Tuesday 23 June 2015

Morning tea with Medela

Jimmy, Ellie and I recently went to morning tea with Medela at the Brisbane Pregnancy, Babies and Children's expo.

I've talked a bit about my breastfeeding journey with Jimmy here. He is now eight months old and we are still going strong. I recall him being five weeks old and not knowing how I could keep going. When we went to have his tongue and lip ties corrected, I remember the dentist asking me how long I intended to breastfeed him for, and without needing any thought, I answered with "as long as he wants to". It's been a hard journey though, and I still constantly wonder if I'm doing a good job, if he's latching correctly, if I have enough milk, if he's getting too much/not enough... and so on. And yet... look at him!
He is obviously healthy, and happy, and doing well.., and if I have to co-sleep and feed him every few hours around the clock to keep him that way, then so be it. I won't sugar coat it though, it is hard! I just keep telling myself he is only little for such a short time, and to enjoy being his happy place. When I do go back to work, I know that my Medela Swing pump will help me provide Jimmy with milk for when I can't be there to feed him directly.

Anyway, this morning tea was a lovely supportive experience. It really showed me that there are organisations out there who are passionate and informative and so enthusiastic about helping mothers to be educated and supported to feed their babies.
Katie James, a midwife/lactation consultant who works for Medela spoke about the latest statistics and research about 'normal' breastfeeding... and really emphasised that there is no such thing! Some information that I found interesting (my emphasis) was:
  • In Australia 96% of mothers choose to breastfeed their baby from birth. While this is a fantastic statistic, we see that rate drop dramatically in the first few months; in the second month full breastfeeding (this is where no other food or drink is fed to baby) rates have dropped to 57% and by 5 months under 30% are still fully breastfeeding.
  • The most common reason given for mother’s ceasing breastfeeding is the belief they do not have enough milk, often because their baby feeds frequently/more than other babies.
  • Jackie Kent and The Hartmann Lactation Research group in the University of WA looked at many mothers and infants from the ages of 1-6 months and found that there were great variations of normal! For example once a baby is growing well a breastfed baby may feed anywhere from 4-13 times in 24 hours, boys do eat more than girls, and yes it is very normal for babies to feed at night, with 2/3rds of all babies drinking 20% of their milk between 10pm and 4am!
There is a lovely downloadable infographic that explaining all the research here.

One thing about the morning that I particularly enjoyed was hearing about how Medela is charitably contributing towards supporting Bangladeshi mothers to breastfeed for longer. There is a high morbidity and mortality rate in the country due mainly to early cessation of breastmilk feeding and the introduction of infant formula combined with poor sanitation. Medela Australia have donated pumps and have a volunteer on the ground working to educate families and employers about breastfeeding, expressing, cup feeding and providing so much more ongoing support. Due to limited maternity leave, mothers in Bangladesh often return to work once their babies are two months old, and with up to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.

I feel privileged that I have had eight uninterrupted months at home with Jimmy, and so much help and assistance to breastfeed him. I am proud that I have provided for my baby and nourished him so well. Of course, any way a mother chooses to feed her child is fabulous, but for me and this baby, this is what works for us.

Thanks to Medela, I have a $50 Medela voucher to giveaway to one lucky With A Fork reader. To enter, leave a comment below telling me the most valuable advice you would give to a new mother.
Entries open Tuesday 23 June 2015 and close Tuesday 30 June 2015 at 7.00pm AEST. Entry is open to Australian residents only. Prize will be delivered by Medela, With A Fork takes no responsibility for prize delivery. If I do not hear back from the winner within two days of notification, the prize will be redrawn. ONE entry per person please. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook. 

Good luck!


  1. My piece of advice to any new mums would be go with your gut instinct and try not to take all the advice thrown your way personally.

  2. About to become a new Mum myself and the best advice I've received is to listen to my baby. Every child is different and it's important to stay flexible. I'm really looking forward to getting my Madela Freestyle to give me a range of feeding options, and also the opportunity for my husband to bond with baby during feeding times :)

  3. Generations of selective breeding has resulted in you a competent human being who's gotten on so well in life so far, you're smart you're bright and you can handle this small person who can't even walk or talk yet. So just go ahead and make him/her a fantastic life you already did it once before for yourself.

  4. Go on as many holidays and nice dinners as you can when they are under 6 months - all they do is sleep and they can't walk!

    1. Great advice Karina! Congratulations! You are the winner, but I can't find an email address attached to your profile to get in contact. Could you email me please? therewithafork(at)gmail.com

  5. Breastfeeding can be so hard to begin with- I think the best thing by far is education and good support. I went to the medela morning tea in Sydney- it was really interesting!

  6. Have patience with yourself and enjoy every single moment good and bad and create memories.



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