Dirty Medela Pump Membrane

Do you know that you have to clean the membrane of your Medela breast pump? I never knew this until I had finished breastfeeding my children. I had my Medela Pump in style for more than 4 years. I had used it for El, and I used the same one for Gar. I did not know that the cover could be popped open, and that we need to clean the membrane.

I had just read this online, that Medela used the open system, which means that dust, dirt and milk could get into the membrane, and we are supposed to clean it often. I had never cleaned it until today.

medela pump in style

medela pump in style

Immediately, I ran to my room and checked it. To my horror, when I opened it, the back cover was dusty. Even the cover itself was dirty outside. The membrane was a shocking black mess. I could not clean it with a tissue, and the wet tissue was useless. That was probably mould.

Mouldy Breast Pump Membrane

Mouldy Breast Pump Membrane

I had only known that the Medela breast pumps were supposed to be single-user, but I did not know they were actually more for single use. I had only replaced the valve. I did not replace the tubing even though it had yellowed, as the shop I went to was out of stock. We were not supposed to wash the tubings.

I feel quite sick that I had been using this for such a long time.

None of my friends who had recommended me Medela told me I had to clean it. I guess I did not read that in the instruction manual. Thank goodness Gar did not have any major issues. He has been quite healthy so far, except for the episode where he was hospitalised for croup. I am really shocked. Actually, I hope there is no relation between the two, because I was probably stretching the pumps by then.

I am writing this to warn more mothers who are breastfeeding.

Other brands that are closed systems include Ameda, but I thought it was not strong enough.

Gar And His Kiddy Rides

I seldom spend much time with Gar, but since I can work from home today, I decided to spend a little more time with him. In the morning, he woke up pretty early.

At around ten in the morning, I played with him and he took his books to my room. We went through sounds made by alligators, monkeys, and elephants. There was another book with pandas and snow leopards and how we can help to conserve them.

He climbed up to my bed, and took my handphone to play. He likes to play the keyboard app, so he made me play a few notes after he played some. He had his bath already, but when I showed him a picture of him and his brother in the bath tub, he suddenly decided he wanted to bathe again.

Immediately, he started trying to remove his shirt. When that failed, he moved towards the part of the bed where we would remove his clothes to get him ready for the bath. When I refused to do that, he jumped off the bed and went to the bathroom and pulled the plastic bathtub out. The shower area had glass panels, so he just kept trying to push the bathtub in, without realising he had to slant it a little to get it in.

Crying Over His Bathtub

For the next minute, he was screaming ‘Mimi’ and whining, and slamming the bathtub into the glass panels. Finally, he gave up and then found interest in my keys. He played with that for a while, ran out of the room, ran back in, and headed to the wardrobe. He insisted on opening the wardrobe, so I did that and lifted him up. He spotted his yellow Barney polo t-shirt, and yanked the clothes hanger off the hook. He insisted on changing his clothes, so I did. He was happy as a lark at that moment.

In the late afternoon, I felt like taking him out to the playground. He took his penguin bag with him, something he did whenever he could go out. I thought of going to a sand playground in AMK, but when I reached that area, rain started to fall, so I took him to AMK Hub instead.

He spotted the kiddy rides, and we spent half the time at various rides, such as Garfield and Barney. Initially he refused to leave the first ride he was on, but after some time, I was able to coax him to go away.

Then he spotted a Barney ride. He spent some time there. I got him to say ‘bye’ and he was able to understand the concept and he left willingly. When we went up the escalators, he spotted more kiddy rides, and thank goodness he did not kick up a big fuss when a boy was hogging Barney.

barney1When we went to the opposite end, a mother asked whether Gar wanted to share a Hi-5 ride as she was going to put the coin in for her daughter. Gar only wanted to sit in a car with a steering wheel, so we left. That same kid from the Barney ride jumped up the revolving ride. So fast, where did he come from?

After that, we went down to shop and I bought a pair of socks with cars on them for him. There were cute bagpacks for children, and he wanted to touch every single one. He saw a black toy coach and shouted ‘bus’ and was very interested in it, but I did not let him get it.

