Bonding and Breast Pumping: Can It Be Done?

mother kissing baby next to bottle of breast milk

Bringing your baby to breast is thought to be the only way that you can bond with your newborn, but what about those that do not bring baby to breast, and are breast pumping instead. Some women wonder if they are destined to never experience any type of closeness, but this simply isn't the case. Moms and babies bond while breast pumping through shared time together, even if that time isn't spent nursing.

Finding the Baby Bond

Unfortunately, some of us for various reasons are unable to bring baby to breast successfully, but we still care and love this baby enough for breast pumping all the breast milk we can. It is possible to get the nutritional benefits of breast milk while also bonding with a baby in other ways. Just because we breast pump does not mean that we cannot bond. Some of us experience a great bond while we feed this sweet baby, staring into those brand new beautiful eyes, talking softly, and cuddling closely to feel the warmth and smell of that newborn baby. It just takes some creativity, oh, and also the incredible love that you have for this child.

Some believe that you cannot experience the bond without the skin to skin contact, and yet many of us have created ways to experience this also. Bath time is a perfect time to get the skin to skin contact with baby. Each evening before bed, my husband would hand the baby to me and the two of us would coo and smile at one another in the wonderful warm water. Holding a baby routinely also initiates that skin-to-skin bond that can create a positive bond.

Bottle of pumped breast milk

Understanding That All Moms are Different

Advocates of exclusive breastfeeding often forget the physical and emotional obstacles that may be caused during the birth of a baby. When a mom is experiencing some of these problems, exclusive breastfeeding often poses an additional problem to an already problematic situation. Breastfeeding can also be a challenge for certain babies who struggle to latch or get enough milk, especially when born prematurely. This can seem like it causes a distance between mom and baby, as opposed to creating a bond. If mom is experiencing problems, other feeding alternatives, especially breast pumping, may assist in the bonding experience. A healthy, strong mother is best for the baby, and it is much easier to bond and grow close when mom is not frustrated and overwhelmed. Breast pumping can be a great compromise when breastfeeding isn't going well, and baby and mom are still going to bond.

Bottle with baby and mother in background

Copyright 2006, Wendy Williamson

About the Author: Wendy Williamson has pumped exclusively for each of her children. Gabrielle, the last of three babies, received breast milk exclusively pumped for more than a year. Wendy is determined to help other mothers realize the benefits of breast pumping for baby and mother. She hopes to create a greater awareness of donating breast pumps and breast milk to mothers who want to provide their milk to their premature or ill babies. More information on breast pumping can be found on her website,