You say “Breast is Best” I say “Pumping is Perfect”

Due to the health benefits of breast milk and the catchy rhyming factor the term Breast is Best has been an oft repeated term that any mother of a newborn cannot escape from hearing. It gets repeated ad nauseam until you are tossing and turning in your bed at night mumbling breast is best, breast is best.

There is little doubt that  breast milk contains an incredible amount of nutrients and antibodies that help your little ones in the early stages of his or her life but none of these benefits are negated by pumping your milk into a bottle first and then feeding it to your child. In fact you actually gain quite a number of extra benefits by doing this.

Before I continue, I’ll assume that you are not consulting me in place of a real doctor or some other qualified professional, I have no letters after my name and no breasts in front of my body. This is by no means some comprehensive how-to guide for breast pumping or meant to be percieved as actual advice for mothers seeking real help with breastfeeding/pumping. There are plenty of other real resources available for that. If you are looking for an entertaining read full of anectodes based on my life experiences as a male raising 4 kids, please continue.

So lets get on with the reasons why the world over will soon be singing the praises of “Pumping is Perfect.”

  • Pumping allows the mother to be able to leave the child for longer than a few hours at a time. If you are breast feeding your baby you must return to your baby every 3-4 hours to feed. This makes it very difficult to do things where it wouldn’t be ideal to have a newborn along. This could include things such as a day out by yourself to regain your sanity, working a job (full or part time),  or anything else you might wish to do for longer than 3 hours without having to nurse a child.
  • Closely related to the last reason, if you pump you could enjoy longer periods of sleep at night if someone else gets up with the baby and feeds them a bottle. What new mother wouldn’t enjoy 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a few nights a week?
  • Pumping allows other family members such as Dad to also enjoy that special bonding time that can occur during feedings.
  • Your breasts don’t have flow meters on them so you don’t ever know how much milk your baby is actually drinking.  Women can usually know if it was a “good” feeding but you can’t actually know without any doubt how much your baby is eating. If you pump then you will be able to know exactly how much your baby is eating and you can make sure they are eating the appropriate amount for their age.
  • No matter how hungry your baby is s/he will never suck as completely as a pump will. A breast pump will completely drain your breasts of your milk and this will help your milk supply.
  • Coat-tailing the last point, a good pump will drain your milk faster than a baby. You could cut a 1 hour feeding session down to a 15 minutes pumping session.
  • A pump doesn’t bite. Any mother who has been bitten by a teething baby can say a big hallelujah to this one!
  • A pump tends to dry out and crack your nipples a lot less than a sucking baby.
  • You can give your baby a bottle in scenarios where it’s impossible to give your child your breast. Such as the car. If you are on a road trip you will have to pull over to breast feed, whereas you could reach you arm over and give your baby a bottle while you are still driving down the road.
  • As much as it is changing here in America, there is still a stigma attached to breast feeding in public. Some mothers don’t feel comfortable breast feeding in public for any number of reasons. No one feels uncomfortable giving their baby a bottle in public.
  • If you pump, you might just find that your body produces much more milk than your baby can eat. This gives you the opportunity to donate or sell your breast milk to feed another baby whose mother cannot produce breast milk for whatever reason.
  • If you pump then you can add green food coloring to your bottle on St. Patrick’s Day. Oh lighten up, I’m just kidding, don’t ever do this.
  • If you pump more than your baby can eat you can also store the extra milk by freezing it. This will allow you to continue to feed your baby breast milk for a while after your body has stopped producing milk.

So those are a few of the reasons why I believe pumping can be a great choice for new families. As with anything baby related, no two babies are the same and no two families are the same. What works for one family doesn’t work for another and what worked with one of your kids might not necessarily work with the next.

Thanks for reading, I hope I have given you a few points to ponder, especially the part about 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Have a great week. As always, if you wanted to support me, you could click on the Top Daddy Blogger icon below. Every click counts as a vote.

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39 thoughts on “You say “Breast is Best” I say “Pumping is Perfect””

  1. Get the pitchforks, time to burn you at the stake! How dare you write this post! I’m just kidding, as always great insight and I whole heartily agree.

  2. I breast fed five kids and not one of them would drink from a bottle when they were babies. Apparently it has something to do with the shape of the teet either that or the kid’s got a 6th sense and knows it’s time to get awkward…lol

      1. Lots of misinformation can be so irresponsible for inexperienced parents. Which is likely why you wrote this. I’m sure your intentions were not to deceive. Do what works best for your family.

