Exclusive pumping means feeding your baby breast milk only by pumping and bottle feeding breast milk. Generally, women who exclusively pump do not nurse their babies for true feedings (they may comfort nurse), and they may supplement with formula. Having said that, much of the information here will apply to women who pump for any reason – all are welcome!
Why would I exclusively pump?
There are many reasons for exclusively pumping breast milk:
- You have a baby that refuses to nurse or doesn’t transfer milk well while nursing
- You have a baby that can’t nurse for physical reasons (such as cleft palate), or your baby was in the hospital/NICU after birth and had difficulty establishing nursing
- Your older baby has gotten teeth and biting has become an issue
- You do not want to nurse but want to provide your baby with breast milk
Should I exclusively pump?
Exclusive pumping is a wonderful thing to do, but it is not easy. In many ways it is the worst of both worlds – not only do you need to be concerned with your breasts and supply (how often you need to pump, worrying about low supply, dealing with engorgement, clogged ducts and mastitis), but you are constantly preparing and washing bottles, too. You also need to somehow care for your child while you are spending a great deal of time tied to a pump, which is not something that nursing or formula feeding moms have to deal with. On top of everything else, exclusive pumping can be isolating. Many people have no idea what it is and may look at you like you have two heads if you tell them what you are doing.
In short, exclusive pumping is a lot of work and requires dedication and a sense of humor. (The sense of humor comes in handy when you realize you have left your pump charger in the airport bathroom, your pump battery is dead, and your breasts are about to explode. Not that this has ever happened to me.)
However, if you have the desire to do pump, it is a great thing to do for as long as you are willing and able. I was really upset when nursing didn’t work out for me and was so glad that I was able to stay connected to my son through the milk that I made. I also liked that there was a good chance he would be less prone to diarrhea and ear infections and that I was decreasing my risk of breast and ovarian cancer. And, though this isn’t the best reason for hooking yourself up to a pump for hours a day, I loved being able to eat as much as I wanted!
How do I get started?
If you’re new to exclusive pumping, I put together a quick start guide with the top things I’ve learned over my 28-month (and counting)/2 kid pumping career.
If you are a veteran pumper, please consider sharing your exclusive pumping story with us (contact me here)! And in either case, you can subscribe to the blog via email or follow via Facebook or Twitter on sidebar. Thanks for reading and please email me if you have any questions!