Do you need a blog content writer to produce beautiful, SEO-friendly content for your blog?
More than 24 blog posts are published every second. That means your blog posts need to be superb if they are to help you achieve your content marketing goals. There’s just too much competition for average or even good posts to be seen by the volume of prospects required to grow your business sustainably. A great blog post produced by an excellent blog content writer can:
Rank well in search engine results pages
If you want people to discover your blog posts when they do a Google search, you need content that ranks well on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Boost search rankings for your whole site
The right blog posts not only rank well in the SERPs themselves, they also boost domain authority which improves the SERPs ranking of your whole site.
Help you engage with everyone in your sales funnel
Great blog posts should engage your prospects, leads and customers, from the moment you help them realise they’ve got a problem, through their first purchase, and beyond.
According to Demand Gen, 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before deciding to speak with a sales rep. Blog posts are well suited to nurturing leads driving conversions.
Increase brand loyalty
Loyal customers repeatedly open their wallets to you and are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. That’s great advertising!
Be shared on social media
Your social media followers can spread really useful, engaging blog posts to thousands or millions of people you’d usually have to pay to reach through traditional advertising strategies.
Are you frustrated because you:
- know you need to post regularly on your blog but you just don’t have the time?
- know what you want to say on your blog but can’t find the right words?
- have run out of ideas for blog content?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions then you can experience significant benefits from outsourcing at least some of your blog posts and I’m the blog content writer for you.
When you work with me, I’ll produce blog posts according to your existing content strategy or I can help you develop a content strategy if you don’t yet have one. Either way, I’ll suggest a variety of blog formats to suit your target audience.
I can produce one-off blog posts, a set of blog posts or you can hire me to write a set number of blog posts each month. I offer discounts for large sets of blog posts and retainer arrangements.
Client: A baby product manufacturer
Project: New blog
Objective: Provide information in an engaging way to improve customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and sales
“Provide awesome, useful content that will help [our customers] with their feeding journey and new journey into motherhood”
The client stated they wanted to be ‘best in class’. They wanted to become the go-to source of information for mothers to improve brand loyalty and brand awareness. They are, however, in a competitive market. There are a number of very well-known brands that produce the same class of product, often selling products at cheaper prices. The challenge was to produce blog posts that provide valuable information and also clearly convey how the client’s products differ from those of their competitors and justify the added cost.
- Produce a number of blog posts that focus on a single aspect of each part of the ‘sales funnel’ or ‘sales flywheel’ (except advocacy):
- Unaware prospects
- Prospects researching the class of product they need
- Prospects choosing the specific product they need
- Customer satisfaction/loyalty
- Produce blog posts that are more detailed than those of the competitors
- Optimise each blog post so it ranks highly in the major search engines but still provides an excellent reading experience for prospects and customers
Note: I also provided alternative SEO headlines
- A letter from your baby
- Why generic teats contribute to reflux and colic and how you can prevent reflux and colic from taking hold in your baby by using [client]’s teats
- Reflux in babies – what it is and how to deal with it
- Learn to express breast milk like a pro and nourish your baby even when you’re separated
Within a year, two of the blog posts I wrote for this client were each attracting more visitors than the business’s homepage and between them were generating 61.6% of the business’s total website traffic.
My blog post case study illustrates just how successful my blog posts can be (two blog posts I wrote for that client drive 62% of that brand’s website traffic and each post outperforms the brand’s homepage). Here I’ve laid out a small selection of blog posts that I’ve written for clients so you can view them in full if you wish. Just click on each image to read the full samples. Here you’ll find an example of each type of blog post that I offer as well as blog posts for different audiences and various industries. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Get in touch and I’ll send through a relevant sample.
Short blog post
Australian Late Payment Performance
Why do businesses pay late, intentionally?
In general, businesses purposely delay paying their invoices to balance their cash flow. Ensuring incoming cash matches outgoing payments reduces strains on a business. Some businesses pay late because they haven’t received payments and are reluctant to take on debt to pay their bills. Others merely want to avoid cash flow fluctuations and feel entitled to make late payments because ‘everyone else does’. Of course, these late payments can be a real challenge for you, especially if you’re a small business.
Every time a business pays a bill after the due date, there is a flow-on effect for downstream businesses. The business receiving the late payment needs to decide whether to pay their own bills on time or to wait for incoming cash before making outgoing payments. If that business decides to wait for their invoices to be settled before they pay their own bills, this typically means the next business will receive their payment even later. If your business is a little way down the payment chain, you could be looking at significant payment delays.
Australian late payment trends for the 2017-18 financial year
According to Illion, late payments in Australia were down 25% in the previous financial year. This is great news for Australian small businesses as payment times had been increasing during the preceding 18 months.
Of course, late payments are still a big challenge for Australian small businesses. As at September 2018, the average late payment timeframe is 11 days late and 30% of businesses do not pay their bills on time. A massive 88.1% of Australians have been reporting late payments.
If you operate in the retail sector, you’re likely to be hardest hit by late payments as the average late payment timeframe in that sector is 14.5 days. Businesses operating in the ACT have the biggest challenges of all the States and Territories with a 12.1-day late payment timeframe.
Australian late payment trend outlook
If the current trend continues, Australian businesses are likely to continue to benefit from a reduction in late payments. However, as heavy price discounting is putting significant pressure on the retail sector, the upcoming Christmas shopping period is likely to create further late payment challenges for businesses operating in that sector.
This is an example of an ‘industry update’ blog post that covers recent news and demonstrates that the brand keeps up to date on industry trends.
- Content type: time-sensitive content
- Word count: 390 words
- Audience type: B2B
- Industry: Finance
Complex blog post
Baby burping: the why, when and how plus expert tips
As a new parent, there are a wide variety of new skills you need to learn. One such skill is how to burp a baby.
Some babies need a lot of help with burping while others need very little assistance. Regardless of whether your baby is particularly gassy though, he or she will inevitably need help at some time so you’d be wise to be prepared.
This post will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the art and science of how to burp a baby. We’ve also got some great tips to help you keep Bub gas free.
Why do babies need to be burped?
When learning how to burp a baby, it helps if you understand why babies need to be burped. The short answer to that question is ‘because they can’t do it themselves’.
Why? In babies a muscle called the upper esophageal sphincter is underdeveloped. This muscle usually relaxes when we swallow, to allow the passage of food and saliva etc., and when we burp, to allow the passage of gas. In young babies, however, this muscle doesn’t relax by itself when gas needs to pass. If the gas isn’t released as a burp, it makes its way into the intestines where it causes tummy pain.
You need to burp your baby in order to prevent this pain.
In addition, babies have very tiny stomachs. In fact, the stomach of a newborn is only about the size of a hazelnut and by two weeks of age, it will only have grown to roughly the size of a large hen’s egg. You can probably imagine then that even a small bubble of air or gas takes up valuable room in a young baby’s stomach. As such, burping your baby frees up room in his or her stomach meaning Bub doesn’t need to be fed as often.
Where does the gas come from?
There are three main ways a baby ends up with gas in his or her digestive system.
1. Swallowing air
Babies often swallow air when feeding. The faster they feed, the more likely they will be to swallow air. As a result, babies of women with a fast letdown or who produce a lot of milk often swallow a lot of air. Some baby bottles also increase the chance that babies will swallow air as can using a nipple that is too large for Bub.
A baby that’s fussing because he or she needs to be burped will tend to swallow more air than normal.
Bacteria in our digestive systems are partly responsible for digesting the food we eat. When bacteria feed on the food we eat, they produce one or more types of gas. We then get rid of this gas by burping or ‘passing wind’.
Some foods are more likely to lead to the formation of gas than others. Common culprits include brassicas (such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts), beans and so-called sugar-free treats (these often contain alternative sweeteners, such as sorbitol, which are a favourite of these gas-producing bacteria).
Young babies cannot, of course, eat food. But components of the food a mother eats do pass into her breast milk so babies that are breastfed (or bottle fed using expressed breast milk) can end up with a lot of gas in their digestive systems if Mom eats a lot of the kinds of food that lead to gas formation.
3. Food intolerance
Even young babies can develop food intolerances. When this occurs, the food in question isn’t properly absorbed and ends up being broken down by gas-forming bacteria when it wouldn’t normally be digested in that way. As such, babies fed on breast milk may be gassier if they develop an intolerance to a food that their mother eats. Similarly, formula-fed babies may be gassier if they develop an intolerance to one or more of the ingredients in their formula.
When should you burp a baby?
Now that you know why babies need to be burped, you’re probably wondering when you should burp your baby. The answer will vary for every baby but as a general guide you could begin by burping your baby:
If your baby has problems with a lot of gas, you might need to burp Bub more frequently. If your baby rarely has problems with gas, you may be able to burp Bub less frequently.
How long do you need to burp a baby for?
Full-term babies are likely to be able to burp on their own by around two months of age (premature babies may take a bit longer to achieve this) so you may not have to burp your baby as much or at all after this time. If your baby does still need help after this point, he or she will likely not require assistance beyond the first 4-6 months as by that point, most babies develop strong enough neck and stomach muscles that they don’t swallow much air when feeding.
