Not sure if this is a dumb question

I am a FTM. I've always planned on breastfeeding and then pumping when I go back to work, but I'm somewhat concerned about how to make it work. I go back at 6 weeks and am gone for 12-13 hrs per day, so pumping will definitely be necessary. What concerns me are things I've read about nipple confusion and pumping/ breastfeeding schedules affecting supply. Is there any harm in skipping breastfeeding from the start and exclusively pumping, or at least exclusively pumping after a month or so? It seems like breast milk is breast milk so it wouldn't matter, but I'm obviously new at this and most here seem to be pro breastfeeding. Just wondering if there are health benefits or if it's a preference thing. I just don't want to mess anything up and have to use formula. I have a breastfeeding class scheduled for March but you ladies seem very knowledgeable and experienced. Thanks for the help.

Re: Not sure if this is a dumb question

  • My LO is almost 6 weeks. I had to start pumping in the hospital due to latch issues and no supply. Once my supply came in I was able to nurse with a nipple shield but then we faced other obstacles. I've been pretty much exclusively pumping since he was 2 weeks old and have no issues with my supply. You need to be on a strict pumping schedule. Pump every 2-3 hours which is how often baby feeds, and never less than 15 minutes per pump session. I do also take Fenugreek to help supply but I've been taking it since the beginning because my milk wasn't coming in at all. I did need to supplement in the very beginning, but again, just until my milk actually came in. I now have a freezer stash! It's all do-able. It just depends on you and your initial supply!
  • I was lucky to ebf but out June 14 had an awesome exclusively pumping board that I kept up with bc I pumped when away from baby. (Sadly the thread is gone now,) but what I learned from it is breast feeding is easiest and best for establishing a supply that early on (assuming baby can breast feed.) I'd recommend breastfeeding when you are together, adding a pump session after the first morning feed (this will help start a "stash" of milk, and start feeding babe a bottle (of breast milk) a day around 4weeks. I was terrified about nipple confusion and did have a baby that didn't care for the bottle, but it can be done! Also look up the great info on
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  • My daughter has the hardest time latching and we would both end up in tears after every feeding session.  I finally resigned to exclusively pumping.  it is time consuming and hard work, but it allows her to still have breast milk so I am ok with it!  I plan on pumping as long as possible.  I try to pump every 2 to 3 hours during the day and overnight sometimes I go closer to 4 hours. 

    If you can nurse and pump that is awesome, but if you decide it is just too much and you only want to pump it can definitely be done!  
  • I just talked to a lactation consultant about switching to exclusive pumping. She said the only big drawback is that if baby is exposed to a germ that mom doesn't have antibodies for, when baby's saliva comes in contact with moms breast, mom will create antibodies that are then transferred to baby through milk to fight the germ. Perhaps if you nursed once a day, baby would still get that benefit.
  • With my son (now almost 2.5) I found it easier to establish nursing first. My supply came in quickly. About two weeks before I went back to work, Daddy would take a feeding or two a day to help the transition to bottles while I was at work. It was difficult for both of us, but it worked really well in the end. He still bf at night and on my days off. And we just weaned about a month ago. A challenge, yes. Doable, certainly. I hated pumping, and loved and cherished the time I nursed my little man.
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  • It took 5 days for my milk to come in and by then DS had begun losing weight. AT that point DH and I went on a frenzy of ‘fatten the boy up’ mode and started giving him some formula along with BM. He never did latch very easily so I just always pumped because it was more important for me to ensure he ate, regardless of the method.  Everything I’ve read says your baby is the key to increasing your supply. I wish I’d been able to nurse at the beginning to get a good supply going but it didn’t work out that way, so I’m just an exclusive pumper and I’m unable to get a stash going as he eats whatever I pump within 24hrs and usually we have to supplement with formula at night because he at all the BM. He’s still about 60% Bfed but I wish it could be more, I pump around 17-19oz a day, and I pump 4x a day  - it feels very time consuming, but I plan to keep this up as long as possible.  Definitely get a pumping bra (I bought a cheap slightly tight sports bra from Wal-Mart and cut holes in it – LIFESAVER!) and it made things so much easier, I was stupid and didn’t get one until about 5wks in and wish I’d gotten one sooner.


    I’d say nurse early on to get things really going then once your supply is established you can go to pumping..

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  • Thanks everyone!
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