took a sports bra and cut a slit right where my nipples where…
ANNIE LAIRD: Oh that’s really nice.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: And it work and it was like a 5 dollar hands free breast pump bra.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. That’s a great idea.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: It’s so funny you’ve mentioned that. My mom wait usually for lower income on families, they cannot always afford you know the hands free bra so I tell them if you got an old sports bra put a hole in it.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Yup. Yeah.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Big enough for the flanges and it will hold them just fine and secure and they can put another bra like another sports bra on the top of it so their nipples aren’t expose as well and you got your hands free you know pump bra right there. I’ve heard no complaints.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Yup.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: That’s a great idea and when you’re talking with other pumping moms sometimes the different grades sort of come up. There’s hospital grade pumps and then there’s the personal use pumps. What’s the difference with those?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: The hospital grades generally are more expensive and like greatly expensive like in a thousand.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Oh wow.
SAMANTHA EKLUND: Oh.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Generally they are closed systems and they have the stronger motor, they have the stronger suck and some of them can even be tailored to the type of baby that you’re trying to provide milk for. So an example of that is if you have a mother whom has a premy in NICU there are certain cards that you can put inside of the pump and it will create or try to stimulate stronger suck support you know more milk because you’re not going to have a lot because you have premy and it you know kind of stimulates what the premy will do at breast for your breast.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Oh interesting. And then the personal used are just the ones that we’ve been talking about.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Yes. The personal use ones are the ones that you get off the shelf of the store sometimes they’re closed, a lot of them are open. Their motors or pistons aren’t as strong because you know once you get into the heavy machinery like that you’re going to have to pay a lot of money for that. They usually come you know with a set amount of stuff. The hospital grade pumps usually comes a lot more you know accessories depending you know depending on what your pump needs are at that time.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay and you’ve mentioned the hospital grade being a close system, what does that mean?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: It pretty much means that there is some kind of barrier rather via membrane or the diaphragm within the pump where milk can’t back up to the pump or air force can’t back up to the pump and usually the issue with that is, it is mould and bacteria grow. So it’s because of the air just getting in while you’re pumping is going to come out and can potentially get into the mother’s milk.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay. And Samantha made a point of getting what you paid for when it comes to pumps. Is there any truth to that in terms of quality of the personal use pumps?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: There is definitely truth to that and I tell moms that all the time. They you know often ask they see all this breast pumps you know on the shelves and they see this you know a little hundred dollar one and their like whoa that one is cheaper so I’m going to go with that one and I’m like flip it over on the back and look at what you’re getting compared to the more expensive one.
They generally have a weaker motor. The suck isn’t as strong. Sometimes they are battery operated which is you know they generally not going to have a strong motor. I mean you get more power if you plug something on the wall versus which is running by battery.
So you definitely you definitely get what you paid for but it’s not that [inaudible] will have their place. If you have a mom that is going to be away from her baby like maybe once a month then those pumps I think are right you know. Their cheap, you know she can pull it out off the shelf whenever she needs to but for a working mother who’s going to be using her pump 3 to 4 times a day, 5 days a week, sometimes more, I definitely suggest getting the more expensive pump because you know like previously mentioned you really do get what you paid for.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Great. Thank you so much Dominique. When we come back we’ll discuss special considerations when choosing a pump. We’ll be right back.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Welcome back. Today on Preggie Pals we’re discussing how to choose a breast pump. Dominique Gallo is our expert. So Dominique we’ve talk a little bit about price. What is the typical price range for the personally use pumps?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: They can range anywhere from a hundred dollars all the way to four five hundred dollars depending on the name brand, the type whether it is single or double and the motor.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay. And are breast pumps covered by insurance?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Sometimes if you are military from what I’m understanding as of right now I know that some talks where you know there could be some change in the future. As I know right now people who have Tricare to the military they don’t cover breast pumps with them but other people whom had private insurance breast pumps should be covered under the affordable care act rather it’s going to be a 100% or if you got to pay a little bit. Some will have you buy first and then they will reimburse you and that is something that you’ll need to discuss with your particular insurance.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay.
