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I don't understand how anyone can love the pump. It was the bane of my existence for months. I hated pumping at work, cleaning my pump parts, worrying over proper storage of my milk, etc. Putting the baby to your breast and nursing is so much easier. My nipples healed quickly after a couple of weeks of a bad latch postpartum, but the damage I did to them with the pump is still evident. Anyway, there is a lot of evidence that breastfeeding at the breast is preferred over bottle feeding breast milk. Proper oral development, baby learns when she is full, the milk is always fresh and at the proper temperature, no need to sterilize bottles and nipples, etc. Whatever, breast milk is better no matter how the baby gets it, but I don't think exclusive pumping is or should be a first choice.
My adopted daughter holds up a plastic IKEA cup to her breast and says, "I pump milk" and then she feeds her dolls. My youngest prefers to drink expressed breast milk from a bottle so she can walk and drink. She'll wait for me to pump and then wail for her bottle as I leave the room.
As someone who exclusively pumped for 13 months, I loved your article. I've often wondered what I'll do with respect to nursing and pumping when/if I have another child. My son was ill shortly after being born and then simply never latched, despite hours over several weeks spent with lactation consultants. In the end, he and I both were happier when he was drinking from a bottle - he was fed, and I was sane. Can't ask for more than that. I'll likely try nursing again if I have another child, but in the back of my head, it's nice to know that if it doesn't work out, I have options that are entirely viable.
My son was born at 35 weeks and, luckily, we were able to establish exclusive breastfeeding by four weeks. I pumped a lot for the first two months to ensure I had sufficient milk supply, and I hated it. But, this article reminded me of me wondering aloud to my husband at one point, about what I would have done if he hadn't been able to nurse. And, he said that I was so determined that he have breastmilk that I would have pumped for months if I had to. I can't imagine preferring pumping over nursing, but I won't judge until I walk in someone else's shoes.
Thank you for this article. I'm currently pregnant and definitely plan to pump in addition to feed from the breast if possible. I can't imagine keeping my husband completely out of the feeding process and never being able to be away from the baby for more than two hours! But these are my feelings and I don't get worked up about how others feel about baby feeding choices. I don't understand the judgemental attitudes of the "exclusively feeding from the breast" mothers when discussing the choices of women who opt for other althernatives.
Really enjoyed the article. I did combo breastfeeding/pump with my daughter. In my view it is actually more work to pump and those who do it get a big cheer from me. I also felt less than perfect for not being able to breastfeed exclusively at the nipple. I'm glad that someone else had nipples that healed so quickly but mine never did (and 3 years out still aren't the same). As moms and parents I think we have to judge less other people for what we think are their "choices" - since sometimes it is not as clear as you might think. And as we all know, parenting is the toughest job you'll ever love.
I loved this article. I hated the pump. Really hated it. I remember going ballistic when my husband accidently left some frozen breast milk on the counter and it spoiled. The stuff was more precious than gold. As a mom with an outside the house job, my kids would have breastfed longer if I hadn't had to pump. I know that will offend some but that's reality. And that's me. I have a friend with inverted nipples who pumped exclusively for 18 months. I felt sorry for her, and also was amazed that she would put herself through that, until I read this article. It helped me remember that we all do the best we can, with what works for each of us, and we shouldn't have to defend our choices over something like this that is really no big deal. All the babies are getting breastmilk and that is awesome! How they get it is pretty irrelevant, I think.Thank you for giving me another point of view on this issue.
Thank you so much for your honesty and your commitment to feeding your children breast milk. Yes, it is hard work to pump every three hours and it requires a special determination to keep this up day after day, month after month.I am a lactation consultant at a busy pediatric hospital and work with dozens of mothers who like you, are willing to devote their time and energy to assuring that there is always breast milk available for their baby.I love your description of your stock of varying hues of milk and the bounty you have stored in 3 freezers. And I especially enjoyed your vision of the "serene, loving mother" with a pump at her breast.We (both lactation consultants and breastfeeding advocates) would all do well to remember that while many of us love nurturing our babies at the breast, this is not always possible for every mother and baby.I applaud all women who have chosen to put in the unbelievable amount of effort needed to exclusively pump rather than choose the much more damaging feeding method - infant formula.