How to burp a baby
Now you know the why and when of baby burping, you will better appreciate how to burp a baby. The general idea is to encourage gas in Bub’s stomach to travel upwards and through the sphincter muscle. The best way to achieve this is by applying gentle pressure to the stomach to expel the gas and then encouraging the sphincter to open by patting Bub’s back or rubbing his or her back in a circular motion. The various burping techniques largely differ in the positioning of Bub during burping. Don’t be alarmed if your baby spits up a mouthful or two of milk or formula when he or she burps – this is very common and nothing to worry about.
Perhaps the most commonly used burping position is the over-the-shoulder method. To burp a baby this way, position Bub over your shoulder, so that their upper tummy is pressing gently against your collarbone and then pat or rub circles on their back. A disadvantage of this burping method is that Bub may spit milk or formula down your back. If your baby is prone to this, you might like to throw a towel or muslin wrap over your shoulder before putting Bub there so that any regurgitated milk or formula ends up on the cloth rather than your clothes. This position is also rather disruptive. This might be a good thing if you don’t want Bub to go to sleep yet (if he or she hasn’t filled their tummy for instance) but might be a disadvantage if you’re trying to get Bub to sleep.
Another commonly used burping method is to sit Bub on your lap so that he or she is leaning slightly forward with their weight supported by your hand under their rib cage. You then use your other hand to pat or rub Bub’s back. If you need to support Bub’s head, you can position your first hand so that the heel of your hand is under the rib cage and your fingers are propping up the head by supporting the chin. Bub needs to be positioned carefully so that any regurgitated milk or formula ends up on a cloth rather than you, the ground or Bub’s clothes. This method is less disruptive than the previous one and may be a little easier for those who are quite sore after a c-section. If Bub needs a little extra encouragement to burp, you can try gently rotating his or her body forwards and backwards and side to side as sometimes a little movement can help dislodge stubborn gas.
If neither of those methods work, you can apply greater pressure on Bub’s stomach by lying Bub face down over one arm or your knee. As with the first position this can be quite disruptive. It can be particularly useful to use one of these positions if you’re feeding Bub before tummy time otherwise lying Bub on his or her tummy may dislodge additional gas and cause Bub to regurgitate milk or formula onto their tummy time mat.
If movement seems to help your baby burp, you can try bringing Bub’s knees up to their chest while rubbing or patting their back. Alternatively, you could lay Bub on his or her back and rotate their legs like they’re riding a bike. This can also be a good way to encourage good gross motor skill development.
Really stubborn gas might be best moved by gently bouncing Bub. You can do this on your lap, while sitting on an exercise ball or while standing up. Pairing the action with music can make the exercise more fun for both of you. Just be sure to support Bub’s head and neck. This would not be a good method to choose if you’re trying to feed Bub to sleep.
If you’re desperately trying to get Bub to sleep but need to burp him or her, the best way to attempt the feat is to give Bub a massage. This may help the gas move while also relaxing Bub.
If Bub’s gas is particularly stubborn, you might have success burping Bub just by wearing him or her in a carrier or sling. You can walk around, do chores or run errands and the rhythmic bouncing of your steps may help to dislodge the gas.
Expert tips for combatting gas
If your baby is particularly gassy or you have a tough time burping him or her, there are a few things you can do to prevent gas from forming in the first place.
Burp your baby at the first sign of gas – As fussy babies are more likely to swallow greater amounts of air during a feed, one of the best ways to prevent gas from getting out of control is to burp your baby as soon as he or she shows signs of gas – even if that means burping your baby every 5 mins. Similarly, if your baby falls asleep feeding, don’t be afraid to burp him or her. Some babies will just wake up soon after settling if they’re not burped immediately after each feed. Burping may not even wake your Bub but if it does, it’ll be easier to get him or her back to sleep if they haven’t been experiencing wind pain.
Monitor Mom’s diet – Because the foods a mother eats can affect how much gas a baby fed on breast milk produces, changing the foods Mom eats may help to reduce the amount of gas in Bub’s digestive system. As such, if Bub’s diet is at least partially comprised of breast milk, a food diary can help you determine whether there is a link between any particular foods in Mom’s diet that result in lots of gas in Bub. If you identify a pattern, offending foods can be eliminated from Mom’s diet for a short period of time so you can see whether Bub’s comfort improves. A food diary can be useful for detecting issues with foods that commonly cause a build-up of gas as well as for foods of which a baby is intolerant. However, if you suspect either of these things are an issue for your baby dietary adjustments should only be undertaken under the supervision of a doctor and/or dietician otherwise Mom’s diet may be insufficient to support her health.
Adjust the way formula is prepared – The way you prepare your baby’s formula can affect the amount of air he or she swallows. Do you shake each bottle to mix the powdered formula with the water? Most people prepare formula this way but doing so produces tiny air bubbles in the solution which Bub then swallows during a feed. To reduce the amount of air that gets trapped when you prepare formula you can either let the bottle rest after shaking it or mix the powder into the water by swirling the bottle instead of shaking it.
Try a different formula – For babies that are at least partially fed on formula, trialling a different formula may reduce gas if Bub has developed an intolerance to any of the ingredients in the current formula. Your baby’s doctor should be able to help you select alternative formulas that are suitable for your baby’s unique circumstances.
Choose the right bottles and nipples – Some bottle feeding systems, such as Minbie’s award-winning bottles and nipples, are specifically designed to prevent Bub from swallowing air bubbles during a feed so they can be a great solution for bottle-fed babies. Choosing the right nipple size is also important as using a nipple that is too big for your baby can result in Bub swallowing too quickly, which in turn causes Bub to swallow air.
Consult your doctor about possible medication options – There are a few over-the-counter remedies that may help gassy babies, though the evidence to support them is a little shaky. Always consult a doctor before trying any medication for your baby even if it is available without a prescription or is a herbal remedy.
Have your say
Did this help you burb your baby? Or do you have a baby burping technique or tip that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.
This is an example of an SEO-friendly blog post that solves a specific prospect problem. It ranks well in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drives traffic to the parent website.
- Content type: evergreen content
- Word count: 2,280 words
- Audience type: B2C
- Industry: Parenting, baby products
Specialty blog post
Breast Pumping Handbook: The ultimate guide to expressing milk
Are you thinking about starting breast pumping for the first time? Have you decided to feed your baby expressed milk but don’t know where to start? Have you experienced some breast pumping challenges and need some help overcoming them? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then this Breast Pumping Handbook is going to be your new best friend.
Anyone who’s ever had any experience with breast pumping knows it isn’t always easy. As with many aspects of parenting, breast pumping can present a variety of challenges for everyone in the family, and this can sometimes be pretty discouraging, especially if mum has had breastfeeding challenges too.
But it’s oh so worth it to power through and conquer any breast pumping challenges that crop up because it’s great for mum and it enables Bub to experience all the benefits of drinking breast milk even when direct-latch breastfeeding isn’t on the table. That’s why we created this breast pumping handbook as an ultimate guide to expressing milk — we want to help your baby get all the benefits of breast milk even when you can’t direct-latch breastfeed some or all of the time.
Topics covered in this guide
As this is an ultimate guide to breast pumping, we’ve covered a lot in this post. So, to help you find the information you’re looking for as and when you need it, here’s a table of contents:
- Why you might choose to express breast milk
- Breast pumping concerns
- When to start pumping and storing milk
- How to express breast milk
- Breast pump buying guide
- Breast pumping tips to help you express milk faster, easier, better
- Commonly asked breast pumping questions
- Breast pumping supplies checklist
- Getting breast pumping support
- Additional reading
And just before you dive into your topic of choice, please note that the information included in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical advice.
Also, the references for this blog post are provided as in-text links for your convenience.
Why you might choose to express breast milk
Exclusively direct-latch breastfeeding is the biologically normal way to feed a baby. That’s how we humans are built to do things. But not all mums want to and/or are able to feed their baby that way for any number of emotional and physical reasons Plus, some mums want to direct-latch breastfeed sometimes but not all the time. The important thing is that your baby is fed — as the saying goes, fed is best!
Because there are so many benefits associated with breast milk, you might want you and your baby to be able to experience those benefits even when you’re not direct-latch breastfeeding. And that’s where breast pumping comes in. Once you can successfully express your breast milk and safely store and transport it, the sky’s the limit when it comes to options for feeding your baby breast milk.
