NAK. If it helps you, do it! My DD never took a bottle, but I wished she did, just to give me a break. But personally, I found pumping added to my anxiety - I never got much milk out of pumping, and while I could do other things while nursing DD, I had to just pump while pumping, because I needed both hands to pump one of my giant boobs, which I found hard. But if it is easier on you to pump and feed by bottle a couple of times a day (like getting your DH to feed with the bottle once in the middle of the night!) then go for it, for sure. You could cup or syringe feed until the danger point of nipple confusion s passed.
I know this won't be too much help right now, but with DD, I felt exactly the same way with our non-stop breastfeeding (DD would wake and scream upon being put down even from the deepest of sleep.) But then, when I was chasing around a curious crawler, or dealing with her frequent tantrums as a toddler, I MISSED those sleepy days of cuddling on the couch with a movie. SO MUCH. I wished I had appreciated them more at the time, because it was really so serene and wonderful much of the time. And though I am trying to have more of the same with Oren, I now have a two-year-old that climbs all over us while nursing, so it just isn't the same.
But I also know just how crazy-making those long sessions can be, and I found that distracting myself with books, TV, movies, surfing while nursing all helped. Also, having projects to work on while nursing - I organized all my photos, e-mails, computer files, flickr, Ravelry, recipes, lists etc. I had a blog, I was an excellent correspondent (even typing one-handed!) I did this on my laptop, as we needed to be sitting on the couch and using a breastfeeding pillow for nursing for the first 5 months (the big boob thing.) Though with the pillow I could always have one hand, and often both hands free. And to break up the long sessions, I'd take her out for walks in the carrier or stroller, and sometimes she slept, but sometimes she'd cry. But at least I wasn't nursing, right? Harder to do in the winter (she was a spring baby) but you could maybe go to a mall or something to get out and about? I had a hard time nursing in public (again, boob size) but I was determined to learn because it meant I wasn't always nursing on my couch at home.
And then in a few months it will be over, and you will miss it, I promise.
Originally Posted by birdhappy85
Does anybody happen to know what a good balance would be between breast feedings and bottle feedings w/ pumped milk? As in... is there an optimal balance between mostly breast and occasional bottle? How many times a day could a person bottle feed their baby and still preserve their milk supply? Can some people actually exclusively pump and keep producing milk?
I don't want to exclusively pump by any means but I have to start bottle feeding sometimes or else I'm feeling like I might throw in the towel completely where breastfeeding is concerned if I don't get some relief from the cluster feeding and lengthy nursing sessions. Most days and nights things are bearable but on days like today when I'm barely gotten any sleep and start rapidly spiraling downward with health condition flare-ups and massive anxiety, I feel like one more day like this is going to send me into a nervous breakdown. I've cried off and on all day and was in tears when DH left for work, which I'm sure he felt horrible about. I'm starting to get irritated with the baby and that's the last thing I want is for her to somehow feel my frustration and feel like I'm sick of holding her (I don't know if she actually can sense these things but I still worry).
Can I just add that I'm still extremely bitter that nobody in my life ever prepared me for what breastfeeding would be like? Nobody. Ever. Nothing about taking care of a newborn has been as much "work" as they warned me about and I wondered what the heck people were always complaining about. It's been relatively easy on DH and I. So why did breastfeeding have to be the ONE thing that made things difficult? I never would've imagined things would be like this. And honestly, seeing how easy DH has it since I'm breastfeeding is just making me that much more bitter. This is so not healthy.