For many working first time parents, choosing to continue exclusive breastfeeding beyond maternity leave can be a real concern. There are also parents, especially first time mothers, who would want to leave their babies at home for short periods of time but worry about going out because they are breastfeeding and are afraid baby would go hungry while they are away. Then of course there are moms who just want to get a good night’s sleep and let dad have a hand at the night time feedings.
Whatever the case may be, it is possible to go out once in a while, get dad to help out or even go back to work full time and still continue to exclusively breastfeed your little one. Expressing breast milk for your baby has become easier and more convenient with the help of breast pumps. With the wide array of styles and models, moms are able to choose from manual or electric, single or double, battery powered, plug-in or rechargeable and even hands-free breast pumps. Here are a few things I have already learned about how a breast pump can help you in your breastfeeding journey:
Build a stash
Using a breast pump allows a mom to build a stash or two of expressed breast milk. Whether it’s to have a supply of food for baby while you’re away at work or just to go out to the grocery or coffee with a friend, your breast pump affords you the peace of mind that baby won’t go hungry while you are away.
Share your liquid gold
Expressing breast milk with a breast pump also enables a mom to share her breast milk with other babies in need. There are numerous requests for breast milk donations for infants who are in need of them for reasons ranging from a sick mother, or being orphaned or adopted (although it is also possible to breastfeed an adopted baby) or have mothers with insufficient supply or are physiologically unable to breastfeed. Donating breast milk for babies in need can be one of the most rewarding and empowering experiences for a breastfeeding mother.
Get much needed time off
Let’s admit it, no matter how much we love our baby, there will always be days when we wish we could get some time alone for ourselves. Any devoted mother needs to rest and take the time to focus on herself every now and then. Expressing milk with a breast pump is a good way to take some quality time off. Use the pump and leave baby with the grannies or dad or a trusted sitter and go get a manicure or pedicure or that much needed hair cut. Trust me, your baby will be better off when mom comes home refreshed and recharged with freshly painted nails.
Allows dad some quality feeding time
Often, partners of breastfeeding mothers express a bit of jealousy and insecurity at being unable to share in the experience of feeding their baby. While breastfeeding is a mother’s exclusive privilege, using a breast pump gives dad or partner the opportunity to also enjoy feeding time. While dad gives baby expressed milk, use the time to sleep or clean or even pump more milk.
Exclusively breast feeding your little one has never been as easy. Breast pumps have become an indispensable aid to ensuring our little ones get the best start in life and at the same time allowing mothers some freedom to leave baby in the care of a loved one with the peace of mind knowing baby still gets his much needed liquid gold.