Will that be baby or a set of plastic horns?


More and more mothers these days are turning to exclusively pumping for their babies according to an article over at Time Magazine.

Why?

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.

Philippians 3:13


This morning we had a pediatrician visit for both Cameron and Allison. Cameron’s appointment was his six month check-up and Alli’s was related to her continued rash behaviour.

Alli is being referred to a child psychologist for further testing/evaluation and I am very relieved. Perhaps this will finally shed some light on the underlying cause of her behaviour and lack of discipline acceptance.

Cameron, on the other hand, is suspected of Failure to Thrive. The pediatrician suggested I pump exclusively for a couple of days, giving him my breastmilk via bottle. I have a few reservations regarding that plan of action. First, exclusively bottlefeed and pump for TWO WHOLE DAYS? Pumping is not a good indicator of supply, bottlefeeding may confuse him, and frankly, after exclusively pumping for Charlotte for seven long months, I’m not so sure that I’m up for a second time around that block. I am also scared to start EP’ing as I fear I may end up doing that until he’s a year old, continuing to struggle to pump as well as get his weight gain in order. And what if I start and then try to go back to the breast and he refuses to go back? I can’t handle that all over again.

And so it is with a heavy heart filled with experience, fact, and love, I have decided to switch over to formula. A gradual transition to be sure but a difficult decision nonetheless. I know I will miss our nursing relationship but his health and growth as well as my mental stability are vastly more important than any potential benefit of breastmilk at this point. I fully anticipate a mourning period and will be keeping an eye on my mood as the prolactin production decreases as we wean. Deep in my heart I know this is the right decision for our family in order for us all to be happy and healthy.

It is at this time I am reminded of a wonderful bible verse –

Forgetting things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, this is wisdom. Philippians 3:13

This verse has become a constant reminder not to over-analyze every minute detail of what could have been done differently or where the train began to run off the tracks. To do this would be assigning ourselves to a dark pit of despair and that is not where we need to be now. We need to be front and center, in the light with the Lord so that we continue to shine and guide our children toward His glory. We will accept (once again) our new normal and adjust our lives accordingly so we may move forward full of prayer, wisdom, love, and strength. For at this time, there is nothing more we can do beyond this but wait on the Lord and trust in His infinite power and wisdom.