Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ameda Finesse Breast Pump Comparison

The Ameda name is synonymous with breast pump innovation.  Long before Medela was on the scene, Einar Egnell created the first breast pump that mimicked sucling in infants and set the standards for cycling and suction we use today and founded the Ameda Egnell company 75 years ago.  Ameda has been a consistent force in helping nursing mothers reach their goal.

As lactation consultants, we watched other companies pull ahead in innovations; but when Ameda came out with the Platinum breast pump, Ameda surpassed them all!  The Ameda Platinum Breast Pump far exceeds the other hospital grade breast pumps including the Medela Symphony in it's performance, efficiency, comfort and adaptability with more speed and suction settings than any other breast pumps on the market today.  Ameda has created the Finesse Double Electric Breast Pump with the same waveform technology that it in the Ameda Platinum.  Waveform is what is measured when you study an infant's suckling at the breast as shown below.

The Ameda Finesse mimics the Ameda Platinum's natural rhythmic waveform in a personal breast pump.  The Finesse offers a long life with a 2 year warranty and reliable performance throughout the life of the pump.  What does this mean for the mom?  She doesn't have to worry about the motor weakening as she uses the pump month after month or even year after year.  Having said that, in any breast pump suction will decrease if crucial breast pump parts such as the Ameda valves and Ameda diaphragms are not replaced.  Frequency of replacement depends on the mothers use, but for the full time working mother these two pump parts should be replaced every six to eight weeks.  Unlike other manufacturer's Ameda's parts are interchangeable with all their other breast pump parts so the same Ameda Hygeinikit Double Collection Kit that works for the Ameda Platinum and Ameda Purely Yours works with the Ameda Finesse Breast Pump.  The collection kit for the Ameda Finesse Breast Pump includes the standard Ameda 25mm breast flange plus the additional 30.5mm larger flange for a CustomFit breast flange.

The Finesse Breast Pump is quiet at only 41 decibels quieter than most pumps and far superior than the Medela Sonata which tests at 43.8 decibels.  We do not recommend Medela personal breast pumps since they do not offer closed systems to protect the mother and the milk from bacteria.  Ameda breast pumps have a proven airlock protection and an FDA approved viral and bacterial barrier which is the Ameda diaphragm.  

The Ameda Finesse Breast Pump is portable and lightweight.  The motor itself weighs only 1 lb and is 6.7" long, 4 4.5" wide and 3" tall which is slightly smaller than the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump.  As with the Purely Yours, the Finesse still offers custom control with 4 speed settings and 8 suction settings.  Power sources available are still AC, AA batteries (not included) and car adapter (sold separately).  

In my 25 years of experience, the Ameda Finesse is at the top of the list when choosing a personal portable electric breast pump.

Happy Pumping!

wedish engineer, Eiwedish engineer,Einar Egnell made it his life’s work to help breastfeeding moms. After years of research, Egnell created the first comfortable and effective breast pump that closely mimics the suckling rhythm of nursing infants. In the process, Egnell also created the vacuum and cycling standards that have since become the industry benchmark.nar Egnell made it his life’s work to help breastfeeding moms. After years of research, Egnell created the first comfortable and effective breast pump that closely mimics the suckling rhythm of nursing infants. In the process, Egnell also created the vacuum and cycling standards that have since become the industry benchmark.

Friday, March 2, 2018

How Often to Replace Breast Pump Parts for the Hygeia Breast Pump

If your Hygeia Breast Pump is not suctioning the way it used to, the culprit is usually one of two parts, the duckbill valve or the bacteriostatic filter.

The number one cause of low suction is a torn or worn out valve. The tip of the Hygeia duckbill valve must be able to close completely.  If it remains open, the amount of pressure your pump can provide is decreased.  As a rule, if you are pumping three times per day or more, replace duckbill valves every six to eight weeks at minimum.  If you are like most moms and you have multiple valves that you interchange and you notice a decrease in suction and want to determine which part needs to be discarded, switch to single pumping.  To do this, you will remove the tubing from one side and cover the opening with the port cover attached to the bacteriostatic filter.  Place the remaining breatshield still attached to the pump on one breast and test the suction.  If the nipple is being drawn in normally, remove the breast shield from your breast and remove the bottle from the breast shield.  Then remove and replace the duckbill valve to test the next one.  Continue to do this which each valve you have in your stash and discard any valves that are not performing well.  This way you don't use valves that may compromise your milk supply with inferior suction.

