It’s not every day I have a “hold my ear rings while I sort this BS out” moment, but today took the cake when i happened to come across this article, so here goes….

DEAR VANIA 

As an ex-exclusive pumper of 4,5 years and mom to a healthy 9 month old exclusively breastfed baby, let me tell you why your opinion piece is bullshit…

1. BODY MAY RESPOND NEGATIVELY

Here you actually have your facts straight, well done. However you aren’t directing this to exclusive pumpers, who, by the way, 90% of the time EP out of NECESSITY. A nursing mother shouldn’t pump within the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding because your supply is still establishing and this can cause over supply, if you are exclusively pumping then you are good to go from whenever necessary, in fact,  in situations such as sick or premature babies, you should start pumping immediately, and seeing as though a large portion of exclusive pumpers start out because of premature or sick babies, they have to pump from the get go.

2. BREASTFEEDING SPEEDS UP POST PARTUM RECOVERY

Again, well done on getting your facts straight, breastfeeding does release hormones that help the uterus contract which prevents post partum hemmorage and speeds up recovery – however, you seem to think that exclusively pumping does not fall under breastfeeding in general. While there is no substitute for a baby suckling at the breast,  some CANNOT, and those mothers, due to the hormones secreted during lactation, still benefit from the post partum healing while using a pump.

Ask any EPer about the post partum uterine contractions during pumping and we will be able to inform you that they are as strong.

3. CONFUSES THE BABY

Yes, bottle feeding during the first few weeks WHEN breastfeeding is going well can cause something called nipple confusion and bottle preference, which is why mothers who are successfully breastfeeding are encouraged not to top up with expressed milk or artificial infant milks.

However, an exclusive pumping baby, affectionately known as a “pumpling”, is exclusively bottle fed the good stuff, or tube fed, depending on the situation from the get go.

4. INTIMATE BOND IS LOST

Quite frankly you can stick this one right up where the sun don’t shine because you are implying that bottle fed babies do not have an intimate bond with their mother, I can assure you that the bond I have with my daughter while bottle nursing her using paced feeding is as strong as the bond I share with my son who nurses directly.

5. MAY REDUCE MILK SUPPLY

Exclusive pumping can reduce your supply if you do not follow a strict schedule, that is the truth, however, we have fantastic support groups who advocate pumping every time baby feeds, exactly the same as if nursing baby, yes, it’s double the work, but some moms don’t have any other option. Personally I exclusively pumped for 4,5 years with enough stash to get my daughter past her 5th birthday and my milk was the ONLY milk she has ever had. If an EP mom has a good schedule then NO, pumping does not reduce your supply.

As for your claim that the same hormones are not secreted during pumping is beyond inaccurate,  and EP mothers understand the mechanics of their pumps, such as flange size, suction speed and hands on massage to empty the breast to reduce the chances of FiL  (feedback inhibitor to lactation – a whey protein that builds up in the breast if milk is not effectively being removed) building up and reducing supply, funny how you claim that the hormones released during breastfeeding are not present during exclusively pumping – except the negative ones, hey?

6. UNNECESSARY PRESSURES

You are right, we don’t need unnecessary pressure, and some mothers cannot breastfeed, but they can pump, and they can do it hands free now too, so they can get stuff done while making milk.

In my experience,  EPing and breastfeeding directly are equally as demanding in different areas and at different stages, new moms don’t get rest, regardless of how they feed, so your point is invalid.

7. NUTRIENTS ARE LOST

Bullsh*t!

First off, breastmilk contains a wonderful little thing called IgA, so breastmilk that has been exposed to the elements for a period of time is as sterile as milk just expressed, because it kills germs, breastmilk is amazing isn’t it? Maybe you should study it a bit more….

Human milk contains all 5 immunoglobulin,  IgA,  IgG, IgM,  IgD and IgE, the most prominent being IgA.

Secondly, refrigerated or frozen breastmilk is STILL preferential over artifical infant milks, it still contains high concentrates of immune boosting cells, it still contains high chain fatty acids and nutrients and minerals, and a gentle swirling action actually releases the fat from the side of bottles and jars, image that!?!

Lastly, you are right, one should NEVER microwave breastmilk, in fact one should avoid microwaving any foods due to that exact reason, but warming your milk up in a bowl of warm water is a good way to get your milk to a preferred temperature.

8. PUMPS DON’T COME CHEAP

You are right, but again you are assuming that in order to succeed you need top of the range, you don’t.  You need a pump that your body responds to, my body responded really well to a reasonably priced manual pump. It’s all I needed and still use it occasionally when I donate milk.

9. HECTIC SCHEDULES

Yes, the schedules are hectic, but do-able. Encouraging EPing mothers to “stick to what is reasonable” is a sure fire way of screwing her supply up. Unfortunately mothers who EP have to be strict, it’s a labour of love and with or without a good support system we can manage, we certainly don’t need someone who has clearly never pumped exclusively or enquired into WHY most EPers pump doubting our super human abilities!

10. REAL WORLD LIMITATIONS

Yes, carrying extra baggage is annoying, but hand pumps are quite small and discreet, some moms have mastered the art of hands free pumping in the car, others schedule outings around pump sessions and occassionally drop a pump once in a blue moon in an emergency.

As for working moms, by LAW they are entitled pumping breaks and a safe secure space to pump, although many do not get what is rightfully owed to them, we make it work, and we are pretty damn good at making it work, so what the hell is up with you doubting woman? Perhaps your own personal baggage? That must be exhausting to carry around….

11. CAN LOWER MOMS SELF ESTEEM

Hunny,  you are doing a mighty fine job of this all on your own!

Yes, moms can have unrealistic expectations of how much baby should be getting,  however, we have some pretty awesome support systems who happen to be experts when it comes to breastmilk and feeding babies, they are called lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders. 

Pumping is an art, you need the correct size flanges, a pump that responds best to your body, a good understanding of how breastmilk production works and a few good techniques, like hands on technique.

Some mothers need to pump more often than others because we all have different storage capacities, which just FYI does not have anything to do with breast size, it’s a reality for both direct nursing mothers and EPers,  some moms pump more often just like some moms have babies that need to feed often. 

Having realistic expectations of how much baby actually needs using the La Leche League method of calculation and using paced bottle feeding can take off a lot of the pressure.

12. MORE TIME SPENT CLEANING

Well I can’t deny this one at all. There is a load more washing up to do with EPing than there is with direct feeding, but it’s pretty much on par with formula feeding so I guess that’s the norm..

Listen Vania, I get it, I am a fierce breastfeeding advocate,  I am also a fierce EP supporter because I was one, and I know that unfortunately my circumstances didn’t allow for me to direct feed, there was nothing I could do to get my daughter to latch, like SO many other EPers.  

I get the want and need to help mothers pursue direct nursing because it’s the biologically normal way to feed an infant and it’s easier, but some don’t have that luxury and others are not supported, some are bullied and are left with lower self esteem that pumping could ever cause. Some have issues with breastfeeding due to past sexual abuse, some babies cannot latch, some moms hurt for years after not being able to feed directly, some, like myself are lucky, and we get a second chance, most don’t even attempt breastfeeding after the first experience,  some are so traumatised that they even avoid having another child, so bagging on these women,  when you obviously do not even have the basic understanding of why they pump is worse off than any of these 12 (mostly imaginary) reasons not to pump.
I encourage you Vania, to make some time to hear the stories of some EPers and see how strong and capable they are!

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