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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been back at work full-time since dd was three months old. She's now six months old. Since returning to work there is a question that's been nagging at the back of my mind. Most (all?) lists of breastfeeding benefits include things like:
- Breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight adults because they can't (are less likely?) be overfed
- Breastfed babies get over illnesses faster because mom can produce antibodies and then baby gets them from her through the milk
- Breastfeeding satisfies emotional needs

It seems to me that those benefits are exclusive to breastfeeding and once you introduce the pump and bottles that you no longer have those benefits. Sure, you still have other benefits, but those seem like they disappear or at least lessen. This has been on the back of my mind ever since returning to work, but especially when daycare was feeding dd 20-24 ounces of breastmilk a day and I had to pump on weekends or risk engorgement (it seems to me they were overfeeding her
: ). Regarding getting over illnesses faster, since she doesn't necessarily have the "right" milk on the "right" day, it seems like the antibodies won't necessarily get to her when she really needs them - they might be a few days or months late depending on what order the milk is used in.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has given this any thought or has any insight. Is it the breastfeeding that's important or is it the breastmilk? Or is breastmilk good but breastfeeding better? Or is breastmilk good enough and I have too much time on my hands (while sitting in a storage room pumping
)?
 

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Don't worry mama! YOU are doing SUCH a good job! Before I stayed at home, I pumped-9 months. I worried about this too. HOwever, my baby did not have one illness, not even a cold, for the first 13 months of his life! I made sure to BF whenever I was home-that meant nights, mornings, lunches, weekends. I figured that any antibodies that my body created that he needed would be supplied during those times, so he got some everyday. And, the emotional side of it--he loved nursing and still is at almoist 16 months. Even if your baby is overfed, which is unlikely, it is B milk which is soo good. I think the obesity link is also linked to the junk in formula and not necc the amount given. Don't worry! These reasons are not lost when you pump-you will see!
 

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I've thought about all of these too. I WOH as well and I pumped for my DD from when she was 3 months old until 13 months old. I agree, and studies confirm, that expressed and stored breastmilk is not as good as fresh breastmilk. I sometimes wondered about the disease protection and antibodies too, but either the antibodies in the expressed milk were still pretty good, or the amount of immunity my DD got from nursing nights and weekends was protecting her well - because she stayed very healthy even during the "sick season" at day care. She did come down with one flu-like illness that the doctor said would last 7 days, but it only lasted 3. Sometimes I wondered if it was even doing some good to get stored breastmilk - she got some antibodies to the sicknesses I was exposed to immediately, by nursing nights and wekends. Then she got them again a few weeks later when she drank the milk from that same time period.

I do feel just a little guilty for not giving DD the absolute best all the time, but now I can look back and see that she did get quite a lot of benefit from all that pumped milk. She is healthy and bright and alert, she has no allergies or chronic illnesses, and we have a very strong bond. She got food that was easy to digest and tolerate, all natural, and custom made for her. My milk was still great food for her!

There are of course tons of benefits to staying home with your little one, but I don't think it's necessary to quit work simply because of the quality of stored breastmilk. I'm a naturally guilt-ridden mom anyway
and I feel much more guilty about the time I missed with my DD rather than the bottles of EBM she had to drink. do you know what I mean?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jraohc
I'm just wondering if anyone else has given this any thought or has any insight. Is it the breastfeeding that's important or is it the breastmilk? Or is breastmilk good but breastfeeding better? Or is breastmilk good enough and I have too much time on my hands (while sitting in a storage room pumping
)?
I think the benefits of breastfeeding are strongest when it is direct from the tap, but the value of pumping is that it allows you to maintain your supply so that you can continue to have direct breastfeeding on nights and weekends as long as possible. The baby gets enough of the antibodies "fresh" to keep him or her healthy. My son wasn't sick once until he was nearly 11 months old, and he was exposed to plenty of sick people during that time! He has had only a few minor bugs since then.

Also, even pumped/frozen/thawed breastmilk is better nutrition than formula.
 

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My oldest dd drank expressed milk all the time (didn't nurse) and she was healthy as could be. I quit pumping after almost 5 mos but had enough stored away that she got some of my thawed milk every day for the next 6 mos. Even the thawed milk had benefits over formula.

Darshani
 

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I'm not in your shoes, but I just wanted to say that I certainly don't think you should be worried, nor should you ever feel guilty. You are doing SUCH a wonderful thing for your baby by pumping and that is AWESOME of you! Way to go!
 

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Hi there,

I've been nursing my daughter for 3 years now, and though I'm totally sick of it now, i have to say, what I've learned about BF is that even though your baby may not get all the antibodies etc at the right time, the breastmilk is 500% better than formula. The oil and ingredients of formula just cannot even compare to the breast milk.

I would say, don't stress about what your child isn't getting, and be proud of yourself for giving her the breastmilk and making that committment to continue pumping. The nutrition she gets from the nursing is so superior to formula, and like someone else said, this way you can still nurse on the weekends and evenings.
 

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I also did the FT work and pump thing. My ds was very healthy in his first year. I think even the expressed bm was very good for him, and of course then I was also able to nurse nights and weekends as well. It is such a pain to pump, oh man! But I don't regret it at all. I am sure that it helped him to be such a healthy baby and now he is a lovely, healthy nursing toddler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the responses. I don't really feel guilty about the milk thing, although I was sort of trying to make dh feel guilty about it (we disagree on whether or not we really need the money I earn from working). I know that the pumped milk is still better than formula. I think I really just have too much time to sit and think in that silly storage room. At least my job has been very accomodating - I am able to take breaks to pump and still get a lunch break and still leave on time - thank goodness for small things.

Thanks for the interesting responses.
 

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Since it only takes a few ounces of human milk daily to provide the needed amount for antibody protection, even a baby who is getting some stored milk while you are working should get enough of the fresh to cover the 2-4 ounce requirement.
The WHO feels formula is a 4th best choice so your stored milk is far better than anything in a can.
Take pride in your ability to provide the best...
 
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