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Choosing the right breastshield for you

Did you know that breast shields ( flanges) come in different sizes? Many mummy experience inefficient pumping session, and the reason is usually because of wrong breast shield size. Many breast pumps ship with size 27mm or 28mm in Singapore; however, that doesn’t mean that everyone will fit that size (we don’t all wear the same sized shoes, after all). There are breast shields on the market ranging in size from 15mm to 36mm!

Follow this simple guide to determine your breast shield size but first thing first

Pump for 5 minutes, and then measure

It’s a common misunderstanding to measure your nipple before you start pumping, but you actually have to measure the nipple after you pump. The reason is simple. The nipple swells while pumping, and since the rate of swelling varies between women, it’s important to take this swollen measurement to select a comfortable shield size. Grab the shield that came with your pump, assemble it to the milk collection kit and then pump on a low setting for 5 minutes, so the nipple swells. You might even express milk while doing this (if this is your first time pumping, be sure to use the lowest vacuum setting to avoid any pain or discomfort).

Measure the diameter of the nipple at the base of the nipple

 

After your nipple has swollen, measure the diameter of the nipple at the base of the nipple. Be careful not to include any areola in the measurement. Gently lay a ruler onto the areola next to the base of the nipple so the measurement lines are visible when looking straight at the breast. This can be tricky so some women find that doing it in front of a mirror or using a smart phone in selfie mode is helpful.

Select a shield size 2-3mm larger than your nipple diameter

To allow the nipple to move freely within the flange while pumping and to avoid any pain or discomfort (or worse – blisters!) from rubbing, select a shield size that is 2-3mm larger than the diameter of your nipple. For example, if your nipple measures at 18mm, you would want to try the 20mm shield. It’s important not to go too large either because excess areola can be drawn into the flange, causing discomfort, pain, or even constriction of milk flow.

Signs your breast shield may be too small

  • Painful rubbing of nipple in flange.
  • Nipple not moving freely inside of flange.
  • Redness of the nipple.
  • Whiteness of the nipple and/or a white ring around the base of the nipple.
  • Little milk is being expressed.
  • General discomfort while pumping.

Signs your breast shield may be too large

  • Excess areola is drawn into the flange or even up and around the nipple. Note that a small amount of areola may enter the flange for some women; however, it should never be uncomfortable or painful.
  • Sensation of pulling and/or pulling pain.
  • Nipple is pulled to the end of the flange.
  • Shield falls from the breast while pumping.
  • Little milk is being expressed.
  • General discomfort while pumping.

Size that is just nice

  • A properly sized breast shield should be very comfortable.
  • You should barely be able to feel it while pumping.
  • Just a gentle tugging sensation on the nipple and nowhere else.
  • You should not see any excess areola being drawn into the flange
  • Should not feel a pulling sensation or pain while using your breast pump.
  • After your pumping session, your nipple should be free of any redness or whiteness.
  • Pumping should be pain-free

 

Additional factors impacting breast shield size

Although the above instructions provide a good indication of the size of breast shield you will need, there are few things to consider:

  • Every woman’s body responds differently to pumping. It is possible your measurements before pumping might change during pumping, therefore we suggest taking measurements of the swollen nipple 5 minutes after pumping.
  • Your measurements might be different throughout the day. For example, you might be fuller in the morning after going a few hours without pumping and/or feeding at night, warranting a larger size. You might also be smaller in the evening after consistent pumping or feeding throughout the day.
  • You might be larger at the beginning of a pumping session, and smaller after some milk has been expressed.
  • Your measurements might change after your milk supply is well-established (about 10 weeks postpartum).
  • One breast may need a different sized breast shield than the other.

However, you should not follow this guideline blindly because the info graphic merely relies on nipple diameter only. In addition to nipple diameter, you should also consider the following factors:

  • Check how your nipple moves while pumping.

The nipple should move freely and it should not rub the side wall of the flange. You may see a little bit of areola gets pulled, but not the whole areola. And your nipple should not hit the back wall of the breast shield.

  • Comfort

Even if you think you already choose the best breast shield size, but you feel uncomfortable / painful while pumping, that means something is not right. Try to size up or down. Nipple redness / or sore feeling after pumping is also an alarm that you may need to choose different breast shield size.

  • Effectiveness of pumping

If you feel you breast is not emptied after pumping, you may suspect that you don’t use the correct breast shield size (note: various factors can affect this, breast shield size is just one of possible reason).

  • Breast tissue / elasticity

Some women has a very elastic tissue so that the skin will get pulled easier. In this case, it is possible that pumping makes nipple get elongated so much until it hits the back wall of the flange. For this case, using breast shield with longer ‘tunnel’, or using smaller insert in bigger breast shield may help.