It is harder to visually determine when the Hygeia bacteriostatic filter needs to be replaced, but the rule of thumb is that whenever you replace a valve, replace the filter.  At the very least, if you are a working mother or an exclusively pumping mama, replace the filter every 2-3 months whichever comes first.  

Buying replacement parts is a small price to pay when the reward is a healthier milk supply.  Lactation Connection makes this easier with their subscription service.  With the Hygeia Replacement Parts Program, moms can choose to get parts delivered to you every 3 months for 2 shipments, 3 shipment or 4 shipments.  Each shipment arrives with free shipping and an option to add additional items that ship free along with your subscription in case you need more bottles, milk bags or any other breastfeeding supplies.  The subscription service takes the guesswork out of  replacing breast pump parts.  

During the month of March 2018 in honor of our 25th year in business, Lactation Connection has partnered with Hygeia to offer moms some exclusive deals.  We are really excited about the March Hygeia sale!  All Hygeia breast pumps and accessories products are 25% off, all month long with no coupon code needed.  Every order that includes Hygeia products during the month, will receive a free gift of a breastmilk storage guide magnet, samples of milk bags and nursing pads and a coupon for a future Hygeia order.  In addition, every mother who places any order at Lactation Connection during March 2018 has a chance to win a Hygeia Nursing Stool.  It is so simple!  If your order number ends in the number 25, you win and your stool will be shipped with your order.  That is a 1 in 100 chance of winning, so the odds are pretty great!

Best wishes for a healthy milk supply and good luck on winning a nursing stool!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Milk Supply: How Do I Know if My Newborn is Getting Enough Breast Milk?

Once your newborn is at least 6 days old, there are some guidelines to help you be sure of your milk supply.  Note that insufficient milk supply is rare.  What is more common are practices that can hinder your milk supply or baby's feeding which I will detail at the end of this post.

To assess good milk transfer, answer the following:

  1. Is the baby wetting 6-8 diapers in 24 hours? (Disposable diapers are so absorbant, that it might be hard to tell.  If you are unsure, take a clean diaper in one hand and the removed diaper in the other and you should be able to tell by the slight weight difference.)
    Yes  |  No
  2. Is the baby having 3-4 bowel movements in 24 hours that are mustard yellow with curds in them? (These shold be silver dollar size or larger, not just a stain.)
    Yes  |  No
  3. Do the breasts feel full before feeding and softer after feeding
  4. Yes  |  No
  5. Do you hear swallowing when the baby is breastfeeding?
    Yes  |  No
  6. Is the baby eating at least 8 times in 24 hours?
    Yes  |  No
  7. Does the baby seem satisfied after a feeding?
    Yes  |  No
  8. After the initial weight drop, has your baby started gaining 3/4 - 1 ounce per day?
    Yes  |  No                                                               
  9. If tyou had some nipple soreness, is gone?                                                                                    Yes  |  No
Practices that hinder milk supply include "scheduling".  Making an infant wait for feedings, lowers milk supply and slows weight gain.  Infants may need to eat at 1-3 hours apart during the day, especially between day 10 and three weeks when the first grown spurt occurs.  The only scheduling that should occur is if the infant has not asked to be fed at the 3 hour mark from the beginning of the last feeding, it is time to nurse.  A mininum of eight times a day is normal for a newborn.  The longest stretch you could hope for is one 5 hour stretch.  It is common for newborns to feed up to 12 times per day during a grown spurt.  This practice ensure a healthy milk supply for a growing baby as milk supply follows a demand and supply principle.

Other practices that can hinder milk supply are the use of a nipple shield.  While they have a time and place to assist in latch.  They are not a cure for sore nipples and should not be used unless necessary and discontinued as soon as possible.  When using a nipple shield, a cut out ultra thin silicone nipple shield is best.  Place the cut out at the baby's chin so that the skin to skin can elevate your hormone response which increases milk supply.