ANNIE LAIRD: Dominique what are you seeing as far as you know we’re talking about the affordable care act, are they providing like I imagine one it would be like a hospital grade pump but are they providing double electric or single electric. Some insurance are saying well here’s a breast pump and they hand you like a hand pump you know.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: When the affordable care act first rolled out you know because it’s very vaguely written you know they have to provide a pump but you know the type was not you know specific.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: So some insurance companies were indeed giving mothers hand pumps. And yeah and you know I’m like “Oh my gosh if they have to go to work this is not ideal”. So but I’ve seen some improvement as far as that goes. I’ve seen some companies that only offer three but they are the three major you know pump companies. I’ve seen some that give mom lots of options. I know some that are like if you pick out a pump and then you tell us and then you know we’ll reimburse you on whichever one that you want to pick. It’s getting better than what it was when it first rolled out which drove me crazy.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: I bet. What typically comes with a pump? Are bottle included? Any other types of accessories usually included?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Depending on the pump if they are trying to be WHO code compliant or if they already are WHO code compliant, they will come with collection bottles meaning that they are bottles without the nipples. They just come with a screw on lid for you to attach to the pump and collect your milk in. Some do actually come with a physical bottle you know with the nipple and everything that you can use like an all in one.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: And those are generally not WHO code complaint. So it’s not saying that they’re bad but you know that’s just the difference of what you’re what you’re going to receive. Some health organization has a set of requirements for formula marketing and one of those things are bottles you know not to market bottles because we all know what people put in bottles. They put formula in bottles.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: I see.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Sometimes you know so their thing is just to help promote the breastfeeding and just to just give a collecting kit like I said the bottle with the screw top but no there was no nipples to encourage the mother to breastfeed at breast together you know…
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: And leave the bottles [inaudible] separate.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay. And so if you’re going to be working on your registry and including any additional accessories along with your pump, what accessories would you be adding?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: One of the things I always suggest to my working mothers and I’m not sure you said it earlier but they get on with getting a AC adaptor for your electric pump. Some moms aren’t always up to that you know pumping some moms working moms travel and having their AC adaptor and for the car really saves time.
Sometimes you know you have to go to interviews or meetings and stuff and they don’t always travel pumping room for you just had been in that situation where I had to pump in my car and thank god that I have an AC adaptor without that wouldn’t know what to do.
ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. And my second daughter when I was living down south of San Diego you know that was our normal routine you know when I would show up at work.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Right.
ANNIE LAIRD: You know I have to start working. It wasn’t like hey glad to see [inaudible] cup of coffee and you know go off to the lactation room for 20 minutes you know so…
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Right.
ANNIE LAIRD: I pump…
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Right.
ANNIE LAIRD: On the way in to work as I was dropping my daughter for day care.
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Yes. A lot of moms do that. I don’t always recommend it but you know whatever your setup is that’s fine but the car charger does come in handy for the electric breast pump and I always even if you don’t need or you don’t think right now that you need it always add it to your registry.
It’s fairly inexpensive and it’s good to just have on hand also if your pump comes with a battery pack option put that on there as well because you may be in a situation where you can’t get to your car for some other reason, maybe your car parks a mile down the road and you can’t get down there to pump so the battery option is also good you know if you’re just having the pump randomly on some place that you normally wouldn’t have to.
I also tell moms a second collection kit pack because you’ll never know what’s going to happen. I’ve done this several times they got to work where I work but sometimes you’re rushing off the door and you leave your flanges right on the counter where you wash them last night and their drying and the pump is no good if you can’t connect them to your breast.
So if you always have you know a second set you know at work or in your car just in case those things happen you know you always have a backup plan and plus the things break. Those little tubes they tare those membranes tare you know they’re not made to live forever. It was always good to have a backup on collecting kit I think for those pumps.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Yeah that’s a great point. Now are there any safety considerations when researching pumps?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: The main one I know people try to you know cut the cost where they can the main one that I really concern about is buying second hand or used electric pumps or even manual pumps for that matter. I try to stir away from that with my moms. If they could afford to buy a pump you know I always suggest to go out and just do that. Just for what we talked about earlier as far as the open and closed system.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: So you’re talking about bacteria and mould?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Yeah on that definitely those.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay. And then kind of lastly are there must have features when you’re comparing those pumps online, in the registry or in the store, are there any things that we’re looking for on the box that or just a must have features?
DOMINIQUE GALLO: Me personally I know there are some pumps on the market that has a one button push let down feature. That is okay for those mothers I guess that can’t figure out how to tweak their pumps but I personally like the double feature where you can adjust the suction as you want it and the speed as you want it because you can do it closer to your baby than say that one button push because that’s what pretty much the manufacturer’s the best standard and that’s what you’re going to get.
And if you had that option in the pump I love that feature and if I were to go and buy another pump today that’s something that I would look for is just the double feature versus the one single let down button. Also too some pumps comes with the AC adapter option so I always look up for that too. They may not come with that but you know you can buy it separately because many offers to do that.
I always look you know for that too just in case you know I need to purchase one of those. You may want to look at just the overall motor and piston aspects of your pump. You know you don’t want to get a weaker one just want the strongest one that you can find as you probably use it more often.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: Okay great. Thank you so much Dominique for joining us today. For more information about Dominique as well as information about any of our panellists visit the episode page on our website. This conversation continues for members of our Preggie Pals club. After the show Dominique is going to talk about purchasing breast pumps second hand or using a handy down pump and what special considerations need to be made. To join our club, visit our website www.preggiepals.com .
