Pumping is such an important part of breastfeeding. While many realize it's a thing, some don't understand how essential it can be to a new mother's experience. Regardless of how you express milk, you are meeting a baby's needs with your milk production. An electric breast pump may not be as effective as a baby’s mouth but it’s pretty close. Take a look at the significance of pumping, and be sure to read to the end for a little surprise involving The Dairy Fairy bras and a popular dystopian show!
When you choose to pump, you are offering your child tons of nutrients from your body. Women choose to pump for many different reasons, but here are just a few that make pumping so valuable. Keep in mind that any type of breastfeeding is successful breastfeeding.
Need to return to work: Women will pump when they have to return to the workplace. They are away from the baby and have to pump and store their milk until they get home.
Avoid supplementing with formula: Many women will pump in between nursing sessions to help their bodies make more milk. This allows them to avoid using formula if they can't afford it or want to provide their baby with only breast milk. Mothers with low milk supply may choose to pump for a while to increase their supply. It' might not be long-term, but it's a temporary solution while they figure things out.
Allows other family members to feed the baby: Feeding a baby can be a tasking job. While pumping doesn't take this away, it allows other loved ones to feed and bond with the baby throughout the day. Remember to pump during feeding times to simulate bodily needs.
Gives mom a break when she feels touched out: When mom uses an electric pump to extract her milk, she will have some on hand for caregivers to give to the baby. This allows her to step away from home for a trip to the store, a walk on her own, or an outing with friends. It also allows her to do other household chores while wearing an in-bra pump or portable pump.
Provides milk for adopted babies: Some women pump to help parents of adopted children. Breastmilk is a nutritious substance that can be given to any baby.
Helps premature or sick babies: Some babies aren't able to nurse properly when they are too small or sick. Using a pump system allows mothers to breastfeed their premature babies even though their children aren't strong enough to nurse yet. It also keeps their milk production up while the baby recovers.
Creates an emergency supply: Having a backup supply of milk in the fridge or freezer allows for less stress on the parents if an emergency occurs. If something comes up, they know there is a freezer stash of milk, just in case.
Relieves pain from engorgement: If a mother's breasts are engorged, she can use a manual pump (or an electric one) to relieve the soreness caused by this situation. While the baby can help, the pump is available if the baby isn't hungry or isn't nearby to help out.
Provides milk for multiples: If a mother gives birth to multiple children, pumping can help her feel less overstimulated by tandem feeding if that’s a lot to juggle. No extra pumping is needed, but it allows the mother to focus on one child at a time if necessary.
Donations to milk banks: Some mothers have an oversupply of milk and find it in their hearts to donate to milk banks. These milk banks help babies who need milk and don't otherwise have access.
Bottle preference: If parents prefer to bottle feed their child instead of nursing, they can use different types of pumps to get the milk and feed it to their baby. This exclusive pumping schedule is preferred by many mothers, especially those in the workforce or who don't want to worry about weaning later on.
Helps maintain milk supply: Pumping while away from the baby allows the mother to maintain her milk supply at all times. She can nurse the baby when they are together but pump when they are apart for long stretches of time, keeping the milk supply up.
Use pumping to supplement first foods while weaning from the breast: Even while weaning from nursing, a mother can pump throughout the day to provide the baby with breast milk for nutrients in addition to solid foods. This helps boost their immune system even as they wean.
No matter their specific needs, each family has their reasons for pumping, nursing, or providing their child with formula. In an ideal world, no one would be judged for their choices. All choices are valid. Your new baby will just be glad they are getting fed. New moms who choose exclusive breastfeeding are just the same as mothers who choose to use formula. Human milk or otherwise, the baby will grow big and strong. Pumping is still breastfeeding!
Pumping is Extremely Normal
Pumping is very normal and an amazing way to feed your baby during that first years of life. It is so normal that it was portrayed in a dystopian society in The Handmaid's Tale, starring Elizabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski. Both women are seen nursing and/or pumping with their infants. While they don't have fancy hands-free pumps, they use pumps nonetheless. Strahovski's character, Serena Joy, is even spotted sporting one of The Dairy Fairy Bras! See, human breast milk is important no matter how it is obtained. Don't forget that The Dairy Fairy bra can make the experience even more enjoyable, no matter the time period.
The best way to breastfeed your baby is to get yourself a high-quality bra, like one of The Dairy Fairy bras, and stick to a schedule with pumping or nursing. Speak with a lactation consultant if you need help determining how much milk is enough milk and how to maintain a good milk supply for the baby's nutritional needs. If you are pumping due to pain or trouble latching, reach out to a lactation consultant to solve the issue. You have options. Pumping is an amazing option, but it’s not an option if it’s your only choice other than formula. An IBCLC can help you determine an ideal and individualized pumping schedule, whether you want to pump exclusively or are returning to work.
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