Another practice than can reduce milk supply is unresolved engorment.  When the milk first comes in 3-5 days postpartum, softening the breasts with warm moist heat from a compress or disposable diaper doused with hot water and warmed in the microwave is essential before nursing or pumping so that milk is more effectively extracted.  Milk that is not extracted actually reduces milk supply as your body is being signaled that you do not need the milk.  That is why the practice of waiting for an insurance pump is not the best idea.  If your insurance company will not allow you to get a pump until after the birth, go with a private pay DME.  That way, you can order the breast pump on the day of the baby's birth and it will be at your doorstep between 3-5 days when you need it most.  You then have to file for reimbursement with your insurance company, but it beats waiting around for a company to bill your insurance and you may not have your pump when you need it most. 

Here is to a Healthy Milk Supply, Mamas!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Breast Shield Size - Do You Need a Small 15 mm or 19 mm Breast Flange?

Recently, we have been researching the effectiveness of small breast flanges for moms who are trying aftermarket brands in 15mm.  Most manufacturer's do not offer flanges that small.  This mom in particular was having difficulty because even a 15mm was too large.  A smaller flange can often be too large if too much of the areola is being pulled in and the milk sinuses are not being compressed properly at the breast shield.
This problem can ofte be solved with a silicone insert or silicone breast shield.  So where a 15mm plastic flange may be too large, a 15-19 mm silicone breast shield such as the x-small and small super shields by Pumpin' Pal will work very well.  The reason is the material.  Silicone helps hold the breast tissue in place whereas the hard plastic flange will allo the tissue to be draw in too far.
If you have tried a silicone shield, and still need to the areola to be held in place more efficiently, rolling the silicone so that it suctions to the breast is often the answer.  See the image below which is from Pumpin' Pal's 2018 Quick Start Instruction Guide.

Not only are the SuperShields angled for a more comfortable pumping position, they are available in x-small 15-19 mm breast shields and small 20-23 mm breast shields in silicone for better adhesion to your breast.

Here is to better pumping!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Troubleshooting: When to Replace Breast Pump Parts

If your breast pump is not suctioning the way it used to, the problem often lies in one of two breast pump parts.  Most breast pumps have a valve plus a diaphragm, filter or backflow protector.  The number one cause of low suction is a dirty, torn or worn out valve.  If you valve is the type that has a valve head and membrane shown here, it is imperative that you remove these parts when cleaning.  The valve membrane will retain a build up that decreases the suction.  Taking the membrane apart from the head is essential to remove this build-up.  If you see that the membrane will no longer close completely with the head or if it has a tear, replace it as soon as possible.

If your breast pump has a duckbill valve (shown below) which in most cases is a clear or white valve, the tip of the duckbill must be able to close completely.  If it remains open, the amount of pressure your pump can provide is decreased.  As a rule, if you are pumping three times per day or more, replace duckbill valves every six to eight weeks at minimum.  This is a small maintenance expense that will reward you in the dividend of a healthier milk supply.

One example of essential breast pump parts that need replacement are the Spectra S2 parts that include the white duckbill valve and the backflow protector.  These two parts are the most commonly replaced parts for Spectra breast pumps and if either of these parts is used for longer that eight weeks, the amount of pressure your breast pump has can be decreased.  The longer you use a breast pump with parts that are not functioning at capacity, the greater the chance of decreasing milk supply.

The most commonly replaced parts for each brand are listed below:

Spectra - duckbill valve, backflow protector
Ameda - duckbill valve, diaphragms
Hygiea - duckbill valve, bacteriostatic filter
ARDO - duckbill valve, membrane pot
PJ's Limerick - micron filter, silicone gasket
Bailey Nurture III - filter
Rumble Tuff - one-way valves, diaphragms
BelleMa Effective Pro & Mango - breast shield set (includes valves and membranes)
Avent Isis, Uno & Duo - duckbill valves
Lucina Melodi & Melodi Prime - duckbill valvemembrane pot

Breast pumps that do not have closed systems such as Medela do not need parts replaced as often, but open system can lead to exposure of bacteria to breast milk so we do not recommend these pumps.

