Many women experience discomfort when pumping, which in turn may result in the cessation of breastfeeding. Unfortunately discomfort while pumping is easily avoided and your baby can continue to receive that liquid gold!
What are the main reasons for discomfort?
- Incorrect Breast Shield: Studies have found that at least half of those expressing breastmilk are using the incorrect size breast shield.
- Incorrect Suction: Some women state that they experience pain when expressing, this is due to the incorrect suction setting being used which in turn can damage the tip of the nipple and cause pain.
- Plugged ducts: Women may experience plugged milk ducts which may feel hard or firm. These plugged ducts may hinder the ability to extract milk from the breast and could cause pain or discomfort.
- Stress: With a new baby, it’s hard for women not to stress about expressing enough milk to satisfy a growing baby. However stress and discomfort have been proven to hinder the release of oxytocin, a crucial hormone for breastfeeding mums which is essentially responsible for the release of breast milk.
How has the Medela FLEX technology revolutionised pumping?
Medela know that every woman is different and that there is no ‘one size fits all’, based on scientific research and tested by mums worldwide, the Medela FLEX has been built for comfort, efficiency and adaptability. Through its dedication to scientific research and decades of working with researchers of breastmilk, Medela have become a world leader with their infamous Medela Symphony, Medela Freestyle, Medela Swing range and the Medela Harmony.
The key new features of the FLEX technology include:
- 105° Angle: The 105° angle has been designed to contour the breast and ensure there was contact across the whole surface of the breast shield. This design ensured that there was no compression points along the breast tissue which allowed for improved comfort and better support flow through the milk ducts.
- Ensuring the nipple is centred: Your nipple should be in the centre of the tunnel during pumping to ensure free movement and prevent rubbing and damage to the nipple. As a result of changing the flange angle slightly, the new FLEX technology has ensured that the nipple can be in the tunnel while initiating pumping. Two thirds of mums do not have their nipple centred when initiating a pumping session; generally the nipple is further back from the tunnel so it is difficult to ensure the nipple is centred.
- 360° Pumping – Oval Shaped for Comfort: Through an innovative collaboration between experts including breastfeeding mums, the shield was designed as an oval shape. The oval shaped breast shield has allowed mums to have the freedom to manoeuvre the shield to whichever position they wish. Unlike other breast shields on the market, the new FLEX breast shield cannot be placed in the wrong position and can be placed wherever mums wish.
- Comfort Redesigned: Medela have listened to the breastfeeding mums, after all they are the experts in the field! With mums and engineers working closely, Medela have designed the new PersonalFit FLEX breast shield with a soft, smooth, flexible rim. Not only does the soft design afford women the utmost comfort, it also has a much more important factor – it seals gently to the breast and ensures there is no compression leading to engorged milk ducts.
- Positioned around Mums: With the new fit and angle, mums now have the ability to move more freely when expressing. As with most pumps, it’s important to sit upright and hold the breast shield in place to ensure no ducts are blocked. Due to the new fit and seal, the new PersonalFit FLEX breast shield allows mums to recline and make themselves comfortable during a pumping session.
- Connecting You and Your Breastfeeding Journey: The new MyMedela application is available on the Medela Freestyle FLEX pump, which allows you to track and monitor all your breastfeeds! The MyMedela app also allows you to keep tabs on your baby’s height, weight, sleep, and nappy changes. With information at your fingertips from the experts in the field, the MyMedela app allows you to gain breastfeeding confidence 24/7.
- Overflow Protection (Closed System): Not all pumps are made the same and this applies to the term ‘closed system’, this is not a medical or clinical term and is used by many manufacturers which has led to compromising on the performance of the pump. Medelas’ goal is to optimise performance, maximise comfort, safety and efficiency for mums and so, the new FLEX technology has introduced an overflow protection barrier which may be located in the breast shield connector or in the pump itself.
And, most importantly……
- MORE MILK! The new FLEX technology has endured rigorous tests and trials from breastfeeding mums. During these tests, Medela showed that when using the new breast shield, mums extracted significantly more milk volume. By using new PersonalFit FLEX breast shield, the breast’s drainage was significantly improved. The conclusions of these studies found on average an increase milk volume of 11% and 4% more drainage.
The 2-phase expression technology that is standard in all Medela pumps mimics feeding at the breast. Research has shown the babies will initially use short, fast sucks to stimulate the milk ejection reflex and once the milk flows, babies then adapt a slower, individual rhythm to feed. As the first company worldwide to convert this knowledge into the technology of their pumps, the suction of the pump is designed to ensure optimal extraction of milk in a manner which is comfortable and effective. The stimulation phase involves a rhythm of >100 cycles/minute which is then followed by the slower pumping rhythm of between 42 and 87 cycles/minute, ensuring that mums do not have to change settings during feeds which often leads to discomfort and may result in trauma to the nipple due to the use of incorrect suction settings.
*Breast pumps should be used when a baby is unable to feed at the breast, other medical reasons or are away from the mother.