With this in mind, you might choose to express breast milk in any of the following situations:
- Separation — you currently direct-latch breastfeed and want to pump so that others can feed your baby breast milk when you can’t be with Bub or you just need a break (including when Bub is starting daycare and/or you’re returning to work)
- Bonding with other caregivers — you direct-latch breastfeed and want your partner and/or other family members to be able to feed Bub with breast milk some of the time
- Sleep deprivation — you’re not getting enough sleep and you want another caregiver to be able to feed your baby for at least some of the night-time feeds
- Top-up feeding — your baby’s doctor has recommended that you give your baby top-up feeds, perhaps because Bub isn’t gaining weight at the expected rate
- Direct-latch breastfeeding difficulties — you and/or your baby have been having trouble direct-latch breastfeeding so are switching to bottle feeding, and you want Bub to drink breast milk whenever possible (this could be as a result of a physiological impediment to direct-latch breastfeeding, such as a tongue-tie, or it might be a psychological impediment, such as an association between breastfeeding and a trauma; or, if your baby’s like Rebecca’s Bub, he or she might have developed an aversion to breastfeeding)
- Personal choice — you don’t want to direct-latch breastfeed some or all of the time
- Premature birth — your baby was born prematurely and as a result, is unable to direct-latch breastfeed at the moment, so you’re pumping so that Bub can still drink your milk and to stimulate your breasts to produce a good supply
- Maintain milk supply — if you have to temporarily stop breastfeeding, you might want to pump so your milk supply doesn’t suffer
- Increase milk supply — you might want to pump after each feed to boost your milk supply
- Milk donation — you might be one of those extra special mothers who choose to express milk in order to donate it to other babies in need
No matter what your reason for breast pumping is, this ultimate guide can help you get off to a great start or overcome any breast pumping challenges you might already be experiencing.
Breast pumping concerns
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to express milk, let’s take a look at some of the concerns you might be feeling. By addressing these first, we hope to help you learn to love breast pumping without being plagued by niggling doubts.
What will others think of me?
It’s great that so many organisations are supporting and promoting breastfeeding. But sometimes we mums can feel a lot of pressure to direct-latch breastfeed even if it’s just not for us or our family. So, if you’re like many mums, you might be worried about what others will think of your decision to express some or all of the time.
When this worry rears its ugly head, go back to basics and remember that ‘fed is best’ and that you’re doing what’s best for you and your baby.
How do I breast pump if I need to go out?
It’s really common for mums to worry about how they’re going to pump when they’re not at home. Maybe you’re planning a girl’s day out or returning to work and you’re not sure how you’re going to express enough milk to feed Bub.
If this is a concern for you, know that plenty of mums breast pump when they’re not at home, particularly when they return to work. It just takes a bit of planning and preparation.
Unless you’re going to express by hand, the most important thing is to choose a pump that’s portable. And even then, it’s a good idea to know how to hand express just in case you need to unexpectedly.
Other things that may help you are below.
Breast pumping away from home — your rights
First things first. You have every right to breast pump in public, just as you have every right to breastfeed in public. The only exception is if it is unsafe to do so (so not in a chemistry lab or in the middle of an active work site for example).
In Australia, your right to breastfeed is protected by the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, which states that it’s illegal to discriminate against a woman in any way because she is breastfeeding or breast pumping. This means, for instance, that you cannot be refused a service because you choose to breastfeed or express your milk. Similarly, you cannot be forced to abide by a workplace condition that disadvantages breastfeeding and breast pumping women.
Some people worry that this law only protects direct-latch breastfeeding mums. But this law absolutely protects mothers who express milk to give to their baby at a later time.
The States and Territories have also implemented legislation that further protects the rights of breastfeeding women.
It’s also worth noting that it may constitute discrimination and/or a breach of work health and safety laws if a workplace does not provide adequate facilities and breaks to enable employees to breastfeed or express milk. The Fair Work Ombudsman can provide advice and assistance if you believe your workplace is not meeting its legal obligations in regard to breastfeeding in the workplace.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a useful page about your legal right to breastfeed should you want further information on this topic.
Breast pumping when returning to work
Breast pumping when returning to work is definitely doable. It takes a bit more planning and investment than ad hoc expressing when you’re on the go, but many mums find they’re able to fit it into their normal work routine with a bit of perseverance and practice.
It’s a big topic though, so we’ve produced a whole article just on breastfeeding and breast pumping when returning to work. You can read it on our blog.
Dealing with embarrassing situations
Being a parent introduces all sorts of new ways to be embarrassed (the embarrassment can even start even before birth). And breast pumping comes with its own set of potentially embarrassing occurrences. Here are some of the most common things that might happen to you when you’re a breast pumping mum and how you can deal with them.
When you spring a leak
Pretty much all breastfeeding or breast pumping mums will experience a leaking breast at least once, but it’s especially common in the first few weeks after your milk comes in and when you’re weaning your baby. When this happens at home it’s not usually an issue (unless you’ve run out of clean tops!) but when it happens away from home, it can be really embarrassing.
The best thing to do if you’re experiencing breast leakage is to always pop a couple of breast pads into your bra. They’ll soak up any milk that leaks and prevent wet spots on your tops. You can buy disposable ones or you can buy or make reusable versions.
If you’re going out for more than a couple of hours, you might want to take some spares in case you leak a lot. And if you’re going out for a whole day, you might also want to take a spare top just in case. A spare top can also come in handy if your baby spits up on you, so I highly recommend it if you’ve got room in your bag or pram.
Rude or insensitive strangers/coworkers
You’re probably aware of highly publicised incidents where mums have been harassed or judged because they were breastfeeding in public. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen to breast pumping mums, though in some respects it can be worse if you’re breast pumping because you may also get unnecessary, awkward or hurtful comments from people who don’t understand why mums express milk.
To help prevent these situations, you may prefer to breast pump in the privacy of a parents’ room in a shopping centre or an empty room at work. If you’ve got a sensitive employer, you may even have access to a dedicated breastfeeding room. But remember that the law supports your right to breast pump in public so don’t ever feel obligated to seek privacy if you don’t want to or it’s not convenient. And that’s an important point to remember if you ever are subjected to rude or insensitive comments.
Here’s some wording you may wish to keep in mind should you ever feel the need to respond to rude or insensitive comments:
I’m breast pumping because breast milk is best for my baby and the law supports my right to do so in public.
Such a simple, non-confrontational response is usually enough to diffuse such situations.
If you’re ever in a situation where you’re subjected to criticism or abuse because you’re breast pumping, you may start to lose confidence. If this does happen, please consider:
- seeking emotional support through your family or GP
- accessing counselling services in your area
- calling the Australian Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 mum 2 mum
If you’re ever threatened verbally or physically please:
- don’t respond to the aggressive behaviour as doing so could escalate the situation and put you in danger
- do contact the police to report the incident when it’s safe to do so
Many mums have heard about nipple confusion and worry that introducing a bottle of expressed milk will result in their baby rejecting their breast. Thankfully, specially designed teats substantially reduce this risk by supporting a baby’s natural breastfeeding latch and suckling motion. You can learn more about preventing nipple confusion on our blog.
When to start pumping and storing milk
Now that we’ve got those concerns out of the way, we can really start getting into the nuts and bolts of how and when to express milk. And the first question you might ask is ‘when should I start pumping and storing milk?’
The short answer is: you can start breast pumping any time after your baby is born. In fact, you can start expressing colostrum before the birth (for instance, some mothers with diabetes may be directed by their doctor to express colostrum just before they’re due to give birth) and sometimes you can even express milk if you haven’t given birth (as in re-lactation and lactation induction). If you are considering breast pumping while pregnant, be sure to consult your medical team first as there are some circumstances in which expressing while pregnant may lead to health or safety concerns.
The long answer is a little more complicated though. Most experts recommend you wait till you have established a breastfeeding routine before pumping. The theory being that allowing Bub to direct-latch breastfeed first will ensure you produce the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs. Of course, if you’re not direct-latch breastfeeding, that advice isn’t very helpful.
The occurrence of certain medical conditions may also prompt your doctor to recommend you start breast pumping at a particular time.
So, a good general rule of thumb is, if you haven’t received specific advice from your doctor, start breast pumping when you’re ready for someone to feed Bub your milk in a bottle or cup. If, however, you’re returning to work or need someone else to regularly feed your baby when you’re not available, then it’s a good idea to start expressing milk and using your chosen feeding method at least three weeks before you’re not going to be available. That way you’ve got time to get used to pumping and Bub has time to come to terms with a different way of feeding.
How to safely store and transport breast milk
The other thing you really need to know before you start breast pumping is how to safely store your breast milk. After all, you don’t want all your effort to be wasted if you express milk and then can’t use it because it goes off or is contaminated. I recommend you print off the below guide and stick it on your fridge or in your breast pumping bag so you’ve always got it handy when you need it.
Breast milk storage times (printable guide)
Now, safely storing and transporting breast milk is about more than just what temperature you store it at and how you thaw it. You also need to ensure you use sterile storage containers and clean hands when you express it. Check out one of our previous blog posts for a full guide to safely storing and transporting breast milk.
How to express breast milk
Now you know how and when to start breast pumping, it’s time to learn how to actually express milk. And there are two options:
- breast pumping by hand
- expressing using a pump
Important steps before pumping
No matter which method you choose, there are a few things you must always do before you start a pumping session:
- Sterilise your collection container and, if you’re expressing using a pump, the parts of the pump that will come into contact with your milk — Milk provides a great environment for harmful bacteria to grow in so you want to reduce the chance that your breast milk might become contaminated at any stage.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water — You wash your hands before preparing food and you should wash your hands before expressing milk to feed your baby for exactly the same reasons.