        1. Yes Robin there is so much misinformation out there and unfortunately it it often delivered with extreme prejudice and emotions. Each family is going to be different and is going to have a method that works best for them. And this decision should not be made based off a blog post.

      2. There is a one size fits all answer: do what works for your family and respect that others may do something different.

        1. Bee, there is so much truth to your statement. Sadly, respecting others seems to be missing from our culture, particularly in social media.

  3. It’s interesting to hear the male perspective on breastfeeding… Having breastfed (and pumped some) for both of my girls, I disagree on a few points.
    “No matter how hungry your baby is s/he will never suck as completely as a pump will. A breast pump will completely drain your breasts of your milk and this will help your milk supply.
    Coat-tailing the last point, a good pump will drain your milk faster than a baby. You could cut a 1 hour feeding session down to a 15 minutes pumping session.”

    Most pumps are actually much LESS efficient at extracting milk from the mother because it’s just vacuum action and doesn’t normally elicit the same hormone response to milk let down that holding your baby does. Exclusively pumping moms have a much harder time maintaining supply without additional heat, images or videos of their baby, massage/compression etc. Particularly in the early weeks, it’s so important to establishing supply to have your baby nearby because the milk production is almost entirely hormonal and skin to skin contact supports the production.

    In general, pumping is a nice supplement to breastfeeding and it does allow moms to work or be away from their baby — but if you don’t pump on a similar schedule to breastfeeding, your body will not continue producing milk at the same rate. It is just as much work (if not more) to lug the pump, all the parts, find a place to store/refrigerate, and then clean all the pieces. Breast pumps have not evolved much in 40 years and are not so mom friendly. You think a mom might feel funny breastfeeding in public… try finding a place to pump that isn’t a bathroom!

    I think you make some good points but from my perspective, breast is still best and pumping is just fine when you have to be away from your baby, but certainly not “perfect”.

    1. Thanks for your comment Amy. Very valid points you make. “Pumping is a nice supplement” just didn’t have the nice alliterative ring I was looking for in a slogan 🙂
      I sure hope no one bases their breastfeeding choice off of nothing more than my blog post.

  4. I think this is great advice, but of course I’m a guy too! Lol. Neither of my daughter’s took to the breast and my wife couldn’t produce milk for my youngest. She tried very hard and felt guilty about it, but of she could have, we would have definitely pumped some to store for the same reasons you have listed.

    Great post and excellent points.

    1. Who knows better than us guys about breastfeeding!! Lol. Pumping isn’t the answer for everyone but it can have some nice benefits.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Man we were so blessed in this area my wife never even had to pump. Well, just a little bit here and there. As long as that baby is getting that breast milk I’d say it’s a win. Enjoyed reading as always, my friend. There are definitely pro’s to both.

    1. I’d say that’s a win too! At the end of the day it’s all about what’s best for the health of baby and mom. Thanks for stopping by buddy.

  6. Nice blog. Only thing I’d point out is that pumping doesn’t empty breast as efficiently as baby, actually some women don’t respond well to a pump at all. I personally only get between 1-3oz a pump session total. Also if mom is away from baby she has to pump to keep up supply and from feeling engorged about every 3-4hrs. I agree pumping is convenient and lets Daddy join in on the feeding/bonding time. It’s a great tool for breastfeeding moms. You made some great points. 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. You’re exactly right that pumping doesn’t work so well for some moms. Everyone is different as to what works best for them and their child. Have a great evening.

  7. Stay at home dads? Bahhh! Wow and I’m sorry but pumping is not better at all. And most EBF Babies won’t take a bottle. I prefer not to clean bottle and dislike pumping. The natural way isn’t pumping. And baby doesn’t get all the nutrients baby needs. I disagree w this article . It’s ridiculous sorry !

    1. And BREAST IS 100% BEST!!! I love my 1 hour feedings. Why the 15 min rush? Maybe u should go back to work so mama an feed her baby! Breast will always be best! Sounds like u should do your research papa bear and take your ass to work.

      1. That’s really rude. You don’t have to agree with his opinion but attacking him being a stay at home dad is unnecessary. People want gender equality but criticize a man for staying home. I applaud him, that’s what works for their family. Not everyone is the same.

      2. Sabrina,I can sure applaud the passion you have for making what you believe is the right choice for you, your family and your baby. For any number of reason there are mothers who cannot breast feed. I hope that if you encounter a mother in this difficult situation you can offer her real encouragement and support rather than the insults and attempted shame you offered me.

