Re: exclusive pumping the answer?
EP should be a last resort. Here's why:
- Breastfeeding gets more efficient as time goes on, but pumping never does. By the time a baby is a few months old, he can generally get all he needs in 5-10 minutes at the breast. But if it takes you 20 minutes to fill a bottle today, it's going to take you the same 20 minutes a year from now, and you're going to have to find that time while caring for an increasingly mobile baby.
- With practice, breastfeeding is something that you will feel comfortable doing in public. It can be done very discreetly in the supermarket, in the park, at church- anywhere you and your baby need to be. Pumping is something very few women feel comfortable doing in public.
- Breastfeeding is, in the long run, much less work than pumping. If you EP, you're going to have to constantly wash and sterilize bottles and pump parts. You're going to need to store a large amount of milk, and juggle it in the freezer to make sure the old stuff gets used up before it's "best-by" date. You're going to need to thaw, transport, and warm bottles of expressed milk.
- Breastmilk from the breast is always clean, immediately available, and at the right temperature. Bottles fall on the floor and spill all over your diaper bag. They need to be warmed (imagine standing in the kitchen at 2 a.m. warming a bottle while your hungry baby cries). Breastmilk doesn't need to be stored- you'll never lose six months supply because of a power outage. (It happens, just search this site.)
- If you breastfeed, you won't need to worry about supply, because your baby will regulate it for you by nursing. It is much harder to maintain/increase supply via pumping because the pump is generally not as effective at emptying the breast as a baby is. Many EPing moms struggle with supply.
- Breastfeeding is more than just food- it's also comfort. The breast will immediately soothe your baby through innocculations and bumped heads and skinned knees.
- Breastfeeding promotes optimal dental alignment. Bottle-feeding doesn't.
So that's why I think you should persist with breastfeeding. But that doesn't mean you can't combine breast and bottle-feeding, or that EP doesn't work for some women, or that there isn't anything you can do to improve your breastfeeding experience right now.
I would go and see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. She can give you help with latching and positioning, and will be able to pick up on any problems. She can also give you help on the best ways to combine breast and bottle, and on EPing if that's what you want to do.
Finally, don't be shocked by your baby's reaction to his first bottles. Many, many babies eat far more from the bottle than they do from the breast. The bottle is easy- it drip-drip-drips milk into the baby's mouth even when he is not actively sucking. That makes it easy for a baby to suck down an immense amount of milk in a short time, and can also lead to him getting so stuffed that he sleeps really heavily- just like I can take a 5 hour nap after overindulging at Thanksgiving dinner.
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!"