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Breastfeeding is recommended by pediatricians for babies until they reach at least a year old. However, some lactating mothers suffer from adverse effects on their breasts, while others want to save breast milk at work and bring it home for the baby but are unable to do so. One solution for both maternal problems is the use of breast pumps and baby bottles to save and serve breast milk.
Breastfeeding is highly advised for infants in the first six months of their lives. Breast milk from the mothers offers numerous health benefits for the babies, such as decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome by 73 percent, boost in baby’s intelligence, resistance against the common cold and influenza viruses, lower chance of onset childhood diabetes, and lower risk of developing psychological disorders, even among adopted children. Moreover, antibodies of the mothers can enhance the premature immune system of the infants, as long as they are breastfeeding.
While breastfeeding creates a special bond between the mother and the infant, many mothers experience unfavorable issues with breastfeeding. The most common problem is the shifting of the breasts after the breastfeeding period, which can be temporary or permanent. Breasts of nursing mothers may be left with stretched skin or saggy appearance. Another problem is the engorgement of the breast caused by the breast milk that often results in pain.
Both the breast pumps and baby bottles can provide the necessary solutions to save nursing mothers from breastfeeding troubles. Breast pumps can allow mothers to collect breast milk and store to it for later use. This keeps the supply of healthy breast milk for the baby going. The device may also be used for other health-related reasons:
- Increases the supply of breast milk by stimulating the natural production of the body.
- Allows the feeding of a premature baby that is unable to latch on the breasts. This may also be applied to babies who prefer the texture of bottles.
- Relieves the pain of the breast engorgement due to the amount of breast milk. But mothers should take caution because too much pumping can make the pain worse.
- Sustains the supply of breast milk in case the doctor temporarily halts nursing because of hospitalization or intake of medication. A good supply of breast milk helps on certain days when the mother is unable to nurse the child.
Conventional breast pumps require a certain amount of patience and skill for mothers to master, but not with Willow. Willow is a wearable breast pump developed by the company of the same name based in California. The device is an autonomous, quiet collector of breast milk that fits inside the bra. The breast milk is stored in a disposable and spill-proof bag that holds up to four ounces of liquid. The user can track the volume of the bag by using an app on the smartphone. Mothers can easily transfer the breast milk to baby bottles or store it in the refrigerator.
“Willow comes with a set of 24 mm Flanges, and 27 mm Flanges… We recommend wearing Willow with a full-coverage nursing bra that’s stretchy and has a flap. Avoid underwire and padded bras. As Willow works inside your bra, the Willow App displays what is happening. See things such as milk volume, pumping time and past pumping sessions,” according to the product’s official website.
This high-tech set of breast pumps also offers the following benefits for nursing mothers:
- Allows pumping of one breast while breastfeeding on the other.
- Enables multitasking and movement while pumping for breast milk.
- Stops automatically after filling a single bag of breast milk.
- Usable for one session after being charged for 20 minutes. The device must be recharged for two hours to fully charge the battery, equivalent to five sessions.
The bags used to store milk are disposable, which cannot be reused. The disposable bags have a one-way valve where the milk goes in. The valve will not allow the liquid to come out through the same way, which means users must cut the bags open to obtain the milk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies to be exclusive in breastfeeding during the first six months after birth. But, mothers can extend breastfeeding for up to two years or more, as long as the baby still wants it. The extended period also prolongs the health benefits for the child, such as:
- Nutrients composed of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat.
- More illnesses covered like ear infections and upper respiratory problems.
- Lowers the risk of endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer of the mothers.
- Helps the brain development of the babies.
- Soothes both the baby and the mother.
- Convenient and economical compared to purchasing baby formulas that will never par in terms of nutritional value with breast milk.
[메디컬리포트=Ralph Chen 기자]