Many new moms wonder about the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs pumping. We know that breastmilk is best for your baby, but does that mean it has to come exclusively FROM your breast? Is it okay to supplement with a bottle if you’re still using your own milk? What about moms who have to return to work after maternity leave is up? Today, we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs pumping to help you make the best decision for both you and your baby.
Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding vs Pumping
There are many benefits to exclusively breastfeeding your baby aside from the rapid weight loss that tends to happen when you breastfeed. There is something special about being the only person who can feed your new baby. You can’t deny that a special bond develops during this time. Ironically (or perhaps biologically on purpose) your baby’s vision is about 8 to 12 inches, which is about the same distance from his face to yours when you are nursing.
Your baby’s food is always available. There is no need to thaw milk in the middle of the night. Baby is hungry? You can satisfy his hunger quickly. When you leave the house, there is no worry about packing bottles or enough milk for the time you will be gone (or your pump even!) You will save on time and money by not having to sterilize bottles and nipples. No worries about making sure you’ve pumped enough either!
Are there benefits to you when you exclusively breastfeed? Yes, actually there are (other than the well known fact of weight loss). When you breastfeed, it releases oxytocin, which helps your uterus shrink quickly and also may help reduce after birth bleeding.
Let’s be honest. Breastfeeding is not an easy task. It takes time and can be very frustrating at times. It can take time for your milk to come in (weeks even) and in that time you could feel like you are not giving enough to your baby, rest assured, you are. Just keep nursing and your milk will come in.
As beautiful as it is being the sole person who can feed your baby, there can also be times where you wish (just once) that someone else could do that for you. Take care of your nipples! Yes, until you get used to breastfeeding (and even after you have been doing it for a while) your nipples are going to need some care to be sure they don’t get chapped and cracked.
Maybe you are not going to exclusively breastfeed, but you are going to pump as well. This is a great choice! As with breastfeeding, pumping has its own set of pros and cons. Do not think for a second that by pumping you are going to relieve the pain of your nipples, that is just not going to happen. Pumping is painful in it’s own right. However, once you do, you can pass the bottle and baby off to dad to help with the feedings. Now he will get the chance to stare into his baby’s eyes and form that bond similar to what you get when you breastfeed.
With pumping comes bottles; washing, sanitizing, and remembering to take the used ones out of the diaper bag. Just something to remember. Also, you are going to be freezing your pumped milk, so be sure to thaw them as you need them. If you are returning to work, they need to allow you space and time to pump, and that doesn’t mean during your lunch break. So added bonus: a few extra breaks! You must still get your work done, so just plan accordingly.
How did you choose to feed your child? Did you exclusively breastfeed, or did you pump as well? What did you find were some pros and cons of breastfeeding vs pumping? If you pumped, share with us your reasons for doing so and what worked best for you! Comment with your stories (or questions) below!