This article in Time Magazine was brought to my attention (and thank you!). Apparently choosing to pump exclusively instead of breastfeeding in on the rise and this article pissed me off on so many levels. No woman in her right mind would CHOOSE to pump over breastfeeding, if breastfeeding were possible. And reading this, I’m annoyed that it will give women the wrong impression and lead people to believe that pumping is easy. EASY? It’s a damn shame that comments were closed by the time I got to this article.
Byrd says she tried breast-feeding her first child, who is now 12, and lasted nine weeks before giving up. “I just did not like it. I felt locked away. I was young and self-conscious, and everyone would leave the room when I breast-fed. I was lonely,” Byrd says.
Uh… I’m sorry. And people don’t leave the room when you lift up your shirt and ATTACH A MACHINE to both your breasts? (You’ve no idea how absurd this looks. If, like me, you have large breasts, your nipples get sucked in and stretche out like 2 inches into the tube. Pretty.) Pumping made me feel horribly isolated. I’d be fine if I were alone in a room with my son. I LIKE alone time with him. I was NOT fine when I had to hide away in the bedroom to pump while my parents & husband & son played in the living room, without me.
By the time her baby daughter was 4 months old, Byrd had fed her exclusively with expressed breast milk and had stashed away enough milk in a deep freezer (she estimates she pumped an extra 3,500 oz.) to last until her child turned 1. After the birth of her third child, in 2009, she pumped for 8½ months, bottle-fed and, again, stored enough milk for a year.
This article mention THIS, but doesn’t talk about the reality of pumping. It’s HARD. The majority of women pump their asses off to meet the demand and even MORE so to build a stash. Pumping is not as efficient as a baby, the same hormones are not triggered, and supply isn’t as much as it would be if you were breastfeeding. That’s why I was on that online support group for pumping moms. We discussed galatalogs (things that promote lactation) like crack. We all chugged lactaid teas and popped herbal pills and shared recipes for oatmeal. In the beginning, you have to pump MINIMUM of 8 times per day, plus at least once in the wee hours of the morning, to keep your supply up. Once supply is established, you can cut out pumps and SOMETIMES cut out the nighttime pump. Some women stopped waking up at 3 am to pump and found their supply dropped. So they’d continue getting up at 3 am, alone, to sit in the dark with a machine attached to their breasts.
This article talks NOTHING of what’s really involved in choosing to pump exclusively.
Their reasons for doing so are varied: some mothers say they dislike the feeling of a suckling baby. Others say it is painful or that the baby fails to latch on. Some want to avoid the uncomfortable possibility of having to breast-feed in public. For many, including Byrd, a key issue is time. “People think that since I am a stay-at-home mom, I should always have my baby attached to my breast,” she says. “Well, sometimes I have other things to do.” It takes her half the time to pump and bottle-feed as it would to breast-feed, because she can express milk from both breasts at the same time, rather than waiting for the baby to switch from one side to the other.
I’m sorry, but if you prefer a cold machine to your child, there are some very serious, deep seated issues at play. Issues that should be dealt with. And the timing thing? Hey, Byrd – FUCK OFF. Every single mother on the pumping list I was on (approx 500+ women) complained about pumping running their lives. Because you have to be on a schedule, to keep supply from dropping. And choosing to pump because your baby takes too long, because your baby is INCONVENIENT…?? Um. Just, UM. Man, I wish the comments weren’t closed. I mean, are you FUCKING KIDDING me? That’s just sick. Is nothing sacred anymore?
Pumping is a win-win proposition, say mothers: it gives them freedom while still ensuring their babies get that all-important breast milk. It can be scheduled around work and leisure. Women can drink alcohol, for instance, and “pump and dump,” so they avoid giving their babies tainted milk. Further, pumping allows fathers and other caregivers equal time in feeding the baby.
Really? Win-win? So all of us mothers on the support group trying to urge each other on & offer support are in a win-win situation? We should have felt blessed? I should have felt blessed instead of wrecked and emotionally exhausted and unable to continue? I guess, though, there’s a difference between CHOOSING to pump because you’re a selfish, self-obsessed asshole versus HAVING to pump because you really care. And the idea of using technology & shortcuts and cheats so that you can have your fucking cake & eat it to just strikes me as wrong on so many levels. Every ounce I pumped was fought for, and there was no way I would EVER consider dumping a single ounce of it. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Wendy Williamson, a self-described type-A personality, breast-fed her son for only two days. She says the experience made her feel anxious and depressed because she couldn’t tell how much milk he was drinking.
My mom stopped breastfeeding after 2 weeks because of this. I get it. It’s a very real concern, but it’s a deeper issue. The answer is MORE SUPPORT and education, not pumping.
But lactation experts say mothers should allow themselves more than two days to adjust to breast-feeding. Often it takes much longer to overcome initial anxiety, discomfort or even pain, and researchers say the benefits of breast-feeding may be long-lasting. …Since breast-feeding mothers focus on the infant’s cues for fullness and hunger, rather than on feeding schedules or ounce-notches on the bottle, they tend not to overfeed their children, studies suggest, which encourages both mother and child to tune in to internal cues for fullness.
Uh, yeah. Do you know how hard it is, now, to figure out & adjust for growth spurts and figuring out how much was enough for him? Nugget is a big eater, and I discovered we were underfeeding him for a few weeks. And YES. Breastfeeding is hard, our society is no longer as supportive as it once was and YOU NEED TIME to overcome. It’s probably the hardest thing a woman can do these days. It’s honestly the most hellish experience I’ve ever gone through. You’re rarely going to master it within a few days.