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Want to Breastfeed but Only Want to Pump and Feed with Bottle. Advise?

I am 26 weeks right now. While I was not intending to breastfeed, due to financial reasons and pressure I have decided to. The thing is that I have very mixed feeling. I know the nurishment part is wonderful and I want to give that to my baby, I also I worried about the whole feeding on demand part. I have had a difficult pregnancy and have been sick and feeling terrible alot. I worry that I will have resentment having to feed on demand. I want to pump and feed from a bottle so that dad can be included in feeding and to avoid confusion for baby when I go back to work. I feel selfish for not wanting to actually feed from the breast but I also hate the idea of doing it. I have spent time with breastfeeding mothers and Im not uncomfortable with it just dont want to do it myself. Has anyone felt this way or had this problem? Any advise for me please?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks to all you moms for your responses. I appreciate them so much. I guess I should clarify my statement about the resentment about feeding on demand, it was more pulling my boob out on demand...lol. It has helped me alot to know that I am not terrible for feeling this way, despite everyone telling me that I should just want to do it because its natural and the right thing for baby. I feel so grateful to be having a baby after hearing for 10 years I couldn't so I want to do the right things and cherish the moments because I may not get the chance to have more children. I have read and thought about all the advise you ladies gave to me (and my baby boy) and thank you from the bottom of our hearts, you have helped me find some directions and peace with my dilemma. I now feel like if I try and still don't like feeding from the breast there are other ways besides strictly pumping. Thanks for letting me know its ok for me to say "this is my baby damn it and I can feed it how I choose!" lol
Can't say thanks enough.

Featured Answers

I have a breastpump for sale if you decide to move forward with it. You can email me at ____@____.com.

I did pumping and bottle feeding exclusively with my first (not by choice - he just would not 'latch'). I EBF with my 2nd. All I can say is that the former was much more difficult than the latter. I found myself pumping, then feeding, then cleaning the bottles. Even if I wasn't doing the feedings, I was still having to do the pumping - and in the middle of the night just the same. The bottle washing/cleaning, etc. was the biggest pain. I would still do it all over again rather than do formula, but hopefully you will have a change of heart. Babies are very demanding - regardless of how you feed them...

Dear J., I did not get to read all you responses and it looked like you got some good advice. Have you looked into the WIC program? We had some financial problems when the girls were little and they helped with formula, eggs, and cheese. GL K. K.

More Answers

Good for you wanting to give your child the best start with breastfeeding! You would not be the first or only mom to want to pump and bottle feed, but I would warn you that it will be much harder to start and maintain your milk supply just pumping. Also, it will undercut the financial benefits as most women who only pump need to use a hospital grade pump for at least the first couple months to get their supply established, as well as having to buy bottles, milk storage bags and bottles, bottle cleaning supplies, and so on.

That being said, I would suggest you at least consider doing a combo of breast feeding a bottle feeding of pumped milk. You could do the breastfeedings at times that work well for you, like first thing in the morning or when putting baby down to bed. That way you wouldn't feel as pressured by the feed on demand schedule (or lack thereof).

If you do want to pump only, here's some suggestions:
1) Plan to rent a hospital grade pump for at least the first two to three months. You can get one through the lactation consultant at the hospital or from your local LLL. Take it to the hospital when you labor, so that you can start using it right away. The first three days are key to establishing your supply.
2) Invest in a high quality, double electric pump, as well as cooler to carry expressed milk, extra bottles, replacement membranes, and bags for freezing milk.
3) Consider getting a hands free pumping bra. It is really nice when you can do something other than hold pumping horns.
4) Figure out where at work you are going to pump. You want to make sure it is set and ready to go when you get back to work. The time to figure out when and where you are going to pump is not your first day back after leave. Remember you will be sitting whereever you figure out for about 30-45 minutes at a time every 4 hours.

Good luck! When I was pumping I found a lot of support from the pumpmoms board at yahoo, as well as great info in a book called "Working Without Weaning". While the book was more for the breastfeed and pump crowd, the board had a lot of pumping only moms.

1 mom found this helpful

I would encourage you to explore all your possible reasons for not wanting to breastfeed. Once you've identified why you don't want to you may be able to work with that.

I also encourage you to validate and honor your feelings. That isn't to say that you stick with our feelings, but that you allow yourself the right to feel that way.

I suggest you may want to give yourself the opportunity of finding out if you want to breastfeed by first trying it.

This sounds like to me like an issue of control...having struggled so much with your body and desires and such can leave you tired and drained and defensive of all your body demands. Maybe you can explore that and work toward a peaceful relationship with your body.