 

Nipple Ruler

We also found Nipple Ruler by pumpables.co

Simply print it out, fold along the line, and carefully cut out the circles.

The nipple ruler works on both US Letter and A4 paper sizes. Make sure you select “full size” or “100%” in your print menu (don’t “scale to fit”). You can also print it on larger sizes like US Legal or A7, but you might have to trim off the extra

 

At the end of your pumping session, use the circles to measure the diameter of your nipple at the base. You should select a size that is snug, but not constricting, around your nipple.

Here’s another Nipple Ruler we found from MayMom

If you have more questions or need further help with breast shield sizing, reach out to a Certified Lactation Consultant. In the long run, it’s worth taking the time to determine the breast shield size that’s right for you. You’ll benefit by maximising your pumping sessions so you can get back to what matters most – the little one you’re pumping for!

Reference
https://pumpables.co/measure/
https://spectra-baby.com.au/measuring-nipple-correct-flange-size/
https://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/article/143/breast-shield-sizing:-how-to-get-the-best-fit

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Stress less tips with naturally low milk supply

When you’re a breastfeeding mom who has a milk supply that is naturally on the lower side, the already-existing stress can escalate really quickly, and for completely justifiable reasons.

Here’s the thing about stress and breastfeeding: Stress is Number 1 Milk Killer.

Stress can make it harder to produce breastmilk, so when you’re supply is already lo. letting something like stress interfere isn’t really an option.

These tips have helped me reduce breastfeeding stress and successfully breastfeed all of my daughters, even with a naturally low breastmilk supply.

1. Set Small Goals As You Go (and Celebrate Meeting Each One)

My big picture breastfeeding goal with all of my daughters was to nurse them for one year without supplementing with formula.

But let me be honest here, real quick. On night two of being home from the hospital with a newborn, sore nipples, and a low milk supply. Nothing seems further away than that one year mark. It feels completely unattainable. Entirely hopeless.

So how do you combat that overwhelming feeling that you will be a breastfeeding mama for all eternity? Set a smaller goal and allow yourself some happiness (and maybe some kind of treat ( Like Our Lactation Cookie Cups) when you meet it.

Whether it be making it through another month, another week, another day, or another nursing session. Set small goals as you need them, one step at a time

2. Build a Freezer Stash (Even if It’s a Small One)

Building a freezer stash of extra breastmilk when you’re already struggling may seem like a completely impossible task.

I was barely able to build a freezer supply when nursing my first daughter, but with my second daughter I did it and for my Third, my freezer was bursting!

There are a few key steps and strategies that really worked for me and helped me build up a freezer supply before my maternity leave ended.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Moms

If you’re the only mom you know who has a naturally low breastmilk supply, having conversations about breastfeeding can be really stressful and disheartening.

I can’t count how many times I’ve patiently listened to other breastfeeding moms talk about how they ” how they “can’t stop leaking milk everywhere because there is just so much”, or how they “have hundreds of ml stored in the freezer” (and their baby is still a newborn), or how they are going to “donate extra milk to babies in need because they just won’t go through it fast enough”.

On one hand, I’m genuinely happy for moms who have breastfeeding experiences like those, and don’t resent them one bit. And I mean that from the very bottom of my heart. Breastfeeding isn’t easy for anyone, even those moms with naturally higher milk supplies, so those mamas are WORKING to feed those littles and build those supplies. I’m in now way trying to imply that they “have it easy”—because they don’t.

But here’s what happens when I, a mom with a naturally low milk supply, hear those stories: I start to wonder if I’m inadequate. If there’s something wrong with me. If I’m not trying hard enough. If I’m failing my baby. If I’m less of a woman than those other moms. If I’m not good enough.

It genuinely has nothing to do with the other moms and everything to do with how I view myself and my own insecurities (like almost everything in women-to-women competition is when you dig down to the root of it).

To combat this, remind yourself that not all breastmilk supplies are created equal. There’s no point in competing with other moms. Focus on your supply, on your baby, on your experience, and know that if you get up in the morning and feed your baby—however you choose to do it—that you are enough.

4. Know When to Walk Away From a Conversation

There are plenty of folks out there who won’t accept that having a naturally low breastmilk supply is a thing.

They will make you feel like you simply aren’t trying hard enough; that you aren’t doing enough to accomplish your breastfeeding goals. That you haven’t downed enough fenugreek, or aren’t using the right medical-grade breastpump, or aren’t nursing enough times during the day—because, in case you haven’t heard—breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand system! Is your mind completely blown right now? Probably not, because…of course you’ve heard that.