    2. Why is his opinion ridiculous? Why are you also bashing him for being a stay at home dad? We all do what works best for our family. Not because he doesnt do or think like you that gives you the right to be rude. It will be way better if you can give your opinion without attacking him. Not because YOUR ebf babies dont take a bottle means that MOST dont. Pumping or not…. The most important thing is baby is able to get breastmilk. Some people cant nurse.

    3. That’s kinda funny right, Millie? Stay at home dad giving breast pumping advice. I’m glad you could find the intended humor. Thanks for taking time to read and comment.

  8. It is not kind to bash someone’s opinion. Every family will do what is best for their family. Criticising this man for his opinions is really uncalled for an adds to the stigma that woman who breastfeed are crazy zealots. I have exclusively breast fed all three of my children and really dislike pumping. It is my least favorite activity (I feel like a cow and it requires additional cleaning) but that is my opinion. Thank you for offering and giving an alternative to some moms who want their baby to have breast milk, but don’t want to nurse (it does happen).

  9. You make some very valid points about pumping, but unfortunately some of them are not entirely true. The part about pumps being able to drain a breast of milk more efficiently is inaccurate. And in my experience, pumping did more cracking and damage to my nipples than any one of my children’s teeth ever did. Also, as nice as it was to have my husband and MIL volunteer to help feed my son or daughter overnight so I could rest, my boobs always woke me up when I became engorgeged from skipping a nursing session, so that never worked for me.
    I applaud you for posting such a helpful perspective on pumping, but i think pumping moms have it even more difficult than nursing exclusively. I wouldnt want any inexperienced mothers to be misinformed from some of these points.

    1. Thank you so much for adding your experiences. It is true that no two people are going to respond the same to pumping. As I previously stated, I hope and pray that no one is reading my blog as an alternative to seeking professional advice.

  10. As a mother of 4 as well as a Lactation Professional and Registered Nurse, I can honestly say that there are many flaws with your claims here. The first one being that a pump sucks better than a baby. We actually know that a baby uses compression, sucking, as well as a rippling of the tongue to remove more milk from the breast than even a hospital-grade pump will remove. Babies stimulate the release of oxytocin better, thus causing involution faster, as well as a better milk supply. It is for this reason that the Lactational Amenorrhea Method only works if a mom is exclusively breastfeeding, and not pumping.

    Next point: it is NOT recommended that babies are given bottles (or any other food) in the car, as it poses a choking risk. What if the baby begins to choke? Pulling over in a high-stress situation is dangerous, and then baby has to be unbuckled and removed from the carseat before resuscitation efforts can begin.

    If a mom takes these 6-8 hour breaks you speak of, several nights a week, there’s a good chance her milk supply will suffer.

    You say there’s no stigma attached to feeding the baby a bottle in public, but what about moms pumping in public? What if mom is engorged and desperately needs to hand express or pump? Where will she do this? Will she have to lug around a heavy pump, when she could instead simply latch on her baby to the breast, covered or not?

    Pumping and bottle-feeding requires storage and cleaning: maintenance that is not required by breastfeeding.

    Are you aware of the communication between the breast and baby’s mouth during breastfeeding? The breasts can actually detect bacteria present in the baby’s mouth and begin producing antibodies within the breast without Mom ever becoming sick. Also, the breast (and milk) changes temperature based on the temperature of the baby; for example, if a mom breastfeeds twins, her breasts may very well be two different temperatures because they will heat/cool based on baby’s temperature. These are just a few of the physiological benefits of having a baby at the breast.

    My last point is that many women feel that trauma is caused (cracking, drying out) while pumping as opposed to directly breastfeeding.

    No pitchforks here, but the information you are providing is way off base and needs to be modified to provide adequate, evidence-based information. The information here could cause a woman’s milk supply to plummet, and I doubt she’d be very thankful! Hopefully, women are consulting with true lactation professionals and not blog posts written by unqualified men (no offense!)

    1. Sarah, Thank you for taking the time to comment with such a well articulated response. You make some terrific points that I hope everyone will read.
      This post is my own personal observations based on the actual experiences of my family alone and I make no claims to be an expert, in fact I specifically said I was not. It is my wish that mothers would consult with a doctor as well (that is why I stated such in my post). I would also hope mothers aren’t consulting with unqualified women either. As gender is not a qualification.