We walked past a football merchandise shop, and we went in to see. I wanted to get him a small ball, so that he would not fight with his brother over it at my parents’ place. However, there were only Liverpool and Chelsea balls. I would not buy any other club’s footballs. I am already facing the fact that there is a Manchester City ball in my house, courtesy of Gar’s uncle. Oh well.
When we left the shop, Gar spotted the Barney ride at the level above us, and he dragged me there again. This time round, there was nobody at that ride, so I let him play there for a while.

I was getting bored, so I decided to show him his next favourite things – buses. AMK Hub is connected to the bus interchange, so we watched passengers queue up in the lines, and then go out of the air-conditioned mall onto the bus. He kept saying ‘bye bye’ to the passengers, but everyone looked down or straight, and he was too soft anyway. We walked by here twice, so the second time he was here, he just ran straight to the door to watch. I guess I should take him on a bus ride one of these days.
Bus Interchange
We also looked at the MRT trains since the MRT station was just opposite the shopping mall, and the overhead train tracks allowed Gar to spot the trains. Earlier on our way, he was attracted by the trains in the depot too.

Finally, I decided to head home. He refused to be strapped initially. It took me some time to convince him to go back where he could meet his brother. I ought to really spend more time with him before he grows up.

Nursing Gar- A Closed Chapter

I had breastfed Gar for 20 months, and finally weaned him off. As a second time mother, I was more experienced this time. I did not pump milk in the beginning, and simply latched Gar all the time. My milk supply was adequate and so he was fully breastfed.

It is quite sad to know how some mothers could not continue to breastfeed their babies, due to various reasons. However, a happy mother is more important than a breastfed baby, so it is really up to the mothers.

I guess I have been lucky to have a good confinement nanny who helped solved my problem of engorgement in the first days when she used a hot stone to get the blocked ducts cleared. I had learnt that to breastfeed successfully, you need to have enough liquid, and calories, so that you have sufficient output. I had lots of milo, red date drinks, big bowls of soups during meals, Bulur Hitam (black glutinous rice), in the first month. Demand creates supply, so keep latching.

The Gina Ford books had hindered my attempts in the past. I had tried to follow scheduled feeding instead of on demand feeding, and it was quite a miserable time. I was also expressing my milk then, and not getting enough latching.

With Gar, I was much more successful. I had also learnt how to massage and clear the blocked ducts. I had access to a group of mothers who were very pro-breastfeeding too, so we encouraged each other and entertained each other with our funny tales.

My Medela double breastpumps – PISA were great too. I don’t know how some people could hand express successfully into a bottle without getting the milk everywhere, or use manual pump that were so taxing on wrists and arms.

However, there were problems. Gar was extremely sensitive to the food I had. If I had milo at night, tea, brownie, coke or curry, he would be wide awake. He had very regular sleeping hours, but those nights when he was awake, no amount of latching would suffice. With lots of trial and error, I had finally realised those food were bad for him.
We had an improved nursing room in my office, and I was very glad that we had proper places to express. Some friends had to make do with undesirable places.

I would never latch in public, even if many mothers are doing that. I just feel self-conscious, especially with a son that would lift up my shirt and look around. Since I seldom went out, the places I had chosen usually had good nursing rooms. In the past, I had to hide in the car. Some places were really disgusting. I had fed them in toilets before. There was one time I had to squat, and I ended up aching everywhere.

I thought that if I could latch Gar, he would go back to sleep if he wakes up at night. Hence, I delayed nursing. I had a colleague who told me she had nursed for 18 months, so I used that as a guide. Starting from 17 months, I stopped expressing, and slowly cut down. Over a period of 3 months, I had finally stopped.

At first, I thought that Gar would miss it. After all, he would sometimes hold my finger and walk me to the bedroom, get me to carry him up to the bed, and then ask to nurse. However, I gave him bottled milk and he was fine with it. In the first few days, he slept well, and would roll around and make himself sleep. However, there was one occasion when he woke up at 3 and refused to go back to sleep. Then the next day, he kept asking to be nursed, but I ignored him.

It is a little sad, but this chapter has closed, and I can finally drink bubble tea. Unfortunately, I guess I have become caffeine intolerant, and is still wide awake at 1am.

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