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Thread: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

  1. #1

    Unhappy PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Like me in the beginning, you may be so concerned about making enough milk and feeding your precious little one that you're not thinking about the other end of the road...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Can't really believe it's over...

    So last night my daughter had her last bottle of Mommy’s milk. On Wednesday, the night before her 20th month birthday, I pumped to exactly 4 oz., her normal bottle. I was going to pump Thursday morning to add just a bit more, maybe an ounce, but Emily rolled over onto me in bed that morning and I allowed myself to just enjoy her and drift back to sleep in a way I had never been able to before. It seemed a sign that we were ready to move on to the next stage, life without the pump…

    Thursday evening Emily was sleepy a bit early, so I got the bottle from the fridge, curled up with her in bed and held her while she drank the whole thing. When she finished, she rolled into my chest and fell asleep. And that was it. I cried of course, but she didn’t know. Honestly, it felt just as lonely as every time I pumped milk for her. I know she and I love each other more than anything in the world, but there was none of the unspoken communication between a nursing diad that says, “I know this is from you, Mommy, and I love you for it.”

    I thought at first it would just be the feelings that other moms feel when their baby decides they’re finished. But it’s not. I feel as though I’ve taken something away from her without her knowledge or consent – something I never would have done with nursing. Will she miss my milk? She doesn’t even know that she’s never going to taste it again. If she could talk, would she tell me to go on? Or will she be happier with the freedom we have not pumping all the time? I guess those doubts can go live in the place that will always be sad for what Emily and I missed out on.

    There were so many times when I didn’t think I could stick with it, but I’m very proud of myself that I did. Almost two whole years of always thinking when the next time was to pump, rearranging everything in my life around it, including Emily at times, all for her benefit. Part of me is so glad that she grew and thrived for months with nothing but my milk and continued to enjoy it and reap the benefits for months afterward. And part of me will hang onto the few times she nursed forever and always wish that things had been different, that I had tried a little harder and that we’d still be nursing now and for months or years to come.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    To anyone who thinks EPing is the way to go, I won’t be here to stop you, but know that it will end one day. You will always be looking for more from that pump that it can’t give you. And you will hope that your baby knows how hard you’re trying for them, but they probably never will. I wish that someone had encouraged me to keep trying to get Emily back to the breast rather than the “WooHoo! Go Mama! Pump On!” attitude that I got early on (from other forums - not this one!) when Emily couldn’t get my milk out. This is starting to sound like a PSA, but if you’re thinking about EPing for anything other than medical necessity, just don’t.
    Last edited by @llli*marley-n-emily; May 25th, 2012 at 02:53 PM.
    Marley & Emily 9-24-10
    (Done as of 5-23-12)

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Mama, I am so sorry

    I know what you are talking about, as I let my other babes decide when THEY were done. This is the first time I will be deciding, and it tears me up every time I think about it. It isn't how I thought breastfeeding would end for me.

    I think the root cause of moms EPing is not that most choose to, but they are afraid to seek out support, don't know how to find support or are given horrible advice and get trapped into EPing. Then you have those of us who have to because baby has a health condition precluding nursing. Any way you come to EPing, it's the worst of both breastfeeding and formula feeding
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  3. #3

    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    I think the root cause of moms EPing is not that most choose to, but they are afraid to seek out support, don't know how to find support or are given horrible advice and get trapped into EPing.
    Oh, I absolutely agree! That's exactly what happened with Emily and I and when I finally listened to my instincts and tried to BF her directly, it was time to go back to work - if I had had another few weeks off with her, I think we could have turned things around. I think that some "support" forums (cough-iVillage-cough) get so wrapped up in agreeing with whatever a mama decides to do that they end up steering her down a path she may regret later. I just hope our story can prevent some avoidable EPing...

    The good news is, tapering off for so long has avoided any engorgement or other side efffects for me. Emily's having a little sluggish tummy form the extra cow's milk, but other than that she seems fine - DEFINITELY enjoying the night and morning cuddles! In fact, she's way more cuddly than she was just a week ago - coincidence?

    And on a funny note, Aunt Flo must have scrambled an F-15 to get here because less than 48 hours after skipping that morning pump she was on my doorstep! First one since September 30, 2009 - WOW!

    Hope to pop in for a few more visits to the forum, but if I don't get a chance to say so, thanks for all the support, Susan, and I hope you and Gavin make your next goal!

    Marley & Emily 9-24-10
    (Done as of 5-23-12)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Yeah, my AF did the same thing, stopping by as soon as I dropped to twice a day pumps! And I'm pretty sure I could just stop and not feel any engorgement or anything. I know another cleft mo who was unexpectedly hospitalized when her LO was about the age ours are, and she quit cold turkey, was only pumping 2-3 times a day, and did just fine. (she is unexpectedly pregnant now..so be careful)

    I Village makes me nutty. I can't stand going there any longer. When I went looking for some moms who were sad about EPing, all I got was, "It's not that bad," from moms who had never breastfed and therefore had no idea what they were missing.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5

    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Exactly! There were Canadian mom's there who got a WHOLE YEAR paid off from work and no one was encouraging them to keep trying to breastfeed! When Emily wasn't gaining weight, I was terrified they were going to try to force me to give her formula at the ped's office, so I was researching all I could - unfortunately LLL didn't pop up on any of my searches, but iVillage did...