All breastfeeding moms have heard the same advice. Over and over. The breastfeeding info typically starts at your prenatal appointments and is slammed in your face at every possible opportunity pretty much until your child looks a little too old to be of breastfeeding age.

And if you are one of the lucky few who hasn’t had to endure this cycle in person, my guess would be that if you’re a breastfeeding mama with a naturally low milk supply. you found all of the same advise through your own research immediately after realising you had a naturally low milk supply.

Because that same advice is everywhere. And the truth? Most breastfeeding advice-givers don’t help the situation at all.

Yes, it’s true that breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. Yes, there are some things that can help. But it’s also true that some women start off with less milk than others, and that there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can’t nurse and/or pump during every single one of them and do the million other things that being a parent requires of you and stay sane.

If you’re having a conversation with someone who just doesn’t quite understand the low-supply struggle, don’t be afraid to politely shift or end the conversation. You have enough on your plate, mama. And, to be honest, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Never allow yourself to be overwhelmed because you feel like you do.

5. Don’t Spend Tons of Money on Breastmilk-Boosting Products

When you start your breastfeeding  journey and realise your milk supply is low, it can be tempting to throw money at every product that may be rumored to boost breastmilk supplies in hopes of upping your milk production. Don’t do this.

If you buy everything at once, and use everything at once, you’ll have absolutely no idea what is actually helping and what isn’t. This means you could end up spending a ton of cash on products that aren’t actually doing anything.

When you’re trying a breastmilk booster (always clear it with a medical professional before you do), it’s best to try one at a time. Give each product at least a week and see if you notice any change in production. If you do—great! You’ve found a booster that works for your body. If not—no worries! On to the next booster to try. Our minimum order of cookies is 600g this is about a week’s supply and it gives you a good indication to know if our bakes works for you.

Heres a list of Lactation Cookies and Lactation Muffins that has helped many mummies in their breastfeeding journey

6. Meditate Every Single Day

This sounds like complete hippy nonsense. I know. I get it. But meditation can actually boost breastmilk production because it helps reduce stress.

Stress is no friend to anyone, but breastfeeding moms have more reasons to try to keep stress at bay than most people do, because high levels of stress can actually decrease milk production.

Yep. That’s a real thing. (As if us mamas with a naturally low milk supply didn’t have enough to worry about already. *sigh*)

Meditating can be as simple as closing your eyes for 60 seconds and breathing in and out, slowly and calmly. It’s so hard for moms to find time for yourself, but out of the 1440 minutes that happen every day, you deserve to set aside at least 1 for a little meditation.

7. Don’t Obsess Over Your Baby’s Weight

When you’re breastfeeding, especially in those early months when your babe hasn’t started solid foods and is onlydrinking breastmilk, it can feel like the entire health and well-being of your baby is dependent on your ability to produce breastmilk. The weight of that responsibility is huge.

Now factor in a naturally low milk supply and the stress factor is upped by about a thousand.

It can become so easy to start obsessing over whether or not your baby is doing okay food-wise, and the easiest way for us mamas to gauge success on? How much your baby weighs and how rapidly weight gain is occurring.

If you have genuine concerns, always address them with your doctor. If your doctor has concerns and gives you advice to keep your baby healthy, always follow the advice, or seek advise from a different medical professional. (I’m not a medical professional.)

But, if your doctor has no concerns and everything seems on track—stop overly-obsessing about your baby’s weight.

Yes, if you have a naturally low milk supply, there’s a chance that your baby may not be in the 98th percentile for weight out of all the babies. That’s actually very likely to be the case. But guys? Not all babies can be in the 98th percentile because then it wouldn’t technically be a 98th percentile. It would just be “the weight that all babies weigh”, which is silly and also not a thing.

Babies come in all shapes and sizes and grow at all different rates, and that’s perfectly okay.

8. Choose Nursing Over Pumping When You Can

This one is obviously for mamas who aren’t exclusively pumping or exclusively nursing, so if that’s you, feel free to skip on over this one.

But for anyone who does a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B, this is one of the best de-stressers there is for all breastfeeding mamas: nurse that baby.

Being close to that little love bug that you are working so hard to feed is a great way to remind yourself of exactly why you’re going through all of this madness in the first place.

That skin-to-skin contact combined with the fantastic baby smell can work wonders for your stress levels. Plus, you’re not watching milk being slowly pumped out drop-by-drop and obsessing over how few drops there are. (Which is seriously, seriously stressful.)

