By Brandi Tidwell, Team Mama and Doula
One of the most frustrating things about my generation is that we have so many more options than our predecessors, but personal opinions and prejudices often prevent moms from knowing what is available to them in order to make an informed decision.
I believe one of my major callings in life is to show women their options and empower them to take responsibility with their decisions. Today, we’re breaking into your baby’s first food. I can only scratch the surface in one article but, rest assured, there will be more!
*Please note: I’m not beginning with exclusive nursing because there are already so many fantastic and free resources such as La Leche League who can help.*
It seems that, recently, the mommy wars have ramped up to an all time high with the “breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding” argument at the forefront. When people ask me whether I’m nursing my baby (yes, strangers literally ask whether I’m using my boobs), I proudly announce that I breastfeed my baby…with a bottle. Man do I get some strange looks!
Unfortunately, our community is stuck in a war between breast or bottle without ever acknowledging that moms can have both. Is it easy? No way. But when given the choice between exclusive nursing or formula, most moms, especially moms who must return to work full time, end up forced to choose formula.
According to the WHO recommendations, the ideal way to feed baby is indeed nursing directly from the breast. If, for a host of reasons, the mother cannot exclusively nurse, the next most viable options are, respectively: pumped breastmilk in a bottle, wet-nursing or donated breastmilk, THEN formula.
How is this possible, you ask? A growing community of moms are learning of a method called Exclusive Pumping. By using both your breasts and bottles, you are simultaneously getting the best and worst of both worlds.
- The bottle means that you can make hubby get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, but in order to maintain your supply you still need to get up to pump.
- You can leave the baby with a babysitter to go on a date but you will probably have to pump in the movie theater (I’ve totally done this).
- You have to wash and sanitize bottles daily but you can also have a deep freezer stocked full of liquid gold to save for your child’s toddler years or even donate it to a baby in NICU!
Since many insurances are now required to provide a breast pump to new moms, pumping is giving working moms a new opportunity to provide an equally healthy start for all babies!
As an exclusive pumper, I have yet to find a lactation consultant who is familiar with the best practices for building and maintaining supply. If you are interested in exclusive pumping, feel free to email me at Brandi@richtidwell.com.
If you have questions or concerns about pumping in lieu of nursing, comment below and I will address them for our other readers to learn from!
Keep an eye out for my next “Options” articles about Donor Milk and Formula <3