    One week update... Apparently mama milk is a magic sleep-inducer... When Emily was only getting one 4oz. bottle before bed, she only woke once a night. Now she wants 8 oz. of moo milk before going down and wakes 2...3...even 4 times a night. It's not teething - all of her canines have been in for a few weeks. It might be the constipation that all the milk is causing. She didn't go #2 at all yesterday and had some pretty nasty gas this morning. I might pop over to the solids board to see what folks recommend. Even at only 4oz. of EBM per day she went like clockwork between 9 and 11 am and it was like peanut butter. Now it's like playdough or even harder and not daily...

    On the other hand, I feel totally vindicated - Emily's daddy thought I was a bit of a freak for pumping as long as I did, but last night even he admitted that it's clearly what's supposed to be going into her body, even at this age... (which he quickly followed with a hyperbolic, "Yeah, but by 16 at least you HAD to get her off the boob!" Butthead... )

    We'll be careful... Like you said getting pregnant now would practically be immaculate...
    Marley & Emily 9-24-10
    (Done as of 5-23-12)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,571

    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Have you tried giving her flax oil? You could put that in her milk?

    Your post made me tear up. You did a great job pumping for so long.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  7. #7

    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Thanks, Tracie - I appreciate it...

    I have been thinking about that - I'm not sure if it'll make the food taste strange to her, though. Her digestion has been so awesome this entire time I didn't even think of some of the no-brainer things like prunes/prune juice, raisins, dried cherries - all things she liked at some point, I just haven't really pushed them, but I'll definitely offer them now!
    Marley & Emily 9-24-10
    (Done as of 5-23-12)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    I use flax oil, and it doesn't seem to taste odd at all.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    I'm so glad I opened this thread. What a sad and beautiful letter. Congratulations on your accomplishment of EPing that long, I know from only pumping at work that weaning from is was scary and bittersweet. Your daughter is beautiful mama and you should be proud of what you have accomplished.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PLEASE read if you're thinking of EPing...

    Congratulations Marley. You've given Emily a wonderful gift.

    I haven't EP'd. I've been very lucky that I've been able to EBF all 3 of my babies. For those people who find themselves in the situation where they MUST EP, I take my hat off to you ladies. The amount of work and sheer determination is astounding. Truly be incredibly proud of yourselves.

    For those Momma's who are thinking of Exclusively Pumping BY CHOICE, please rethink it. Why are you considering it? Do you think it will give you more freedom than breast feeding? Let's put it out there:

    Breastfeeding
    You're with your baby, she's hungry. You pick her up, hold her in your arms, get your breast out and presto! Baby is nursing. When she's done, you put your breast away and off you go. Done. You are completely ready for the next feeding, anytime, anywhere.

    Exclusively Pumping
    You're with your baby, she's hungry. You pick her up and comfort her while you go to the fridge, get milk out. Warm it, put it in a bottle. During this time baby is getting upset about waiting to be fed. Bottle is ready, you hold her and bottle feed her. She's done. You take the bottle to the kitchen and wash it. Now you have to pump. You set up, put the horns on and begin to pump. It may take 10 minutes, it may take an hour - it all depends on your production and how your body responds to the pump. During this time you are not playing with your baby. You are anchored to the pump. You're done pumping. Bag the milk, mark it, put it in the fridge / freezer. Go and wash all of your pump parts for the next time.

    Sure, maybe you have someone to feed the bottle to the baby for you. That's fine. But you still have to pump. If you don't pump, your body won't get the signals to produce milk. Pumping on the same schedule as when baby feeds will help to keep you in sync. Your body won't respond to a pump the same way your body responds to a baby nursing. Many Mom's struggle to make enough to keep up with baby's demands. You must pump multiple times a day.

    If you're at the park with your kids, it's easy to sit down on a bench and breast feed. Sure, you can get a pump that runs off of batteries, but pumping in a park isn't easy. If you were shy about breast feeding in public I can't imagine pumping would be any easier (I know I wouldn't be comfortable doing it, and I NIP). Or you can excuse yourself from all of the fun to sit by yourself somewhere while everyone else is having fun. Or you can reschedule everything around your pumping schedule.

    If you want to feed your baby your breast milk, by the breast, by far, is the easiest method. Pumping is harder, more work and is much more difficult to be successful at. If you have to pump, then do as you must. But if you have the CHOICE? Take the easier route that has a much higher chance of being successful for you and your baby.

    IMHO.
    Last edited by @llli*amysmom; June 1st, 2012 at 09:05 AM.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

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