Lactation Connection offers subscription services for replacement parts on our most popular brands so that you don't forget to replace them on a regular basis.  We only sell authentic manufacturers parts for Spectra, Ameda, Hygeia, ARDO, Limerick, Bailey, Rumble Tuff and BelleMa to ensure quality of performance in your breast pump.

Salud! Here is to a healthy milk supply!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Stop Breast Milk Leaking: Disposable & Washable Nursing Pads Review

It's a great time to review nursing pads for breastfeeding moms!  When looking at nursing pads, we always recommend washable vs disposable for several reasons.  First of all is economy.  Who doesn't want to save money when it comes to all the things we need for new babies.  Disposable nursing pads are great for the first few days at home to save time, but once you've gone through that box - there are several things to consider.  First, if you do not know what you are looking for, you can actually do more harm than good with disposable nursing pads.  Many are manufacturerd by companies that do not have a vested interest in long-term breastfeeding.  They contain moisture barriers that can actually harbor yeast.  So if you are going to buy discposable, stick with tried and ture brands that are breastfeeding advocates such as Hygiea, Lansinoh and Ameda NoShow Disposable Nursing Pads.
Once you have gone through the first box, you are going to need to wash burp rags, baby blankets and baby clothes, so you might as well throw in washable nursing pads in the mix.  Plus, you don't have to fold washable nursing pads so they are easy care!  On average, disposable cost 10-15 cents each.  New moms go through at least 8 per day so a box of 36 won't even last a full week.  Why spend $30 per month when you can take the money you would spend on one month of disposables and buy quality washable nursing pads that will last?

Now that we have established why washable are more economical, they are also much healthier for your breasts.  Look for nursing pads made from bamboo or 100% cotton.  These types of pads are not only absorbant, but breathable so they won't harbor yeast.  Yeast natuarally occurs in your body, so keeping away from breast pads that green-house yeast is important to your breast health and comfort while breastfeeding.  Moms can even pass along thrush to the baby if she incurrs as yeast infection.

Bamboobies Nursing Pads are ultra soft and ultra thin for discreet wear.  And the heart-shaped day pads actually serve to fit the shape of your bra extremely well.  Bamboobies Overnight Pads are round and thicker for night-time protection.  The heart shape of Bamboobies are a fun way to prevent leakage.
Amamante Nursing Pads are made from four layers of 100% cotton flannel for super absorbancy so they are great for day or night.  They are also darted so they offer a contour in your nursing bra making them more discreet than you would think.  This type of fabric stays in place much better than a smoother cotton.  If you are going for economy and absorbancy, Amamante pads are the way to go.

Lactation Connection always offers great prices on breastfeeding supplies, but during the month of February 2018 in honor of our 25th year, take 25% off any Bamboobies purchase with coupon code HEART25.

Happy Breastfeeding!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Arm's Reach & Lactation Connection: Celebrating 25 Years - Partnering with Arm's Reach for January 2018

We are so grateful to all our mamas for supporting us for the last 25 years!  Lactation Connection has been serving nursing mothers since 1993 and online since 1999.  Our goal has been to be your milk supply store where the products you need for breastfeeding are in our one stop shop.

Each month, we are partnering with one of our valued vendors to give you a great discount!  In January our partner is Arm's Reach.  In honor of our 25 years, we are offering all Arm's Reach co-sleepers and bassinets at 25% plus get free shipping.

The hottest item on our mamas wish list this season has been the Arm's Reach Versatile Co-Sleeper Bassinet.  If you have not seen, this take a look at the video on our website.  It is phenomenal!  It keeps your baby close at hand for breastfeeding.  Adjusts to the height of the bend and in an instant adjusts to the height of a changing table.  What a back saver!   The Versatile Bassinet comes in Interlock, Woven and Bliss prints.

Arm's reach mini co-sleepers have always been in demand and they now have a new Circle Print Ideal Ezee Co-Sleeper that is super cute.

If you know anyone who is pregnant, don't let them  miss out on this sale.  And grandmas, Gigi's Mimi, etc...these are the ultimate baby shower gift!  Offer expires January 31st!