breastmilk, mostly because since i’ve been nursing I’ve learned a ton about the science behind these two things and also, I’ve been asked SO many questions by fellow engineers both on this team and just in the community about the subject.
majority of women who go back to work, can’t just nurse their baby during the work day so we need to pump out the milk in order for our babies to eat. There are other reasons though… I definitely didn’t realize this but breastfeeding is REALLY complicated and for a majority of people it isn’t this nice, relaxed thing you see in the movies. it’s difficult and sometimes painful and a lot of stuff has to go right in order for it to work. A lot of babies have issues latching on correctly or babies prefer a bottle and refuse to nurse which means lots of moms are even “exclusive pumpers” meaning they don’t nurse and they only pump. And as babies get more distractible it can also be more difficult to nurse them and so you end up pumping more. NOTE: this is NOT what it’s like to work and nurse a young baby.
parts?! If you aren’t home then every time you pump, you need to assemble and disassemble each of those pieces. furthermore!!! If you aren’t home (or don’t have access to a fridge) you need to thoroughly clean each of the parts after each use. This is why having lactation rooms with fridges is vital. Not only do you have milk to store but if you can throw the parts into a ziploc bag and put them in the fridge, you don’t need to wash them in between uses (but you do still need to wash them at the end of the day and sterilize like once a week or so). So, the more inconvenient the setup… the longer time it takes.
to mimic feeding your baby. When you feed your baby, specific chemicals are released in your brain that trigger emotions and relax you and say “hey lady, everything’s great! you’re feeding your baby right now”. the release of those chemicals helps “letdown” which is the process of having the milk actually flow out of you and also affects how much milk you’ll be able to pump out. If you’re working, or stressed then you’re not going to get much. so, the more stressed, the longer time it takes
lead to plugged ducts (your milk comes out of milk ducts) and a plugged duct can lead to mastitis which is basically an infection in your breast which has flu-like symptoms (fever, aches and pains, etc) which sucks especially since you have to nurse or pump through it and you often need to be on antibiotics to cure it.
something like that, it is just really really uncomfortable and usually in your first few months (like up until 5 or 6 months) you’ll leak if you’re too full and until you stop nursing, if you go too long without pumping it actually physically hurts
up a ton of time from your day. Trust me, when it’s time to go to bed and all I want to do is go to sleep, the last thing I want to do is spend 30 minutes pumping but I do and it’s because breast milk is magic.
immunological components of breast milk change every day, according to the specific, individual needs of a baby. your baby nursing actually tells your body what your baby needs and your milk changes based on that. now, that doesn’t mean you can’t give your baby previously frozen breastmilk (we have a whole freezer stash at home, otherwise I wouldn't be able to be here) but it does change it’s contents based on your baby’s age
baby needs until they are 6 months old. That means for the first 6 months your baby doesn’t need food, doesn't need water, doesn’t need ANYTHING except breastmilk (and up until a year, breastmilk is the most important food your baby gets). it is an ideal combination of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, and nutrients. As a mom that means you are literally sustaining a life with your body which I still find crazy to think about.
chains of sugars unique to human milk. These sugars actually exist to feed the microbes that populate a baby's digestive system. and breastmilk in general has a ton of good bacteria that doesn’t only break food down for the baby but also feeds the baby’s gut bacteria so that they are developing a good digestive system.
actually changes during the day and what’s going on with the mom. If mom is stressed there's more cortisone which makes baby stressed. OR in the morning, milk has more of a wake-up factor and in the evening it has elements that calm your baby and make them sleepy.
the mom’s body will respond to whatever the illness is and will produce specific antibodies for that infection. This is also based on the baby backwash I mentioned before. When a baby latches, there is a vacuum- like seal and the baby;s saliva is sucked back into the mom’s body where the receptors in the mammary gland read the signals and produce milk specifically to fight the infection.
and wanted to share them all with you because as I mentioned before, breastfeeding is challenging both mentally and physically and it’s something I’m committed to doing for a year. Knowing these facts has really helped me push through in the tougher times, and so when you see that pumping emoji in the slack channel or watch me duck out of a room or come in late… this is why.
and present this topic and how to present it so it’s informational but not weird but I’ve gotta say that most women, once they have babies, regard their breasts as a food source… like looking at a plate of spaghetti. So the next time you see a mom awkwardly (or not) trying to nurse in public she’s probably getting lots of dirty looks so be the person that says “good job mom! You’re doing great!”