- Relax — It’ll be much easier to express milk if you’re relaxed.
You might also find it helpful to gently massage your breast before you begin pumping to help stimulate your let down. Similarly, holding or thinking of your baby can help stimulate let down in some mothers.
How breastfeeding and pumping works
Whether you’re breastfeeding, expressing by hand or expressing using a breast pump, there are a few aspects of extracting breast milk that are universally relevant. This is the process:
- Your nipples contain a large number of nerve endings, which makes them quite sensitive. When suction is applied to your nipple, either by your baby sucking or a pump applying suction (and when you massage your breast if you’re expressing by hand), the nerves detect that sensation and signal your breasts to produce a variety of hormones that flow into your bloodstream and trigger some important responses.
- Prolactin, one of these hormones, stimulates your breasts to produce more milk.
- Oxytocin, another of these hormones, stimulates the ‘let-down’ reflex, which releases the milk your breasts have already produced and stored. (Sometimes other cues also cause oxytocin to be released, such as a baby crying – that’s why some women’s breasts leak when they hear a baby crying.) Anxiety can slow this process down so that’s why it’s important to remain calm and relaxed when you’re breastfeeding or pumping. If you’re anxious, your let-down will still occur, it will just take longer. As I noted above, holding, looking at or thinking about your baby can stimulate your let-down reflex. So, if you can’t be near Bub when you’re expressing, you might find it helpful to think about your baby or look at a photo of Bub.
- Your milk can then either be drunk by Bub or collected.
- The milk that your breasts release early during a feed or breast pumping session is lower in fat. This milk is good for quenching your baby’s thirst.
- As a feed or pumping session continues, the fat content of your milk increases. This milk, also called the ‘hindmilk’, is good for satisfying your baby’s hunger. It’s important that you collect the early milk and the hindmilk when breast pumping so that all your baby’s milk needs are met.
The aspects of breast pumping that vary depending on the method you use are detailed below.
How to express milk by hand
Being able to hand-express milk is a useful skill for all breastfeeding and expressing mums to have, especially because hand expressing can help you clear a blocked milk duct if you ever have one. Many experts also recommend that you don’t use a pump until your milk has come in. Here’s how to hand express milk:
- Massage your breast. When expressing by hand, you can’t apply suction to your breast. So instead, you start the process by massaging your breasts with the flat of your hands. When doing this, start close to your chest and work out towards each nipple. To avoid soreness, be careful not to rub or pull your skin.
- Prepare your nipple and position your hand. When you’re ready, gently roll and stretch your nipple between your thumb and index finger. Then position your hand with those fingers at the edge of your areola (the darker area around your nipple); put your thumb above your nipple and your first finger below it so your hand forms a ‘c’ shape.
- Start the pumping action. Once you’re in position, gently press your fingers towards your chest (this moves your fingers towards the back of the milk ducts) and then squeeze your breast, moving your fingers back towards their starting position (this pushes the milk down the ducts towards your nipple). Make sure your skin moves with your fingers — don’t rub your fingers across your skin as that could quickly make your skin sore.
- Repeat. Do this pumping action a few times until you start to see drops of milk appearing on your nipple. Rub these first drops into your nipple in order to further stimulate your let-down and help your milk flow better. Once you’ve done that, continue pumping and begin collecting your milk in your chosen vessel.
- Reposition your hand. As the flow of your milk reduces to just a few drops, move your fingers onto another area around the edge of your areola so you can gather milk from other ducts. It’s a good idea to switch hands regularly, perhaps every time you need to reposition your hand, so that your hand doesn’t get too tired or sore.
- Continue until you’ve collected the milk you need. Depending on your circumstances, you might continue pumping until you can’t extract any more milk from your breast. If you’re going to express from both breasts, you may wish to have a break in between breasts to give your hands a rest, especially if you’re not used to expressing by hand. With practice, many women find they can express both breasts in about half an hour.
You may find it helpful to print out the below illustration to refer to the first few times you hand express. You may also find it useful to watch this video that describes how to express milk by hand.
How to use a manual breast pump
If you want to express breast milk using a manual breast pump, start by assembling the pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once you’re all set up, you can then begin your pumping sessions in the same way as you would if you were expressing by hand as you’ll need to stimulate your let-down reflex by hand before the pump can extract any milk (see the instructions for hand expressing above).
Once your milk is flowing well, you can then position the pump. To do this, position the breast cup over your nipple and areola and press it gently but firmly against your breast.
Once it’s in position, you simply squeeze and release the pump handle rhythmically. Your milk should soon begin to flow into the bottle attached to your pump.
If you experience any pain or discomfort, you might need to adjust the suction level, reducing it until expressing becomes comfortable.
Many mothers like to finish expressing by hand as they find it helps them remove extra drops of the rich hindmilk.
How to use an electric breast pump
If you choose to express using an electric pump, start by assembling your pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can then position the cup over your nipple and press it gently but firmly against your breast. If you’re using a double breast pump, position both cups.
Once the cup/s is/are in position, follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe use. (If you’ve got a Minbie double, electric breast pump, you should have received a manual with your purchase. If not or you’ve misplaced it, get in touch and we’ll happily provide an electronic copy.) Usually, there’ll be one suction cycle designed to stimulate your let-down reflex and then another cycle that’s designed to express your milk. Make sure you’re using the correct cycle at the right time.
If you experience any pain or discomfort, you might need to adjust the suction level, reducing it until expressing becomes comfortable.
Even when using an electric pump, many mothers like to finish expressing by hand to remove extra drops of the rich hindmilk.
Top tips for saving time when pumping
- Be organised — even if you only pump at home, having a dedicated pumping bag is a great way of keeping everything organised so you don’t have to waste time finding accessories and supplies
- Put your pump accessories in the fridge — this may sound strange, but if you’re pumping multiple times a day to produce milk that will be fed to your baby in the very near future, then you can save a massive amount of time by only washing and sterilising the components that come into contact with milk once per day. Once you’ve done this, you can place the components in the fridge in a clean, sterilised container in between each breast pumping session and the residual milk on the components will be kept safe in the same way as your expressed milk is when you store it in the fridge.
- If you direct-latch breastfeed, you can pump and nurse at the same time (pump from one breast while breastfeeding from the other)
- Use a double pump
- Invest in a high-quality hospital-grade pump (they’re faster and more efficient than cheaper pumps and pumping by hand)
- Pump hands-free while you do other things (a hands-free breast pumping bra is so useful for this)
Breast pump buying guide
Regardless of whether you’re interested in buying a manual or electric breast pump, there are a few characteristics you’ll want to look out for. (And yes you should buy a new pump rather than buying a second-hand one as using a second-hand one can expose you to harmful bacteria. The exception is if you buy or hire a hospital-grade pump that’s designed to be used by more than one mum. If you use one of these, you should purchase your own accessories.) A good pump should be:
- Safe to use — no pump should risk damaging your nipples or areolas, nor should a pump cause muscle strain
- Effective — if you find lots of reviews of a specific pump that claim that the pump isn’t actually very good at extracting milk, then that model is unlikely to be worth your while
- Easy to use — if a pump is too hard to use you’ll just end up looking for another one, switching to expressing by hand or giving up on expressing entirely, so make sure the model you choose has good, easy-to-follow instructions
- Good value — this doesn’t mean it needs to be the cheapest model that will do the job but the price of the model you choose should make sense in the context of how much you’ll be using it (more on this below) and the quality and features of the pump should make it a worthwhile investment (there’s no point buying the cheapest model if its lack of power makes it next to useless, but at the same time, it doesn’t make much sense to buy a top-of-the-line, full-featured model if you’re only expressing enough milk to store for emergencies)
- Efficient — you want a pump that will quickly extract the maximum amount of milk so you’re not wasting precious time waiting unnecessarily
- Quiet — if you’re pumping when Bub is asleep, a quiet model is critical and if you’re pumping in public, at work, for example, you’ll feel much more comfortable if you’ve got a quiet pump (trust me, having a loud pump can be really embarrassing if you’re pumping at work!)
- A closed system — closed systems prevent milk from backing up into the pump parts or tubing (when this happens in an open system it means a lot of extra cleaning or even replacing parts!)
If you’re interested in buying or hiring an electric breast pump, it’s also a good idea to choose a model that has adjustable suction. If the suction is too high, it won’t extract any extra milk, pumping may be painful and it could cause damage to your breast. Plus, adjustable suction enables you to slowly increase the suction throughout a pumping session as needed.
Also, pay careful attention to the breast cup that comes with each pump, as using a cup that doesn’t fit well can make pumping practically impossible and can even damage your nipples. There are two types of cup available:
- Rigid, plastic breast cup. If you choose a pump with a plastic breast cup, it’s important that the pump either comes with multiple cup sizes or that additional cups can be purchased separately. This will give you the greatest chance of being able to find a breast cup that matches the size of your nipples and areola when you purchase your pump and later on if the size of your nipples and/or areola changes.
