Don’t believe everything you hear about pumping. We’re here to help you sort the facts from the fables. By Lisa Witepski
It’s a hard thing to accept, but not every mother can breastfeed – no matter how much she might want to. Or maybe she can, but circumstances just don’t allow right now. For these moms, breast pumping is a lifesaver. You might have heard stories to the contrary, but we’re here to set the record straight.
Myth #1: Breast pumping is a sloppy second
We all know that breastfeeding is first prize, but there could be any number of reasons why you can’t – or don’t want to. Fortunately, expressed milk is in no way inferior to breastfed milk, especially if it is stored and thawed correctly in a sterilised BPA-free bottle. Remember to never refreeze or rethaw the milk, and your baby will receive just as much goodness as if you’d breastfed. The bonus? This makes it possible to give your baby the complete nutrition of breastmilk when you’ve returned to work, or if your partner would like to take time to bond with your baby over a feed.
Something else to bear in mind is expressing isn’t just for making sure there’s milk at meal times. Pumping in between feeds can help boost your milk supply.
Myth #2: Pumping is painful
Truth be told, expressing can be noisy and unglamorous, but it is not painful. If you’re battling with discomfort, try changing the settings or adjusting the breast shields. Also, remember not to share your pump with other moms. Not only is this less than hygienic (even if you both clean it thoroughly, you don’t want to take a chance with cross-contamination); it may also affect performance.
Myth #3: You won’t bond with your baby unless you breastfeed
There are plenty of moms out there who didn’t breastfeed and have a close bond with their kids, and plenty of those who did and struggle to maintain a connection. While it’s true that breastfeeding gives moms and babies special time to cuddle, you can boost the bond just as much by giving loads of cuddles at other key times of the day – after the bath, for example, or during nappy changes. All of this will help to stimulate the love hormone, oxytocin. You’ll also still be holding your baby close when feeding him expressed milk.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.