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Nursing vs Pumping: Which Is Right for You?

by Team BabyBuddha
There are many new things to learn when you have a baby. Adding to the new routine, language, and equipment you'll have are all the opinions of those around you about what's right or wrong.

When it comes down to nursing vs pumping, there is no right or wrong method! There should be no pressure to choose one over the other no matter what others say. As a mom, you must decide what works best for you and your family.

You can use a combination of both or choose one exclusively over the other. Did you know that 6% of women feed their babies exclusively by pumping, yet 71% of women do not know that's even an option?

If you're trying to decide between pumping or nursing, look no further. We'll go over the differences between the two and offer the benefits of pumping and nursing so you have one less thing to worry about.

Nursing vs Pumping

Nursing, also referred to as breastfeeding, is the act of feeding your baby directly from your breast. It's more traditionally recognized as the natural and common form of feeding a baby.


  • Convenient
  • Inexpensive
  • Has more antibodies
  • Increases bonding
  • Can hold off menstrual cycle

With nursing, there is nothing to heat and prepare. The breastmilk is ready to be consumed as liquid gold by your baby. Since feeding occurs directly from the breast, there are no bottles to wash.

There is no need to buy equipment like breast pumps, feeding bottles, and cleaning supplies. This makes it an inexpensive option.

Nursing can hold off menstrual cycles as well. That gives mom one less thing to worry about.


  • Done exclusively by mom
  • Painful side effects
  • Public feeding can be uncomfortable

Nursing can make it difficult to schedule tasks and work. This is because feeding the baby can only be done by the mom.

This is crucial when answering the question, "Is nursing for you?" Your schedule will revolve around the baby’s feeding time entirely.

Some side effects from nursing are sore or swollen nipples. These can be painful, especially given that your baby will latch on again in a few hours.

Public feeding can be uncomfortable for some moms. Even with added equipment, like a blanket, to cover up, it can get hot and make for a fussy baby.

Pumping vs Nursing

Pumping refers to when milk is expressed from the breast and given in a bottle or cup. The milk can be stored for up to 4 days in the fridge. In the freezer, expressed milk can be stored for 4 months.

The first electric breast pump arrived on the scene in 1991. Since then, breast pumps have come out on the market every year. However, pumping is a method much older than that. Breast pumps have been used by women for over 200 years.

You can pump one breast at a time or you can pump both breasts simultaneously for more efficiency.


  • Can store milk for future feeding
  • Others can assist with feeding
  • Less painful side effects
  • Can measure growth
  • Less fussy than a hungry baby

Since expressed milk can be stored safely, the baby can be fed their liquid gold at any time. It's a great solution for mothers who will be returning to work.

Pumping also provides more flexibility for moms since others can feed the baby. This also allows the baby to bond with others like spouses, partners, and family members.

Moms also have more time to rest and recover when they pump breast milk. It has less painful side effects, especially when the baby is teething.

The ability to measure out milk in bottles is a great way to track how much your baby is eating as they grow.


  • Fewer antibodies
  • Can be costly
  • Will not hold off menstrual cycle

By not using milk immediately, it can lose some antibodies and other health benefits that come from nursing. The longer it’s stored, the more properties it loses.

It can also be costly, as breast pumps can be expensive. Multiple bottles for storage are also required as well as high-quality sterile equipment and cleaners. Labels are also needed, as you should write the date and time of the pump on the stored bottles.

Pumping will also not hold off the menstrual cycle like nursing can. With so much happening with your body at this time, many women prefer to not have this added to their plate so soon.

Power Pumping

A common worry many moms have with pumping is whether or not it will actually decrease their milk production. A solution to that is power pumping.

Power pumping, also called cluster pumping, actually helps to increase the milk supply. It does so without the need for supplements or medications.

Power pumping is most effective when done at intervals. Set aside an hour to pump and then do so on and off. The interval timing does not have to be exact, as babies don’t cluster feed at exact intervals.


Many mothers choose to use a combination of both pumping and nursing. It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario, as mothers can pump to return to work but then breastfeed when at home.

It’s recommended that pumping schedules begin when the baby is 4-6 weeks old. However, some babies can have a difficult time latching, have jaundice, or be premature, which may require new moms to pump much earlier even before breastfeeding.

A Fed Baby Is a Happy Baby

When deciding between nursing vs pumping, remember that a fed baby is a happy baby! You can exclusively commit to one vs the other, or utilize a combination of the two throughout the different stages of your baby's life.

We offer many different breast-pumping products and accessories to help meet your needs as a mother. Continue to read our dedicated blog posts to learn more!

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