Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tips for breastpumping moms

I’m a Medela PISA user. I’ve been using this pump for my daughter until I got pregnant with our second child, I stopped pumping, and later weaned her from the breast altogether. With the birth of my son, I brought out my trusted breastpump again and I’ve been using it ever since. To be accurate, I’ve been pumping for a total of 23 months, with a few months break in between. The bag is getting a little too worn. I’m just waiting for the straps to snap clean, so I can buy a new bag. (By the way, I have no idea how it got torn that way. It’s not like I was biting them or something.)

For new moms, I would definitely recommend Medela breastpumps. Whether manual or electric, single or double pump, you take your pick. For me, I chose PISA because I intended to use it for all kids, (at present and possibly future kids)I want a heavy duty pump as I’ll be using it A LOT, and I want the complete set with cooler bag and all. But its best feature is the 2-phase expression which closely mimics how a baby breastfeeds. The Stimulation Phase is fast and light sucking to start the milk flowing followed by the Expression Phase which is slow and stronger sucking to deliver milk faster.

It may be one of the priciest breastpumps in the market, but I think it’s a very worthwhile investment. In my case, I’m already making profits!

I’m sure most of us have experienced a sudden drop in the suction strength of the pump. Here are some tips told to me of what to look out for and how to care for the parts, given by the customer service gal in Medela office in KL.

  • The most common culprit would be defects in the valve head and membranes, like shown the photos below. These would need to be replaced with new ones. This happened to me while disassembling the parts to be washed. I must have pulled it off the breastshield too hard or scrubbed on it too hard while washing.
  • When you push in the valve head into the breastshield, make sure that it faces outwards or sideways instead of facing you. This could also affect the suction strength. Don’t push it in too hard or it’ll be difficult to remove and you might break it like I did.
  • When you’re keeping the parts, take care not to roll the adapter wire around the adapter especially at the connector right on the adapter base. My adapter wire was getting all spirally and my pump keeps turning off by itself in the middle of a pumping session, so I had to put something at the adapter base to hold it in place. The adapter is the most expensive part of the breastpump (other than the pump motor, of course) so better not to find a reason to buy a new one.
  • When you push in your breast shield into the connector, do not push in too hard or too deep like this. Just push it in gently as long as it sticks together, is good enough, like this. This doesn’t actually affect the suction strength, but it’s not very comfortable for the mom. This is because, when you push it in too deep, your nipple could graze the back of the shield as it is pulled further into the shield. Ouch!
  • When you’re pumping at the office, you don’t actually have to wash your parts every single time you pump. Just put all the parts in a cooler pack or use a closed container and put them in the fridge (my office has a fridge, thank God). For long lasting cool ice packs or dry ice, put them in freezer as soon as you get home from work and only take them out in the morning before you leave. The coolness could last about 12 hours.
  • Washing is a breeze, I’ve just found out. You don’t even have to sterilize it, as sterilizing could actually tear the soft silicone breastshield. Pour water over them just to clear the milk drops, then put the breastshields, connectors, valve heads and membranes into a container and submerge them in soapy water overnight. Take them out before you go to work in the morning, just wash out the soap, and you’re good to go.
  • You should wipe the parts – breastshields, connectors, valve heads and membranes - with a clean towel, or if that’s too much trouble, just let it air dry. For the hard-to-reach parts, use a cotton bud. This is to avoid water droplets from getting sucked into the pump motor through the tubing. If your pump is still within its warranty period, Medela would service the motor for you free of charge. But if your warranty has expired, (warranty is for one year only) this would set you back quite a few bucks.

That’s all for now. I’ll update you if I get more tips yah!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Travel toys for babies and toddlers

We’re going to Penang this weekend for a family gathering.

Photo courtesy of

It’s about a 5-hour drive from KL to Penang, so I was thinking of buying a new toy for each of child to engross them in the car, so I can relax a little a bit without having one of them climbing on my back (the baby) and the other cuddling like a baby in my arms (the big sister).

I was thinking of toys like these for the baby.

Lamaze: Jacque The Peacock

Taf Toys: Infant Car Toy

Taf Toys: Curiosity Cube

For the big sister.

Read & Play: Dress Up Bear Book

Baby Einstein: 365 Days of Baby Einstein Book

Baby Einstein: Pretty Poems and Wonderful Words Lift the Flap Book

All toys from

If's money is not a problem, I would have bought all of them. But as it is, I'm not a millionaire mom.

Any suggestions, anyone?

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