Gosh. I feel like we are indeed all victims of each others' opinions, rather than decision- makers based on the facts.Fact: Direct breastfeeding is healthier than expressed milk for mother and child. No question. Milk changes during each feed and over time and adjusts to the mothers exposures. Expressed milk is the same over time and is often not the product of physiological intimacy.Fact: The realities of our lives make it nearly impossible to breastfeed optimally.Fact: The realities of how babies are delivered in our culture often undercut ooptimal breastfeeding.Fact: Until such time that society and healthworkers and paid leave are in effect, mothers will be separated from their infants from time to time or more.Fact: Many women who pump for premies get an oxytocin response to the pump, i.e, thier hormones cause them to love the pump. This is real and deep - even primal. Oxytocin helps bond to the baby and the sexual partner. Good Stuff. Works.Fact: Let's all respect each other while we provide the facts so that each of us can best educate herself.Love to you all and thanks for doing your best for you and your baby,Miriam H. Labbok, MD, MPH, FACPM, IBCLC, FABMProfessor of the Practice of Public Health Director, Carolina Breastfeeding Institute (CBI)Department of Maternal and Child HealthUNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, CB#7445The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC 27599-7445Tel: 919-966-0928 Fax: 919-966-0458 email@example.com://www.sph.unc.edu/breastfeeding(associated blog - http://enabling-breastfeeding.blogspot.com)
I have a 20 month old that still nurses a lot at nights and on the weekends. I work during the day and pumped for him for ~15 months so he could have milk at day care.If he had never latched, I would have exclusively pumped for him, but I don't imagine I would still be doing it at 20 months. I wonder if, on average, moms who exclusive pump (by choice or necessity) tend to breastfeed for shorter periods than moms who only nurse or nurse while with their child (and pump while at work). The woman who wrote the article did say that she only pumped for seven months with her first and was only planning on pumping nine months with her second, which is less than the 12 months recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.
As I read the article, I was overall pleased that the writer saw that human milk provided advantages that were worth the effort.I was repeatedly uncomfortable with the apparent relationship she developed with pumping that replaced time with her baby and older child. She even calculated that amount of time. I think that initially this was a psychologically healthy strategy with the premie baby who was not available. But, I worry that this has become her approach to mothering and left her stuck not healing from the trauma of that first loss in the first weeks of bonding/becoming a mother. This strikes me as more an article about the trauma of having a premie and the consequences of that as an untreated trauma/PTSD than about pumping vs feeding at the breast. The most studied consequence of premies is "fragile child syndrome" but this gives me some perspective into some other issues more related to attachment.
An interesting companion to a recent New Yorker article on pumping versus breast feeding and the societal implications.See: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/01/19/090119fa_fact_lepore
i'm pumping while i write this (exclusively for my 13mo who aspirates and needs thickened liquids).i passionately hate pumping.but i tried hard to read this article with an open mind. it's a good example of just how different every one's own circumstances and perspectives are. even when we have the same goals in mind.one of the hardest things has been caring for my toddler while stuck on the pump and the fanatical schedule, not to mention a baby also. i know we've all suffered for it in many ways. i have a feeling that after i quit, and don't have to just clench my teeth and do whatever it takes, i will have a bit of a breakdown and finally be able to grieve for all that was lost.
The piece I don't understand with this is pumping exclusively by choice. Why not just pump when you have to, when working, and breastfeed all the other times? Why would you not even want to try to latch the baby so that both options are possible? I'm on baby #4, the first three all breastfed for over a year while I was working full time/more than full time with pumping and visits to the workplace both utilized as options.Dad has had lots of oppertunities to feed, believe me.
I'm home today with my 24mth old son who is sick with a stomach bug. Although he completely weaned over three months ago, today all he wanted to do was lie in my lap on the couch with his hand on my breast for comfort as he sipped pedialyte out of a sippy cup. I know nursing for us was never just about the milk. The milk was healthy for his body, but the nursing was healthy for his emotional needs. I'm a huge advocate of pumping if formula is the only other option, but if a baby who is physically able to nurse is present...nursing at the breast to me is a far better choice than pumping and feeding it a bottle.
This was certainly an interesting commentary for me. I have never needed to pump, and never really did (except for the occasional bottle which both of my boys refused to take). I have great respect for those who pump for their preemies, for other medical reasons, or so that their babies can continue to receive breastmilk, even after the mom has to return to work. I haven never known anyone who prefers to pump. I am not at all opposed to formula (as a foster parent, it has become a necessity in our lives), and though I think breastmilk is awesome, I think it's the actual breastfeeding that led me to breastfeed my two boys for quite an extended time. Pumping exclusively requires quite the commitment to breastmilk itself.