ANNIE LAIRD: Hi Preggie Pals. We have a question from one of our listeners for our experts. I’m pregnant with my first baby and I want to breastfeed her. My mom didn’t breastfeed me because she says that her nipples weren’t tough enough prior to giving birth to me and when she tried she get really sore nipples so she quit. My girlfriends said that toughening up your nipples sounds really painful and I should just feed my baby formula. I’m so confused by all the conflicting advice. What shall I do to get ready for breastfeeding?
ROBIN KAPLAN: Hi so this is Robin from The Boob Group and San Diego breastfeeding center and that is such a wonderful question. I actually got ask that question quite often when I teach breastfeeding classes about whether a mom should toughen up her nipples prenatally before the baby gets here so that way they’re not so sore when baby is born. And actually the [inaudible] came out I’m thinking like the 1980s or 1990s saying that please don’t toughen up your nipples.
There is no reason to cause any sensitivity to that very sensitive area before you’ve had your baby. That’s what your baby is there to do. And as for to go to straight to formula because your nipples are going to hurt well yes your nipples are going to be tender for the first week or two or most likely that’s pretty common and that’s a lot of stimulation for one area of the body but nipple pain really uncomfortable nipple pain is actually not the norm. That’s not what supposed to happen and that’s a way of your body telling you that it will be helpful to figure out why this is occurring so that way you can resolve it and then go on to breastfeed your baby very peacefully.
So I do have a couple of tips though that I offer very regularly to my prenatal clients and ways to prepare for breastfeeding before your baby is born so I’ll give those to you. First thing have a long chat with your partner. Take turns discussing what your goals are for breastfeeding and make sure that you’re on the same page.
This is the person who’s going to be your biggest cheerleader and so if you’re having challenges with breastfeeding this will be the person who says “Well let’s figure out how to solve these issues so that way we can make this process so much comfortable for you”. Another tip that I have will be taking fantastic breastfeeding class. Don’t settle for status quo.
Take one that’s you know talks about latching, common concerns, how to know your baby is getting enough but also discusses local resources and is taught by a dynamic teacher who actually has a background in lactation and breastfeeding. That would be one of my top tips for sure. Another one is to definitely attend a breastfeeding support group while you’re pregnant. We interviewed Ina May Gaskin on one of our first Boob Group episodes this is one of the things that she recommended as well.
And it’s just you know so you can learn to lay the land, where you park your car, where the group is located, if the women seem like the type of ladies you’d like to hang out with but also you can see women breastfeeding in their quote and quote natural habitat meaning baby on boob minus the cover no need to feel like they need to cover up. You can see that there’s so many different positions that moms breastfeed in and you can talk with them about it.
Ask them the questions that you have about newborns and breastfeeding and things like that plus then it’s a familiar place so It’s not some place that’s going to be some place that’s going to cause you stress going to because you’ve never been there. So attend it while you’re pregnant and that way it will be a familiar place.
Another thing that I find that is really helpful is coming up with a visitor policy so those first few days after your baby is born is critical in establishing your milk supply and helping your baby become a successful breast feeder so when the entire family and neighbourhood is camping out in your hospital room or on your couch sometimes it can be a little uncomfortable trying to figure out how to latch your baby in front of a wide variety of audiences.
So definitely setup a visitor policy with you and your partner so that way everyone knows when a good time to come by and it will also allow you some space to figure out a lot of the stuff without an audience. Lastly choosing a breastfeeding friendly paediatrician, while this might seem kind of silly that a paediatrician wouldn’t be supportive of breastfeeding not all know as much about breastfeeding as other do.
So choose one that has made it her passion or his passion to know more about breastfeeding and also ones the know about local resources in the community so that way if you’re having a challenging time they’ll be able to point you on the right direction. And actually I lie. The last one that I always recommend to my pregnant moms is find a local lactation consultant in your community who can come to your home or you can go to her office if you need assistance but do this while you are pregnant. Find this person. Find her website.
Find her phone number, her email address and so that way if you do have challenges this is the person that you need to call and you’ve already sought her out so there is nothing worse than finding someone at 3:30 in the morning when you’re freaking out because your nipples are sore. Instead find this person beforehand and then you may never need her anyway. So hope that’s helpful. Thank you so much for your question.
STEPHANIE GLOVER: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Preggie Pals.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows
• Parent Savers for parents with new born, infants and toddlers
• Twin Talks for parents of multiples
• Our show The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
This is Preggie Pals, your pregnancy your way.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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