Whether you are a seasoned mum or a new mum, there’ll never lack a moment where you ask yourself various questions regarding breastfeeding. One such question that mums are always faced with is whether they are able to get more milk nursing or pumping. The natural infant food as you know by now, is breast milk. As such, both pumping and nursing are superb ways of feeding your baby breast milk.
Breast milk has been designed in such a way that it’s able to meet the nutritional needs of an infant. In fact, most doctors will always recommend breast milk as the first option instead of formula. Only in certain circumstances will a doctor advise a nursing mother to fully switch to formula or supplement with formula.
While breast milk is best, it’s necessary to note that nursing mothers also have to opt for a feeding strategy that works for them and their little bundle of joy while taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of pumping or expressing and breastfeeding. While expressed breast milk can offer similar benefits to breast milk that’s directly offered to the baby from the breast, the similarities are not identical.
Mothers don’t have to choose between nursing and pumping. This is because even for the babies that are still breastfed, the mother can choose to pump as well, especially when they won’t be around for a given period of time or have to get back to work.
Does Pumping or Nursing Increase Milk Supply?
Whether you are pumping or nursing, it’s no debate that you will experience an increased milk supply. However, nursing helps a mother get more milk than pumping. Milk supply to the mother’s breast is largely regulated by the stimulation that an infant provides when being nursed. Simply put, the more your baby is breastfed, the more breast milk that your body will produce.
As a nursing mother, if you find yourself producing less milk than normal, you can try increase your breastfeeding periods. Pumping after nursing can also help to boost more milk production. Certain medicines are known to decrease the milk supply. So does illnesses and stress. It’s very important that a nursing mother takes plenty of water – 88 percent of breast milk is made up of water – and eat a balanced diet. While doing all this, remember to also have some alone time even if it’s for a couple of minutes in a day as breastfeeding can be overwhelming, especially the first few weeks after birth.
For any nursing mother that has to go back to work and has a baby younger than six months, ensure that you pump after every three hours. Why? Because this will help maintain the supply of milk throughout the day. Remember, milk supply increases if the breasts are stimulated, whether by a baby feeding directly from the breast or by you pumping.
Freshly expressed breast can sit at room temperature for up to six hours after which it should be discarded. If you must preserve it in the refrigerator and not the freezer, ensure that it has to before five days are over. And you must never store breast milk on the shelves of your fridge’s door. Expressed milk can be stored in the freezer for three to six months and six to twelve months in a deep freezer.
Reduced Milk Supply
Most nursing mothers have experienced reduced milk supply at one point or the other. However, it’s not all women who go through this. There are women who produce too much milk and have to feed or pump every other time. Besides medicine, stress, not eating a balanced diet and illnesses, another cause of reduced milk supply is waiting too long to breastfeed or pump milk.
In fact, mothers who wait too long to breastfeed their babies will, at some point, experience reduced milk supply. Remember, for your body to increase the supply, your breasts need to be stimulated. If that’s not done over a long period of time or days, then the body will produce less milk as breast will send a signal that you need less milk.
As babies continue to grow, they start sleeping for longer hours at night. As such, you will discover that the nighttime feedings will reduce. This, however, won’t affect your nursing efforts in any way. Babies are generally able to breastfeed more during feedings, hence the ability to sleep longer between night feedings. As this happens, the mother’s body will also adjust accordingly.
If you wake up with full breasts during the night, ensure that you express milk to signal your body to adjust to the new schedule as well as for your own comfort.
Benefits of Nursing
There are various health benefits that breastfeeding offers to babies, such as reduced risk of certain health issues for both the baby and mother. Some of the benefits of breastfeeding a baby include:
Designed for the baby
Breast milk was designed as food for the baby. Allowing a baby feed directly from the breast enables its saliva to mix with the breast milk, which helps send messages to the mother’s brain about what her baby needs. This allows the baby to not only get the nutrients needed but to also get the antibodies that can help protect them from getting certain infections. The components of breast milk also keep changing as the baby grows to accommodate their needs.
Allows for Bonding
Breastfeeding is one of the more natural and effective ways that a mother can bond with their baby. The close skin to skin contact helps support bonding which helps the mother and baby learn each other’s cues and boost relaxation. Besides, various research have shown over time that newborn babies tend to have a strong physical need to be in very close contact with their mother or caregiver. Nursing a baby helps provide this close contact.
Breastfeeding has been known to help soothe a hurt, scared or anxious baby. In addition, some studies have shown that breastfeeding can help relieve the pain babies experience when they are vaccinated. Best part is that mothers won’t need to spend any money in order to soothe their little ones.