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Choosing between Breastfeeding & Pumping

Did you know that only 40% of babies under the age of six months can receive breastmilk from their mother through breastfeeding when they are born? What about the remaining 60% of infants? Where do they get their milk from?

Pumping is one good option for such babies. Breastfeeding and pumping are both wonderful ways to feed breast milk to a baby.

Breast milk is an infant’s natural meal, and pumping can provide benefits that are like, but not equal to, giving breast milk directly from the mother’s breast.

Experts recommend that infants be breastfed within one hour of birth, exclusively breastfed for six months (no other food or drink, including water), and then breastfed until they are two years old. In underdeveloped nations, it is thought that exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the most effective child survival intervention. Breastfeeding is widely regarded as one of the most effective methods for ensuring the health and survival of a kid. Breastfeeding would save the lives of approximately 82000 children if it were widely implemented.

Types and Composition of Human Breast Milk

• Colostrum or Early Milk is generated in modest quantities, is yellow and thick, and contains a considerable number of antibodies, immunological competent cells, and vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Transitional Milk: Immunoglobulin and protein content declines while fat and sugar content increases in Transitional Milk produced from days 4 to 10.

Mature Milk is produced from around ten days after delivery till breastfeeding is terminated. Although it is thinner and watery, it still includes all the nutrients.

Benefits of breastfeeding

BENEFITS TO INFANTS

  • It includes the proper amounts of proteins, lipids, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water, and enzymes for the newborn.
  • For the first six months, it meets all the baby’s nutritional requirements. Because iron is better absorbed in breast milk, it protects against iron deficiency anemia.
  • Breast milk is high in vitamin A and C, and it meets most of a child’s nutritional needs even in the second year of life.
  • Aids in the growth and function of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Aids in the immune system’s development.
  • Aids the infant’s cognitive development.
  • In comparison to formula-fed infants, breastfed newborns had a lower risk of infection.
  • Breastfed babies have a 14-fold lower risk of diarrhea and a nearly 4-fold lower risk of respiratory illnesses.
  • It strengthens the emotional relationship between the mother and her kid and gives the newborn warmth, love, and affection.

BENEFITS TO MOTHER

  • It helps to prevent anemia by reducing postpartum bleeding and blood loss caused by delayed menstruation.
  • It’s convenient, doesn’t require any preparation, and is always at the proper temperature.
  • It assists the mother in regaining her original shape.
  • It protects against malignancies of the breast and ovaries.

Signs of Effective Breastfeeding

• Frequent feedings 8-12 times daily.

• While the infant is feeding, you should hear periodic episodes of rhythmic sucking with audible swallowing.

• Infant should have about 6-8 wet diapers in a 24-hour period once breastfeeding is established. The infant has regained birth weight by day 10 of life.

Now you might be wondering why anyone would choose to feed their kid in any other way after hearing about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Pumping, on the other hand, has its own advantages.

It is one alternative that comes to mind if another technique of feeding the infant is required. Although only pumping – giving the infant only pumped breast milk via a bottle or any other method – is less common than breastfeeding but now people have started accepting this method too. Pumping is a method that can help you to supply breastfeeding milk to all the babies whether he/she is your biological or non-biological child.

Benefits of Pumping

•     Breast milk supply difficulties can be addressed by pumping breast milk. To improve their supply, some people choose to pump after each breastfeeding session. If a person is concerned about poor supply, pumping can also help develop a freezer store of milk.

•     Mothers can adjust the schedule of feedings by pumping milk. They can choose a timetable that works for them, and pump as needed according to that plan.

•     Managing feeding times can make it easier to return to work and possibly free up more time in their daily schedule.

•     Pumping instead of breastfeeding may make it easier to divide parenting roles. When solely the mother breastfeeds, she is responsible for all the baby’s feeding needs, which may include many overnight feeds too.

•     Sharing the feeding may help to maintain a healthy balance of childcare responsibilities among both parents.

•     It is a convenient way of helping and giving time to the breastfeeding mother to rest and sleep.

•     When you feed milk to your baby with a bottle, you may keep track of how much milk he or she consumes each day.

•     Because taking care of an infant is difficult, mothers can take a respite by pumping while dealing with months or years of sleep deprivation.

•     Pumping and storing breast milk allow the mother to go out for a few hours, on a date night, or even take a vacation while still providing enough food for her child.

•     If a mother is working, pumping her breast milk allows the baby’s providers to provide him/her with the same nutritious breast milk.

•     Pumping can help a mother to avoid breast discomfort caused by a bad grip, biting, or other problems.

Pumping is a simple procedure when done correctly. A few pointers can assist you in keeping your pump clean and neat.

Tips for Good Pumping

•     While proceeding with pumping, always remember the breast pumping tube should not touch the pumped milk and does not need to be cleaned routinely.

•     Keep a backup set of tubing on hand in case your current set becomes soiled or broken.

•     If your tubing has water droplets at the end of a pumping session, unplug it from the flange/pump kit but keep it connected to the pump. Continue to run the pump for a few minutes more until the tubing is completely dry.

Choosing a Good Breast Pump

Now the question arises is there any similar benefit for both? Although breast milk is unquestionably the healthiest option but does pumping the milk into bottles is the same as having your infant feed onto your breast? Are you and your kid getting the same health benefits regardless of the option you choose?

Even if you only pump, you and your baby will reap most of the benefits of breastfeeding directly too. Your uterus will still contract faster after giving birth than if your formula feed, you’ll still be at a lesser risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and a bottle pumped the same day can still deliver antibodies to the bacteria and viruses you were exposed to. Also, if your baby is born prematurely and is unable to latch, your pump could be a lifeline.

However, frequent freezing, thawing, and warming might deplete some of the proteins and vitamins in your breast milk so if you are only using pumping milk for feeding the child then giving freshly pumped milk to the baby is the best idea.

Another thing to remember while pumping is that breast pumps and bottles are vulnerable to germs and fungus, which can cause serious diseases in children, so make sure you as a caregiver follow proper storage and sanitation protocols.

Both breastfeeding and pumping have advantages and disadvantages, but none is easy, and both can be satisfying. Finally, it is you who will decide what is best for you and for the baby. You can either choose to breastfeed only or you would like to pump the milk exclusively it is your choice. But no matter what you lay back your hands whether you breastfeed him or pump the breastmilk, you and your baby are still getting the golden benefits of the milk produced by mammary glands during pregnancy in a woman.

It is very important to understand breastfeeding includes two people’s relationships: you and your infant. Don’t get harsh on yourself if your current feeding plan is not working for your baby or for you, might be it is the time to change the plan of action and consult the doctor for a new change in life.

So be open to everything and feed your infant with your breastmilk because it is the protective shield of a child against every contagious disease.


This article has been written by Shivani Garg and the opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of 9HappyMonths. You can contact the author at shivanianugarg@gmail.com

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