Glenda shares her story of her beautiful breastfeeding journey with her child born with a cleft palate, along with her experience using the Unimom Forte breastpump
"When I first become a mother nearly 7 years ago I didn’t realise the importance I would place on being able to breastfeed. My babies and I certainly didn’t know how much I would do to ensure that my children got the gold standard of milk.
I went into motherhood having a ‘we’ll see how it goes’ attitude to just about every part of being a mum, including breastfeeding, as I had seen many very strong women shocked and surprised by the reality of motherhood and their ideals completely shattered by the reality of the individuality of their baby needs. Luckily for me, my daughter came out knowing exactly what to do and taught me how to feed her. We had an amazing 13ish months breastfeeding. I loved it and found it to be so convenient, cheap and just plain nice.
Second Pregnancy: At the 19 week scan during my second pregnancy we found out baby had a cleft lip, and went on to discover this most likely involved the palate as well. I was so upset when I was told that this would make breastfeeding an impossibility. This was really the only thing that upset me about having a baby with a cleft. Luckily for me I had an amazing midwife who immediately referred me to a lactation consultant who then discussed expressing as a real possibility. My LC was a superstar, who supplied me with a lot of syringes to harvest colostrum and gave me so much practical information about what it would involve.
After Jarvis was born we had a slightly extended stay in hospital to ensure that he could use the specialised bottle and my milk doing what it should, but I am so proud to say that he was exclusively breastfed for around 13 months. This took a lot of work and heaps of support from my husband, as it meant I was on a chair for between 6-8 hrs a day at the start to 3 – 4 hours nearer the end to keep my supply going. During this time I used a couple of pumps – a hospital grade pump from my LC, a reasonably well known brand pump that was for high usage. I also used a few different pumps while in hospital for my son’s surgeries. All of these were great but very expensive.
Third Pregnancy: Then in 2012 I found out I was having another baby (a typical surprise number 3). At the 18 week scan our sonographer identified her second only cleft, the other one was our first son. (Having had a cleft baby meant we had about a 4% chance of having another). She was lovely, and was so sympathetic, then checked carefully for any other midline problems, the first of many scans of this kind. There is no denying that we were a bit upset about having another baby with a cleft. My husband, because he wanted me to have my much wished for local hospital birth and breastfeeding experience, and both of us because we were no longer naive about what a tough year that first year is, with so many appointments, and two surgeries, adding to this now having 2 preschool children to work around, one with extra speech needs, eczema and allergies. At the same time we knew (like all second/third etc time parents) that this year just zooms and we were so blessed to have a healthy, and strong third baby.
Asher (meaning joyful blessing) caused lots of drama, mostly because he was so active and wouldn’t settle into a good position until very late in the pregnancy, even being transverse near the end, but it worked out that, after a very long pregnancy, he knew what he was doing and gave me a birth that I will treasure as an experience you usually only read about, calm, peaceful and empowering. We were excited to met our little person and also to check out his face, which even puzzled experts during scans during the extreme nature of both his lip and palate. Again, as with our first son, as soon as we met him love overwhelmed us and his face, so unique, was not odd but just him. We certainly looked forward to seeing his magical cleft grin, which I cannot describe, but if you ever see a real life one you will understand!
My Breast Pump I knew I wanted to give this baby my milk as well, but didn’t know if I would manage given all the extra demands on my time. Also my previous pump had done its dash and would not have the pull to maintain a decent supply. We are a very middle to low income family and a new pump for my requirements would put a big dent in our savings. Fortunately a friend of mine put a call out on a Facebook site, telling my story and asking for advice on how to access funding. The kindness shown on this site was incredible, and through this, Leah told me about Unimom breast pumps and how they were up to the job and so affordable. To tell you the truth I was quite cynical, but at the price I thought, ‘Oh well, I could buy a couple or three over the time and it will be the same price as a more well known brand pump’.