- Flexible, silicone breast cup. Some pumps come with a one-size-fits-all flexible cup that can stretch and mould to fit any nipple and areola size and shape. These cups will fit the shape of your nipple and areola from the beginning of your breast pumping journey to the end and they’re often more comfortable than rigid, plastic breast cups. Minbie’s double, electric breast pump features a soft, silicone inner flange, which is attached to the outer rim of a harder, plastic shield.
If you’ve got your heart set on an electric breast pump, I highly recommend you choose one that has a battery or has the option of running off mains power or a battery. You don’t want to buy a mains-powered breast pump only to find that you can’t plug it in when you sit down to express in your favourite spot.
If you’re wondering how the Minbie hospital grade double breast pump fits into this, it has all these features and more.
Types of breast pumps
There are four main types of breast pump:
- manual breast pumps
- battery-operated breast pumps
- mains-powered electric pumps (there are budget, mid-range and top-of-the-line options and you can choose between a single or double pump)
- hospital-grade electric pumps (these can be either single or double pumps)
How to choose the best breast pump for your needs
Choosing the right breast pump for you mostly depends on how often you’ll be pumping and for how long. Here’s a good rule of thumb:
Mums that are exclusively breast pumping or expressing milk multiple times a day for at least a few months: If this is you, I highly recommend you invest in a hospital-grade, double electric breast pump as this is going to provide you with the greatest value for your investment. These pumps are the most expensive option but they’re fast, effective and can drain both breasts at the same time. This kind of pump is able to express the greatest volume of milk and it will really save you time. And trust me, if you’re exclusively or frequently breast pumping, then you’ll want to do everything you can to save precious time throughout your day. Minbie’s breast pump is a double, hospital-grade pump.
Mums that pump regularly for a shorter period of time: If you’re going to pump regularly but only for a couple of months, you’ll probably be best served with a top-of-the-line, mains-powered electric breast pump. These are a step down from a hospital grade pump but they can still pump quickly. A double pump will be more expensive but you may find the time saving worth it. If saving time is your top priority though, then I’d stick with a double hospital-grade pump.
Mums that pump once a day: If you’re only pumping once a day, especially if it’s not going to be for a prolonged period of time, you might prefer a mid-range electric pump. These take longer to extract milk and aren’t as efficient but this often isn’t a problem if you’re only pumping once a day. If you’re planning on pumping once a day for an extended period of time (especially if you’re going to pump for more than 12 months) or you’re planning on pumping with more than one child, then you might find a more expensive pump is worth it.
Mums that pump occasionally: If you only need a pump for emergencies or the occasional separation from your baby then you’ll probably prefer to either purchase a manual pump or stick with hand-pumping. Some mums are tempted to purchase a budget electric pump, but most mums who do so end up getting frustrated by the lack of power offered by such models.
Mums that need an extra-quiet pump: If you need an extra-quiet pump for any reason, go with a manual pump as these are generally the quietest. They can be really tiring and time-consuming though, so if you need something quiet but need to pump regularly, a hospital-grade electric pump is the next-quietest option and is probably preferable because the time-saving benefits will likely outweigh any slight increase in volume.
Mums that need to pump when there’s no access to mains power: If you know you’re going to need to regularly express milk when you don’t have access to mains power (perhaps the secluded spot at work doesn’t have a power point or you go camping regularly) then get either a manual pump or a battery-powered electric pump. If you’re using a pump while camping, you’ll definitely want a portable pump.
Mums that regularly pump away from home: If you regularly pump away from home, at work for instance, then make sure whichever pump you choose is portable. Trust me, if you need to lug your pump back and forth from work over a few months, you do not want a big, bulky or heavy model that’s a pain to move.
Also, don’t be afraid to invest in a couple of breast pumps if you need to for different situations. Many mums purchase a manual pump and an electronic pump.
Breast pumping tips to help you express milk faster, easier, better
What is the best time of day for breast pumping?
The short answer is ‘whenever you need to’. However, most mums find they can express the most milk in the morning (because Bub feeds less at night and prolactin levels are highest between midnight and 4 am so breasts are fullest in the morning).
Choose a comfortable breast cup
The breast cup is the conical breast pumping accessory that fits over your nipple and areola. Make sure the cup that comes with your pump is comfortable or you’ll hate every minute of each pumping session.
How do you know whether the cup will be comfortable? The key is to look for a cup that works in a similar way to the way your baby would latch if you were direct-latch breastfeeding.
When babies latch on and start suckling, they mould and stretch Mum’s nipple and areola with their mouth. That means silicon breast cups are generally more comfortable than rigid plastic cups because they’re flexible and mould to the skin to some extent. (Minbie’s breast pump cups are like this if you’re wondering.)
As an added bonus, the flexibility of silicone breast cups makes it easier to create suction in the right area of the breast when pumping.
If you ever experience a pinching pain when pumping, the discomfort may be caused by your skin sticking to the side of the breast cup and then being pulled when your pump applies suction. Flexible cups reduce the incidence of this because they can move with the suction as well, to some extent. Or a little medical-grade lanolin, a baby-safe balm or some good old olive oil are all safe ways to stop your skin from sticking to the cup be it silicone, plastic or some other material.
Get the right breast cup size
If your pump’s breast cup is the wrong size, it can cause pain and damage during pumping and it can also make it really hard to express milk. So it’s well worth making sure you get the right size (or choose a pump that has a flexible, silicone breast cup).
You’ll also want to check your sizing periodically as your nipple and areola can change size and shape over time.
Commonly asked breast pumping questions
How often should I pump?
It depends on how old your baby is and how much milk he or she is drinking, but as a general guide, aim to either direct-latch breastfeed or express at least every 3-4 hours during the day and every 5-6 hours during the night. You’ll need to express at least once overnight during the first few months to avoid engorged breasts as engorged breasts can be uncomfortable and both difficult to express from and hard to latch on to if Bub is direct-latch breastfeeding some of the time.
If you’re pumping for a newborn, you may need to pump more often than that. As an example, both my babies fed every hour for weeks after birth!
How do I pump to get hindmilk?
In the ‘How breastfeeding and pumping works’ section of this guide I mentioned that the fat content of your breastmilk will vary. Early during a feed or breast pumping session, breastmilk is lower in fat and the fat content increases as a feed progresses. We’re designed to produce milk this way so we can address our baby’s thirst and hunger as needed.
When a direct-latch breastfed baby is thirsty, Bub will latch onto a breast and have a quick drink to quench that thirst. The initial ‘foremilk’ is lower in fat so that Bub doesn’t have to load up on energy-dense fat if he or she isn’t hungry. But when a baby is hungry, Bub will breastfeed for much longer in an effort to get more of that filling fat, and this signals the body to increase the fat content of the milk to match that need. We call the fattier milk right at the end of a feed, ‘hindmilk’.
The fat content of breastmilk also tends to vary throughout the day. In the morning, breastmilk is usually less fatty, and it generally gets fattier later in the day.
Exclusively direct-latch breastfeeding mums often only hear the term hindmilk when someone is concerned that their baby isn’t putting on enough weight. In these circumstances, a mother will often be told to make sure that her baby is getting enough hindmilk before she switches breasts. In truth, a direct-latch breastfed baby is only likely to have trouble getting the right balance of foremilk and hindmilk if Mum is producing too much milk or if she’s feeding Bub on a timed schedule rather than ‘on demand’ whenever Bub needs a feed.
But what happens when you’re expressing breastmilk? Do you have to worry about pumping hindmilk?
In general, if you pump until no more milk is released from your breast, you will collect both foremilk and hindmilk. If your baby is healthy and gaining weight at the expected rate, that’s all you need to do.
Some mums who use a breast pump, like to finish each pumping session by hand expressing as this can extract a little more hindmilk than what a pump can extract. If you’re particularly worried about expressing hindmilk, then you too may find that hand pumping at the end of every breast pumping session is the right choice for you and your baby.
It’s important that you don’t stop pumping when milk is still flowing from your breast. If you do that frequently or every time you express milk, you won’t end up collecting the hindmilk and your baby may struggle to get enough fat. It could also decrease your milk supply as it will be a signal to your body that your baby doesn’t need all the milk you’re producing.
If your baby needs more fat for any reason, you can pump more frequently to increase your milk supply, separate your foremilk and hindmilk and then feed your baby more of the fattier hindmilk. If you are already producing more milk than your baby needs, you may also need to separate out your fore- and hindmilk.
Be sure to check with your baby’s medical team before feeding your baby more or only hindmilk. This is especially important because it’s possible for a baby to gain too much weight and become overweight or obese, which can lead to lots of health problems later in life.
How to separate your foremilk and hindmilk
Here’s how to separate your breastmilk:
- Get yourself set up for your pumping session but have a few extra breastmilk storage containers ready. Make sure you can see a clock.
- Start breast pumping.
- Once your milk starts to flow steadily, check the time.
