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Jessica FergusonBy Jessica Ferguson, a dietician, practicing in Randburg, with an interest in paediatrics and nutrition-related medical conditions. She works for a company called Family Kitchen which strives to help people understand more about food and nutrition, and support them in achieving their nutrition goals.

We all know that breastfeeding is the best option for your baby, but moms often have to return to work while their babies are still breastfeeding. Many moms want to continue to give their babies’ breastmilk once they start work because they don’t want their baby to miss out on the advantages of breastfeeding. So, what’s a mom to do? Most importantly: Carry on breastfeeding your baby whenever you are together. This is emotionally and physically beneficial to both mom and baby. A few weeks before you return to work, invest in a good quality electric breast pump, and start pumping and storing your breastmilk so that you have built up a supply by the time you return to work. Once you are back at work, set aside at least 2 expressing breaks per day.

Tips on pumping:

  • If you are using an electric pump, use the highest suction level that is comfortable for youmaxresdefault
  • Start off with a high speed, as this will trigger a milk let-down
  • Once your milk starts to flow, turn the speed down to allow long sprays of milk to come out of your breasts
  • Repeat cycles of high and low speed until you no longer get milk flow and your breasts feel well drained
  • If you are using a double electric pump, you can pump both breasts at once and this should take about 10 – 15 minutes
  • If you are using a single electric pump, follow the same guidelines, but switch breasts when the milk flow lessens (after about 5-7 minutes), expressing from both breasts several times during each session. This should take about 20 – 30 minutes

Tips to help with a milk let-down

An important part in breastfeeding and pumping, is the let-down reflex. This causes the milk to be released from the milk glands. When expressing, you can help stimulate the let-down reflex by:

  • Relaxing and taking deep breaths
  • Placing a warm (not too hot) face cloth over the breasts
  • Massaging your breast
  • Focus all your senses on your baby
  • As milk is removed from your breasts, more milk will be made. Your milk supply will depend on how often you express along with how well the breasts are drained

 How to store breastmilk

  • Store the milk in BPA free plastic containers that are leak proof. Use the oldest milk first. Mature breast milk can be stored for the following lengths of time:
Temperature Length of time
Room temperatureLess than 22C: 10 hoursMore than 22C: 4 hours
In a refrigerator (4C)8 days
In a freezer compartment in a refrigerator2 weeks
In a self-contained freezer unit of a fridge3 – 4 months
In a deep freeze6 months
Colostrum can keep for 12 hours at room temperature

The Family Kitchen are distributors of the Ameda Breast Pump. Click here to stand a chance to win an Ameda Lactaline Purely Yours double electric breast pump worth over R3000.

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