Bottle or breast? Bottle, of course, implying that the baby is formula-fed. Well this presumptuous question requires an explanation by an exclusively pumping mom because yes, she’s feeding with a bottle, but no, she isn’t using formula. This question pops up almost everywhere including mommy forums, the pediatrician’s office and even resource pages. This isn’t a bottle or breast world we live in, people, it’s formula or breast milk, so can we please get out of the dark ages with these exclusionary reference questions?!
I began as a breastfeeding mom who supplemented with 2-4 oz of formula each day because my supply was low. Over time, I realized that many of my son’s tummy troubles were caused by the formula and I decided to cut it from his diet altogether. With the removal of formula, I was unable to fully satisfy him in a single feeding by only offering him my breast. He was not a happy little man during or after feedings and there was really nothing I could do to make it better if I wasn’t offering a bottle to fill him up. So even though pumping required more of a time commitment (20 minutes of pumping every 2-3 hours in addition to bottle feeding every 3-4 hours is no joke!), it removed the tears and full-fledged feeding fights between the two of us. I quickly transitioned into an exclusively pumping mama. Exclusive pumping is also referred to as EPing.
EPing is not always easy though. I had a ton of questions and no answers. I had no idea how much breast milk I should be feeding him in a day and was still pretty certain I had low supply. The problem though, was that I couldn’t find anywhere that told me whether I actually did or not. I sifted through breastfeeding information pages to find foods and supplements to increase my supply, but this didn’t help me answer any of the other questions I had about bottle feeding with breast milk.
How many ounces do I feed per day?
Does the amount of breast milk I need to give my son change with his age?
How many bottles per day?
How often do I need to pump?
How many ounces of expressed milk is “normal” to produce in a day?
I searched and searched and had a lot of trouble locating this information, so I bookmarked a site anytime I found one. Now I’m sharing everything I’ve found with you! I hope this helps all of you EPing mamas out there and makes the experience a little easier. If you know of any others that have great resources, let me know in the comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add it to the list!
Ayla Birth, Inc.
Bright Future Lactation Resource Centre Ltd.
ConsumerAffairs Breast Pump Comparison
La Leche League International
Laura’s Pumping Page
The Leaky Boob
Missouri Wic Association
Stanford Children’s Health
Yahoo Group for Exclusive Pumpers (unable to nurse)