“Can I stop pumping?? Is there anyone out there who just breastfeeds and doesn’t pump in addition??” asked a mom on a Facebook group recently. Have you ever felt this way? Pumping is great for lots of different reasons, but if you are able to be with your baby most of the time pumping is NOT necessary! This blog post will explore the reasons you may have felt pressured to pump and why you probably can STOP PUMPING!
(This blog post was originally a video. Check it out below!)
A Side Note
There are only a couple of reasons why a pump should be part of your breastfeeding journey. Check out these videos for information on why you might pump. You can use a pump to help if you have a low supply, if you are going to be away from your baby or if you are a working mom. Obviously pumps were invented for a reason!
Pumps have really come a long way. When they first came out in the 1950s, they was a rubber suction squeezer part attached onto a milk collecting flange that hooked to the breast. Every time the little compartment that collected milk got full, you would have to remove it from your breast, empty it and reapply to the breast. It was super inefficient and very hard to clean. But when it came out, it was a game changer because some moms really needed that. If you were separated from your baby in the beginning and you wanted to give them breast milk, you could hand express, (and some moms still do that and have great success!) but this little first pump really gave some moms more options and help when they needed it. Pumps have come a long way and they are a great resource for many moms!
Pressure to Pump
Breastfeeding is a natural process, and as long as your baby is growing and thriving, doesn’t need an artificial tool like a pump in order to be successful. The pressure to pump is a new phenomenon. A few things have happened in breastfeeding culture recently that have created this pressure.
The first change is that insurance companies are giving new moms breast pumps
Overall, this is a good thing! Pumping can provide flexibility and freedom for many moms. On the flip side though, just because you’ve have a pump doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time, or ever at all!
Marketing is another change in breast feeding culture that has contributed to this new pressure to pump
Breast pump companies market their products as something that you need. Your insurance company partners with breast pump companies to give you these pumps for free or at low costs. There are inexpensive pumps online. Social media influencers review and advertise pumps… pumps are everywhere! All of this has created a culture in the breastfeeding world that if you want to be successful in breastfeeding, you need to be pumping.
Pressure to pump can start right after birth, when moms think they need to pump to build their supply
If you are able to feed on demand, your supply will regulate itself! Maybe you feel more control with your supply by pumping because you can actually measure your output. Trust your body and trust your baby! If baby is growing and thriving, they are getting what they need, no matter what the pump measures.
Another bad reason to pump is to stock freezer
Being obsessed with a freezer stash is not a good idea. What do you need in a freezer stash? Technically, zero! A little bit of extra milk can come in handy sometimes, but you really only need it if you’re going to be away from your baby. Twelve ounces is a great freezer stash. That is enough to let you go to the dentist, an OB appointment or out to lunch with a girlfriend, just enough for a few hour separation. If you are going back to work, you might want a little bit more, but even just one day’s worth of milk would be totally fine. You don’t need months worth of milk supply in the freezer. Stop pumping to do that! It is craziness.
If you are an exclusive breastfeeding mom who is mostly with her baby, you can stop pumping! Just because you have a pump, or someone on the internet told you that you need a freezer stash, does not mean you need to pump. You should have the freedom to do what YOU want! You can absolutely breastfeed and never pump in your life.