(Asher trying on the pump for size...he has seen Mum do this ‘a little bit’)
My Unimom Forte: Initially, as last time, I used a pump loaned from an LC, and I also had a pump loaned from a friend of a friend, which established my supply... Then I started using the Forte. My supply was around 2 litres a day and I was able to donate a substantial amount of milk to others, this helped keep my freezer supply fresh.
I pumped for 16 months and probably about 12 – 13 of those months I was using the Unimom Forte breast pump. This is pumping around 4 – 6 hours in a 24 hour period, depending on what I was doing with my supply. I found the machine fantastic. It was as good as or better than all of the very expensive well known brand machines, and believe me I have tried nearly all of them over my time. It is quiet and it looks sweet and strangely enough I found liking your pump helps with supply.
I was probably a bit paranoid about losing supply the second time round, hence my over supply, but I knew as the baby gets older they get busier and it is harder to find the time. I am now so glad I did because my 19 month old is still getting breastmilk from my freezer stash, such a satisfying feeling.
I found my journey with expressing a challenging one, and it involved a lot of logistical juggling. My portable inverter for plugging the pump into the car (initially a buy for the emergency kit) , hands-free bra, and nursing cover, for pumping anywhere and in any company were a must! My husband deserves a medal – as you can imagine, with that much time spent expressing I had less time for housework.
Despite all of the challenges expressing involves I would do it again. We were told to expect our sons to have endless ear infections, but I think they had only had 1 between them, that alone is enough to convince me that it was worth it, but the knowledge that they got the food they were designed to have is an incredible feeling.
My recomendation:I would and do recommend the Unimom Forte breast pump to anyone. My experience with it was fantastic. The only time I needed to contact Express the Best again (apart from buying some nice teas/biscuits etc) was to get the valves that become less efficient over time, but these are so affordable and again much more affordable than the valves in more expensive pumps. I feel that if anyone would wear a pump out it would be me, and this pump did what it needed to for a very long time. I am extremely grateful to my little pump that helped me feed my son the milk designed for him.
1-Bella and Asher – feeding him
UNIMOM FORTE REVIEWS
This pump is the best!
This pump is the best! My son had a stage 5 lip tie so couldn’t breast feed properly. I tried to persevere even gritting thru the pain of him trying to feed. Once my midwife said he wasn’t putting on weight I knew I had to do something. Sat there with a hand pump and got 30mls after an hour. My mum was like ok this is ridiculous, I’m going to the Lactation consultant to get the one I saw there the other day. My mum brought this back for me and we were on a role! Being diabetic it was hard to get a milk supply but once I started pumping and Lactation cookies I was getting 180mls per breast! After a couple of formula feeds (after I found out he wasn’t gaining weight)and giving me time to pump the necessary amount I was able to give my son breast milk until he was 5months old. This machine was a lifesaver and I highly recommended i
Love this pump!
This pump saved me when I needed to go to work I had pre pumped plenty of milk for the freezer. It's simple to use and easy to clean used the switch kit a lot too for when I was away working 10+hour days with no electricity. Will be bringing it out again in a few weeks with baby number two! A++++
Worth the investment
Fantastic pump. Was using avent pump several times daily for 4 1/2 months from when my son was born. I have a rather average supply and found I was getting only 20-40mls combined per pump. When my son wasn't putting on enough weight, I was advised I needed to provide more supplementary expressed bottle feeds in conjunction with breastfeeding but couldn't get enough to do so.
This pump has changed my expressing time and cut it down dramatically. I get atleast 40mls per side minimum, but usually around 60-90mls each side when I pump and am getting enough sometimes for the two bottles a day for my son aswell as one to put in the freezer. It has taken so much stress out of expressing and is allowing me to still continue breastfeeding, rather than having to give up my breastfeeding journey straight away. I wish I had brought this one first.
The only thing I disliked about this pumps were the cushions - it's a shame they don't come with the 27mm flanges.
