Terminology

New vocabulary

There’s a whole new vocabulary, and a load of abbreviations, to learn when it comes to pumps.

Both medical and cultural ones.  For example, what do we mean exactly by milk expression versus milk transfer, how is exclusive expressing different from mixed-feeding, what is EBM,  

Visit our glossary for a complete list of words you never knew you needed to know.

What is breastfeeding?

There are so many definitions for the term “breastfeeding”.

Some people (and studies) say that breastfeeding should include only babies who are exclusively breastfed – they are only receiving breast milk in their diet, and nothing else. It’s often not clear if breast milk from pumping is included as part of this group (which we think they should, given the baby is receiving breast milk!). Those studies also don’t count babies who are receiving formula top-ups or who are ‘mixed’-fed or ‘partially breastfeeding’ as being breastfed. These babies are still receiving breast milk (and the benefits of it) as part of their diet.

More recent studies have started to break breastfeeding into two categories: exclusive breastfeeding and non-exclusive (or partial) breastfeeding.

Culturally, there’s a lack of awareness about pumping as a way to provide breast milk to your baby. If you pump, chances are high (anecdotally) that you’ll be asked “why aren’t you breastfeeding?”. This can be frustrating and deflating, because it can feel like you’re doing everything you can (you’re attached to a mechanical pump after all!) to feed breast milk to your baby, so they are breastfed. Many women who come to pumping do because they and their baby are having difficulty latching, or because they’re in pain, or their milk supply doesn’t seem to be growing 

On top of cultural

Am I breastfeeding if I am breast-pumping?

[comment about breastfeeding and pumping – language vs clinical conflict ]

Am I breastfeeding if I am breast-pumping and doing top-ups with formula?

[comment about ‘minimum’ amount of breast milk required to derive benefits?]