Why Strictly pumping has worked for us as a family
Breast feeding. Everyone knows the many benefits of breast feeding. Everything from providing your baby with anti-bodies, lowering the risk of allergies and respiratory diseases to possibly being linked to higher IQ's as adults. But breast feeding is a very personal decision, and any woman who chooses to go this route is dedicating at least six months of her life to eating right (or at least staying away from certain foods), minimizing if not eliminating the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, prescription or not. On top of all that, there is the sore, sometimes bleeding nipples, the feeling of fullness , and the controversial issue of breast feeding in public. I had trouble with this myself, I wasn't even comfortable breast feeding, under a blanket in front of my family and friends, let alone out in public!! Which is where pumping came into the picture. And why, when I had my second child, I almost immediately began pumping again!
The benefits of pumping for me were many. Firstly, the baby. He wasn't getting enough food. He was jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes) and after two weeks, still hadn't reached his birth weight. A sure sign that he was under nourished. But how? I thought to myself, I feed him every 1.5 hours, and each feeding is lasting about 45 minutes! Surely he is eating enough! But no, both myself and the baby were bad at breast feeding! Now, we could have gone to see a lactation consultant, which is actually highly recommended and was actually our next move. But we had a function to go to one night, and with my bashfulness, we decided it would be best if I pumped a bottle instead. After about half an hour at the event, the baby became inconsolable. I ended up going outside to keep from disrupting the event. It was a passing comment from another mother that prompted action. "He's hungry, that's all" I decided to give him the bottle to see if it would calm him down. It did! And in a hurry. He gulped down about 3.5 oz in no time. So he was hungry, starving actually, even though I had fed him only a hour earlier.
The very next day we invested in a dual breast pump, they are kind of pricey, but worth every penny! Our boy started to gain weight right away,(though it can be kind of stressful trying to breastfeed and pump enough at the same time). We knew exactly how much the baby was drinking at a time, taking the guess work out of breast feeding.
Secondly, as hinted at above, time was another huge benefit. I went from 45 minutes a feeding (every 1.5 hours) to seven minutes a pump, every 3 hours. (the time between pumps varies with the needs of the baby. The more often you pump, the more you will produce. Also the setting of the pump will affect how much you produce, if the pump is turned way up, your body will think you have a very hungry baby and will produce milk to match.) That was HUGE for me. No more disappearing on our company, eating cold meals and all around avoiding doing anything. With a set schedule of when you have to pump, the freedom grows! It also allowed me to rejoin my sport teams, and leave the baby at home with dad!
Thirdly, I could stock up. With pumping, you will over produce, and very easily.It will be no time at all (if you choose) that your deep freeze will be full of frozen milk, and that's a good thing! It meant that I could wean myself off while still having enough milk to feed the baby for months.( I think I finally stopped pumping around 9 months, but had enough milk saved up, that the baby got the good stuff until one year!) There are varying opinions on how long frozen breast milk is good for, from 3 months to a year. Myself, I never let it go past 3 months.
And lastly, pumping allowed my husband and our family and friends a chance to feed the baby. He got passed around, because it is a beautiful thing when you get to feed a sweet little innocent child, the way they look up at you with their eyes so full of love... mmm, there's nothing like it!! My husband has said many times with our first and now with the second child, it has made him feel more involved, creating a deeper bond between him and the child. Also, it has taken away some of the sleep envy that is common when the husband gets to sleep away while the mother has to wake up, feed, burp and usually change the baby. Now because the milk is pumped, all he has to do is roll over and pop the bottle in the babies mouth, burp him and go back to sleep! Also, we are now able to leave the baby with grandma, giving us time to get projects done, that would have been very difficult had we been forced to do it with the baby in the house.
Pumping has worked for us, while it might not work for everyone, I believe it is worth taking a look at.