…Contemplating the Core Elements of a Modern Breastfeeding Lifestyle
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Breastfeeding Status Update: It’s Complicated

Breastfeeding is just like most modern relationships, sometimes it is difficult to define.

More often than not, the romantic ideal of a blissful nursing couple is threatened by the addition of pumps and bottles. These artifacts alter the experience greatly for both the mother and her baby. She is likely to feel overwhelmed.

Breastfeeding Status: It’s complicated.

Tongue-in-cheek, my green logo above and query are inspired by Facebook.   The irony is that it has, on several occasions, banned breastfeeding photos.

What is your Breastfeeding Status?

Do you exclusively breastfeed your baby?  Do you breastfeed, then pump, then feed a bottle of your expressed milk?  Do you breastfeed, then offer a formula chaser? Do you pump exclusively?

Ideally breastfeeding should be a relationship with your baby, not the pump.   Couple therapists typically recommend banning the computer and television in the bedroom in order to foster greater intimacy.  In the same vein, focusing on direct breastfeeding will enhance both bonding and the milk supply.

There is a time and place for the gadgets, but in the bloom of new love or breastfeeding it is best that the focus be on the partner.  Being in the moment and keeping things simple can help lay down the most solid foundation for long term success.

It is all about making positive, conscious breastfeeding connections and upgrading your status to: In Relationship with your breastfeeding baby.


1 Hadassah Sukkot { 08.30.10 at 8:01 am }

Hi, I saw your article featured on Kellymom at Facebook. Awesome post. :)

I am currently introducing solids to an otherwise exclusively breastfed (no bottles other than at the hospital when he was in the incubator) 10 month old boy, and extended breastfeeding my 2 yr old.

2 Laura { 08.30.10 at 8:07 am }

It’s great for stay at home mothers, but what about those of us that work? I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful job in which I can pump three times during the workday without any hassle. My husband is a stay at home father. With us, the pump HAS TO be involed. It’s either that or formula.

My daughter is now eleven months old and I am still providing breastmilk to her as her main form of nourishment (she does eat some solid food). I say kudos to the working moms or any other moms that are able to provide the best nourishment possible to their babies, even though it involes “gadgets”!

3 Molly Murphy { 08.30.10 at 9:44 am }

I can’t believe you compare a breast pump to a television or a computer. What you’ve written is so insensitive and wrong. Mom’s who pump go to a great amount of trouble to provide breastmilk to their babies. Some of us have jobs. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am disgusted by this. “Ideally” you and others like you would get off their high horse. You give breastfeeding proponents a bad name.

4 Molly Murphy { 08.30.10 at 10:03 am }

and maybe I’m misreading, but it just sounds like you are implying that being a pumping mother means that you are not in as significant or close of a relationship with your breastfeeding baby…which in turn sounds like b.s.

5 Cathy { 08.30.10 at 11:14 am }

Until recently, I simply breastfed my 6 month old son. However, a couple of weeks ago I started a new job as a breastfeeding peer counselor and, ironically, am now away from him part of 3 days per week, so am pumping during that time.

6 Kiira { 08.30.10 at 4:50 pm }

I can see where you’re coming from. There are a lot of moms that jump to the pump because they’re having trouble and it’s “easier” or they are worried about their supply so they want to “see” what they are making which might inadvertently cause some problems . However, I do agree with Molly Murphy in saying that a working mom MUST use a pump and that it is not a walk in the park to do so. Our nursing relationship is not lessened by pumping.

7 Ahimsa { 08.30.10 at 5:54 pm }

I’m also offended by this post. My 14 month old boy would have weaned several times if it wasn’t for the help of my ‘gadget’ otherwise known as a breastpump. It has saved our breastfeeding relationship several times in the course of his little life and I’m truly grateful for it! How dare you make it even more difficult for women who are doing their best to make sure they are giving their babies breastmilk in a cultural climate where everything is already stacked against them.

My breastfeeding status? It IS complicated. It’s NOT idyllic and romantic, I HAVE needed to use a breastpump in order to continue nourishing my son and I’m proud that he’s still breastfeeding as a result. Please don’t assume that women who pump aren’t as committed to breastfeeding, or as close to their babies as those who are able to exclusively feed from the breast. How insulting.

8 Máire Clements RN IBCLC { 08.30.10 at 6:06 pm }

Thank you for your comments. It does seem as though you misread my post. It was meant to be humorous and invite a sharing of a variety of experiences. I was not comparing a breast pump to a television or computer, although they are all inanimate objects. The point of that analogy was to focus on the relationships, especially” in the bloom of new love or breastfeeding.”

As my tag line states, this blog is about…contemplating the core elements of a modern breastfeeding lifestyle. This post was not intended to be a judgment of you or any other mother who pumps. Most working mothers need to pump to maintain their milk supply and breastfeeding connection when they work outside the home.

It is clear to me, by your visceral reaction expressed in both of your comments, that my queries have a hit a nerve. I have no doubts that the definition of breastfeeding status is indeed complicated. Frankly, I was surprised to be attacked for stating the obvious, but appreciate your feedback. In this usually p.c. world, such rancor definitely creates a buzz and draws a crowd…a win for conscious breastfeeding.

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