👋 Hi, we’re Milkdrop.
We are a startup designing better breast pumps and generally working to make pumping more comfortable and motherhood an easier transition for women.
We started when Alex, our founder, had a hard time using breast pumps to feed her daughter.
Alex had nipple pain and discomfort, which isn’t uncommon. Almost 1 in 5 women have nipple pain and from our research, almost 4 in 5 women have discomfort or feel like a cow. That’s a lot of uncomfortable women so our mission is to change that!
Milkdrop makes soft silicone cushions that stretch over your breast pump to make them more comfy and take the edge off nipple pain. You can find out more about them here. We’re also working on redesigning the entire breast pump from scratch. But more on that later.
As we started working with women who were having pain or discomfort pumping, we realised that although there are excellent resources out there to support breastfeeding at the breast, there isn't quite so much available for breastfeeding through pumping. So that’s part of why we decided to write this guide.
Why did we write a guide?
We wrote this guide to help you and others who are looking for reliable advice when it comes to pumping.
We have been busy sifting through the research, anecdotal hacks and resources from around the community. We’ve put it all into one place for you to read as you need it.
We hope it helps to answer your questions. We also hope it gives you encouragement and support from the very first time you consider using a pump, all the way to weaning your child.
We’ve built a community of like-minded people to help support you on your pumping journey - join our facebook group, Comfortably Pumping, or find us on TikTok @milkdrop_pumps or Instagram @milkdrop_pumps.
What we are
Here’s a bit more on our philosophy and goals so you can understand a bit more about why we’re on this mission.
We’re here to support you in your feeding journey, whatever it looks like.
We think there’s enough judgement on parents as it is so the last thing we’re going to do is add to your mental load. We’ve all read a thousand times that the WHO recommends breastfeeding is best for your baby, but unfortunately it can’t always be done for a whole variety of reasons. If you can breastfeed your baby 100% of the time, good on you, that’s great - full support!
But if you can’t feed your baby from the breast or choose not to and want to pump instead or use a mix of feeding then we totally support you! We consider “breast pumping” to be “breastfeeding”, because after all, your baby is being fed breast milk. There are heaps of benefits to having your baby at your breast, even if they’re not feeding there, so you’ll see us talk about that throughout the guide too.
Motherhood is a big transition and if you have issues feeding your baby, the main thing we’d like is for you to be as comfortable as possible. At the end of the day, if you’re on a pump it would be nice if it was a pleasant experience!
We prioritise evidence-based information
Ideally, we’d be able to answer every question there ever was by drawing on some scientific research. Unfortunately, breastfeeding and especially breast pumping is an area of knowledge that is deeply underfunded. Also, scientific research can be slow compared with what happens in practice. On top of that, some things that can help you (like hacks and tips) don’t really lend themselves that well to research anyway.
To make sure the information we include in this guide is sensible, we’ll make our sources clear and ask you to let us know if something doesn’t look right.
Please know that we offer all this information up in a genuine spirit of contribution, help and curiosity, so if you spot a mistake, please be kind. If there’s evidence to support it, we’ll amend it.
We want to be inclusive
There are terms that have been adopted throughout this guide such as women/parents/females/breast which are used because of their biological accuracy. Throughout this guide we will be discussing biology and physiology, specifically biology and physiology relating to the unique characteristics of the female sex.
We have tried to use the most inclusive language possible, whilst also ensuring the information we put forward is accurate and does not cause misrepresentation of sex in scientific data.
What we’re not
We’re not providing medical or lactation advice
This guide is a resource for your information only. Please consider if this is right for you, and consult your doctor, IBCLC or other breastfeeding specialist.
We’re not providing a broader breastfeeding or lactation guide
We’re focusing on pumps and pumping only. Check out our resources section for excellent, broader, breastfeeding resources.
We’re not finished!
We will keep adding to this guide as we hear more questions from you, or find more information. If you feel that we haven’t provided information about your question, please contact us so that we can try to answer it. It may take us a while to publish the answer as we research and chat with experts (clinicians and of course, mothers) but we will post something as soon as we can.
What we mean by “breastfeeding”
There many definitions for the term ‘breastfeeding’. To avoid confusion, here’s what we mean:
Breastfeeding = feeding your baby breast milk either by nursing at the breast or chest or expressing breast milk from pumping
Nursing = nursing at the breast or chest
Pumping = expressing breast milk
Some people (and studies) say that the term ‘breastfeeding’ should include only babies who are exclusively breastfed. i.e. they are only receiving breast milk in their diet, and nothing else. It’s often not clear if breast milk from pumping is included as part of this group. Those studies also don’t count babies who are receiving formula top-ups or who are ‘mixed’-fed or ‘partially breastfeeding’ as being breastfed. These babies are still receiving breast milk (and the benefits of it) as part of their diet.
More recent studies have started to break breastfeeding into two categories: exclusive breastfeeding and non-exclusive (or partial) breastfeeding.
Culturally, there’s a lack of awareness about pumping as a way to provide breast milk to your baby. If you pump, chances are high (anecdotally) that you’ll be asked “why aren’t you breastfeeding?”. This can be frustrating and deflating, because it can feel like you’re doing everything you can (you’re attached to a mechanical pump after all!) to feed breast milk to your baby, so they can drink breast milk. Many women who come to pumping do so because they and their baby are having difficulty latching, or because they’re in pain, or their milk supply doesn’t seem to be growing.
However you feed your baby, we’re here to support your feeding journey with accurate and reliable and (hopefully!) easy to understand info.
When you should seek help
This guide is a resource for your information only.
It shouldn’t replace lactation and medical advice from professionals.
If you’re looking for support from professionals like lactation consultants (IBCLC) or you need to chat with someone right now, head to our resources list.
Being a new parent, you won’t necessarily know what’s normal, so if you or your baby isn’t well, or you’re worried about anything, then you need to see a doctor.
For your baby, this could include:
- Lethargy, unable to wake, sudden decreased activity or sudden disinterest in feeding
- Low or no weight gain after birth
- Dark coloured urine, few bowel movements
- Any other medical issues or concern
For you, this could include:
- Breast pain or extreme discomfort
- Symptoms of infection such as fever, chills, aches
- Persistent bleeding of nipples between pumps
- Mental ill-health
- Any other concern
Next up: learn about Your body