- After two minutes, stop pumping (turn off your pump if you’re using one) and label the milk you’ve collected so far as ‘foremilk’. If you’ve previously established a breast pumping routine, the amount of milk you collect during this step should be about one-third of the amount that you usually collect during a pumping session.
- Set up your next breastmilk storage container and start pumping again.
- Keep pumping until your milk stops flowing and then for an extra two minutes.
- Label the milk you collect during these steps as ‘hindmilk’.
If you’re direct-latch breastfeeding some of the time, you can also pump at the end of a breastfeed and collect any milk that Bub hasn’t drunk. Label this milk as hindmilk and you can feed it to Bub when he or she is extra hungry.
My baby feeds every 1-2 hours. When should I pump so that I don’t affect my baby’s feeds but I still express enough milk to store?
Both my children fed every 1-2 hours during the day for a long time (sometimes even more frequently than that). And at some points, they fed every 1-2 hours at night too (in fact my nearly one-year-old just went through another phase of feeding every 1-2 hours at night and has only just switched back to feeding every 3-4 hours). So I completely understand your concern.
Thankfully, it’s absolutely possible to express breastmilk in between frequent feeds in order to store milk for another time.
While many breastfeeding and pumping mums will wait at least an hour after a breastfeed for their breasts to refill before they start a pumping session, you won’t have that luxury. Instead, you’ve got a couple of options:
- If Bub doesn’t completely drain your breasts, you can pump immediately after your baby finishes direct-latch breastfeeding. The milk you collect will be fattier hindmilk, so even though it won’t seem like much milk, it’ll still help fill Bub up when you feed it to him or her.
- Alternatively, you can pump so that you finish your pumping session about halfway between your baby’s breastfeeds (at which point your breasts will have begun to refill). Your breasts may not have completely filled, but they’ll have produced a decent amount of milk. And then they’ll have time to produce a bit more by the time Bub is ready to direct-latch breastfeed again.
So if your baby reliably feeds every two hours, you can probably start pumping about 40 mins after your baby finishes breastfeeding.
If Bub’s feeds vary unpredictably, start pumping about 15 minutes after Bub finishes a breastfeed so you don’t accidentally express all your milk right before Bub gets thirsty or hungry. If Bub’s ready for a feed within the hour, you might need to switch breasts an extra time during that feed — at least until your body adjusts to pumping in between feeds.
If you’re expressing milk for short-term storage (so someone else can feed your baby during the night or the next day), and Bub is going to drink it instead of a direct-latch feed, pumping this way shouldn’t increase your milk supply overall though it will affect your milk production pattern.
If, however, you’re pumping to build up a stock of breastmilk or so you’ve got extra breastmilk to give as top-up feeds, both methods will result in you producing an increased amount of breastmilk. As such, when this routine is no longer necessary, if you stop pumping or direct-latch feeding abruptly, you may find your breasts get a little sore until your body adjusts to your baby’s reduced demand for milk.
To combat this, don’t stop pumping/breastfeeding all at once. Instead, either slowly reduce the length of your pumping sessions over a few days so your supply decreases gradually. Or stop breastfeeding and temporarily increase the number of pumping sessions to compensate. Then gradually reduce the number and length of pumping sessions until you’re only expressing the amount of milk you need.
How can I produce more milk?
So many mums struggle to build and maintain the right supply for their baby. If you’re finding your milk supply isn’t matching your baby’s appetite and Bub isn’t gaining weight at the recommended rate, here are some things that may help:
- Express regularly. The more often you pump, the more milk your body will produce. If you’re pumping every four hours (as an example) and your baby needs more milk, try pumping every three hours. Just make sure you allow time for your body to adjust to the new routine before you pump even more frequently or you might find yourself pumping every hour when you don’t need to.
- Express at least once between midnight and 4 am as your prolactin levels will be highest during that period and expressing when prolactin is highest will help you build a better milk supply.
- Pump first thing in the morning. Because your prolactin levels are highest between midnight and 4 am, you’ll usually have the most milk first thing in the morning. (Not expressing or breastfeeding as much overnight also contributes to that too.) By pumping first thing in the morning, you’ll be able to collect a good volume of milk and you’ll empty your breasts early in the day so they can start filling up sooner.
- Look after yourself. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy food as and when you need to eat (don’t put off eating until you’re starving). Making milk is energy intensive so make sure your body has the fuel it needs to do the job well.
- Lean forward when pumping. This isn’t going to make you produce more milk but leaning forward while pumping can allow gravity to give your pumping sessions a helping hand so you can extract more of the milk you do produce.
Breast pumping supplies checklist
If you’re a breast pumping mum, you’ll need the following essentials (in addition to your pump and its accessories if you’re using one):
- breastfeeding bras or hands-free breast pumping bras (the latter are really great because you can get other things done while you’re using an electric pump)
- milk collection bags and bottles — I recommend bottles if you’re bottle feeding because then you don’t have to spend time transferring stored milk into your baby’s feeding bottle; but if you’re storing a lot of milk, you may prefer bags because they save freezer space (note that the thinner material used in freezer bags allows milk to cool and warm more quickly and this can help preserve breast milk nutrients)
- Labels and a pen or pencil — you should always label milk storage containers with both the date (so you know how long you can safely store it) and the time of day when it was expressed (the milk you express at night contains sleep-inducing nucleotides and more melatonin, which helps your baby sleep and learn to sleep longer at night than during the day, so it’s a good idea to match milk you expressed at night with night feeds and milk you expressed during the day with day feeds)
- a good supply of quality, anti-colic, anti-reflux feeding bottles and teats that match your baby’s feeding rate
- bottle lids — get plenty of spares because there’s nothing worse than expressing a bunch of milk and then not being able to either store it with a lid or transport it without spilling it
- cleaning supplies — I recommend a natural bottle and teat cleaning solution
- sterilisation supplies — perhaps an electronic steriliser or sterilisation solution
- an insulated cooler bag — if you ever need to transport your milk you’ll need a bag to keep it cool so it stays safe for your baby
- a photo of your baby — this is great for stimulating your letdown if you can’t be near your baby when pumping
- a water bottle and possibly snacks — you need to stay hydrated when breast pumping and your pumping sessions may be the only times you stop and have an opportunity to snack!
- entertainment — breast pumping takes a lot of time if you’re doing it regularly, so there’s no point being bored
- hand sanitiser — it’s great to have some of this on hand in case you need to pump and there’s no soap to wash your hands with (or you sneeze halfway through a session)
- breast pads — I recommend you always have a couple on hand just in case of leakage
- nipple cream — at the risk of packing for every conceivable outcome, I also recommend keeping a small tube (or even a sample sachet) of nipple cream in your pumping bag just in case you develop any soreness (next month marks 2.5 years of non-stop breastfeeding and I had to dig out the nipple cream last week because my youngest bit me which caused breastfeeding and pumping to hurt for days afterwards — the cream really helped!)
Getting breast pumping support
If you need additional help to enable you to successfully and consistently express your breast milk, there are a number of places you can turn to for help:
- the midwives from the hospital where you gave birth (if you gave birth in a hospital)
- a maternal and child health nurse
- a lactation consultant – this is a professional who specialises in helping mothers with breastfeeding
- your GP or obstetrician
- a breastfeeding or lactation association in your area if there is one
- the Australian Breastfeeding Association
- chat with our team
I really hope you found this post useful (if you’re still unsure about anything, let me know in the comments). But even if you did, you’ll probably be looking for other information at some point as well. So to help you on your quest for such knowledge, I’ve combined a list of other resources that you might find useful:
If you’re reading this guide, then you’ll almost certainly need to know about bottle feeding, and so the following resources on our blog may be of interest:
- Tips for transitioning Bub from breast to bottle feeding
- More tips to transition from breast to bottle
- Bottle-feeding for new Dads
- Bottle feeding successfully as a family
- Bottle and breastfeeding myths and truths
- Baby refusing bottle is a cause for anxiety for many parents… what to do
If you’re ‘mix-feeding’ your baby (feeding Bub formula and breast milk) or planning to mix-feed Bub, you might be interested in our blog post on how to safely prepare baby formula.
Many families also find the following health-related articles useful:
- Baby burping: why, when and how
- Colic in babies — what it is, why it happens
- Baby reflux — what it is and what to do about it
Minbie’s awesome new hospital-grade, double breast pump
If you’re curious about Minbie’s new breast pump, check out this video of new mum, Rebecca, talking about her experiences with the new pump.
This is an example of an ‘ultimate guide’ blog post. It solves a category of problems for prospects, leads and customers and demonstrates the brand’s authority on the topic.
- Content type: cornerstone content, evergreen content
- Word count: 8,900 words
- Audience type: B2C
- Industry: Parenting, baby products
Complex blog post
4 Top ways to sterilize baby bottles to keep your little one safe and prolong the life of your bottles
As parents, our highest priorities are keeping our children safe and healthy and sterilizing baby bottles is one key way we can protect our little ones.
We’re all also aware of the added expenses that arise when we ‘start a family’. So, when we invest in tools, like baby bottles, that will help us care for our children, we want them to last a long time. That’s why it’s important to not only sterilize baby bottles, but to also choose the best sterilization method for the bottles we have chosen.