    2. Sarah: Thank goodness someone has added some sense this erroneous article. It worries me that people will read this and believe such inaccurate and ill-researched ‘advice’.

      Sunshine dad: I know you say you want people to talk to a doctor too, but unfortunately many of them are as ill-informed about the true benefits of breastfeeding as you are. Like formula companies, you have made the assumption that breastfeeding is just about the nutrition, it’s so not. I would recommend reading the La Leche League books or Jack Newman’s site to learn more.

      1. Attachment Mommy, thanks for taking the time to read and weigh in. Thanks for listing some resources mothers could consult if they are seeking help.

  11. I think you made some really excellent points and it’s really wonderful to see a Dad’s point of view. Also, a dad that seems to be fully engaged with what goes on with his wife and kids. I will agree with the few other women that mentioned a little bit of misinformation. A pump does not empty the breast as well as a baby and the one hour feedings are only that long for the first few months. As babies age they become very efficient and quick at nursing. Other than that, I think this is a great post and definitely shows an alternative way. Kudos to those who do pump more than nurse or pump exclusively. I loathe pumping and cleaning all the parts, but the women who do it so their baby still gets the best nutrition- now those women are my heroes! Nice article!

    1. Thanks Jennifer for taking the time to share your experiences. It is interesting to see how one persons experiences can be completely different than another persons.
      How to feed your baby is such an important and personalized decision, like I’ve said numerous times, I sure hope no one is basing this decision off me (and let’s be honest they aren’t).
      I have enjoyed the discussion this has caused. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.

  12. Interesting male perspective. No doubt breastmilk is the best to give to any child by either nursing or bottle, however I have to dissagree in alot of your points. I am a working mom and breastfeed my son. I been having to also pump probably as much as I nurse him for the same reasons.
    •”Pumping allows the mother to be able to leave the child for longer than a few hours at a time” ….. You are correct… I can leave my child for long periods of time however I still have to pump. If I am on the road or having fun with friends or just trying to relax… I have to make sure I carry my pump with all the accessories and find an outlet and a place to pump. I also need to make sure I have a cooler and an ice pack. To be honest…. I rather have my baby’s mouth attached, nurse him and move on. No mess to clean up, no ice pack, no outlet, no nothing.
    •”Closely related to the last reason, if you pump you could enjoy longer periods of sleep at night if someone else gets up with the baby and feeds them a bottle” ….. if your baby needs to eat at night that means your boobies need to get that milk out too otherwise you wake up to super engorged boobs that actually hurt (that could cause health problems such as mastitis, clogged ducts, etc)
    •”Pumping allows other family members such as Dad to also enjoy that special bonding time that can occur during feedings”… ther are other ways for dad to bond with baby. Nursing is a mother’s privilege. God create us all with different purposes. We endure the most painful transformation and delivery of a baby. For 9 months we had to deal with changes, being uncomfortable, having to pee every 2 seconds, etc. Some women will carry the physical scars for life. Our bodies will never be the same. It is a miracle what our bodies go thru and an amazing transformation that allows life to grow inside…. so yes…. it is OURS and no one else privilege to be able to breastfeed and have a special bond with our child.
    •”Your breasts don’t have flow meters on them so you don’t ever know how much milk your baby is actually drinking”….. unless you plan to give baby a bottle… there is no reason why you need to know exactly how many ounces your baby is getting. Baby will drink as much as he/she needs and then stop. If she/he is gaining weight then she/he is good. Human body is insanely smart and know the appropiate amount of milk that needs to grow.
    •”No matter how hungry your baby is s/he will never suck as completely as a pump will. A breast pump will completely drain your breasts of your milk and this will help your milk supply”….. My baby “drain” my boobs everytime. Wonderful thing about the body… it is known that if you EBF your body will produce the enough amount your baby needs. Within the first 3 months your supply will adjust to your baby’s need.
    •”Coat-tailing the last point, a good pump will drain your milk faster than a baby. You could cut a 1 hour feeding session down to a 15 minutes pumping session”….. my nursing session consist in about 10 mins per boob… burp in between and all done. My baby is full and my breast feels better 🙂 My pumping session in the other hand goes like this…. i pump about 30 mins everytime and after I have to wash all parts and put them away. My son takes 2 6oz bottles a day while in daycare. I often get much less from my pumping session (did I mention I pump longer than nurse him?).
    •”A pump doesn’t bite. Any mother who has been bitten by a teething baby can say a big hallelujah to this one!”…. I give you this one! :):)
    •”A pump tends to dry out and crack your nipples a lot less than a sucking baby”…. neither has dried my nipples but the pump has made them sore (probably because I have to pump longer).
    •”You can give your baby a bottle in scenarios where it’s impossible to give your child your breast”…. there is never an impossible scenario to breastfeed your child… it is great I can give my baby a bottle but how about my boobs? how do I release the uncomfortable feeling of them beeing full?
    •”As much as it is changing here in America, there is still a stigma attached to breast feeding in public”…. there is… i have read all about it from different women in facebook…. I nurse in public all the time and luckily I have never had a bad experience. No one feels uncomfortable giving baby a bottle but once again… what about my boobs? how do i release the uncomfortable feeling of fullness if I choose to give my baby a bottle? where do I hide to pump?
    •”If you pump, you might just find that your body produces much more milk than your baby can eat. This gives you the opportunity to donate or sell your breast milk to feed another baby whose mother cannot produce breast milk for whatever reason”…. you are correct…. the more you pump AND/OR nurse the more milk you will produce. Even though it is a very personal choice… I am all about donating milk if you can 🙂
    •”If you pump more than your baby can eat you can also store the extra milk by freezing it”…. I am trying to build a stash :):):)

