We have often heard that breast milk is the best milk. But there are times and situations that do not allow a new mom to breastfeed their child. It could be due to latching difficulties or some other commitments that moms usually have that they make the choice of switching to pumping. Many times mothers feed their child using a combination of the two when exclusive breastfeeding is not possible. Though both are excellent ways to ensure that your baby gets the liquid gold they need, there are pros and cons to both. Let’s have a look.
Pros Of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the mother and the baby. However, feeding your baby directly from the breast has the following added benefits:
1. Bonding Time
The skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding will allow the mother and the baby to share a close relationship with each other. The experience of bonding with their baby during breastfeeding is a wonderful feeling as it enhances the emotional connection between the two (1).
2. Help Soothe Babies
Breastfeeding can soothe a hurt or anxious baby. It can relieve the vaccination pain in babies who are up to 12 months old, according to a 2016 study (2).
3. It Is Affordable And Convenient
Breastfeeding requires some work from the mother’s part. So you cannot call it free in the strictest sense, but it doesn’t impose any financial cost. You can save a lot of money exclusively breastfeeding as you don’t have to buy bottles or formula milk to feed your baby. What more? You are giving your baby the best milk free of cost.
Breastfeeding is convenient for mothers as you can feed anytime anywhere. You don’t have to pack bottles or heat formula or have access to clean water.
Pros Of Pumping
The following are the benefits of pumping:
1. Control Over Time
Mothers can have control over their baby’s feed timings with pumping. This way, they can follow a schedule that works for them if they want to run an errand or go to work.
2. Others Can Pitch In
Parents can split their duties of feeding and taking care of the baby with pumping. Feeding your baby is no longer the sole responsibility of the mother. It can create a positive balance of baby duties especially during the postpartum period when rest is crucial. Dads can also pitch in nighttime feedings and help mommy get some sleep.
3. Can Increase Milk Supply
Pumping is a great way to increase low milk supply. Pumping more often can facilitate milk production and ensure you have enough milk for your baby (3).
4. You Get More Breaks
Pumping breastmilk allows women to take a break while they are recovering from childbirth and months of sleep deprivation. It allows mothers to have some time for themselves to focus on their health or even go for a date night.
5. Donor Milk
Babies can receive breast milk from women who are not their biological mother. Pumping is a great way to ensure that the baby receives needful nutrients even if the mom is unable to produce breast milk.
While both pumping and breastfeeding are great options and certainly better than bottle-feeding, there are cons to both. With breastfeeding, you have little control over time, and let’s not forget about the sore, cracked nipples. And while pumping offers a lot of benefits for moms, there is the additional expense of breast pumps, bottles, hands-free pumping bra, and milk storage bags. With pumping there is also the convenience and privacy issues as it can be hard to pump when you are traveling or on a family outing. While breastfeeding can be done discreetly even in a public place, pumping requires some privacy.
Whether you are exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or doing both, there is no one right choice. Hence it is important to make a feeding strategy that works best for you and your baby whether it involves pumping or feeding directly from the breast.