Hopefully this review helps someone else who needs to pump
I want to let everyone know about these breast pumps, as I carefully researched all the different breast pumps and found next to nothing about these ones online, except for some excellent reviews on an Aussie review site.
I was pumping exclusively with ds2 due to feeding issues (am now pumping 3 times a day and supplementing with formula). I had borrowed a hospital medela lactina and needed to buy something more heavy duty than the manual single pump I had. I was all set to spend $700 on the medela freestyle when I came across a website selling the unimom breast pumps at a fraction of the price. The single electric pump, which converts to a double pump, is only $150 and the hospital grade pump (which I bought) is only $235.
At this price I was a bit concerned about the quality, but decided it was worth the risk, and the aussie reviews helped me to decide.
I have to say that I have not been disappointed, I have had the pump for 2 months now and it has worked well for me (and survived a few knocks from the toddler). It has just as strong a sucking action as the lactina did, doesn't have the ability to slow down and speed up the suction but I find that as long as I start it on light suction it is fine, and for the difference in price (lactina costs around $1200) it is well worth it.
Hopefully this review helps someone else who needs to pump a lot and can't afford to fork out hundreds of dollars for the brand name pumps.
Great support and great product
I used 2 other (companies) breast pumps with my no. 1 that were quite expensive and recommended this pump to a friend who couldn't afford an expensive pump. With my no.2 who was born in January with a cleft palate, I was advised by a lactation consultant to buy a hospital grade pump.Initially I was given a hospital grade pump by Middlemore hospital, but that caused cracked nipples even at it's lowest(suction) setting. Then I bought this was and to my astonishment, this turned out to be the BEST pump I ever bought. When I spoke to Leah about my situation and some other requirements, not only did she help me with finding a great option, she provided the best customer support I've ever received in New Zealand ( of all the products I bought online). The breast pump is great for mums who want to exclusively pump. Of all the pumps I've used, I'm able to express a lot more milk using this one. My daughter is 17 weeks today and I've been using this pump since she was 4 weeks old. And I'm able to pump between 1400-1500 ml every day using this pump. I highly recommend this pump and using the team's services.
.Best pump I've tried. Easy to assemble use clean and transport
pretty much the best investment I made once my baby came along!
This is the Unimom Forte Electric Breast Pump. It is pretty much the best investment I made once my baby came along! Its a double pump so cuts down pumping time by half! Super quiet, hospital grade, has a rhythmic suction and is really comfortable. I actually found it better then the one I tried in hospital. This pump has made my life so much easier. Its easy to use, easy to sterilze.
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- UNIMOM MINUET REVIEWS
Really Love This Pump!
I'm really loving this pump! So quick and easy to use. Small so can cart it around in my pocket if I wanted. And efficient, iv not been able to pump this much in one sitting in a long time!
Highly recommended, discrete and convenient
As a working mum I couldn't be happier with this breast pump. I am able to quickly and discreetly pump in my breaks and on the go. It's very easy to use and i find it faster than my standard breast pump. With a busy lifestyle I love the convenience it offers and it fits in my handbag!
- UNIMOM ALLEGRO REVIEWS
Best portable breast pump
I have the Unimom Forte which is the hospital grade breast pump but I was looking for something smaller as we were going to be travelling. I had the Medela maxi swing but the suction power was pitiful so I was hesitant to buy the Unimom Allegro. However best choice ever. I do recommend buying the 2nd breast shield and bottle kit to make it a double pump to save time. This is only because I exclusively express. The single works just as well. As with all unimom it is easy to clean and easy to operate. The price is really good too.
I find my UNIMOM ALLEGRO ELECTRIC BREAST PUMP easy to put together, use comfortably on my breasts and wash without too many parts each time I use it. I would never change now that I have this make and model!!! Thank you for making my busy family life easier.
After using the Medela Lactina at the hospital, I can say that this pump is at least as good!
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