Some of you probably remember my story from other threads—high risk pregnancy which lead to a 35 week preemie who is now 7 1/2 weeks old (2 1/2 weeks adjusted). She has been getting bottles since her first day of life in the NICU and generally gets about 2/3 of her calories from pumped milk and 1/3 directly from me. We’re on our third lactation consultant, who I really like and finally got her latching without a nipple shield about a week ago, and we had one good day where she got everything from me, but other than that she’s never gotten a full feed without a bottle more than once in a day. We keep hearing that we should keep trying and she’ll get there in a couple weeks for sure (heard this as 3, 5, and now 6 weeks) but she screams in hunger 15-30 minutes after coming off the breast nearly every time.
Meanwhile we did a couple days of EPing when I needed a break for mental health reasons, and it worked really well for us. I was able to pump 37 and 42 ounces in the two 24 hour periods. I still had plenty of bonding tome with her, possibly more than when I try to breastfeed because I had a happy baby who wasn’t screaming in hunger. I don’t mind the pump, and have Freemies cups for my spectra, so I’m still able to hold her while I’m pumping and have pumped with them while friends were at the house. The washing is annoying, but is only ~15 minutes twice a day, so not too bad.
I’m trying to make a decision now about whether or not it’s worth it to keep trying to breastfeed vs. just exclusively pumping. I don’t want to totally miss out on something so elemental, but I also don’t know that I can spend the last few weeks of my mat leave listening to her scream in hunger rather than enjoying my otherwise happy baby.