(When) The only way is expressing

First published on www.facebook.com/breastfeedingtogether on 22/1/2019 as part of the Topic Tuesday series.

Expressing- for lots of mums it’s an extra little perk of breastfeeding that we can express our milk and give to baby if we are not able to be there when baby wants feeding.
Breast milk is amazing and lasts brilliantly; it’s
ok for around 6 hours at room temperature, 6 days in a fridge and 6 months in a freezer so we can gather up a little stash to use when we need it with our only worry being not to spill it- as whoever said we don’t cry over spilt milk was clearly not talking about breast milk!
Expressing means mums are able to return to work and continue to breastfeed, have a night out (what is it about the excessive number of hen parties that seem to be happening while we are breastfeeding?!) and that dads/partners can join in with feeding.
You can express when you are introducing solids and add your milk to food, even express little bits to have jewellery made!
But there’s another group of mums for who expressing is so much more.
Let’s have a little shout out to our Exclusive Expressers! Some mums will choose expressing as a feeding choice (It’s the second preferred feeding choice as listed by the World Health Organisation after breastfeeding)
However for some mums circumstances such as an early or poorly baby, or a baby who is unable to latch leads mums into this group. It can be a tough club to be in.
Pumping round the clock, then feeding too, washing bottles, labelling milk, sterilising equipment, always needing to be a a few feeds ahead often removes some of the convenience of breastfeeding.
But still mum continues.
Not having a baby feeding at the breast can often mean oxytocin isn’t as high, therefore the milk doesn’t flow as freely, resulting in longer or more frequent expressing sessions.
But still mum continues.
Society is just about catching up with mums feeding in public, but even the bravest of breastfeeding mums may feel apprehensive about expressing in public! So it can be quite restrictive, needing days out and about to be planned to fit in expressing.
But still mum continues.
Mum’s who are exclusively expressing will often say “I’m only expressing”, “I’m just pumping”.
But there is no only.
There is no just.
You are a breastfeeding mother, feeding her baby, it’s just sometimes breastfeeding looks like this


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