PUMP AND DUMP (breast milk nutrition and how it affects your baby) By Summer Gentille

23 09 2008


Pump and dump a common phrase used among breast feeding mothers and members of La Leche League International (a group a women who in 1956 formed a group helping to inform new mothers that breast is best). I would talk more La Leche as it is very important support system with wonderful information for new mothers that is now in every country and state but it’s another blog all together.  I want to address this almost derogatory phrase, or what seems like it to the layman or men in general.  Let’s break it down shall we? To pump is something most breastfeeding women do if they have a problem with baby latching or if they have to be away from baby for long periods of time and want the breast milk on hand when the breast can’t always be there. There are several ways of pumping but that is not the issue here. Dumping means you are not using the milk because either you can’t get it to a cold environment fast enough ( because like cows milk it will spoil and has a temp danger zone as well) or they have eaten something or drank something that is not good for baby and has crossed into the breast milk. The later is what we will be discussing.

 Your lifestyle can have an affect on your breast milk, and therefore on your baby. It’s important to take care of yourself so you can provide the best care to your baby. This includes getting enough rest and proper nutrition so you have enough energy to take care of your baby and avoid illness. There are four main factors that can affect breast milk and there for affect your baby’s first steps in healthy nutrition; they are: diet, Smoking, drugs, and alcohol, medications, and lastly sleeping close to baby. First and foremost let’s talk about a breastfeeding mother’s diet because that is the most important step towards the baby’s nutrition.  It is recommended that nursing mothers take in about 2700 calories every day (about 500 calories more than a non-pregnant, non-nursing woman). Now if your read my last blog that almost 500 more calories than a pregnant women’s daily intake. Whoa hold on here, before you go 2700 CALORIES, let’s first remember that you burn an average of 600 calories every breast feeding session and with a new born that is about a session every 2 to 4 hours. So the body will need all those extra calories just to maintain what the baby is taking out. (Most women breast feed because they tend to lose weight faster and it helps contract the uterus faster as well.) Breastfeeding mothers also need to maintain a balance of proper nutrition just like when they were pregnant. It not only is great because it is past on to baby but it keeps all the vitamins and nutrition’s the breastfeeding mother needs as well. As before with pregnancy lots and lots of fluids are need to be maintained by the mother. It is truly important here because lack of fluids will also mean lack of milk for baby as well.

One of the number one things that women struggle with once they give birth is going back to the things they gave up while pregnant, i.e. caffeine, smoking, and drinking just to name just a few. Sorry to tell you but if you want to maintain a healthy milk flow and not affect your child with any of the above mentioned vices then you must still refrain for as long as your breast feed. Or you can (yes lets say it together) PUMP AND DUMP. But first let’s discuss how each one effects breast milk. The biggest one for me was caffeine. I am five cups a day of espresso type girl. I love my double espressos over ice from star bucks, they are my one and only vice. Unfortunately I had to give them up cold turkey when I found out I was pregnant again!! After my first child was born about three weeks later (it was such a blur) I was in desperate need of a cup of Joe. I was tired, I was not sleeping , and I need energy to keep up with my son, I was also exclusively breastfeeding my son (only breast milk) My husband being helping got me a regular cup of ice coffee, not espresso, not sugar added, just a cup of java. I had it at about 1pm and I was scheduled to breast feed my son at approximately 4pm. I thought that was plenty enough time to get through my system and not go into baby’s. WRONG!!! So very wrong, my son breastfeed at 4pm and did not go back to sleep until 4am. Needless to say from that time on I either refrained from caffeine or pumped and dumped the milk.  It is recommended that fewer then five ounces a day will not effect breast milk, but more then five can cause the baby to be fussy and not able to sleep well. Well lets just say that is the understatement of the year. But there are more things worse for baby then just caffeine. 

Tobacco from cigarettes contains a drug called nicotine, which transfers to breast milk and may even affect the amount of milk you produce. The risk for SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome) becomes greater when a mother smokes or when the baby is around second-hand (or passive) smoke. Smoking and passive smoke may also increase respiratory and ear infections in babies. So why even smoke?? You quit or should have quit for nine months, why go back now??  Sadly women will do so anyway and try  to say well the risks may not out weigh  what is best for baby which is breast milk so they will continued to do so. And yes it does out weigh the risks, but at what cost??  Finally I come to the final vices of what is not good for baby, they are lump together because they are both very harmful to baby.

Drugs and Alcohol, if you breastfeed, you should avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol does get to your baby through breast milk, and has been found to peak in its concentration about 30 to 60 minutes after drinking, or 60 to 90 minutes if it is taken with food. The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount of alcohol a mother consumes. Moderate to heavy drinking (2 or more alcoholic drinks per day) can interfere with the let down reflex (which is when the milk naturally lets down through the breast when baby is ready for milk). It also can harm the baby’s motor development and cause slow weight gain. For this reason, and for your general health, if alcohol is used, intake should be limited. Light drinking or an occasional drink is okay, but avoid breastfeeding for two hours after the drink. Or if you really need to drink alcohol that badly, pump and dump it. It is so not worth the risks for the baby to consume it as well. Illegal drugs should be pretty self explanatory, but I will go into it because there a millions of women who abuse everyday and still continue to pass it on to their babies through breast milk. Some drugs, such as cocaine and PCP, can make the baby high. Other drugs, such as heroin and marijuana can cause irritability, poor sleeping patterns, tremors, and vomiting. Babies can become addicted to these drugs. Do not, I repeat do not do drugs, or do not breastfeed your child if you can’t seem to not do them. These poor babies don’t have a choice and when you force drugs on them, they don’t have a way to fight them off.. And no the PUMP and DUMP method will not help here!

So to summarize this fascinating blog entry that i am sure most of the men will shy away from reading. Breast milk is best for your child, but at what expense? Follow proper diet, nutrition, and basic guidelines of pump and dump or refraining technique and your child will have the best benefit that he or she can get from you. You’re giving life and sustaining at the same time. Think before you put something into your mouth.




2 responses

22 04 2009
Ted Burrett

Hey, nice tips. I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that man from that chat who told me to visit your blog 🙂

10 03 2010
Richard J

An all around good article, except for one thing.
” Other drugs, such as heroin and marijuana can cause irritability, poor sleeping patterns, tremors, and vomiting. Babies can become addicted to these drugs ”
Heroin and marijuana? Couldn’t find a more relevant combination? How about putting 2 drugs together that are similiar, instead of a useful plant with an incredibly addictive and harmful drug that was created by Bayer. Maybe put actual side effects for the various prescription meds that are abused regularly instead.
I am not condoning the use of marijuana while breastfeeding, just asking for a little discretion when attempting to educate large volumes of people. If these statements are your actual beliefs, I recommend doing a little independant research.
I apologize for the rant, but it concerns me that people accept what they read or hear as fact without ever using their own intellect to figure out the truth. And the proliferation of such antiquated beliefs also irks me, sorry.

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