    You mentioned it and I second that…. pumping could be good choice for some families…. but i will have to say its good as supplement. If you are lucky enough to produce milk and you and your baby have learned the latching….. it is waaaaaaaayyyyy easier, faster and cleaner to breastfeed 🙂
    Also…. as studies have shown… breastmilk consistency changes depending on baby’s stage. The only way for the human body to know that is putting your baby to your nipple. The saliva of the baby let the boob know what does she/he needs according to their age.

    1. Pilar, I appreciate you taking the time to formulate such a thorough and genuine response. If I were attempting to make a comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of breast pumping I would have mentioned many of the exact same points you did. I choose just to focus only the positives as they played out in our family. I would hope moms are consulting their doctors about these decisions and not strangers writing anecdotal blogs.

    2. Pilar: Thank goodness someone has added some sense this erroneous article. It worries me that people will read this and believe such inaccurate and ill-researched ‘advice’.

      Sunshine dad: If you don’t want people to read it as advice, don’t write it like that. And maybe change your title and opening to ‘this is our experience of’?

  13. Unfortunately, this article is full of misinformation that can potentially harm and be dangerous to infants.

    If you need any help figuring out which parts are incorrect and want to fix them, please don’t hesitate to ask me 🙂

    I am very happy to see a dad write a blog post about pumping. As I think pumping moms don’t get enough credit. I just wish the info on here were facts.
    <3

  14. Thanks Shir for taking the time to read my post. All my points were correct in that I observed them playing out in my own family. Were some of them bad ideas? Maybe. Will other women experience different outcomes? Almost certainly. Many women (some self proclaimed experts) have already shared their different experiences and concerns.

    I made it very clear I have no qualifications, stated I was not writing a comprehensive guide, encouraged others to seek a doctors advice instead of mine, invented the ridiculous (yet catchy) slogan “Pumping is Perfect” and I made jokes about coloring your milk green for St. Patrick’s day. Common sense has become a lost art these days but I don’t think anyone is confusing me for a lactation expert or taking me that seriously.

    Pumping moms have become 2nd class citizens in today’s Mommy Wars. I cherry picked a few anecdotal high points from my family’s life to write a post to hopefully entertain and bring to light one alternative to breast feeding. Most of the discussion that has ensued has been very productive and it would be my desire that any mom struggling with breast feeding that might be reading this would take it with a grain of salt and seek the advice of a trusted professional.

  15. So great to see another supportive husband/father for breastfeeding. It’s unparalleled as far as nutrition goes for our little ones. If possible, I say do what you can to support your the breastfeeding mom in your life!

    I agree with all of your reasons (besides the green dye) for the pump, and since we’re both SAHD’s, that would make sense. My wife tries her hardest to be the one to get up at night for the comforting aspect of breastfeeding our girl, but some nights, she just needs to get her rest and I’m glad to grab a bottle and take over. It does suck if you don’t have enough in the bottle, and it’s really hard to see in the dark!

    Anyway, excellent post good sir, bottles up to you!

    1. Thanks man. You don’t think green dyed milk is a great way to celebrate? 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and offering support, sounds like you guys have got a pretty good system worked out yourselves.

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