Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Breast or bottle, not sure what to do

I know this is a decision I need to make for myself, but maybe others can give some advice or insight that will help me make my decision on wether or not I should go back to BFing. 

Initially I EBF for about 10 days until I had to be hospitalized for a couple days with an infection. I found BFing to be somewhat stressful because one of my nipples really hurt; LO seemed to be wanting to latch on to my breast to sooth a lot of the time; plus the feeling that I was attached to my LO and couldn't leave her because what if she needed to feed. I'm also not excited at the thought of BFing in public. I know many people think it's no big deal, but I feel like it is.

Anyhow since I was in the hospital, LO had to drink formula, and continued doing so for 2 weeks because of antibiotics I was taking. During that time, I pumped and dumped. Since being off the meds, I decided to continue pumping and bottle feeding her breast milk. I've had to supplement with formula because I'm not pumping enough to feed her (she drinks 4 oz. about every 3 hours and I am pumping 2 oz every 3 hours on average). Just recently my milk supply seems to be decreasing slightly, but I know I'm not putting in enough effort to pump on a regular basis. I don't do it through the night, and during the day I try to do it every 3 hours but don't always manage. I've also heard that pumping results in less milk than if the baby feeds directly from the breast. 

So now I'm debating wether or not I should go back to letting LO BF, knowing that I found the experience to be stressful in large part because she was so demanding and wanting to feed to sooth herself. Or would putting in more effort pumping be able to increase my supply enough? That also seems more time consuming because I'm feeding her, plus pumping, therefore spending double time on feeding. I'm not sure what to do. Thoughts?

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Re: Breast or bottle, not sure what to do

  • If you're happy doing what you're doing now, then stick with it.  Half breast milk is certainly better than no breast milk!

    That said, if you're really committed to going back to breast milk only, you'll probably have to pump every 2 hours during the day, and every 3 hours at night to get your supply to where it needs to be.  I agree with you that breastfeeding would probably be easier than pumping all the time... but that's just my opinion.  I know a lot of women on the breastfeeding board exclusively pump and are fine with it.  I pump 3x/day now, and while I have no problems nursing, I find pumping to be annoying.

    Your LO is still REALLY little, so yes, she probably wants to be at the breast a lot.  It's not just for food... it's her way of comforting herself, bonding with you, feeling safe, etc.  My LO seemed like she nursed every 1.5 hours for weeks on end.

    Have you tried introducing a pacifier to help her soothe without sucking on you constantly? 

    Also, while it's entirely possible that she needs 4oz bottles, that seems like a lot for a 1 month old baby... My LO eats 3.5oz bottles at daycare, typically every 2.5 to 3 hours (and she's 5 months old).  Have you looked at kellymom.com?  There's a page on there that talks about how to properly bottle feed a breastfed baby to avoid over feeding (which is really easy to do).  Also lots of good advice on there about other breastfeeding-related things!  Good luck!

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  • Holy moly you've had a lot going on! Of course it's totally up to you. You do have the option of using a nipple shield to help your nipples. I didn't with #1 and OMG it's saved my life BF #2. 

    Either way you have to do what is right for YOU and baby. Not just baby. I had similar feelings with BF #1. Even with #2 I am having a hard time being held up in my house and feeding every 2 hours. This time around things are so different and easier for the most part. Def don't beat yourself up over it. If LO is doing fine with formula then just stick to it.  

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  • I think if you want to go back EBF, then you should see a LC since it shouldn't be painful.  The LC can give you tips on latching, getting your supply corrected, and soothing vs feeding help.  And there is nothing that says you have to nurse in public or be attached to your LO 24/7.  If you're in public, you can nurse in a store dressing room or go to your car for privacy.  You know your LO will take a bottle, so you could always pump and leave it for whoever is watching your LO. 

    If you do choose to FF only, don't feel bad.  Because BF is pushed so much now, women feel like failures if it doesn't work out and they shouldn't, IMO.

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  • I had the same problem with my LO.  The first 2 weeks were pretty brutal, but since we fixed his latch and my nipples have recovered I don't care how much he comfort nurses.  It's really nice close bonding time.  I almost gave up and I'm so glad I didn't!  Maybe it would be worth another shot so you don't have any regrets.  If you try it again (with a lactation consultant to help - mine was/is a godsend) and it doesn't work you can pump what you can and supplement or switch to formula without looking back!
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  • image kjsmith9:

    If you're happy doing what you're doing now, then stick with it.  Half breast milk is certainly better than no breast milk!

    That said, if you're really committed to going back to breast milk only, you'll probably have to pump every 2 hours during the day, and every 3 hours at night to get your supply to where it needs to be.  I agree with you that breastfeeding would probably be easier than pumping all the time... but that's just my opinion.  I know a lot of women on the breastfeeding board exclusively pump and are fine with it.  I pump 3x/day now, and while I have no problems nursing, I find pumping to be annoying.

    Your LO is still REALLY little, so yes, she probably wants to be at the breast a lot.  It's not just for food... it's her way of comforting herself, bonding with you, feeling safe, etc.  My LO seemed like she nursed every 1.5 hours for weeks on end.

    Have you tried introducing a pacifier to help her soothe without sucking on you constantly? 

    Also, while it's entirely possible that she needs 4oz bottles, that seems like a lot for a 1 month old baby... My LO eats 3.5oz bottles at daycare, typically every 2.5 to 3 hours (and she's 5 months old).  Have you looked at kellymom.com?  There's a page on there that talks about how to properly bottle feed a breastfed baby to avoid over feeding (which is really easy to do).  Also lots of good advice on there about other breastfeeding-related things!  Good luck!

    Thanks for your feedback! I do give her a pacifier and she has taken pretty well to it. As far as how much she eats, I realize it's a lot, but she's over 11 lbs already, and her pediatrician didn't say anything about it being too much. I have looked on kellymom but can't seem to find the page you're talking about. Could you give me the link? 

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