In this article, we’ll examine the 4 top ways of sterilizing baby bottles and help you choose a method that will also prolong the life of your bottles.
Why sterilization is important
I’ve said that sterilizing baby bottles is a key way of keeping babies safe but you may be wondering why it helps. Indeed, your mother and grandmother most likely used boiling water to sterilize baby bottles (if they used them) but nowadays, some doctors are saying that this is no longer necessary as our drinking water is so much safer. So, is it really necessary?
It is true that many parents and some pediatricians have become less concerned about sterilizing baby bottles as well as the water that is used to make up baby formula. However, many are rethinking this reasoning due to contaminated city water supplies in some areas.
As such, sterilizing baby bottles and teats is still widely regarded as important for protecting babies from bacteria, viruses, parasites and other pathogens that can make babies sick. Sterilizing your baby’s bottles may help protect Bub from illnesses such as thrush, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Babies need to be cared for in this way because their immune systems are under-developed. For instance, a 12-month-old still only has 15-17% of an adult level of the IgA immunoglobulin, which is important for fighting the bacteria that causes gastro.
Now, I can hear you thinking that sterilization must be pointless once Bub starts putting everything in his/her mouth but this isn’t the case. You see, milk is a good material for growing some of the nastiest pathogens so unsterilized bottles have the potential to make your baby very sick.
Note that cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing are different processes. Cleaning removes foreign particles like formula, milk and dirt. Disinfecting destroys pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms and removes most organisms from the surface of an item. Only sterilization eliminates all forms of life including ‘transmissible agents’ such as spores.
When to sterilize baby bottles
Baby bottles should be sterilized every time they’re used, ideally directly before they are filled with formula, expressed breast milk or any other liquid. You can, however, sterilize them a little in advance if required; the exact length of time depends on the sterilization method.
The National Health Service (NHS) advises caregivers to sterilize all baby feeding equipment until Bub is at least 12 months old.
What you need to sterilize
All your baby’s feeding equipment should be sterilized. This includes bottles and all their components (such as collars), teats, lids, seals and any travel containers (when you’re going to use them). If you express breast milk, you also need to sterilize the components of your breast pump (follow the manufacturer’s directions about which components need to be sterilized and for advice on how to carry out the process). Pacifiers can be sterilized too.
To make this article easier to read I refer to sterilizing bottles and teats throughout, but I use these terms to represent all of the above items.
There are two main ways to sterilize baby bottles and teats. You can either treat them with a disinfectant that is also capable of sterilizing them or you can heat them. The top 4 methods are described below.
Note that most dishwashers do not get hot enough to sterilize baby feeding equipment thus I don’t discuss it in this article.
Boiling is the most basic method of sterilizing using heat. To sterilize your baby bottles and teats by boiling them, follow these steps:
- Check that your bottles, teats and anything else you wish to sterilize are all able to be boiled safely.
- Put all the items you need to sterilize into a large pot.
- Fill the pot with water until all the items are completely submerged. You also need to make sure there aren’t any air bubbles inside any of the bottles or teats.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Boil the water for 10 minutes.
- Leave the items in the pot until you’re ready to fill them. Or you can store them in a sterilized container in the fridge. When removing your bottles and teats, make sure the water has cooled enough that you won’t burn yourself.
- Repeat this process if you don’t use your bottles and teats within 24 hours of boiling.
- This is the cheapest method of sterilization.
- You do not need any specialized equipment to use this sterilization method.
- Teats tend to degrade faster with this method of sterilization.
- There is a risk you may burn yourself using this method.
All Minbie products can be sterilized by boiling. I recommend using this method at least the first time you sterilize a Minbie bottle and teats.
Cold-sterilisation chemicals work by disinfecting bottle feeding equipment. There are a range of sterilizing chemicals available. Some are ready-made liquids, others are dissolvable powders and some manufacturers sell effervescent tablets. The active agent varies but many products rely on sodium hypochlorite or sodium dichloroisocyanurate for their disinfectant properties. In order for these chemicals to disinfect and sterilize baby bottles and teats, the instructions on the product must be followed to the letter.
To sterilize using one of these products, follow these steps:
- Make up the sterilization solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions (if you’re not using a pre-made product) in a dedicated sterilization container.
- Put the items you wish to sterilize in your chosen container, making sure they’re covered by the sterilization solution and that there aren’t any bubbles trapped anywhere inside your bottles or teats.
- Leave your bottles and teats in the solution for at least the recommended time (usually about 30 mins but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions). Whatever container you choose to use for this process, make sure you have a plunger or floating cover that you can use to keep your bottles and teats completely submerged under the liquid for the entire time.
- Leave your sterilized items in the solution until you need to use them, provided you don’t leave them in there for longer than 24 hours. After 24 hours, you need to replace the sterilization solution.
You should wash the container you use to sterilize your bottles with warm soapy water before filling it with each batch of fresh sterilization solution. Don’t store cold-serialization liquid in a metal container otherwise, the chemicals will slowly eat away at the metal.
- Once you’ve made up a sterilization solution, you can add and remove items throughout the day for as long as the solution remains effective (this is usually 24 hours but refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you’re using).
- This method of sterilization can be used when you’re out and about and don’t have access to the equipment needed for other sterilization methods.
- This method of sterilization shouldn’t cause your bottles and teats to degrade more quickly provided you only leave them in the sterilization solution for the minimum amount of time required for successful sterilization.
- Not all baby bottles are compatible with the chemicals in these products.
- Your baby may be sensitive to one or more of the ingredients in these products.
- These products have a use-by date.
- It can be more difficult to use this sterilization method properly (for instance these products only work if the chemicals are used in the right concentration so if you’re not using a pre-mixed solution you need to be able to accurately measure the water you use to prepare them).
- Leaving your baby bottles and teats in cold-sterilization chemicals for extended periods of time may cause them to degrade more rapidly than other sterilization methods.
This sterilization method can be used on Minbie teats and plastic bottles (and associated parts). You must not put glass Minbie bottles in cold-sterilization chemicals.
Microwave sterilization uses steam (heat) to sterilize baby bottles and teats. You’ll get the best results if you purchase a sterilization unit that is designed to be used to sterilize baby bottles in a microwave.
To use these sterilizers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Be especially careful that you use the correct power setting on your microwave. If you don’t, you may melt your baby bottles and teats. You should also ensure you position all bottles and teats with the openings facing downwards in the sterilizer. If you’re not using the sterilized items immediately, you can store them in the sterilizing unit provided you leave it sealed but consult the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how long you can do this for.
Never put your baby feeding equipment directly into the microwave to sterilize it; not only will it not effectively sterilize your bottles and teats, but it will likely damage them as well. You should also ensure you never microwave metal items inside a microwave sterilizer.
- Sterilization is accomplished quickly and easily using this method.
- Microwave steamers are usually fairly inexpensive.
- This method doesn’t degrade feeding equipment as quickly as boiling does.
- Not all baby feeding equipment, including anything metal, can be microwaved.
- You need to be careful to avoid being burned when using this method.
- Microwave sterilizers can be bulky.
This sterilization method can be used on Minbie teats and bottles.
Electric sterilizers make sterilizing baby bottles and teats very easy as they automate most of the process. Like microwave sterilization, they use steam to kill microorganisms.
To use an electric sterilizer, put your clean baby bottles and teats into the unit and then add clean water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then simply switch the unit on and it should automatically turn off when it’s done its job. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how long sterilized items can be left in the unopened unit before they need to be re-sterilized.
- This sterilization method is very simple to use.
- This method may be more effective than boiling or microwave sterilizing because there is less room for human error.
- This sterilization method doesn’t cause bottles and teats to degrade as quickly as boiling does.
- Electric sterilizers can be expensive.
- Electric sterilizers can be very bulky.
This sterilization method can be used on Minbie teats and bottles.
Things to remember
Sterilizing baby bottles and teats is only effective if every component of the bottle (teats, collars, the bottle itself) as well as everything that comes into contact with the bottle (your hands and any bottle lids or seals that might be used to mix formula) are clean. So be sure to sterilize any utensils you might use to make up formula. And be sure to always wash your hands thoroughly before you touch sterilized bottles and teats.
You’ll find it easier to clean baby feeding equipment if you clean it in hot, soapy water immediately after a feed. Minbie bottles and teats are not dishwasher-safe. For bottles and teats that are dishwasher safe, you can usually only wash them in the top rack of the dishwasher.
You should rinse baby bottles and teats in clean water after washing them to remove any residual soap. You should also allow them to completely dry before storing them to prevent the growth of mold and other pathogens. Don’t rinse them after sterilization as this may re-introduce pathogens.
Dispose of any bottles or teats that are cracked, chipped, torn or damaged in any way. This will help to prevent injuries and eliminate sneaky places that pathogens can hide within.
Do not put your Minbie baby bottles or teats in the oven. Don’t put other plastic bottles or teats in the oven.
