No one can deny the value of breast milk. WHO recommends that a baby should have breast milk for at least six months for lifelong health benefits. And while you may have every intention of nourishing your baby with your own milk, sometimes being a food machine for a whole little person can be exhausting. Whether you're working or a stay-at-home mum, breast pumps can help take some of the pressure off of always being ready and able to make milk when the baby is hungry.
Breast pumps are mechanical or electrical gears that help to express breast milk and store it. This expressed milk needs to be stored properly and can be fed to the baby as and when required. The very idea of using a breast pump is to make breast milk feeding a viable and convenient option, given the million demands on a new mother's time.
For the multi-tasking mother
One of the biggest advantages of using breast pumps is that they enable mothers to provide their milk to their babies even when they are not around. Many working women need to report back to work at the end of their maternity leave. They can use breast pumps to express the milk and store it for the day. The milk can then be given to the child by a caregiver while she is away at work. It works similarly for women who are engaged in several activities inside and/or outside home; they can attend to those without depriving the baby of breast milk.
Dr Nadkarni, paediatrician at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai, however, advises that mothers must not be too dependent on breast pumps. "Breast pumps are a huge boon for mothers who must get back to work, or who cannot be around when the baby needs to be fed. But I suggest that they should try not to make it a habit, as the real bonding between mother and child develops during breastfeeding; it is a joy that she should experience from time to time."
Giving mother a break
Most babies require to be fed a number of times at night. Thanks to breast pumps the father or any other caregiver can feed the previously expressed and stored breast milk to the child while allowing the mother to take rest. Also, collecting the milk at one go, allows the breasts an adequate break for milk production. Sunita Porandla, mother to a four-month-old baby, says, "Breast pumps are a great boon for a new mother. I use one and it allows me to rest while my husband feeds the baby at night. Also, right after delivery, I had low milk production, so it was a great way to express milk at one go. This ensured that the baby would be sufficiently fed."
This is a problem faced by many new mothers. If the babies are too small or weak to suck the nipple properly, they do not get enough milk. In such cases, the mother can express milk with the help of a breast pump and ensure that the baby is fully fed. Moreover, if the mother has flat or retracted nipples that make it difficult for the baby to suck on, the baby can have expressed milk.
Do you have an experience or a tip that can help mothers who are thinking about purchasing a breast pump? Do share it here.