My Breastfeeding Story: Using The Symphony Pump While My Baby Was In NICU

Next in our series of real mums’ breastfeeding stories, we hear from Charlotte, who shares her breastfeeding journey with her third baby, Henry. He was quite poorly when he was born, so Charlotte used the Symphony pump while he was in NICU which allowed her to feed her little one expressed milk through his hospital stay and beyond!

Henry was born just before 38 weeks, at 4:30am. He is my third baby, and I had a very straight-forward pregnancy, with a super quick labour and delivery! We had skin-to-skin contact immediately, and I put him to my breast within the first 20 minutes of him being born, but he wouldn’t feed.

Hours passed by but despite multiple attempts, Henry would not latch on. At 11:50am it was found that Henry was quite poorly and needed to go to NICU. Whilst in NICU he was tube fed via an oral gastric tube, then a nasogastric tube. With my previous baby, I found that hand expression didn’t work for me, so I opted straight for the Medela Symphony which they had at the hospital. After 36 hours of pumping 15-30ml every 3 hours, I found my supply building up to where I was able to express 200-300ml every 3 hours.

I built up such a stash that we took a cool bag full of my milk home with us 11 days after Henry was born. At home, we were exclusively breastfeeding, but due to a poor latch I was using the Medela nipple shields to help – but Henry still wasn’t gaining weight.

When he was 4 weeks old, he was diagnosed with posterior tongue tie, which caused him inability to suck effectively. 6 weeks later and after seeing 3 different doctors, we found that Henry’s tongue tie couldn’t be cut, as it was his muscle rather than excess tissue.

Having stopped expressing so much since we’d been back from the hospital, and quickly getting through the milk I’d brought home from the hospital, I decided that we would express and top up with formula. I wanted to keep up with the quantities I had been producing in the hospital, so I hired a Symphony for home. With the help of the pump, I managed to express enough to combi-feed Henry and build up a stash so I could stop pumping and he could still have my milk.

Unfortunately, due to me becoming quite unwell, I had to make the decision to stop pumping just before Henry turned 6 months old. By that time, I had 300oz of milk stored, and he continued to have that milk alongside his formula until her turned 8 months.

It was a difficult journey, but it was so worth it for us. For me to be able to continue providing Henry with the goodness from my milk despite the fact he couldn’t physically breastfeed was amazing. I couldn’t have done it without hiring the Sympony from the hospital, so a big thank you to Medela who made our journey possible.

Thank you to Charlotte, for sharing her breastfeeding experience. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story please email,