I really hope the above tips helps and don’t be afraid to seek help when you really feel overwhelmed. Talk to your husbands, friends or a Lactation Counsellor if you feel that you cannot cope with the stress.

We are all here for you so relax, Eat SLB . Breastfeed . Repeat

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Compare Spectra Breast Pumps

Compare Spectra Pumps

You’ll probably need some explanation of terms to help you compare breast pumps as well, so here goes:

Grade – all Spectra breast pumps have a closed system, which means they’re hygienic for use by multiple users, but spectra hospital grade breast pumps have a bigger motor, so they bear up under heavy use. Think V8 vs 4 cylinder – while both will tow well on a flat road, the V8 will perform better going uphill. In the same sort of way, both personal use and hospital grade breast pumps are fine for normal use, but if you’re relying on your breast pump for exclusive pumping or to build supply, get a hospital grade breast pump.

Suction strength – this is measured in mmHg. All Spectra breast pumps are extremely strong and you’re unlikely to use them on maximum setting. The Dew 350 does have the strongest suction, but you will find when double pumping that there doesn’t seem much difference in strength between the Dew 350 and S2. In fact, because the S2 has extra cycle speed settings, you may need a lower suction strength.

Note – because the hospital grade pumps have a bigger motor than the portable pumps, they will maintain suction strength better.  For example, although the S2 and the S9+ both have suction strength over 300mmHg, the S2 may give you a better performance if you’re double pumping on a higher suction level.

Cycle speed – this is how often the pump ‘sucks’ per minute. For some women, varying the cycle speed can make a big difference, especially if you’ve been breastfeeding for longer and your body is very used to your bub.

Letdown mode – Some Spectra pumps have a ‘massage mode’ to encourage letdown. Letdown is the physiological process that occurs when your body responds to your baby’s signals and starts the milk flow. Babies tend to have a light, quick suckling pattern when they’re telling mum to get things started, and the massage mode of Spectra pumps copies this. Once milk is flowing, you swap to regular expressing mode, which is slower and stronger.

Closed system – this means that there’s a complete physical barrier between your milk and the pump motor. This is very important and is a feature missing from many very well known brands. If the pump has an ‘open system’ then milk particles and moisture can travel down the tubing and enter the pump motor, where it is impossible to clean properly or sterilise. Over time, this can lead to mould inside the pump, and it also means that sharing a pump with an ‘open system’ is a possible source of virus transmission (this is why you should never buy a second-hand breast pump with an open system, even if you buy a new milk collection kit, you cannot sterilise the actual pump!). Spectra has this covered – all our pumps have a closed system to protect your breastmilk and the pump motor.

 

Spectra Breast Pumps are made in Korea since 1999, and has been exported to various parts of the world like Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, US, UK, Australia, China and etc since 2013. There are three types of pumps available from Korea – hospital grade breast pumps, portable/personal pumps & manual pumps. Locally, we have the distributors bringing in 4 models – S1, S2, M1 and S9+. In this article, we hope to bring to you the features, pros and cons of each of these models.

SPECTRA S1:

Spectra S1 Breast Pump Full Set

Key features –

This is a hospital grade double electric breast pump, which makes it more durable.

At a lightweight of 1.12kg, it is very portable.

The pumping strength is strong at 280mmHg.

There are two modes – massage mode and expression mode. Both modes can be adjusted individually, so moms can switch it back and forth between the two. It is well liked by mommies who find the suction speed and rhythm gentle and effective, mimicking how the baby suckles to trigger a letdown after massaging, and subsequently to express the breast milk which helps empty the breasts, stimulating more milk production. Moms can digitally control and save the favourite setting for pumping speed and rhythm as a program.

The best feature for most moms is how quietly it pumps! The nightlight feature allows one to clearly see the display screen and controls in the dark. Late night pumping would be so easy!

All the parts are BPA-free.

As a double pump, it is time saving to pump both breasts at the same time. It also works well as a single pump, suitable for pumping the other breast while latching baby on one.

It is also a closed system where the pump/motor will not be in direct contact with the breast milk, so it is easier to clean and the breast pump stays sterile and lasts longer.

If these are not enough for you to get the Spectra S1, you might want to know that it comes with an in-built rechargeable battery, which allows pumping to be done anywhere even when there is no power plug!

