We all want our newborn to have the best possible nutrition from birth onward. Many women choose to breast feed as this is the most natural source for our newborn’s needs and can provide all of the vital ingredients to their growth. However, this leads many women to wonder if there is a right and wrong way to handle this process.
Why is breast feeding the best option?
Breast milk contains all of the essential nutrients that your newborn needs. While many mothers choose to bottle feed their babies, the trend has been turning back to breast feeding steadily over the past few decades. This does not mean that mothers are not returning to the work place after childbirth, however, as there are far more options for providing your child with breast milk now than there were two decades ago.
Doctors suggest breast feeding for a variety of reasons. Some are health related, as there is collostrum and many important nutrients within breast milk that help to promote a healthy immune system. Breast feeding also helps mother and child establish a very important emotional connection that can affect emotional growth over time. Doctors feel these factors are highly important to a developing newborn and several studies have been done over time regarding the differences in effect between breast feeding and bottle feeding. These studies cover both nutritional and emotional growth stages and show patterns that we may not think about otherwise.
I’ve chosen to breast feed, but am returning to work, what can I do?
Pumping breast milk is not a difficult task to handle and many mothers use this method in order to be able to return to the work force after giving birth. However, this gives rise to a variety of questions such as when it is right to pump, how much should I pump, how often should I pump, and if there are any adverse effects to pumping breast milk. The answers to these questions are often covered by medical care providers during office visits, but sometimes we forget to ask them while checking on the baby themselves.
Below are a few commonly asked questions regarding pumping breast milk, along with helpful answers to aid you in making the decision on when to pump.
- When should I pump? Every woman is different and the frequency that you need to pump may vary. For example, you may produce quite a lot of milk, in which case you will need to pump either longer, or more often. However, there is such a thing as pumping too much and it has very real consequences, so speak to your health provider if you notice soreness, swelling, or any other unusual changes.
- How much should I pump? Keep tabs on your baby’s needs and make note of how much they are eating. This will help you to determine whether you are producing enough milk to support them. Pumping milk can actually increase the amount your produce in many cases, as the body reacts to the demand to determine the supply. While this rule of thumb does not always work, it can help you to determine how much you should be pumping.
- Is there such a thing as pumping too much? Indeed, there truly is such a situation and this can lead to problems for you. Be sure to speak to your doctor if you notice unusual swelling, change in milk consistency, or pain. These are all signs of a problem and your doctor will need to examine you to be sure that you are not over pumping and developing problems with your milk ducts.
Overall, the benefit of breast feeding is well-worth the time taken to pump the milk your baby needs. Even if you need to return to work, by pumping breast milk you will be able to provide the best nutrition for your child and provide a secure home for them as well. All you need to do is speak to your doctor, keep an eye on your child’s eating habits, and most of all, relax.