Submitting may be a good thing, however; it take your power away...makes you a victim. I suggest avoiding that. Instead CHOOSE with power. Perhaps you can say: I will allow myself the opportunity of finding out for myself with true effort. After I have prepared myself well, and given me and my baby a chance at the breast, I'll make a decision from knowledge rather than fear, repulsion, or any other sense.

I offer to you that making a choice out of power and knowledge beats submission due to outside pressure and sense of weakness. Study, explore, allow, try, decide.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear J.,
First off, I am one who thinks breastfeeding is the best way to go, BUT I also had to switch to bottle feeding my last three children. Each time I had to switch, I had a number of moms that told me I was not doing "the best thing for my babies", and they made me feel as if I somehow fell short of my mommy responsibilities. My reasons were medical reasons, but if you feel that breastfeeding might cause you to resent it, don't do it. Your baby will be able to "pick up" the feeling, and may not do well.
I would hold my babies very close to my body while feeding them, and they had just as good a bonding with me as my first baby did. All my children have had allergies, and all four have asthma, my oldest is the worse. One of the reason for breastfeeding is to prevent your child from having trouble with allergies.
You may find after you give birth, that you WANT to breastfeed your baby,and that is great, but do not feel you are not quite good enough if you decide not to do it. A happy mommy bottle feeding is much better then a resentful mommy breastfeeding. Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and know that your decision is going to be fine for your child, because it is made out of love for BOTH of you.
Congrats on this little miricle that is coming.

1 mom found this helpful

I just wanted to add my experience for your reading pleasure.
My first was born early and was very small. I couldn't even try to nurse her until she was a few weeks old and then she never did latch on. I pumped exclusively until she was almost 6 months old because we just couldn't afford formula. 2 years later I had my second. I decided to try nursing again and HATED it for the first 3 weeks but then it got better. I wasn't one of those moms that just cherished it, but it was ok. I nursed him until his 1st birthday and was happy to be done. It is almsot 5 years later and I'm pregnant with #3 and still hesitant about nursing this one. I will definitely give it a solid try and take it from there. Even after doing it, I think it's kinda weird.
I have done pumping only, formula only, and nursing only and I can say that nursing was easily the most convenient. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Hi J.:

I'm not going to hop on a soap box about how breastfeeding is the morally and medically correct way to go, but I can offer some practical advice for why you should reconsider trying breastfeeding first. Give it a few weeks, and if you really don't like it, you can always switch exclusively to pumping or go to formula. And when it's your own baby, it may seem a lot less weird.

The trick with breastfeeding is that the amount of milk you produce is based on how OFTEN you nurse, not how MUCH you nurse. In the beginning, while you are establishing your milk supply, you're going to need to expel milk every 2 or 3 hours one way or another. So, you can either feed on demand or pump on demand. And the feeding part is a LOT less time and nuisance than the pumping part.

Also, even the best pump isn't as effective as a baby. Breasts can tell the difference. Like a lot of women, I found that it was much easier maintaining my milk supply when I was breastfeeding exclusively than when I pumped part-time after I went back to work. This is especially critical in the first few weeks when you are establishing your milk supply -- if you don't get off to a solid start, it's hard, sometimes impossible, to get on track.

If you're going to do wholesale pumping, most women don't "let down" milk easily enough to use a cheap hand pump. So you're probably going to need to either rent or buy an electric pump. To buy a good one that will be efficient and not painful starts at about $250/$300. Or, when I checked 3 years ago, pumps rented for about $60/month. (For health reasons, they don't recommend used pumps, although they are available out there.) Figure on about 20 mins. at a time for pumping if you do both sides at once -- unless you're one of those lucky women who flows really easily.

And if you do both sides at once, both hands are occupied holding the cups. (Or you need to get a "bra" that supports the pumps for you.)

And there are always plenty of exceptions to any general rule, but the majority of babies can switch from breast to bottle and back with no big issues. You may get a baby who will resolutely only take breast or only want bottle, but you won't know til you try.

Breastfeeding can be painful at first, even with a "good" nurser who latches well. Until your nipples toughen up -- just keep slathering on the lanolin -- and it will get to the point where it doesn't hurt at all -- even if you don't believe that will ever happen!

As a single mom, I found breastfeeding so much faster and easier than pumping and sterilizing after I went back to work. Not to mention all of the lugging around that comes with that. After I went back to work, making sure that I always had sterilized pumping equipment and sterilized bottles ready was a huge, time-consuming nuisance. Both you and your fiance are going to have plenty of other things to do with your time in the first few months than constantly sterilizing pump parts.

