As a mom, breastfeeding and pumping simultaneously is like experiencing the best and worst of both worlds.
You’ll have to deal with washing all the pump parts and bottles and also you’ll have to take care of breast issues that might come up such as mastitis or clogged ducts.
You’ll be pumping constantly and breastfeeding at the same time on top of taking care of your new-born baby.
Here are 10 reasons why Exclusively pumping is easier then breastfeeding.
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Don’t Panic, You Have Other Options
As a mom of 5 little ones, I had to exclusively pump to feed my firstborn, as he was having issues drawing milk from my breasts. Surprisingly I found this method easier than the exclusively breastfeeding approach I took with my following 4 children.
There’re specific reasons in my case as to why I found it easier but I’m not the only one. Pumping has tons of different benefits and in this article, I will go through some of the information to help you make the best call. Here are my tips and tricks on exclusively pumping from birth.
Pump-Only Way Method
The only thing a baby won’t experience if fed from only-pumping is the benefit of a positive feedback loop between their bodies and their mothers’ breast.
This loop is a simple rule of ‘supply and demand’ – The more breast milk the baby takes, the more milk the mom’s body produces.
This is a natural system to ensure the baby gets enough milk and the mother won’t experience oversupply.
However, food that is rich in fats and anti-bodies it’s still accessible.
The Pros of The Pump-Only Way Include
1. Feeding-Time Control
Mothers are able to control the feeding schedule by timing their pumping sessions. Once you’ve figured out what works best for you and your baby, you’ll be able to pump when it is necessary.
This is literally great because it allows you to pump during your free time or when you’re setting up routines for when you go back to work.
2. Shared Feedings Option
It’s so easy for us moms to feel overwhelmed with our baby and everything that comes along with this new experience. Most of us feel like we need to do everything perfect from scratch while our partners sit there and just watch us struggle.
Sometimes we don’t dare to admit we’re struggling so we try to do it all and deal with it.
But, did you know most partners wish they could actually be involved and help you? Well, this is when pumping comes so handy. They will be able to help with the feeding. It can also promote a positive balance of childcare duties from the get-go even after the feeding stage is over.
3. Supply Issues: The Real Deal
Some moms can increase their milk supply by pumping in between breastfeeding sessions as this is known to help address any supply issues you might experience. If you’re concerned about suffering a low supply maybe pumping is a great option to have a back-up freezer stash with your own milk.
4. Get More Much Needed Breaks
birth is already stressful enough let alone dealing with the aftermath,
especially sleep deprivation.
While this is something every mom – and dad! – will suffer from, pumping can be a great way to get a bit more of breaks, plan a date night or even vacation as you know that there’s enough milk for your child.
Even when you go back to work this can help you feel less stressed because now you know the caregiver will have the necessary supply for your baby’s needs
5. Donor Milk Is A Thing
Some women are very lucky to breastfeed for themselves but for those who can’t, there’s a thing called Donor Milk.
This is when an adopted baby, premature babies or even mums who have issues producing breastmilk might receive milk from a donor. These babys’ can always get their supply from a milk bank.
These banks are available to ensure donor milk is safe to use due to different health problems breast milk can transfer.
6. You’ll Know Exactly How Much Your Baby Is Eating
Nursing is a wonderful experience but one of its frustrating sides is not knowing about your baby is actually eating. Every time your baby cries for more only 15 minutes after they ate, you will be left wondering if your milk supply is too low or if the baby is latching correctly.
If you don’t pump the only way to tell how much they’re taking in is by weighing them before and after each feeding session. You will need to make sure the baby doesn’t poop while you do it and also, you’ll need a special baby weighing scale (those can be very expensive, though!)
The cheaper and easier alternative is pumping.
Especially if you have any concerns about your new-borns weight.
7. Breastfeeding Can Hurt In the early days whereas Pumping Shouldn’t.
It takes about a month for your nipples to get used to breastfeeding and they will eventually come around but those firsts weeks can really be painful when you’re nursing.
This can be solved by pumping as pumps are design to be as comfortable as possible for the mom. I mean, who really wants to feel more pain after birth, right?