I pumped for a year with my son and am on the 5th month for my daughter (I'll go a year for her as well). I have flat nipples, my son was never able to latch on. With my daughter, she was hospitalized with jaundice in the NICU because she wasn't getting enough milk through nursing to flush out the billirubin.Plus, my nipples were bloody and sore. I tried several lactation consultants -- one gasped on seeing my nipples but still urged me to keep trying. I'd had enough and just went to the non-painful pump.I wish I could have made breastfeeding work.
Thank you for writing this. There was something about this that made me uncomfortable as I read it--which is really good--because it challenged my own bias' over breast/bottle feeding. It is so easy to judge, but the more honest we can be as mothers, the more our children can feel like they are part of a community.
I loved your article. The breastfeeding question can cause so much pain because we are taught that "Everyone can (and should) exclusively breastfeed." If you can't, it means that you didn't try hard enough, you aren't smart enough, or you are too lazy.I was one of the people who didn't have enough milk. I only had a 3rd of the milk that I needed. Noone would believe me because all the bullshit that is preached out there. I tried EVERYTHING! Medication, herbs, teas, rest, pumping, EVERYTHING! When I realized that my milk supply wasn't increasing, I first used the supplemental nursing system which is a tube that you put at your breast so that the baby gets breastmilk and formula at the same time. Once we had established a good breastfeeding relationship, I introduced the bottle after every breastfeeding. I only gave enough formula so that she would be hungry in 2-3 hours. It was tiring washing the bottles, sterilizing the bottles, breastfeeding at both breasts, and then feeding formula. Do you know how difficult it was to feed formula to my baby in today's world?! I was a FAILURE! I was a BAD MOTHER! Whenever I told people that I didn't have enough milk, they didn't believe me and they preached what I should try doing. Do you know how degrading that is when you tried EVERYTHING and already spoke to tons of lactation consultants? I never felt so humiliated in my life. I loathe all the stuck-up exclusive breastfeeders out there who look down on women who "fail". They think that there is something special about them that makes them better that those of us who pump or who supplement with formula. I think this article is great! You rock! I am pregnant again! You give me strength!
Two months after my son, a 32-week NICU preemie, was born, my mother demanded to know when I would start breastfeeding him. I had been pumping exclusively the whole time. "He's getting breast milk, Mother. Why the hell does it matter HOW?" The kid never latched on. Only after 18 months was he diagnosed with several physical problems and delays that explained why.I hated the pump. Hated it enough to really resent coming back to it the second time around with baby #2 (another preemie). So while I can't empathize with the author here, I *can* give major kudos for making such a huge long-term commitment. So much harder than full-on breastfeeding, but if it works for her, then I think all those other people in the glass houses should put down those stones.
I find it interesting that the author felt pumping created more equity in her relationship because her husband could bottle feed and thus contribute more. The same sentiment is expressed in a provocative article in this month's Atlantic magazine:http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200904/case-against-breastfeeding
Interesting article. As a breastfeeding mother who was able to produce a full supply of milk despite breast surgery several years ago, I have never once taken for granted the nursing relationship I have with my daughter. Even when I was pumping three times a day, five times a week while I was working, I was more terrified that my daughter would lose interest in nursing than I was at the thought of giving her an ounce of formula every now and then. I commend this woman for being so committed to giving her children breastmilk, but I almost got the sense that she measured her worth as a mother in ounces instead of time with her child. I worry about the message that sends out to women who can't make enough milk, or those who, for one reason or another, stop breastfeeding. I know of plenty of women who were unable to make breastmilk the source of even half of their child's nutritional needs. But feeding at the breast, even using an at-breast-supplementer full of formula, has given them a special relationship with their child. Nursing is about much more than milk, but I never would have known that if I hadn't worked so hard to nurse my daughter.
Blacktaging, Carolina Breastfeeding Institute:As a mother forced to pump because we were unable to establish latching, I would like to see the data supporting your claims in these comments that nursing is better for the baby and the mother. I have never breastfed my daughter and she is a happy, well-adjusted 2 month old. Also, I was fed from formula and have always enjoyed a close attachment to my mother. Please support your claims with something other than opinion, especially when you are making statements on a topic so emotionally laden.
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