Now that Freddie is six months old I’m beginning to try to schedule in some time for myself. Being a mum is a demanding job anyway but being your baby’s sole food source is perhaps even more so. One of the big advantages to formula feeding is that other people can help out with feeding baby and it’s an advantage that I’ve often envied.
During the early breastfeeding days when my supply was all over the place I expressed fairly frequently and built up quite the freezer stash. Once my supply had settled there wasn’t an immediate need to express anymore and as Freddie was (and is still…) a frequent feeder/grazer I didn’t have the time to build my freezer stash back up.
It came as a bit of a shock a week or so ago, when I dug out my pump in preparation to express for an upcoming hair appointment and barely got any milk at all! Remembering this excellent advice from KellyMom I didn’t panic about my supply, knowing that my baby was much more effective at extracting milk than a pump ever could. But still, it didn’t seem right that I could barely pump half an ounce.
After some frantic googling I discovered that the part of the pump that fits on to your breast (called the ‘flange’- if that doesn’t raise a giggle you’re a more mature person than me!) actually comes in different sizes. An incorrect ‘flange’ (I mean really?) can cause inefficient transfer from boob to pump because the nipple will not correctly fit inside. Using this handy article on the website I discovered that despite having rather large boobs the standard ‘flange’ size was actually too big. A tell tale sign was that too much of my breast was being pulled into the ‘flange’ during pumping which is why it felt painful.
I was sceptical that a different size would make a difference but decided it was worth a shot considering I could barely express anything at all.
Well it did make a difference, a huge one actually! The smaller size was far more comfortable but more importantly, I pumped more than double the amount I had with the larger size in just a few minutes. It has made expressing so much easier and I pumped enough to keep Freddie happy whilst I had a much-needed appointment with my colourist!
If you have experienced a similar problem I would highly recommend looking at this guide and experimenting with a smaller/bigger flange size. It certainly worked for me! My pump is the Medela Double Swing and it is brilliant- pretty portable too!
Really hope this helps and thanks for reading!