The hack is to get the right size of breast flanges and the correct speed when you pump and it will be completely pain-free.
8. Breast Pumps Don’t Have Teeth To Bite!
Having your teeth-free baby clamp down on a nipple can be a tad uncomfortable at first – although it also becomes a wonderful experience as you get used to it! – but when you add baby teeth to the mix it can be a bit… unpleasant as it turns into something painful.
There are other strategies out there but most mothers who realized their baby bites while nursing time turns to the pump as the biting can turn to a bigger issue.
9. Pumping Allows You To Know When Your Supply Starts To Drop
Although you might get a drop-in supply of milk when you’re nursing or on your period, you never know for sure how much milk you’re making. For this reason, you won’t be able to notice when your supply starts to drop.
One clue is if your baby still seems hungry after a feeding session, but even then it might be your baby is going through a growth spurt or you’re losing your milk supply.
You’ll know this is happening if you pump because you’ll keep track of the amount. If these were the case you can take action by drinking nursing tea or adding an extra pumping session.
RELATED: HOW TO BOTTLE FEED A BREASTFED BABY
10. You’re The Real Pumping Rock Star!
Regardless, you’re an amazing mother no matter what you chose to do in this situation, either breastfeeding or pumping.
Now, you are a total rock star for pumping… if you actually hate it! Generally speaking, nobody actually enjoys pumping.
Let’s be honest, essentially you’re attached to a machine for two hours at a time… out of love.
Don’t feel bad if you dislike it, many moms do. You are not alone.
It’s always good to familiarise yourself with the equipment before you use it. Especially when it comes to using it on your own body and breast pumps are no different. It can be a case of trial and error and that’s totally normal.
Obviously, you can’t try one out before you buy it, so it can be handy to borrow friends if they’re okay with it.
Or simply talk to them. Ask them all the details you are wondering about how the whole thing works.
In fact, just talking to them can be extremely reassuring as they already are experienced in this field.
If it takes a few attempts to get used to, don’t worry about it, that is completely normal. It would be better to buy a simple-to-use breast pump.
Electric Or Manual?
If you’re looking for a similar sucking action of a hungry baby, the best one you can get is a manual pump. You manually pump a handle to stimulate the milk flow. The milk goes straight to an attached container.
One of the biggest advantages of a manual breast pump is the price and the easy portability it provides. They can be slow but also are known to be quieter than most electric pumps, which is another big bonus. The fact of a manual pump being slow doesn’t make much difference because every woman collects milk at a different rate.
On the other hand, an electric pump has more options and an automatic process, which can be easier for some people. They come with adjustable suction levels and you’re able to pump both breasts at the same time.
However, the expensive price is a huge downside.
I ended up going with a hospital-grade pump. It has quicker and I was able to pump enough milk for my baby in a short amount of time.
Are You Ready To Make A Decision?
I have used a few breast pumps and all have their pros and cons.
It can be difficult to decide on just one and you to weigh everything up. There’s a lot involved like how fast your milk supply is and how much time you have on your hands.
The best advice I can give you is to ask and find out what is recommended by other moms around you. You will find out which one will suit best for you by comparing all the advice.
What If I Choose Not To Pump?
Sometimes we find some things are not for us, out bodies or our lifestyle and that’s completely okay.
Keep in mind this is a journey that you will experience along with your baby as a mom. Your partner can still be involved, you’ll have to talk to them and find something else to help you with.
I breastfed my last three and pumped only for a while with my first 2 babies.
I got my partner to help with daily tasks such as washing and cleaning. When the babies fell asleep on me, I’d put them on him so I could get some stuff ready.
RELATED: HOW TO PUMP WHILE BREASTFEEDING
You just might find that breastfeeding is better for both of you, but what if you’re at the beginning of the journey or just about to go into labor and you don’t know whether to breastfeed or pump, or both, or none?
Breastfeeding is a simple act of feeding your baby with milk from your breast.
Breastfeeding is a personal decision, and there is no right way to feed your baby. Fed is best! It is essentially one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a mom. In the first 6 months of life, babies should be exclusively breastfed and then with a combination of solid foods from 6 months until they’re a year old.
