More and more mothers these days are turning to exclusively pumping for their babies according to an article over at Time Magazine.
The article gives several reasons from not wanting a baby at your breast to “having other things to do” besides nurse to not wanting the humility of having to nurse in public.
As a mom who has fed her children via exclusive breastfeeding, exclusive pumping, and with formula, I have to say while I understand and I’m glad these moms are at least giving their children the benefit of breastmilk, I’m a little befuddled.
I exclusively pumped for our second daughter for seven months and hated it. I hated the pump. The horns were cold, hard, and didn’t offer to cuddle with me when we were through. They didn’t fall asleep on my lap, snuggled up next to my breasts. No, instead I had to sterilize them and return them to their waiting positions on the kitchen counter. Why did I pump? I pumped because my daughter was born with a cleft palate and therefore physically unable to nurse. As she was facing multiple surgeries to take care of a few issues including closing her palate, I saw my breastmilk as important medicine that would help get her through those early few months with some extra protection. It wasn’t because I wanted to save time (and by the way, nursing a baby does save time – it’s not a Hoover of time as some of these moms would have you believe), it wasn’t because I had other things I had to do, and I would have proudly nursed her in public if I could have.
What’s interesting is that this article cites a research study which showed that not breastfeeding mimics child-loss.
In an intriguing paper published in July in the journal Medical Hypotheses, Gordon Gallup, a professor of biopsychology at the University of Albany, posits another upside to sticking with the breast: a mother’s decision not to breast-feed may unwittingly mimic child loss, evolutionarily speaking. Given that bottle-feeding technology did not exist for the last 99.9% of human evolutionary history, Gallup reasons, the likeliest reason a mother of yore would not have breast-fed is the death or loss of the child. He suggests that the consequences for the bottle-feeding modern-day mother could include an increased risk of postpartum depression and difficulty producing milk. (Read More from the article by clicking here)
There are several other reasons to nurse directly:
- Heating breastmilk may cause some nutrient loss
- Pumping requires a high level of sterlization of pump parts and bottles. (Trust me as someone who’s been there – this is time consuming! And I even used Medela’s microwaveable steam sterilization bags!)
- Freezing milk also causes nutrient loss
- Some breastmilk does not store well due to an enzyme that cause it to become foul smelling and tasting
- Time limit on how long breastmilk can be at room temperature. While it CAN be out and about longer than formula, there is a limit. Nursing directly does give you more freedom to do whatever you want to do.
I have always been very supportive of moms doing whatever they feel they need to according to their own family philosophies but this takes the cake. With our third child, I was faced with having to pump again because he wasn’t gaining enough weight with just breastmilk. (My supply had dipped due to some severe emotional trauma). After a day of consideration, I decided to move straight to formula. I could not go back to pumping because I knew where that would lead me and frankly, I just was not ready to return to that dark place.
For any mom out there who is considering to exclusively pump instead of nurse, please know that it is a LOT HARDER to EP than it is to nurse. It takes a lot of dedication, a hospital grade pump to really get a decent supply going and continued, and EP’ing is a lot more time consuming than nursing. Please educate yourself about the pro’s and the cons before jumping into the exclusively pumping pool. It’s filled with some deep water, ladies.
Given the choice, I’d choose baby over horns ANY day.