A friend floated a question in her FB if it's just a matter of semantics, or if breastfeeding is really different from giving expressed breast milk.
The short answer is YES and NO, really.
YES... they're different. Breastfeeding supposedly offers nourishment needed at that exact moment, in perfect quantity and composition. Plus, it offers touch therapy, helps regulate baby's heartbeat as it synchronizes with her Mom's and lends itself to attachment parenting. And you lose the antibodies in the breast milk when you freeze it.
YES... because it's generally a dance only a mother and child can do, a very intimate experience.
NO... because expressing breast milk requires time and energy, and therefore sacrifice. It's how working Moms bond with their child during the day, by doing the pumping work in the middle of deadlines and demanding bosses.
Some mothers breastfeed but do not do so lovingly.
Some mothers express milk but do not do so lovingly.
Some malnourished kids, sick kids, kids with special conditions have benefitted from wet nursing and breastmilk donations.
Hands down, breast milk is superior to formula. But I think breastfeeding cannot be limited to just direct feeding since its magic really stems from the sacrifice it rquires, from the giving of oneself it requires.