I understand that breastfeeding offers many benefits to babies so I want to try (since it doesn't happen for everyone) to offer my child the nutrients and antibodies available in breast milk without actually breastfeeding so I plan to attempt to pump exclusively. I am having difficulty find information on the challenges of exclusively pumping. I am also worried that the hospital staff will try to pressure me to do something that I am not comfortable with. Anyone have any experience with breastfeeding this way?
It is absolutely wonderful that you want to offer your baby the best that you possibly can even if you are not comfortable breastfeeding and I'll be happy to offer all the ideas and support I can for you.
When you first give birth to your baby, your breasts will produce colostrum which is a sticky substance. Colostrum will give your baby lots of wonderful immunities, but again, it is a sticky substance, so not easily pumped out and saved for baby. As your milk starts to come in (usually around day 3, sometimes earlier, sometimes later) the milk will be golden in color. My lactations consultant called it "liquid gold", and every drop is precious for your baby's health. Your milk will be golden for awhile and will eventually go to white, after a few weeks.
You mentioned that you are concerned that the hospital staff may pressure you to do something you're not comfortable with. I would highly recommend that you try to breastfeed your baby for at least the first week, so that your baby gets all of that good, sticky colostrum. This colostrum can also help baby feel a little full while your milk is coming in. I am a bit concerned that if you choose not to try to breastfeed at all, that the nurses will automatically feed your baby formula in the hospital because you won't have any milk available for baby.
However, if you allow baby to suckle at the breast for the first few days, he/she will receive the following benefits:
1. Baby will receive all that good, sticky colostrum.
2. Baby's desire to suck will be met as he/she pacifies at the breast.
3. When baby pacifies at the breast and receives colostrum, he/she will also be stimulating your breasts to produce milk much better than a breast pump does.
Putting baby to the breast for the first few days will also offer you relief as your milk starts to come in because baby will be able to release the pressure of milk in your breasts much more effectively than a pump will. This means less chance of becoming engorged. When your breasts are engorged with milk, they become hard and can also develop hot, red spots, which are plugged milk ducts. The more "empty" you can keep your breasts, the less chance of becoming engorged and the less chance of developing mastitis or plugged milk ducts.
Once again, I commend you for wanting to give your baby the very best milk possible. I don't want to discourage you in any way from wanting to pump because I truly believe that you should give it a try (mother's who breastfeed for at least 6 months also have a lower chance of developing breast cancer). But I wanted to share why it might just be much easier and better for you and baby if you breastfeed the first few days.
Here's a good video I found that talks about breastfeeding and pumping. It is created by Avent, which is a bottle and pump producer. I would encourage you to watch the entire video because I think you'll learn a lot. I wish I had known all of what they show in the video before I had my first baby. Really excellent information that you'll want to know about the supplies you will need during your time of breastfeeding and/or pumping (i.e. when to use breast pads, breast shields, nipple cream and breast warmers).
Please post back with your thoughts and any other concerns or questions you may have. We are here to support you, answer all your questions and help you to feel completely at ease and empowered with whatever choices you make that you feel are best for you and your baby.
I was searching and found this to be very helpful.
One question when pumping how many ounces of milk should I store for baby to drink at a time.
I think it is wonderful that you want to offer your baby the best, even though it is out of your range of comfort. I totally agree with everything that has been said. I do encourage you to at least try the first week as Kate suggested. Not only will this help to get your supply started but you may also find that the experience is far different than you imagined. For me, there was a time when I worried that breastfeeding would make me uncomfortable, but it was surprisingly different than I imagined when I actually tried it. Breastfeeding straight from the source is so much easier and is great for building a bond.
Of course, if you still feel you just cannot do it, I commend you for giving full-time pumping your best effort. I hope that the advice Kate has given helps you to move forward with your plans. Please keep us updated!
I know you recently gave birth your your baby, so I'm guessing that your question about how many ounces to store for each feeding would be related to a newborn's needs.
I found that storing 2 ounces for each feed was a perfect amount to have on hand for the first couple months. Sometimes baby drank less than 2 ounces at a feed (I just put the rest back in the refrigerator and offered it at the next feed, or dumped it if the next feed wasn't in a few hours). If baby was hungrier than and wanted more than 2 ounces, then I would just though another packet or bottle in some warm water. It didn't take long at all to thaw more.
As your child grows, she will take more milk at each feeding - 3 ounces, 4 ounces, all the way up to 8 ounces at a feed.
Here's a video I found that shows you the best way to store your breastmilk in bags, in the freezer. Enjoy and let us know if you have any further questions.
You may find that you have more milk for pumping first thing in the morning and you may also find that your supply really drops in the evening after breastfeeding all day. Just thought I'd mention that for when you start pumping. You might find it easiest to save milk in the morning.