Breastfeeding or pumping: What to choose?

World Breastfeeding Week: To choose breast feeding or pumping?

New Delhi: A mother's breast milk supports immune responses in her newborn till six months, further decreasing the risk of infections, malnourishment, allergies, and other complications.

However, one of the key challenges in this aspect is that lactating mothers often don't get ample maternity leave. Therefore, they push themselves to store breast milk and feed it to the child later.

Breast pumps are quickly gaining admiration in this regard. In fact, Khushboo Mehra, a working mother of 8-month old Adya, opted to go for breast pumping instead of breastfeeding as she had time shortage and was suffering from breast infection.

"Breast pumping is the best thing ever because it gives you the freedom to do your job and have a life. I was sceptical of trying breast pump at first as I had skin infection around my breast area but once I started using it with my gynaecologist suggestion I realised there is no such danger that comes with breast pumping. In fact, the process is really easy," said Khushboo.

To make this cumbersome process easier and safe, lactating mothers must keep a few points on their fingertips.

"The breast pumps need to be sterile and breast pumping should be a 'zero contact' process, i.e. any part of the pump that comes in contact with the breast milk should be away from any human touch", recommended Dr Ranjana Becon Consultant gynaecologist, Columbia Asia Ghaziabad.

On the other hand, there are also a few who feel breast pumping isn't a secure option and make those mothers feel stigmatised who choose breast pumping. Also, some believe breastfeeding is suitable as it adds up to the health of the newborn.

Mukta Devi, the grandmother of 14-months old Satvik, consider breast pumping isn't safe and exclude bonding time among child and mother. She also believes breastfeeding has many benefits, which keep the baby and the mother in fine fettle.

"All these new products cannot be compared to breastfeeding your baby directly. Not only does the process have health significance but breastfeeding brings the mother and the newborn baby emotionally close. Motherhood is one of its kind experience, no one shall skip the process and use any new age item to feed the baby," said Mukta Devi.

Further explaining the benefits of breastfeeding, gynaecologist and obstetrician from Paras Hospital, Dr Alka Kriplani said, "Breastfeeding helps to reduce the chances of breast cancer in a woman. Children, who are breastfed, for a longer period of time, have the lower chances of infection and a higher intelligence level."

Another expert added "No additional financial costs are required for breastfeeding. It is very convenient as there is no need to find clean water, heat formula or pack bottles. The more your baby is breastfed, the more milk will be produced ensuring that the baby has enough milk," said Dr Anibha Pandey, Pediatrician, Apollo Cradle.

However, breastfeeding is not easy. During breastfeeding, a woman has to go through cracked, sore, and even infected nipples. But what about children who can't be breastfed due to various reasons? For such children manual pump or electric pump is like a boon through which they can also consume mother's nourishing milk.

Therefore, there is no right choice between breastfeeding and breast pumping. Breastfeeding directly is the most hygienic, sterile and best for the baby. Whereas, pumped milk is the easiest yet a hassle-free option in a case where the mother finds herself incapable of feeding her newborn. It's all about the new mother's convenience.

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