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When it comes to breastfeeding, it’s a magical bonding opportunity with your baby, but it can also pose its own set of difficulties. 

To remedy this, we’ll look into the process of pumping and dumping. Not only will we explain what it is, but also why some women opt to do this during the process of breastfeeding. We’ll take a deep dive into this method, as it can become an important aspect of your routine. 

Are you ready to “pump up” your excitement? Let’s dive in!  

What Does “Pump and Dump” Mean?

The phrase “pump and dump” actually means exactly what it sounds like. It’s best described as an action where a mother pumps out breast milk but doesn’t actually feed it to her infant. 

At first glance, many might ask what the point is to this action. There are actually a few common reasons why several mothers will partake in this routine though. The most common has to do with the fact that their bodies may be producing too much milk, to the point where some may be feeling breast pain or discomfort from it. 

Whatever the rationale may be (which we’ll look into), pumping will almost always provide immediate relief to those who have overly full or heavy-feeling breasts. 

Pumping and Dumping Isn’t Always Necessary

There are many women who don’t think they need to involve themselves in this practice. And that’s completely okay! Not all mothers need to pump to feel relief. 

Instead, some women may actually need to pump more in order to increase their milk supply. In a case study, researchers found that they believe this method is often not necessary, even if you’ve had anesthesia or other medical procedures. 

Pumping and dumping is not for everyone, and it should only really be practiced when there’s a specific need. Otherwise, there could end up being an alteration to the natural flow of your body’s milk production.

These Are a Few Instances to Consider a Pump and Dump

While it isn’t really necessary for you to have to pump and dump, there are a few instances where doing so will make things easier on yourself. Most of the time, it will be best when your baby isn’t present. Take a look at the following scenarios to better determine when pumping and dumping might be a good option for you!

During a Weekend Getaway Without the Baby

If you’re headed out of town without your baby and there’s no place to store the milk, then pumping and dumping might be a good idea in this instance. This will take away the feelings of discomfort, especially since your body won’t be used to the lack of demand for the milk.

Plus, it will keep you on a schedule, which is great because you don’t want your body to react negatively thinking that it doesn’t need to produce milk when you return to your infant. You don’t want to inadvertently lower your supply.

After a Night Out Without Your Infant

Are you in need of a date night with your husband or group of friends? When you return home, you may want to pump to take away any feelings of engorgement. This feeling is especially more likely to happen if you haven’t needed to pump during the baby’s dinner time like normal.

During a Work Trip

If you’re on a business trip, then you’ll be definitely away from your infant for a longer period of time. There also might not be enough time in between all of the meetings and conferences. You’ll need to keep your milk levels up for when you return though. When you do this, make sure to pump and dump.

Otherwise, your body might think to take a hint and lower the milk supply.

If You Don’t Have a Clean Space to Pump

If you need to pump but you’re in an unsanitary environment, then it might be best to dump the milk rather than saving it for your baby. The milk has the potential to become contaminated and unsafe. This is especially true if your baby is a newborn or a preemie.

During a Thyroid Scan

When there is a radioactive scan going on in the body (not all scans are radioactive), radioactivity and radioactive iodine is present in the system. Always partner with a medical professional to see when this radioactivity has left your system fully. 

In the meantime, you can always pump and dump to relieve any feelings of engorgement. This will also allow you to keep the same milk levels after the radioactivity has left your body.  

While on Certain Medications

Some medications are not compatible with breastfeeding or may have some risk so it is very important to discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare professional. The same is true for over the counter medications and supplements. However, there are also several medications you can take that will still allow you to nurse your child, such as short term over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Motrin.  

If you happen to need to take medication for a long period of time and it’s unsafe for your baby to breastfeed, then you may have to wean off of breastfeeding completely, or refrain from starting breastfeeding at all. Not to worry–while not common, this scenario is also not uncommon, and formula feeding your baby is just as good as breastfeeding them. 

There May Be No Place to Store Milk

Are you on a long road trip where there is no room or place in the car to store milk? Perhaps you’re in a hotel where there is no fridge in your room? 

If there is no room or place to store your milk, then there is no real reason for you to keep it in your possession. It may only spoil and go to waste before your baby can drink all of it. 

Don’t worry or stress about finding a spot to store your newly pumped milk. It’s okay to simply pump and dump, so you don’t have to worry about your breasts becoming overly full or swollen.

However, if you need that extra milk, remember that breast milk is generally safe at room temperature for about 4 hours, or you can always bring a dedicated cooler for your milk storage needs. There’s nothing wrong with coming a little extra prepared! Just make sure you monitor the temperature of the cooler and bring extra cold packs if needed if you plan on storing that milk for more than a few hours. 

When Questionable Foods Have Been Ingested

While healthy eating and breastfeeding is always ideal, sometimes even baby-friendly foods aren’t particularly friendly to your specific little one. 

If you notice that your baby seems to be in distress or if there’s any sort of out of the ordinary reaction with your baby when you consume specific foods or drinks, you may want to cut it out entirely or at least limit your consumption until you can touch base with your pediatrician about identifying what may be causing the reaction in particular. If you do consume that product again in the meantime, you may want to pump and dump. 

Our Final Thoughts

Every woman and her needs while breastfeeding are different. The method of pumping and dumping is meant to create relief for you when your body might be creating too much milk, or if you won’t be in the presence of your infant for a period of time. There are several scenarios where this method can prove to be beneficial for you and your breast comfort. So, it’s 100% up to you to better determine when using this method matches your needs–every feeding journey is different!

Sources:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/pumping-and-storing-breastmilk

https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/alcohol

https://www.mother.ly/life/should-you-pump-and-dump-if-youre-breastfeeding-and-drink-alcohol

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/breastfeeding/pump-and-dump-alcohol-breastfeeding/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/reasons-to-pump-and-dump-431551

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