We need a breast pump

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It used to be that when friends, colleagues, or excited relatives asked an expectant mom what was on her list of needed new baby supplies, they were inquiring about diapers, blankets and booties. Such declarations beg a few questions: Does every woman who plans to nurse her baby and have a date night now and then need a pump? That answer begs a second question: Why, then, do 75 percent of nursing mothers use a mechanical pump to express breastmilk even if they are not planning to return to work?

Wall is a widely known and highly respected instructor in the art and science of nursing.

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Of course, there are circumstances when pumping is absolutely necessary in order to give a baby breast milk, such as babies with cleft palates, or premature babies struggling with the suck-swallow reflex, or other conditions that make it hard for baby to take milk from the breast.

But if she is pumping and then skipping breast feedings, the pumping will decrease her milk production. Increasing the milk supply too much through pumping can lead to engorgement, blocked milk ducts, and increased risk of breast infection mastitis — or worse, land the mother in a situation where she is reliant on the pump just to be comfortable because baby cannot remove as much milk as mom is making.

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Decreased milk production caused by pumping in lieu of putting the baby directly to breast can lead to an insufficient supply for a growing baby and the need to supplement breastmilk with formula. Ironically, in a presentation to colleagues, Wall notes that one of the most common reasons for pumping is misinformation from well-meaning health care providers. Often it is a nurse or other provider who first suggests that the best way to get a solid four hours of sleep with a newborn is to pump breast milk in the day so a partner can feed it to the baby at night.

In fact, research shows that exclusive breastfeeding — having mom put the baby to the breast We need a breast pump day and all night — le to more sleep for the new mom, not less. Making a habit of pumping by day so you can skip nursing at night can also lead to decreased supply over time.

Spacing out the times between emptying of the breasts causes the overall milk production to gradually go down. There is at least one other good reason to keep baby on the breast rather than become reliant on a pump: According to research being conducted by the U. Centers for Disease Control, it may help reduce the chances of obesity in late infancy or childhood, an issue reaching epic proportions in the U. The association of bottle feeding breastmilk and obesity are not yet clear to scientists. But one hypothesis is that bottle-feeding le to poor self-regulation on the basis of internal cues of hunger and satiety.

Breastfeeding Position and Latch

Another is that the higher fat content that occurs during the end of breastfeeding session may act as a physiologic al to stop eating. For mothers with low milk supply which can usually be determined by three things: is baby peeing regularly, is she pooping, is he gaining weight pumping can be a godsend and may be the key that increases production enough to allow mom to nurse exclusively. Mothers of premature babies may experience low milk supply because their not-quite-ready-for-the-world babies struggle to suck.

And of course any mother who goes back to work or school in the first year should also consider expressing milk for her baby. For the mother who is a super breast milk producer, however, a pump can become a perpetrator of chronic engorgement, increased risk for plugged ducts and mastitis.

In this case, moms who feel full and uncomfortable even after baby feeds well may be tempted to use a pump to empty the breast and relieve the discomfort. Bad idea, lactation experts say. Babies generally leave about 25 percent of the breasts milk capacity untouched after they are sated.

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When you pump on top of nursing at the breast and empty the breasts completely, you al your glands to produce that much more — to refill the lost supply. In this case, pumping can lead to a vicious case of constant oversupply. The key, say lactation experts, is to pump or hand express just enough milk to relieve discomfort but not to empty breasts. This protein needs to be allowed to build up high enough to trigger the breast to cut back milk production.

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Wall says she has not found any documented evidence that pumping, other than in women who are super producers, le to breast infection. Mastitis as this is called can be a serious issue, leading to intense nursing pain, maternal fever and, in rare cases, breast duct abscess.

Wall says this is a scenario she see frequently: a mother pumps during the day, then skips breastfeedings in the evening or at night to get a little more rest or to let her partner have special bonding time with the baby through bottle-feeding. But making a habit if pumping by day so you can skip nursing at night can lead to decreased supply over time.

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Not only does nursing at the breast at night get mom more sleep but it also promotes a full milk supply. Spacing out the time between breast-emptyings causes the overall milk production to gradually go down. Most women do not need a pump to express milk, although if a mom is heading back to work and needs to pump a fair amount in a short period of time during breaks, having a good pump is best way to go.

Breast Pump Manual

But for women who want to express a bottle occasionally — or even once a day — they simply need to look down to find the right tool. To learn how to hand express, she recommends moms watch this minute video created at Stanford University. The key word here is can. Parents interested in pumping for this reason may want to consider holding off on the pump until close to the time mom returns to work.

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And sometimes the baby refuses to drink it! Perhaps one of the biggest myths lactation consultants hear around the use of a breast pump is this: Pumps cause breast stretch marks and sagging.

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This has been studied. Pregnancies, weight loss of over 50 pounds and cigarette smoking are associated with greater breast droop. Opinion: With support, breastfeeding can succeed, even in a pandemic. Copyright Seattle's Child.

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We need a breast pump

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