Breast pumping is absolutely beautiful and more mothers need to hear this. Sure, it is painful and time consuming. But at the end of the day, it is hard to argue against why it shouldn't be more accepted. Women choose to breast pump for so many reasons that are personal to them, and those women can often feel overshadowed by those who breastfeed. For any mom who has exclusively breast pumped their milk this mom's photoshoot will hit close to home.
While breastfeeding involves a baby, a breast, and not much else — breast pumping is quite different and isn't that simple. There are many pieces to the process and it can take quite a bit of time to set up and dismantle. For some moms, it is not even worth it. But for other moms, breast pumping is the only thing they can do and people need to be more aware of this.
Mom Jaque Hines is one of those people bringing awareness to this issue — through photos and her words. In a photoshoot, shot by photographer, Charity Williams, breast pumping is highlighted in all of its glory. In a beautifully written Facebook post, shared to the account Love What Matters, Hines details her journey with breast pumping, dedicating her photos and words to any mom who has ever struggled with breast pumping or breast feeding — and maybe most importantly giving visibility to anyone who has ever had to, or chose to, exclusively breast pump.
Hines wrote, in the Facebook post:
This is for the mom who dreamed of nursing but couldn't.
This is for the mom who's feeling like 10 minutes connected to the pump is an eternity.
This is for the mom on a first name basis with the lactation clinic staff.
This is for the mom who feels like she can't leave the house because by the time she pumps, changes the baby, feeds the baby, and takes the dogs out; its time to pump again.
This is for the mom setting midnight and 4 am alarms to pump.
Williams was happy to shoot Hines, especially since she too, could relate. "As a mother who also pumped my twin daughters for 14 months this shoot was so close to home," Williams told Romper. "All the memories, joy, love, pain, commitment, and hard work came rushing back."
In the Facebook post, Hines continues to dedicate her words to moms who pump: the ones who struggle with their milk supply, the ones who pump in their cars, the ones who fall asleep with their pumps attached to them, and the ones who struggle with their decision to exclusively pump. Her words tell women that they're not alone. The fact that her post has been shared over 1,000 times proves that.
Exclusively pumping their breast milk is an option that more and more women are taking. Women exclusively pump for a variety of reasons, according to Cafe Mom — from having a child who won't latch to having inverted nipples. If anything, exclusively breastfeeding can be a great option for moms who are always on the go and struggling with traditional breastfeeding. Dr. Joan Meek, the editor in chief of American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother's Guide To Breastfeeding told Parenting:
A frequent reason for women to pump and feed breast milk instead of directly breastfeeding is related to difficulties getting the baby to latch and suckle well. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that direct breastfeeding is best and expressed breast milk is next best.
Exclusively pumping still gives your child those nutrients from your milk that they would get while breastfeeding and is cost effective at the same time. And exclusively pumping is quite common — according to the Los Angeles Times, 85 percent of women in the United States who breast feed use a breast pump. But women who do exclusively choose to pump should pay close attention to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines for cleaning their breast pump (it is super important) as to not risk the health of their child.
Hines' post ends on a positive note and brings light to the many women who exclusively breast pump. Hines wrote on Facebook:
Whether you've been pumping for 10 minutes or 10 months. CELEBRATE your journey. Know that you're beautiful, know that pumping is beautiful, know that you're doing your best, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, know that; no matter what, YOUR BABY LOVES YOU!!!!
ANY form of feeding your baby is beautiful. Whether it's nursing, formula, or pumping. This was just my experience, and one that I hold dear to my heart. But at the end of the day, no matter what form you choose, we are all super moms.
What we selflessly do for our babies is BEAUTIFUL. Your labor of love does NOT go unnoticed, because when we see our babies THRIVE, we know that it was ALL so so worth it.
Hines' words and photos bring out the beauty in breast pumping.