 

In summary:

Pros:

– Hospital grade

– Closed system

– Can be used as a double or single pump

– Lightweight

– Very quiet pump

– Nightlight

– Value-for-price

– In-built rechargeable battery

– Timer function & auto power off after 30 mins

– Comes with 1 year local warranty

 

Cons:

– Breast shield sizes are quite narrow (24mm to 32mm)

– Wide neck bottles required (an adaptor can be purchased separately)

 

SPECTRA S2:

Spectra S2 Breast Pump

Key features –

S2 model has all the amazing features of Spectra S1, except that S2 does not have any in-built rechargeable battery and works only on an AC power plug. This may be a huge point for consideration, especially if you need to pump anywhere. However, if this hospital grade double electric breast pump is for home use, the savings on the cost of getting S2 instead of S1 would be great, making the S2 very affordable.

Other differences between the S1 and S2 are the colours, and minimal differences in the weight.

 

In summary:

Pros:

– Hospital grade

– Closed system

– Can be used as a double or single pump

– Lightweight

– Very quiet pump

– Nightlight

– Value-for-price

– Timer function & auto power off after 30 mins

– Comes with 1 year local warranty

 

Cons:

– No in-built rechargeable battery and works only on mains power plug

– Breast shield sizes are quite narrow (24mm to 32mm)

– Wide neck bottles required (an adaptor can be purchased separately)

 

SPECTRA S9+

Spectra S9+ Breast Pump Pictures

Key features –

Weighing only 297g, this is one of the lightest good quality, affordable breast pump for personal use.

Similar to all the other Spectra breast pumps, S9+ has the massage mode and expression mode, but the settings cannot be saved as a program like the S1 and S2. The LCD display screen has its own nightlight feature which allows late night pumping.

Like all other Spectra breast pumps, this one adopts the closed system.

A main selling point of the S9+ is that it has built-in rechargeable batteries, so mommies can pump anywhere, at your convenience.

 

In summary:

Pros:

– Closed system

– Can be used as a double or single pump

– Extremely lightweight

– LED display screen

– Value-for-price

– In-built rechargeable battery

– Timer function & auto power off after 30 mins

– Comes with 1 year local warranty

 

Cons:

– Breast shield sizes are quite narrow (24mm to 32mm)

– Wide neck bottles required (an adaptor can be purchased separately)

– Not as quiet as the S1 and S2

 

SPECTRA M1:

Spectra M1 Breast Pump Set

Key features –

Similar to S9+, the M1 is incredibly lightweight at 297g. It is highly suitable for personal use, anywhere, anytime, since it also has in-built rechargeable batteries.

The M1 set is possibly the most affordable pump compared to the other models. Having the features like all other Spectra breast pumps, the only difference is that M1 does not have any nightlight or display screen. This, however, does not affect the selection and customization of the suction and pump level with the buttons.

 

In summary:

Pros:

– Closed system

– Can be used as a double or single pump

– Extremely lightweight

– Very quiet pump

– Value-for-price

– In-built rechargeable battery

– Comes with 1 year local warranty

 

Cons:

– Breast shield sizes are quite narrow (24mm to 32mm)

– Wide neck bottles required (an adaptor can be purchased separately)

– No nightlight

– No timer, auto switch off after 30 mins

 

Hope the above analysis of the 4 models of breast pumps could help you make an informed choice of a suitable Spectra breast pump. We have a summary of the 4 models in the table below.

 

 

MODEL S2 S1 SPECTRA 9 PLUS M1
Grade Hospital Grade Hospital Grade Personal Use Personal Use
Inbuilt Battery No, mains only Yes Yes Yes
Vacuum strength 320mmHg 320mmHg 300mmHg 300mmHg
Cycle speed 5 speed settings between 38 and 54 rpm 5 speed settings between 38 and 54 rpm Adjusts with suction Adjusts with suction
Adjustable speed Yes Yes Adjusts with suction Adjusts with suction
Massage mode for ledown Yes Yes Yes Yes
Timer Yes Yes Yes No
Nightlight Yes Yes No, backlight display No
Double kit Yes, comes with everything needed for double pumping Yes, comes with everything needed for double pumping Yes, comes with everything needed for double pumping Yes, comes with everything needed for double pumping
Colour Pale Pink Pale Blue White Pale Blue
Closed system Yes Yes Yes Yes
Breast shield Comes with 24mm Wide Neck Breast Shield Comes with 24mm Wide Neck Breast Shield Comes with 24mm Wide Neck Breast Shield Comes with 24mm Wide Neck Breast Shield
Flange sizes available 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm or use silicon insert for snugger fit 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm or use silicon insert for snugger fit 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm or use silicon insert for snugger fit 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 32mm or use silicon insert for snugger fit
Weight of Base Unit 0.99kg 1.12kg 297g 297g
Size (base in cm) 20cm 20cm 12cm
Warranty  1 years 1 years 1 years 1 years
Shop now Buy S2 now Buy S1 now Buy Spectra 9 Plus now Buy M1 now