Whatever route you ultimately choose to take, I wish you best of luck!

J.,

While I agree that you can not yet fathom how much love you will have for your baby, I'm not going to tell you that you MUST nurse your baby for at least 3 months. I will tell you my story and how I first felt.

When I was younger I was told I couldn't BF due to a thyroid problem. So I never expected to. When I was pregnant with my son, the Dr told me I could, but my medication might tamper with my milk supply (also a difficult pregnancy. I had awful morning sickness for almost 6 months, bleeding, awful back pain and I had very very low fluid and was on bed rest the last half) To me, it seemed so weird to have a little person sucking on me. I figured I would try it out, see how it went and take it from there.

My son was born full term but had complications. He ended up going to the NICU and staying there for 25 days. I had to bring my milk in with a pump. I hated every second I had that thing on me! It was uncomfortable, heavy to carry, and a nuisance to clean. I knew my milk was best, so that was the reason I continued. He was 3 weeks old the first time I got to actually BF him, and it was amazing! To be able to hold him close and watch him eat. The feeling was completely different than having a plastic tube pulling me. It wasn't easy to get him to want to nurse, he liked the bottle, but we over came that and had a great nursing relationship. Then my daughter was born and she took to the breast 15 min after she was born, now I can't get her to quit lol.

Pumping milk IS a wonderful option for giving your baby breast milk. Just keep in mind how you still will need to pump at least every 3 hours, even at night time, but then your body won't know exactly how much your baby will need. When there's a growth spurt, you're going to have to pump more, and the response is not instantaneous. Also, I never seemed to get more than 3 oz at a time, but when I nursed, I would fill my babies tummy. The way the baby sucks uses all the glands and effectively empties the breast. Pumping is a great thing to do while you're at work or to get daddy involved, but I believe it will create so much more work for you than just nursing. You already will be sleep deprived and exhausted no matter what lol. Why cause more work that needs to be done?

They have breast shields, which I never used, but I had a friend who used them with both her daughters the entire time she nursed. She said it helped her with the weird feeling. Maybe look into options like that to see what you think about trying to nurse with something? Also you can nurse/pump during the day, and use formula at night. Its thicker and keeps baby fuller longer. The on demand feeding is best for very young babies and establishing your milk supply but it will not be like that the entire time. I was never good on setting schedules, but I'm not a very organized person like that. You can think of the best schedule for you and start working on it with baby from day one.

I would highly recommend talking to a lactation consultant, LLL leader or just go to a meeting if possible. You're not a mutant for feeling this way. Being around other moms breast feeding is completely different than you breast feeding your child. I am perfectly comfortable nursing in a public place WITH a blanket, but I would never just pull up my shirt, and I still find it weird when women do.

Before people get offended, don't get me wrong, I am very pro breastfeeding, I nursed my son for 14 months and my daughter is 15 months and still nurses. Also my grandmother nursed 9 of 11 kids and was a La Leche League leader for about 20 years. She received awards and also contributed to the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. My mother and all my aunts nursed their children, for time spans from 3 weeks to 4 years. Needless to say, breastfeeding is very common in my family and I have seen many women do it.

Best wishes on what you decide! The most important thing is to take care of your baby and feed them nutritious food! God bless.

V.

J., my son is now 7 months old and I wanted to breastfeed him because of the cost as well. I tried my hardest to get him to feed off my breast but he wanted nothing to do with that but I decided in the beginning that I would pump as well. So I bought a pump and pumped my milk while trying to get him to breastfeed. Some babies don't want to breastfeed or just can't which was my sons problem couldn't. But I pumped my milk for 4 months straight. It was a lot of dedication to pump but worth it. In the beginning I was pumping every 2 hours and putting it in the fridge but then I produced so much milk because I pumping so much, I had to freeze it. I don't see a problem with you wanting to pump your milk and bottle feeding. If you haven't purchased a breast pump, I have mine it is a Medela double electric breast pump. You would have to buy the attachments to go with it but if you want to purchase please email me. ____@____.com

Good Luck.

I think you need to do what's best for all of you. The bonding experience is really amazing - I couldn't imagine until I had my own baby and my best friend had encouraged me to breast feed. I had some help from a friend of the family who really made it easier, too. But, you are being so thoughtful wanting to at least pass along the nourishment! I'd give it some time. Maybe you can make a decision about what works for all of you, once you're feeling a bit better.

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