10 Reasons why breastfeeding is better than pumping. Or “Why pumping sucks.”

1) Set up and clean up. With nursing you just plug the baby in, wherever you are. Nothing to clean afterwards, no special equipment.
2) It’s uncomfortable. I know, I know. People say nursing hurts. I’ve had a few blood-blistered nipples since we started this but the pumps are just uncomfortable all the time. They’re plastic. Pulling on skin. Repeatedly.
3) The pump parts do not get excited to see you. This may sound silly to you. But it’s not. Seeing that little face get all excited when it’s milky time is so cute. I know I complain when he pulls off and relatches 52 times, but he’s so dang cute when he just grins at me it make it ok.
4) The pump parts are not warm and snuggly. Again, may sound silly to you but that little baby is so sweet and cuddly when he’s nursing. Pump parts? Not so much.
5) You cannot sleep while pumping. This would result in very very sore nipples as there is no timer on the pump. And you can’t lay down. That results in milk everywhere.
6) Pumping requires electricity. And then refrigeration.
7) The pump is not as efficient as a baby. It only does so much for clogged ducts. It can also affect supply as it doesn’t always empty all the milk out.
8) The pump is impersonal and clinical. It does not inspire warm fuzzy feelings.
9) You can’t pump while shopping. Well, I suppose if you had a battery pack you could. But that would be super awkward.
10) Pumping hinders some breastfeeders. Let me explain. When you breastfeed you can’t tell just how much the baby is drinking. You can only base consumption on how many wet/dirty diapers the baby has. And steady weight gain (even though breastfed babies generally gain weight slower than formula fed babies do). So women who start pumping and only get 1/2 – 1 ounce freak out and think their supply is low. Not true. Just because you only pump an ounce from both breasts doesn’t mean when you breastfeed the baby is only getting an ounce. Some women can pump more than others. Some sessions you’ll pump more than others. Some women don’t use the pump right or have the wrong flanges. Consumption can never be measured by how much you pump.

Now listen. I could tell you all day long how much I hate pumping and how I’d much rather breastfeed my little one instead. But pumping does have one redeeming factor. It allows me to provide my son breastmilk when nursing isn’t an option. Like while I’m working. Or for the almost 6 weeks he spent in the NICU, most of which he couldn’t nurse at all.  So while I consider pumping a necessary evil, I’m glad I have the option. Because while I’d much rather have had a term baby to nurse and not have to work, that’s just not how things panned out for us. So even though this isn’t my favorite part of the day, I’m willing to keep doing it because I feel it’s better for him. And that’s what matters to me.

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