Breastfeeding is different for everyone, and for some, really difficult. In Australia, 97 percent of mums initiate breastfeeding with their newborns, but only 39 percent of babies are still exclusively breastfed at three months. There are many reasons for the dropoff from preference to medical issues, but we know many mums want to breastfeed but it is so painful/stressful/difficult that it becomes detrimental to continue. Sixty percent of mothers report stopping breastfeeding before they planned to. This year, World Breastfeeding Week is about getting more support for breastfeeding mothers, from government subsidies (why aren’t Silverettes on Medicare?), to normalising pumping in the workplace, to more feeding aids being developed with the comfort of the mother in mind, and the professionals being made aware of them. Being able to breastfeed, and breastfeed well, doesn’t start and end with the mother, and new mums shouldn’t be made to feel that way. There needs to be a more connected and seen support system around breastfeeding to help mothers on their individual feeding journey and in the wide range of difficulties they can experience. For some breastfeeding issues there are already some amazing products (it’s our buyer’s key mission to seek them out and stock them at the memo), so here we’ve put together a cheat sheet for some of the most common breastfeeding issues and the products that can help.
Difficulty: “My nipples are a mess. Feeding is so painful right now.”
Nipple pain and damage is experienced by the majority of new mums. Cracked, bleeding, swollen nipples are common in those first days of establishing feeding while you and your baby are working out your best position and latch.
Here to help: Silverette Nursing Cups
This small product can make such a difference particularly while establishing feeding. Crafted out of pure 925 sterling silver (100% nickel free), these medical-grade nursing cups fit over your nipples and the surrounding skin to repair and heal nipples. Sterling silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial metal that also contains anti-inflammatory agents so it’s safe on cuts and wounds and keeps infection away. Best used constantly between every nursing session for at least the first two weeks, these cups also aid damage by retaining milk contact with the nipple. Breastmilk being the absolute best liquid to put on your new feeding nipples. Bodies are amazing, right?
Here to help: Haakaa Round Nipple Shields
Another world first from New Zealand brand Haakaa, this shield has an extended teat that’s easier for baby to latch on to and puts space between your nipple and baby's mouth giving damages nipples a pain-free way to feed. The extra length also gives some space between the nipple and the baby’s mouth, so if they pull away or bite down you won’t be affected. Also, they suction onto your boob, so your hands are free to hold your baby. Nipple shields also keep a small amount of milk pressed against your nipple for extra healing power.
Difficulty: “I think I’ve got a blocked duct.”
A blocked milk duct causes a tender spot or lump on the breast and affects your flow. It is also the main cause of mastitis. Keep feeding your baby (the milk is safe), feed more often and begin each feeding on the affected breast. The baby’s sucking is the best way to unclog the duct.
Here to help: Lactamo
Lactamo harnesses the power of breast massage: compression, temperature and movement. It’s helpful in providing relief for many most common breastfeeding challenges, including a blocked duct. Simply roll your heated Lactamo over the surface of the breast, always massaging towards the nipple, for a few minutes before a feed, or pump. Focus on the blocked duct area (usually where the lump is) to encourage blockages to clear, support the flow of milk and provide much needed relief. Continue this process for as long as possible throughout the feed (as long as it’s not affecting their latch).
Difficulty: “Pumping is painful AF”
Seven out of 10 women have unnecessary nipple discomfort when they use breast pumps, so you’re not alone. Oxytocin (the hormone that helps you feel happy and relaxed) is really important in breastfeeding. If you’re feeling safe and loved, the letdown flows more easily. Painful pumping makes it harder to produce milk, not just because it hurts.
Here to help: Milkdrop Breastfeeding Cushion
Milkdrop is a gamechanger. An Australian-made, ultra-soft, medical-grade silicone cushion that stretches over your pump head (no matter what kind of pump you have). It supports your nipple from the pump's harsh suck to reduce nipple discomfort, make pumping softer, more natural-feeling and far more comfortable.
Here to help: Haakaa Breast Pump
Helpful in that it may reduce (or eliminate) your need to pump at all. The Haakaa pump is super economical and no fuss. Squeeze the base of the Haakaa pump and it suctions onto your breast. The suction helps extract milk, and if you use it while you’re feeding on the other side, you’ll catch the considerable drips. Many women find using it this way fills bottles so they can have extra feeds when they need them.
Difficulty: “I’m leaking. It feels like such a waste.”
Most women will leak for at least a small amount of time at the beginning of their breastfeeding journey, and some will leak for a lot longer.
Here to help: Haakaa Ladybug Silicone Milk Collectors
If you’re leaking enough to need breast pads, you have no idea how much milk you could be losing. Milk is pretty precious, particularly if you have flow issue, so Haakaa created silicone milk collectors that fit discreetly in your bra and attach to your breast with light suction to catch every last drop while you get on with your day. Empty into a bottle regularly and you’ll find you have a nice milk stash that would otherwise have been lost.
Here to help: Bamboo Reusable Breast Pads
Reusable breast pads eliminate a whole heap of plastic waste that comes with the disposable option, especially if you need to use them consistently. They are super soft, comfortable, stay as-new wash after wash and, being reusable, you’ll never run out.
Difficulty: “So swollen, engorged, whatever you want to call it.”
Engorgement usually happens on day two - five when your milk comes in. Your boobs will be hot, heavy and sometimes painful, it tells you that your milk is here and ready to feed that baby. Over the next four to six weeks your milk supply will get regulated through feeding your baby, but you may also experience moments of engorgement during this time. If you get a rare length of sleep, you’ll also wake engorged. Milk needs to be released, so you can feed, have a hot shower to bring on the letdown or attach a Haakaa pump or Ladybug milk cup. Then treat the pain.
Here to help: Body Ice Breast Ice
Carefully designed to help soothe discomfort, pain and swelling that you may experience from blocked milk ducts and engorgement, this pack comes with two comfy breast pads and sleeves, to provide cooling or warming relief to your breasts. For engorgement, you want cold. Take them out of the freezer and rest them on your boobs as needed. Relief and reduced swelling.