Parenthood presents a ton of choices and challenges, with one of the first and biggest ones being deciding how the baby is fed. Breastfeeding and formula feeding are both great options, and each of them has its own perks and downsides. When breastfeeding, breast pumping brings a lot of mothers some of the perks that come with formula feeding, such as more freedom when it comes to feeding times as well as not having to expose themselves in public. Pumping takes a lot of time, energy, and support, but it allows mothers to provide their baby with breast milk without having to have the baby on the breast. It’s also a great option for mothers who want to give their baby breast milk but have difficulties breastfeeding for a variety of reasons. So in honor of World Breast Pumping Day, here are a few facts about pumping.
1. Breast pumps are free with insurance.
While it may not be the pump you want, insurance companies are required to provide a free/discounted breast pump to mothers who want one. This requirement came around during the Obama administration in the Affordable Care Act.
2. Pumping is extremely time-consuming.
As a pumping mother, I spend about 10-15 minutes pumping which might not seem like a lot. But once other factors are added into the overall time, such as the time required to set up the breast pump and clean it, each pumping session could add up to 30-45 minutes easily. If a child is not eating from the breast at all, that could leave the mom pumping up to 8 times a day — increasing the time to 4 hours a day spent just to feed your baby.
3. Breastfeeding in addition to pumping can increase your milk supply.
The body is very flexible in meeting the demands for milk. The amount of stimulation provided to the nipple tells the body how much milk to produce. More stimulation equals more milk.
Back in December 2020, I had my daughter. I decided to pump in addition to using formula and breastfeeding because I know it takes a village to raise a child. I wasn’t doing myself any justice by strictly breastfeeding. The first month of breastfeeding took a huge toll on my mental health. I felt trapped in a constant cycle of having a baby at my breast and being unable to do anything else other than feed my child. I knew feeding my baby was the most important thing.
However, not being able to go out and enjoy life without worrying about breastfeeding made me depressed. It got to a point where I couldn’t even perform everyday tasks like doing the dishes or laundry without having to stop and breastfeed due to cluster feeding. Once I pinpointed what was happening, I was able to alleviate the issue by pumping so I was able to provide a bottle of breastmilk so my husband could give me a break and feed the baby. While it took a while to get there, pumping has improved my mental health greatly.
Pumping takes a lot of dedication. But to many moms, it’s important to give their baby breast milk. As a result, for many moms out there pumping is the only option of doing so. January 27th only comes once a year, so if you know a pumping mama out there, make sure she knows you see what she’s doing. Let her know that she’s doing a great job and that what she’s doing is important.