By Erin Rodriguez, Lactation Counselor
There are several ways to provide breast milk to your baby, and the only right way is the one that works best for you and your baby. You can (1) place baby directly to the breast, (2) use a combination of direct breast feeding and pumping, (3) pump exclusively, or (4) receive milk from a donor. If one way does not work for you, do not give up. Other options are available. I have worked with many mothers who choose to only pump, but they often worry that baby is not getting all the nutrition he/she needs. But no need to worry: Baby still receives most of the important nutrients needed. Furthermore, there are benefits to pumping entirely, if that is what works best for you and your baby. Babies that take in breast milk that is pumped still receive all of the same immune-boosting power as babies that feed at the breast.
The only time this may not apply is if the baby is coming down with a cold. When a baby is not feeling well, the saliva from the baby passes information to the mother to produce more immune-boost nutrients. I do recommend that mothers who choose to pump exclusively still place baby to the breast when they feel baby might not be feeling well. Another benefit to just pumping breast milk is the reduction of stress. If you have been having trouble with baby latching, or just feel that baby is not getting enough milk, this can cause stress which can reduce your supply. Removing the stress and exclusively pumping will allow you and baby to enjoy your breastfeeding experience and to help increase your supply. Bottom line: there is no right or wrong way to breast feed. As long as you are breast feeding your baby, you’re doing an amazing job.