If you have bottles or teats that contain BPA, it’s best to avoid sterilizing with heat, especially using the boiling method (which exposes them to heat for the longest amount of time), as this may cause the potentially harmful BPA to leach more rapidly. All Minbie products are BPA-free.
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© Compliance Council
Benefits of implementing ISO 9001
What are the main keys to business success? Many, of course, vary from industry to industry and according to the size of each business but there are a few commonalities: efficiency, customer satisfaction, credibility, employee engagement, continuous improvement and strong decision making. There are a variety of ways to achieve good results in each of these areas but few options can provide all of these benefits. One way to improve each of these aspects of your business as well as realise a host of other benefits is to implement ISO 9001.
If this sounds like gibberish, don’t worry. By the time you’ve read this article, you’ll have a basic understanding of what ISO 9001 is and how it can help your business.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is an international standard that governs quality management systems. The most recent update was released in 2015 and is referred to as ISO 9001:2015.
What is a quality management system?
A quality management system or QMS refers to all the procedures and policies that govern how a business produces and delivers its products and/or services.
How does ISO 9001 impact on QMSs?
ISO 9001 is designed to ensure that all the elements of a QMS are strictly controlled in a consistent manner so that the resultant products and services meet a minimum level of quality.
What are the benefits of implementing ISO 9001 in your business?
Ultimately, implementing ISO 9001 can help you to deliver products and/or services that consistently meet your minimum level of quality provided that quality level is physically attainable by your business. It does this by ensuring that your processes are consistent and reproducible. If you implement ISO 9001 in your business you can also expect the below additional benefits.
Improved efficiency and reduced costs
When every aspect of your business is standardised and properly recorded, everyday processes will run more smoothly, duplication will be removed and decision making will be vastly simplified. This means everything you currently do you will be able to accomplish more quickly, cheaply and efficiently.
Improved customer satisfaction
When you meet your customers’ needs more quickly with dependable and consistent products and services, your customers will be much happier.
There’s nothing like a certification to instantly improve a business’s credibility. When you achieve ISO 9001 certification, external stakeholders, clients and customers, domestically and internationally, will know that your business operates at the highest level and will trust you and your products/services more.
Businesses that aren’t ISO 9001 certified are increasingly in the minority in Australia so until you achieve compliance you will be considered sub-standard by those in the know. Furthermore, some customers and clients will not work with businesses that aren’t ISO 9001 certified.
Improved employee engagement
Employees are happier and more engaged when they are included in decisions and processes that are designed to improve a business. They’re also often best-placed to identify areas for improvement and test the resultant changes. When you use ISO 9001 as a framework for improvements and get your employees involved, they will know they’re contributing to a best-practice process and will be even more engaged and enthusiastic.
Continuous improvement is actually one of the quality management principles of which ISO 9001 is comprised. By implementing ISO 9001 you will be committing to continuous improvement and of course, this will lead to further improvements in the areas identified above.
Strong decision-making processes
Another of the quality management principles inherent in ISO 9001 is the need for evidence-based decision-making processes. By implementing ISO 9001 you will be eliminating any reliance on intuition and whim when it comes to decision making.
Example of how ISO 9001 could help your business
One inclusion in ISO 9001 is the ‘context of the organisation’. Being aware of issues that may affect your business’s operations is key to being able to respond to changes that may occur. A perfect example is a change in government legislation. Does your business operate within one or more pieces of legislation? If so, becoming ISO 9001 compliant could help you identify what parts of your business would be affected by a change to that legislation and then help you more quickly adapt to any changes if they occur.
Steps to ISO 9001 certification
If you decide to implement ISO 9001 in your business, a good place to start would be to get a copy of the standard. You should then assess where your business is at and what changes you need to make to become compliant. Once you’ve done that you can start preparing QMS documents and train employees in the correct use of the system. Once ISO 9001 has been implemented you can then seek formal certification if you desire.
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Advantages and disadvantages of invoice financing
Invoice financing is a quick and easy short-term finance option for businesses that need extra cash to improve their cash flow. To determine whether invoice financing is right for your business, you’ll need an understanding of the pros and cons associated with this form of alternative finance.
The benefits of invoice financing
There are five key benefits associated with invoice financing, which might make it the perfect solution for your business’s cash flow challenges:
- High drawdown
- Ease of use
Here’s a quick rundown of each benefit.
When a business needs cash fast there is no need for the business’s customers to know that their invoices have been sold. As such, businesses using invoice financing have complete control of their relationship with their customers and the process they use for collecting customer payments.
Every invoice financing transaction comes with its own discounting rates and processing fees (which are fully transparent if you use InvoiceInterchange’s services) based on the risk and terms of the transaction. This gives businesses full control over when they want to obtain financing, what the terms will be and what the price will be. This makes invoice financing incredibly popular with SMEs.
Obtaining a traditional loan. requires filling in a lot of paperwork and approval can take a long time. Invoice financing provides a cash advance in as little as one day after an invoice has been loaded into the system.
4. High drawdown
Invoice financing usually offers a higher drawdown than more traditional financing options like an overdraft, a credit card loan or bank loan.
5. Ease of use
Invoice financing is one of the easiest ways businesses, especially small businesses, can improve their cash flow. Accessing funds through invoice financing is as simples as uploading an invoice and waiting for an investor to purchase it. Once the trade closes, funds can be advanced in as little as four hours.
The disadvantages associated with invoice financing
There are two key disadvantages associated with invoice financing that may mean it’s not right for your business:
- Invoice limitations
Here’s an overview of each disadvantage.
1. Invoice limitations
Invoice financing is pretty flexible but it involves a level of risk to the finance provider given there is a chance a debtor will never pay its outstanding invoice. As a result, most finance providers will only issue an advance against invoices that were issued to creditworthy businesses, which usually means larger businesses. If your business only ever issues invoices to small businesses, you’re unlikely to be able to use invoice financing.
In exchange for providing the invoice financing services, all finance providers will charge a fee. This is usually a percentage of the value of the invoice. This means if you choose to use invoice financing you’ll get earlier access to your money but you won’t receive the full amount.
Some businesses are able to counteract this by passing on the cost to their customers. Businesses that receive a discount for paying their bills early are in a great position because they can use the earlier access to cash tied up in their invoices to pay their bills earlier and receiving the discount from their supplier often compensates them for or even outweighs the cost of using invoice financing.
Is invoice financing right for your business?
Only you can determine whether invoice financing is the right cash flow solution for your business and you may want to seek advice from a qualified financial advisor before making the decision to use invoice financing. But if your business has at least one large customer or client and at least some of your suppliers offer discounts for early bill payment then invoice financing could easily be a great option for your business.
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I can upload your posts directly to your blog. If you’d prefer to upload them yourself, I can provide all the extras required by your blog platform.
And for your piece of mind, I’ve completed a range of relevant certifications that demonstrate my expertise.
My ClickMinded SEO and conversion funnel certifications demonstrate I know how to increase traffic to any website as quickly as possible and then convert that traffic into sales.
My Hubspot Academy certifications deem me ‘fully capable and skilled in’ content marketing and the methodology of inbound marketing. They are evidence that I know and apply best practices when it comes to:
- long-term content planning
- content creation, promotion and analysis
- increasing results through growth marketing
- attracting strangers
- converting visitors
- closing leads
- delighting customers
I have also completed the Prince2 Foundation and Practitioner project management certifications. These demonstrate I have the knowledge and skills required to effectively manage your blog project. Once we agree on the scope of your project, I can manage it from start to finish. All you need to do is approve the content.
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- SEO = Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the process that helps improve the chances of your blog posts being found when your prospects, leads and customers do a Google search for terms that are relevant to your brand and products/services (or when they do a search using another search engine).
- SERPs = Search Engine Results Pages.
- My blog post SEO services will help your blog posts rank better in the SERPs and include provision of 1 SEO title, 1 SEO URL and 1 SEO meta description, and I optimise the body text and all sub-headings for both search engines and readers.
- Multiple versions of the blog post title can be useful if you’re posting your blog post on multiple domains (e.g. the Australian and overseas versions of your website) or you wish to split test (A/B test) the title.
- If none of the above options exactly match your needs, request a quote and I’d be happy to work with you to develop a bespoke package that exactly meets your needs.
- You can choose social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
- Your email body might summarise or tease the blog post or it might include the full text of the blog post. If you tease the blog post, your call-to-action might link to the full blog post. If you include the full blog post in your newsletter, your call-to-action might invite readers to reply to the email, leave a comment on the blog post or enquire about your product/service.
- If you book in for multiple blog posts, You pay a 50% deposit on your first post and I will issue an invoice for the remaining fee for that post when I submit the first draft. Provided you pay on time, I issue the remaining invoices when I submit the first draft of each piece of content. And you have 30 days to pay each invoice. Or, if you prefer, I can bill you on the same day each month.
- If none of the above options exactly match your needs, request a quote and I’d be happy to work with you to develop a bespoke package that exactly meets your needs.
Let’s chat about how I can help you boost your sales and grow your business.