Becoming An Expressionista!

Becoming An Expressionista!

Becoming An Expressionista!

Are You An Exclusive Or Part Time Expressionista?

Your amazing body has created a human being! Your truly amazing breasts are now creating all the nutrition needed to sustain this healthy, mini human-being for the months ahead!

Being able to provide this nourishment for your newborn is to be celebrated. I applaud the efforts made by breast pumping mothers who provide NICUs with expressed breast milk for their babies who may be too tiny or too sick to be put to breast. I support and encourage, through my actions and words, the many mothers who are able to use a breast pump everyday to maintain a breast milk supply for bottle feeding or cup feeding their growing babies. Perhaps never putting their babies to breast... Full time pumping. An exclusive Expressionista.

Being a part time Expressionista means that you use your breast pump to supplement your “at breast” feedings. So many reasons to use your pump under these circumstances; to provide more stimulation to increase and maintain your healthy supply of milk, to create an emergency supply of breastmilk in your freezer for a caregiver to use when you are at work, or for feedings if you become sick or need to take a medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding. If engorgement becomes a problem, your pain can be relieved by expressing just enough milk to relieve the pressure. If your baby has difficulty latching-on because your breasts are very full, expressing some milk first until the breast begins to soften behind the nipple can make it easier to get a deep latch.

Expressionistas are savvy... there are many breast pump options out there. Manual, battery, electric... Some claim to be medical grade... be savvy here. Breast pumps are devices regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA does not regulate the use of the term “hospital-grade”, in fact, they say: “Please note that the term ‘hospital-grade pump’ is not recognized by the FDA and there is no consistent definition for this term, so individual companies could mean different things when they label their breast pumps as hospital grade.”

Breast pumps used in hospitals have larger motors and are designed to last for years among multiple users. I have seen some that have more powerful suction than the ones typically available for purchase and remove milk more quickly from the breast.

If you rent or share from an authorized provider - such as a hospital, lactation consultant, or specialty medical supply store- be sure it is designed for multiple users. You will purchase your own collection accessories kit to avoid contamination. The only part of a multiple-user breast pump that you can safely share is the pump itself.

You can find one concise list of purchase options here:

Remember that The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover the cost of a breast pump as part of women’s preventive health services. You can talk to your insurance company or pump supplier about which pump is included in your coverage.

These folks can get you started off on the right path:

You’d be wise to do your research to find the best pump to fit your needs. Watch the instructional videos on YouTube made by the manufacturers and the independent reviewers... you’ve gotta be savvy to be an Expressionista.

Expressionistas use bottles. Most families have an assortment of styles, shapes and softness from the many weeks of experimentation trying to find just the right one. One that the baby doesn’t choke on because the nipple is too long or the milk comes out too fast... all on its own – no sucking required... a nipple that is close in form to mom’s nipple, not too long, not too rigid... juuuust right.

From ancient times up through the present, foods and milk have been fed to infants by means other than directly from the breast.

Ancient Greeks used nursing flasks or a mixture of wine and honey in special pots. There are old accounts and scriptures showing women using hand made tools to feed children. An old painting found in the excavated ruins of an Iraqi king dating from 888 BC depicts a mother with something resembling a milk feeding bottle in one hand and a spoon in another. Ancient feeding vessels made of clay have been discovered in infant graves all over Rome from over 1000 years ago and infant feeders have been recovered from civilizations’ remains as far back as 2000 BC.

Check this out:

Again, an Expressionista is savvy and does her research. Popsugar has a review of what’s currently available on Amazon and I was pleased to see the Como Tomo model on the list. Among the ones listed here, this one has the shortest nipple and the most natural feel against the baby’s mouth and lips.

Have you seen this one?

See what I mean about the short, natural shaped nipple and soft mouth contact?

The baby of a full time Expressionista has no restraints as to bottle or nipple size, shape or softness. It’s totally up to personal preference. The baby of a part time Expressionista should stick to a bottle nipple that is shorter, like mom, and has a slower flow rate-like mom, to make the transition between breast and bottle as smooth as possible.

For a baby who is still learning to feed at breast, it is best not to introduce any bottles and I frequently recommend a Medela Supplemental Nursing System to augment a feeding at breast if the baby fails to sustain a suck at breast because he’s just not getting enough milk to trigger a swallow so he stops or perhaps the flow is too slow and he needs a push to stay at it. (This SNS is a lovely way for an adoptive mom or non-producing mom to experience the joy of feeding a baby at her breast.)

Every Expressionista knows that transporting expressed milk should always be done under chilled conditions in an insulated cooler bag with frozen ice packs and used within 24 hrs.

Mommy Knows Best has a cooler that will do the trick! This carrier comes in 2 sizes that both carry up to 5 bottles, one for 5 ounce or 8 ounce bottles. Just add ice and go.

Paula Zindler


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