Friday, September 30, 2011

That's Not What Madonna Meant (expression v. pumping)

Express yourself! Not just a way of relaying your personal ideas or feelings on a matter, expression literally means "to press out," and in the case of expressing breastmilk that definition is spot-on. While many women prefer to use the new-fangled breast pumps which literally suck the milk out of you, there are some who prefer to hand-express. Personally I find there are pros and cons to every situation, and this is no exception.

single handed, or hands-free depending on equipment
easy to set up a routine with, allowing for relaxation
reliable variable strengths of suction
re-creates natural suction, like nursing

requires expensive equipment
hard to do while out and about
time consuming

easily performed almost anywhere
almost completely silent
no equipment other than what God gave you required
essentially free

can be painful if done wrong
can cause tender breasts
requires both hands, and occasionally knees as well

I own a pump, but when I only have a few minutes, I prefer to hand-express.While pumping can take up to 45 minutes for me to fully drain, I can get a few ounces out, increase my comfort level and then just pump or feed later. Expressing into a bottle for cold storage is easy, and since breast milk keeps at 72 degrees for up to 6 hours, I can express while I'm out and put it in the freezer when I get home.

If you're at work and need to pump most states have laws requiring reasonable accommodations be made for breastfeeding mothers that they might pump while not losing productivity. In that vein there are hands-free pump-bras available which allow you to simply set up a partition and remain at your desk. This allows you to  continue to type, write, make clay unicorns, or whatever it is you do for monetary gain.

Of course this, like almost every single parenting aspect, is a personal choice. Hopefully the information here helps make that choice easier.

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