I know that there is a difference between breast-milk feeding and breastfeeding. You know that there is a difference between breast-milk feeding and breastfeeding. But, most importantly, most mothers don’t know the difference between the two–and believe me there is a difference. In a recently published article, by Pacific Standard Magazine, entitled The Unseen Consequences of Pumping Breast Milk, multiple lactation consultant experts explain not only the difference between the two, but express what trained lactation consultants should be doing differently (in ways of assisting mothers in both technique and education).
As with all students–and that’s what mothers are…students–different students have distinctive ways in which they learn. It is important, as their teacher, that you ensure that they grasp the difference between breast-milk feeding and breastfeeding.
In the aforementioned article, Virginia Thorley, a lactation consultant and honorary research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia, worries about the perils of “misleading” mothers, in regards to promoting “breast-milk feeding as identical to breastfeeding.” She believes that the biggest gap between the student and teachers is using terms both accurately and in a way that the mothers can understand.
“The new challenge is to use language accurately, and tell mothers the truth that feeding their milk to their babies by bottle is less than equivalent to breastfeeding.” — Virginia Thorley
Another concern that Thorley has is that when a baby breastfeeds, it isn’t just about the milk–it is about security, nurturing, nutrition, and bonding with the mother. She isn’t wrong; a 2010 study proved that babies that were exclusively fed pumped beast-milk were two times more likely to consume too much breast-milk, affecting their growth rate. Additionally, there are other studies that prove that infants who were not directly breastfed have a significant increase in both coughing and wheezing episodes in comparison to those that were breastfed.
The science doesn’t lie. It is important that as a lactation consultant, you aren’t just enforcing breast-milk, but that you are explaining to mothers the difference between breast-milk feeding and breastfeeding.