Breast milk is the main source of nutrition for infants, hence the reason why it is often referred to as “liquid gold.”
Breastfeeding is the easiest way to feed the baby because you don’t need anything extra, just your breasts and the baby and that’s all! Fun, right?
The truth is, while many moms would love to breastfeed, sometimes they are not in a position to.
Breast pumping is a great alternative to breastfeeding although it is not identical. The baby still gets to get the nutritious breast milk from mama.
Here are some of the reasons for pumping breast milk instead of breastfeeding your infant.
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1. Separation in the NICU
If your baby is born prematurely or develops some complications at birth, they might end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
When this is the case, mom will need to start pumping to stimulate breastmilk production and provide milk for the baby.
2. The baby hasn’t latched for more than 24 hours after birth
It is crucial to establish a good latch in the first few hours after the baby is born. A great tip that I learned with my second born is to put the baby on your breast immediately after they are born.
My nurses were really great and helped me to latch the baby on my breast and left her there for the first 2 hours after she was born. She actually got it so fast, I was surprised.
It was a great bonding experience and it also helped set me up for success on the breastfeeding journey.
That said, sometimes the baby just doesn’t latch well as easily. As was actually the case with my son.
In this case, if the baby hasn’t latched for over 24 hours, you should start pumping in order to stimulate your breasts as you work on latching.
3. Nipple Soreness/ Abraded Nipples
The initial days of breastfeeding can be rough and nipple soreness is very common. Sometimes due to the friction involved, your nipples may end being abraded and if not taken care of they can even start bleeding or get infected.
A preventative measure to nipple soreness is applying a nipple cream before and/or after every breastfeeding session. This Organic nipple butter from Earth Mama Organics is excellent.
However, if you already have nipple soreness, it is a good idea to pump that breast and give it time to heal before having the baby feed on that side.
When I ended up with abraded nipples, I only breastfed my infant on the side that wasn’t hurting and pumped my injured breast.
I would then have my hubby bottlefeed her for 2 or 3 feedings in the day to give my breasts a break.
Once they were healed, I happily went back to breastfeeding on both breasts. That pumping break was necessary to allow my breast to heal.
If your breasts are engorged, pumping is a good idea to help prevent more serious issues like mastitis from developing.
You have to note though, when pumping to relieve engorgement, it is important not to pump to empty the breast.
If you keep emptying the breast, your engorgement might get worse.
Pump just enough for your breast to stop being hard and painful. Using the Haakaa on the engorged breast is actually a really great idea.
Need support and guidance in feeding your baby?
Taking an online baby feeding course can help to set you up for success in feeding your baby. There are many challenges that come with feeding a newborn. Whether you are breastfeeding or pumping for the reasons we have seen above, having a lactation counselor’s support is priceless.
Rachel offers a baby feeding class that goes over all aspects of breastfeeding and pumping here. She is a Certified Lactation Counselor with her own private practice and also offers online consultations.
Check out her free online courses here and get the support you need.
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