Whether or not to continue breastfeeding is a decision that many women have to make. Of course, everyone's situation is different, since there are many reasons why a woman might find herself having to make the difficult decision on whether or not to keep trying to go the route of breastfeeding. I breastfed all three of my children, but I was a full time college student and a working mom during the time I had my first two children; so I had to make the same decision you are faced with now. I also had a deep desire to breastfeed, despite how much my nipples were hurting. And I also went through periods of time when I felt I wasn't producing enough milk. And for me, it was very difficult to pump milk. These are very common problems for breastfeeding moms. Over the years, experience has taught me a few things...First of all, when pumping, you want to pump as often as possible, the more often the better. It is not how long you pump that is important, it is how often you pump that will make the bigger difference. Follow a schedule and pump for at least a few minutes on each side, even if you are unable to express any milk; the stimulation will make your body start producing better. And don't be afraid to let your baby nurse, even if you don't think there is any milk there. There is no harm in allowing your baby to nurse a little and then following up with a bottle just to be sure that they eat enough. Don't forget to pump at night. And all new mothers have sore nipples. There are many reasons why soreness can linger, so stay on top of the situation by talking to your doctor to rule out things like infection or a clogged milk duct, etc. And if you are concerned your baby might be tongue-tied but the pediatrician disagrees, there is no harm in getting a second opinion. But I will say this, I also got VERY sore when breastfeeding my firstborn, and there was no medical reason for it. He was a strong sucker, and I was new to breastfeeding, plain and simple. I used to grit my teeth to get through the pain on some days, it was that bad. But I persevered and I eventually stopped hurting. Oftentimes, it is merely due to your skin staying chaffed. As far as how much milk you are pumping...I always had a hard time expressing milk, and the pump usually hurt me more than the nursing did. For me, the pumping was detrimental.
Lastly, don't overly worry if you can't breastfeed. I feel like there is a stigma out there that makes women feel as if they have to breastfeed in order to be a good mother, or that if you don't breastfeed, then you don't love your child as much. Complete garbage! There are millions of babies out there who were raised on formula who grew into wonderful, strong, healthy, intelligent adults. Even those woman who breastfeed, some will only do it for a few months, or others may supplement their milk supply with an occasional bottle of formula. It will be alright. In the end, you just have to make the decision you are most comfortable with and whatever works best for you and your child. And remember, even if you do end up switching solely to formula, you were still able to give your child the best start you could!!