i exclusively pump and while i did not find anything offensive about the question or the responses i can understand why it could be hurtful. that said, as much as i wanted to breastfeed my daughter (at the breast) i would have to choose breast milk in the bottle.
we have a family history of allergies and asthma. i have severe allergies which lead to asthma...there are months when i can't breathe well. i would do anything to increase the odds that my daughter is not afflicted with the same issues i am. therefore, breast milk is the way to go in our family regardless of mode of consumption.
i also wanted to touch on the pumping issue. some have suggested that pumping is becoming a trend and that mothers are choosing it over breastfeeding. there are certainly many reasons this may be the case...its hard to say because there have been no studies done on exclusive pumping, but i would like to put forth another hypothesis for why this may seem the case. in the past, when the tech was not as good and before pumps were more readily available, those who had problems (physical and/or emotional) with breastfeeding might have gone direct to formula. now with ep'ing as an alternative you have moms choosing this over formula. i don't really thinks its the case of moms choosing ep'ing over breastfeeding but more that moms are choosing ep'ing over formula. and that to me is a good thing.
yes, those who choose the pump are at risk of quitting early because of the amount of time and work you have to invest in order for it to be successful, but those risks exist for moms who are bf as well. the lactation consultants tried to discourage me from pumping. they told me that most moms give up after 3 months...but as far as i know data shows that a lot of moms give up bf around 3 months as well so this number didn't frighten me. and 8 months later i am still pumping. i knew in my heart how much it meant to me that she get breast milk. i know they wanted me to persevere with bf. i wish that i had had it in me, but the traumatic birth experience and trying for a month with little success was eating away at me. i was a wreak...choosing to ep gave me a sense of control and gave me the chance to feel like i was a good mom after feeling like a failure for so long.
would i encourage new moms to ep? no, i would encourage them to bf, because the bonding benefits, the ease (after bf is established), the sleep and time they could save are things they can't get with ep'ing. in the ideal world all moms would have the support they needed to bf and persevere through the struggles. however, this is not an ideal world. as much as my husband and dear friend gave me support, after a month they had to go back to work and could no longer give me the level of support i needed to be emotionally healthy while trying to bf. what we really need to work on is changing the cultural value of independence and environment of solitary. no mother should have to struggle alone...and many despite supportive families are forced to. whether this is because they are not aware of the support available, or they can't access it, or they won't seek it because they are expected to do it themselves...these are problems. this needs to change. more importantly an environment of forgiveness is needed as well. sometimes things don't work out...and its time to forgive ourselves and move on. i find it slightly amusing in a not amusing at all way (if that makes sense) that i still beat myself up for not bf'ing direct from the breast. i'm doing the best i can though and i need to find a way to forgive myself.
also on the bonding note...yes i believe that bf direct from the breast is a bonding experience that my daughter and i don't get to enjoy and i still cry over this missed connection...however, bonding is not an all or nothing deal. there are many ways to bond...i think of it as a checklist of different techniques and experiences...we cosleep, i babywear around and outside the house, i hold and snuggle my baby, i don't CIO, i don't and won't spank, i talk to her and kiss and hug her, we play, we take baths together...etc...i may not get them all but if i get as many as i can then i'm doing okay.
anyhow, this ended longer than i expected. its an interesting question but one i don't believe has a correct answer. like others have suggested i do believe that like many things about parenting this is one that depends on the family.