Breastfeeding: The Pros
Breast-feeding is free while every other method involves different products like bottles, pumping machines, and formula so, obviously is going to get more expensive. It also requires no prep work and you’ll be ready whenever your baby is ready.
2. Baby Boost
The nutrients in breast milk are all your baby needs to grow and stay healthy as well as becoming less likely to have an upset stomach or diarrhea. Your baby’s immune system will be protected against ear infections, bacterial and viral infections and pneumonia and so many other benefits.
3. Good for Mom
When you breastfeed the uterus is able to get back to its pre-pregnancy size way faster than bottle-feeding and also burns extra calories which leads and promotes weight loss.
Most important, during this time, your body releases hormones which help you bond with your baby. In addition, you will be at a lower rate of getting ovarian cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer.
How To Latch Your Baby On To Your Breast
- Ensure that the baby is nose level with your nipple and hold them close.
- Your baby should open their mouth really wide and have their tongue down, wait until that moment.
- Bring your baby onto your breast.
- Your baby should come to your chest chin first and with their head hilted back.
How To Hands-On Pumping
Make sure that your hands are washed thoroughly with warm water and soap. Maybe you’ll find it helpful to massage your breasts before expressing, which will help your milk go down. With one hand, cup your breast and with your other hand form a “C” shape with your forefinger and thumb.
Breastfeeding And Hand-Breast Expressing Routine
30-60 minutes after nursing you should start pumping.
It’s common for many mothers to get a bigger milk amount first thing in the morning, so you may be able to express for a bit longer if you’re able to. After those pumping sessions, it will still leave your baby with plenty of milk for their next feed. Even after pumping, if your baby wants to breastfeed, let them.
How Much Milk Does My Baby Actually Need?
Different babies take in different amounts of milk, the same way that every mom produces different amounts of milk. Exclusively breastfed babies take in an average of 750ml every day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
What Happens To Your Breasts After Breastfeeding?
A lot of moms worry that their breasts become saggy after breastfeeding. But this is a myth and in fact, it’s during pregnancy when the breast sagginess actually starts.
For example, many moms think this is caused due to the stretching their breasts go through during milk production and because they get used to it and their breasts go back to ‘normal’ size, they feel emptier due to the lack of milk.
Worrying Symptoms That Are Completely Normal
Still, this isn’t the time to ditch the nursing pads just yet!
It can take months for your milk supply to dry up.
If you have a feeling of your milk ‘let down’, tingling sensations, a lingering sense of fullness, shooting pains or a little leakage, don’t get concerned, that’s all normal and nothing to worry about.
As your breast milk dries up, you might feel a solid lump in your breast, but this lump is nothing to run screaming to your doctor about (although, if you’re worried, please do!). In fact, it can happen if you decide to wean suddenly instead of gradually over a period of time.
They should go away when your body finishes the weaning process.
Are My Breasts Shrinking?
Just as the first point, many moms worry about their breasts shrinking as well.
In this case, it’s not a myth but a reality some will experience. Some moms will end up with a smaller chest size than they had before they got pregnant.
After you start the weaning process, it’s true, your breasts might shrink and one of the reasons is due to your milk drying up.
The extra veins, size, and colour will all return back to normal. They’ll appear lighter and smaller than they were while you were breastfeeding. The souvenir stretch marks are yours to keep though, enjoy those tiger stripes!
Pumping is actually easier for many mommas out there rather than breastfeeding.
This is because you’re able to include your partner more so they can bond with the baby. You’re able to have more of a break by leaving your milk for childminders or partners, you can time when you want to pump and once you get into a routine, you’ll be able to make a note of how much milk you’re able to make in a certain amount of time.
Take an online prenatal breastfeeding class
If you are planning on exclusively pumping I would really reccommend you take the Milkology Exclusive pumping course. It goes through everything you need to know to be a real milk pumping pro.
It is a breastfeeding basics online course, suitable for first time breastfeeding moms and old timers like me.
You can read my Milkology review here.