Re: Breast feed, pump, or throw in the towel?
Welcome to the forum and congrats on the baby to come!
The first thing to know about exclusive pumping (EP) is that it is totally possible, and a lot of moms do it!!! If you're committed to EP, you will get a lot of support and help here.
I generally try to discourage moms from exclusive pumping unless they have NO OTHER OPTION that will allow them to breastfeed, because EP has some special challenges, including the following:
- Pumps are not usually as good as babies are at maintaining supply. Many moms who EP ultimately struggle to provide enough milk.
- Nursing in public is generally fairly easy, even for extremely modest moms. Pumping in public is a lot harder- you need a clean, private place and an outlet (if you're using an electric pump), and those two things can be hard to find, particularly in combination!
- It can be a challenge to entertain the baby while you pump, particularly once the baby is mobile. Choosing between maintaining a pump routine and caring for the baby is one of the hardest challenges!
- Milk in the breast is always clean, fresh, at the right temperature, and immediately available. Milk in a bottle can spill on the floor, go bad in the heat, get forgotten with the diaper bag, or get spoiled in a power outage.
All that being said, please do not let the potential negatives of EP sway you away from trying it, if that is the only way you can see yourself breastfeeding this baby!!! Again, lots of moms EP and they all find ways to deal with the negatives. If they don't pump enough milk, they either increase their number of pump sessions until they get enough or they make their peace with using some formula. They find ways to pump when out and about- they plan their outings, they use covers or retreat to their cars or just pump in public (I actually know a mom who pumped while sitting in her seat on a trans-Pacific flight!). They find ways to manage their stored milk supply and to care for their babies while they pump.
I think the PP gave excellent advice: be kind to yourself, and don't feel like you need to wed yourself to any particular decision RIGHT NOW. You never know- this baby may give you a "third time's the charm" breastfeeding experience, and latch right on with no pain and no supply issues. I think it makes sense to at least try nursing the baby, but to have an EP plan worked out in advance, just in case nursing goes south on you. So contact the LC again and ask about pumps- you're going to want a good one if you decide to EP. A hospital-grade pump is ideal, but a very good double electric like the Medela Pump in Style or the Hygeia Enjoye (sp.?) are the minimum you'll need. And you'll want correctly sized shields to go with it.
You can do it, mama, whatever you choose!
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"