It is admirable that your friend has chosen to give the best milk for her baby. For a lot of mothers, choosing to pump exclusively stems from having difficulty in latching on in the first few weeks. Breastfeeding is a learned skill, acquired with practice. When mothers don’t have sufficient support and education, they can get frustrated at how challenging it can be to latch in the early days.
Pumping is a far easier to skill to learn and rather than giving up completely, they choose to pump and feed through a bottle. Unfortunately, once baby is introduced to a bottle (even if it is breastmilk inside), it can make it difficult for them to unlearn that skill and go to direct breastfeeding later on. Thus, the cycle of pumping and feeding through a bottle is perpetuated.
While breastmilk in a bottle is far, far superior to any formula out there, pumping exclusively does have some disadvantages when compared to the benefits of direct breastfeeding:
1. Absence of skin-to-skin bonding. Mothers all over the world cite this as one of the reasons breastfeeding is such a rewarding experience. The shared time of the skin-to-skin contact that comes with breastfeeding is surely one of the best ways to get to know your baby. This is the one thing that you alone can do for baby, with baby. For working mothers, having this physical intimacy with baby when they get back home lets them make up for the time that was spent apart.
2. More work, more cleaning. Whilst expressing milk by hand or pump is necessary when mothers and babies are apart, it does require more work. Milk has to be expressed as often as baby would have directly fed. You can breastfeed while lying down which you would never be able to do with a pump! Breast pumps and bottles have to be washed and sterilized. Breastmilk has to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer then warmed before it is served to baby. All this added effort can be minimized or avoided if mothers breastfeed directly.
3. Absence of baby’s efficient suckling which promotes good milk supply. No matter how good or high-tech your pump is, nothing beats baby in stimulating your breasts to making more milk. Your breasts are triggered to produce more milk when milk is drained from them sufficiently and regularly. The newer model breast pumps can do a good job of draining your breasts and sustaining your milk supply. However, despite being designed to mimic the suckling action of baby’s mouth, they cannot really do exactly what babies do. Working mothers who breastfeed exclusively during the weekend find that their milk supply is boosted when they go back to expressing milk on Monday.
4. Breastmilk is better with less handling. Breastmilk is a perishable product and any additional handling results in some nutrient loss. It can also reduce the immunological properties of breastmilk. Some of the nutrients adhere to the containers that breastmilk is stored in. Or some of it is lost during the freezing and reheating process. When utmost care is taken to handle breastmilk properly, the nutrient and immunity loss is minimal but the fresher your breastmilk is, the better it is for baby.
I hope I can persevere with her regulating routines.. Little Rianne woke up at around 3am and 6am for feeds.. Actually it’s really not bad a routine I guess.. But my breast is now engorged on the right .. And with milk blister on the left.
roasted Beijing duck… prawn crackers… fried chicken wings and fishballs, ferrero rocher… I think I also have to stop the “food trafficking” for the time being. All the tidbits are giving me a bit of sore throat and ended up mild fever. It’s much better now with lots of “sky juice”.
Dar is going to a friend’s baby shower later and will be back late.. Hmm.. busy busy.. If only we can just laze around, sleep and hug for an afternoon..