(Closed) Breastfeeding vs Pumping…friendly debate time!

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 16
3008 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

snowflake8 :  I think it’s odd you say “no bottle in between.” Like taking a bottle between breastfeeding and starting solids is a normal step or something. Why do you think this? The whole process of weaning from breastfeeding or formula in a bottle is usually gradual. Most people start their babies on solids around 6 months. As the baby eats more food, they drink less breastmilk or formula. If you’re breastfeeding, the less your baby nurses the less milk you produce. By the time I weaned my little guy he was eating plenty of food and just nursing once at night and once in the morning. I could easily go somewhere for the whole day without him if I wanted, as he could eat food and drink water or cow’s milk. Then we went to one nursing session a day, then just stopped completely. There was no “need” for him to have a bottle past about 7 months as he could take other liquids or pumped milk from a sippy cup, even though he continued to breastfeed for both additional nutrition and comfort/bonding/snuggles.

Post # 17
1192 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Mostly feeding from the breast (with some pumping and help from others) is what I would do.

Post # 18
1865 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I always dreamed of exclusively nursing my baby.  Then she was born.  She was born full term in the 5th percentile for weight, classified as “small for gestational age.”  We suspect she may have had undiagnosed growth restriction.  Anyway, my dreams went out the window when I failed to give birth to my placenta, and had to be rushed in for an emergency D&C while my tiny baby’s blood sugar plummeted.  My husband was told he could give the baby a bottle of formula or they could give her an IV of glucose.  He picked the bottle.  

She was so small and it was hard to keep her awake for feedings.  She wouldn’t even attempt to latch on to breastfeed. I pumped like crazy to get a few drops of colostrum at the hospital, to supplement her formula feedings.  

My milk came in the day we came home from the hospital.  I cried when I was able to pump enough for a whole feeding, because I wanted more than anything to be able to nourish my baby with my body.  From that moment, she got breastmilk for all her bottle feedings.  She was gaining weight well, but I still could not get her to latch.  When she was 2 weeks old, she finally did latch.  I tried to exclusively nurse for a weekend, but her weight started dropping.  She would fall asleep during feeds and was fussy.  My nipples hurt and itched.  I suspected she might have a little bit of thrush.  I decided to go back to exclusively pumping.  My little one went back to being her happy self, and was soon up to the 25th weight percentile.  

There are cons to exclusively pumping.  I pump 4-5 times per day, 20 minutes per session.  My husband and I probably spend 3 hours per day washing, sterilizing, and drying pump parts, storage containers, and bottles.  But my baby is getting breastmilk like I wanted and I feel like I am providing for her. I keep milk in the fridge for up to 48 hours, and I usually have about 30 ounces in the fridge at a time.  I freeze any extra. I bring a cool pack with 8-12 ounces of milk whenever I go out, and a thermos of warm water.  If I don’t feel like bringing warm water, I stop at a fast food place or starbucks and ask them for a cup of hot water. If I have to leave her with someone, I bring my pump with me.  I know she always has enough food.   It is working for us.  But it is hard work.

Eta:  We are coming up on 4 months.  I pump 32-34 oz per day.

Post # 19
2942 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

The end of it is, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy… I mean baby.  I had a co-worker who had every intention of pumping while at work, and couldn’t because she just didn’t get enough pumping so had to formula feed during the day, but still breast fed at home.  I have two friends with premies who exclusively pumped.  One hated it as she felt she would bottle feed, pump for the next bottle, clean her pump, feed the next bottle and repeat all day.  One liked the freedom.  My BFF couldn’t get a milk supply, so despite her feeding intentions was formula feeding quickly.

My plan is to do what works for myself and baby and make very few “plans” before hand.  I will get the pump, I will speak to the lactation consultant, and I will consult the pediatrician.  If at anytime, what I am doing doesn’t work, I will move to the next best option.  

Post # 20
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Well I did both, because I worked full time after maternity leave.  I want to do what is easiest. Breastfeeding is easiest overall.  But it’s also worth it to have some pumped milk on hand so you can go out for the night.

 If your baby latches well, easiest thing is to breastfeed as much as you can and have some pumped milk on hand for going out.  Breastfeeding is easier because your body responds better to baby than a pump.  And with pumping you now have a million pieces and parts to wash every day. Plus it takes twice as long to feed your baby, time to pump and time to bottle feed. Don’t think pumping is easier, it’s not, it’s hard work and you don’t get to snuggle your baby while you do it.  Assuming baby has a good latch that is, obviously pumping can be easier in certain situations depending on the baby.

I liked having frozen milk on hand but always preferred to breastfeed if possible. I’d rather go out to a later dinner so I could breastfeed before I left instead of leaving a bottle and then having to find somewhere to pump when I’m out at dinner.  Pumping is a chore.  Some women don’t even respond to a pump!  My first pump was terrible, now I own 3 electrics and a handpump.

I have never bothered to have dad help bottle feed overnight either because then I’d just have to pump for that missed feeding. No thanks, I’d way rather breastfeed and doze off than get up and pump.  I have a 2 week old now and I want a good freezer stash (had 300oz with my first that helped when I was short at work) so I’ve been pumping everyday while EBFing (haven’t given a bottle yet) and I can’t wait to quit all the extra pumping when I get a good stash built up!

If breastfeeding is well established you shouldn’t have nipple confusion, but you can have babies with bottle preference. That is because they get used to how fast and easy milk comes out of a bottle (no work involved and breastfeeding requires them to work for it). If you are going to do both you need to find the slowest flow nipple and never move up a size. We used size 1s the whole time, I even considered buying premie sized nipples

Post # 21
3113 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

As someone 4 weeks into feeding a newborn, who planned to exclusively breastfeed I say just see what happens and keep an open mind. My LO has a bad latch that is very slowly improving so we have been breastfeeding, and pumping when the nipple pain has gotten too bad to manage, it gives them a chance to heal. At one point I thought maybe I would exclusively pump but after about a week in my supply started dropping, the only way to get it back was to put her on the breast again (I tried everything else). Keep in mind also that pumping is a lot of work, and requires more time involved. 

Post # 22
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’ve done both and breastfeeding, hands down, is 100x easier than pumping. I hate pumping. Like others have said, it does take twice as long, there is a lot of cleanup, you have to get up in the middle of the night to pump AND feed your baby (assuming your husband/partner doesn’t do every single night feed). I don’t quite understand the argument that pumping gives you more time to yourself, because even if you leave your child you still have to pump or else you’ll hurt your supply. Clearly I hate pumping! ha.

Obviously, what worked for me might not work for you. I’d say to just keep an open mind. Your baby will pretty much drive the decision making when it comes to breastfeeding or bottle feeding. I had some trouble with my son latching at first so I pumped the first couple of weeks. I then exclusively breastfed him until I went back to work when he was 5 months old. I pumped at work and breastfed when I was home. He’s now 16 months old and I am still breastfeeding a couple times a day.

Post # 23
86 posts
Worker bee

I can barely get 2 oz when I pump and it’s annoying, more work than just feeding him from the breast it is only good for going out imo

Post # 24
884 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Nipple confusion is s real thing – my best advice is try to nurse exclusively for the first couple of months and then introduce the bottle!  After that it’s all to you.  Pumping does give you more freedom so if that’s your perogative it will be awesome to have that option.  You just do what feels right when the time arises.

Post # 25
3571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I couldn’t nurse due to latching issues as well, so I exclusively pumped for 6 months. It was like a 2nd full time job (well I guess 3rd job.. between being a mom and having a real full time job).. it’s a lot of work and is a big commitment, but it was worth it to me. I was happy my daughter was getting my milk and we saved a lot of money from not havig to buy formula (eventually my daughter switched to formula when my supply crapped out, so I’m all for formula as well). I liked that I was able to have help feeding her, and it wasn’t solely my responsibility.. and I was able to leave her for several hours knowing she’d be fine. Though you can’t be gone too long, unless you bring you best friend ‘the pump’ with you.

To make a long story short, I think your plan sounds great, but keep in mind sometimes things change and you have to come up with a whole new plan. 

Post # 26
41 posts

My baby is 3.5 weeks old and I have been pumping and giving her the fresh milk in a bottle.  I tried breastfeeding but she was born 4 weeks early and was always tired and fell asleep at the breast or I didn’t feel like she was emptying even on breast during a feed.  Breastfeeding was so slow she would want to eat every hour.  Now I pump every 3 hours during the day and give her the frst.  At night she gets formula for 3 feeds and my mom helps me (I’m a single mom) and feeds her during the night so I can sleep 4-6 hours at a time.  I have always needed a lot of sleep even before being pregnant so now is no exception.  I need my sleep.  Eventually I want to put her to breast and make her breastfeed, but for now this works.  I don’t like cleaning the equipment, but I am getting used to it.  And I only have to pump for about 12 minutes and I am emptied.  If I had to pump for 15-30 minutes I would go crazy!  


Do what works for you.  I didn’t think my baby would get formula but she does.  I didn’t think I would pump so much in the beginning, but it works for me.  

Post # 27
9673 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Pumping sucks. Literally. It sucks while doing it, and it sucks cleaning up after it.

I mean you’re probably going to be spending 3-4 hours a day attached to a milking machine, when you could just stick your boob in the kid’s mouth and be done with it.

Are you going to be a SAHM? If you’re working, you’ll have to pump anyway if you want to maintain suppy and have milk to send to daycare.

Post # 28
360 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

snowflake8 :  

I have a 4 week old so I’ll share my experience though there is no right answer you have to figure out what is best for you. 

I have been really lucky with breastfeeding and had no issues with any latching. I hope to be able to breastfeed for at least a year but without the ability to give him a bottle I think that would be impossible. 

I started pumping 4-6  oz a day when my baby was 2 weeks old and introduced a bottle when he was nearly 3 weeks old. We have had zero issues with nipple confusion. My midwife advised to introduce a bottle between week 3 & 6. She said there is no right answer but if you leave it to late there is a higher chance of them rejecting the bottle. I have had friends leave it too late and their babies refused bottles completely. 

Pumping is hard, I have the utmost respect for anyone who manages to pump exclusively. I find it so much easier to pump one breast whilst nursing on the other so I would recommend, if possible, a combination of both.

Being able to just pop a boob in babies mouth and instantly comfort and satisfy them is by far easier than messing with a bottle. However, the few hours break I get from dad being able to give a bottle once every day or so makes a huge difference. 

Post # 29
2530 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I still breastfeed my almost 15 month old and the only times I have expressed where when I first returned to work (she was 8 months) -and if I felt engorged.


pumping is not an indication of supply and a baby is much more efficient at getting milk out of your breasts than any pump. For every time your baby has expressed milk you also need to pump more milk in order to maintain supply. If you need to express then do so but breastfeeding can be a lot less hassle. 

Post # 30
4089 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Pumping is a PITA.  I don’t know anyone who would choose it if they had the choice. I think you’re really underestimating how tough it will be, especially when baby is eating every 2 hours, or going through a growth spurt and wanting to eat every 30-60 minutes. Pulling out a boob is way, way easier.

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