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anyone besides me find it harder to be AP and not bf'ing?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, I grew up very mainstream. My pre-kid friends were mainstream, with one faraway friend being AP in that she bf until age 2. But the ones I had daily contact with were mainstream.

I don't know exactly how it happened or when, but somehow, I went from someone who thought 'when they bite, doesn't that mean it's time to wean?' to "Yeah, I'll breastfeed to at least 2" and I cosleep when I never thought I would...I stopped vaxing, and I don't take everything any doctor says as the final truth, my whole experience with my son taught me how stupid that is.

And in all of this, I woke up one day to realize that it's the norm amongst my son's friends to bf till at LEAST 15 months (that's my mostly mainstream friend), he has ONE friend who didn't bf past about 4 months. All his other little friends are still nursing, at the 18-19 month range. (and we know a couple of 3's still nursing) (And the one who was weaned early we don't see often as they now live 4 hours away, it was a little over 1.)

Anyway, the point is, I think I find it harder to 'just get over' not nursing him because we're around so many little people his age who still are nursing, and i did have it in my head we'd go till 2. But I think I would've let it go a little easier if it wasn't 'the norm' with everyone we're around to still be nursing, kwim?

The other thing is, I've been on other groups, and this is one thing I felt a lot of moms there didn't get...how do you pump all the time, an activity that requires you to not attend to your baby, but still be AP? I got to a point where I just couldn't do it anymore, he wanted ME, and I had to give him what he needed. Yes, breastmilk is important too, but what goes through a baby's mind when Mama is right there, Mama is who they want, but Mama seems to be ignoring that? I had others willing to help, but as he got older, he wanted ME, which is the way it's supposed to be. And *I* needed to spend time being his mother rather than his milk provider. Does anyone here 'get it?' Nobody else seemed to.

And I'll confess, I know my son will be a bit over 2 when the new one comes, but I do have this little secret 'fantasy' that out of curiosity he'll want to try it out too, and it'll all work for him and we'll FINALLY have what I wanted for so long....yup, i would let him too, why not? I don't think it'll REALLY happen, I know that even older weaned bf kids often 'forget' and can't when they try again, but the thought has entered my mind.
Anyone else?
post #2 of 17
Wow, I've just been thinking about posting something like this! I'm not sure how much I can say without violating the UA. But sometimes I feel that I'll scream if I see another person say how important mother's milk is until age 2--I don't know that I can pump that long. So many days I feel like the choice is to be AP and hold my baby, or give him mother's milk, and I can't do both, and which is more important?
And I know what you mean about baby's peers still nursing. My nursing relationship with dd ended early, and in my community it's not uncommon to still be nursing at 18 months+ so I feel pretty weird. I mean, most people are perfectly happy with 6 months!
post #3 of 17

AP and not BF

I think about this all the time. Most of my friends are not as committed to AP as I am, and I haven't met anyone in person who even begins to get the EP thing, or even not being able to BF. I think about how to bottle feed in a way close enough to "on demand" to give my son the comfort and intimacy we miss not being able to BF. His cues are so different now, sometimes it's hard to read whether he is hungry. Is it teaching something weird to bottle feed for comfort as one would offer the breast? I REALLY don't want to screw up his relationship to food. Because of his reflux, I can't let himself feed until he is totally satiated or he will be miserable.
In fact, I feel like BFing is so central to AP, that I think overlook that we do everything else AP I can think of, co-sleep, I sling all the time, and mostly I try and really respect that he is an individual whose needs and preferences are totally valid.
post #4 of 17
It is hard. DD2 refuses to nurse because of severe reflux and up until two weeks ago would at least nurse at night, but now not at all. The round the clock pumping is exhausting *and* time consuming and I have no idea how much harder it will get as she gets older and more mobile. My toddler is extremely patient with all the pumping and is still nursing which is never in a million years what I expected "tandem nursing" to be.

I'm glad you brought this up because there are so many issues that come up that you never realize until it is you who isn't able to to nurse your babe like you intended. I had a hard time at the baby playgroup we go to because so many of the mom's were nursing...haven't even been back to the LLL toddler meeting we usually go to since she's stopped nursing. I may try next week, but I'm not sure if I'm up for it.

Carly--I wonder as well about how long I can keep on pumping if she never goes back to nursing (which I don't have much hope for at this point) and if she would even drink bm from a cup/sippy as she got older. I kwym about feeling the weight of some judgments that are made with pat statements like that. I haven't said much about our situation here because I really don't want to hear that I just need to ditch the bottles and pacifiers and treat it as a nursing strike when given our reflux issues that isn't an option at all.
post #5 of 17
I was pondering this same thing around 3am when I was pumping again after giving DD her bottle. My babe is a preemie who is now 6 weeks old, and while I've said that I would pump as long as my body was producing milk, now I wonder how long I can really handle to do it. I'm obviously not close to quitting yet, but still, in the back of my mind, I wonder if in three or four months, (if, heaven forbid she still can't nurse) I'll still be doing the around-the-clock pumping. It is exhausting, and defeating in a lot of ways. Everything about having this baby, from the unexpected pregnancy, to delivering at 30 weeks, to having my baby immediately taken from me and not seeing her for 8 hours and now not being able to nurse...all of it is so far from what I had anticipated it to be. And it kills me, because I so desperately wanted that relationship with her.

I feel like such a bad mama because I 1)couldn't carry her to term and she spent a month in the NICU, and 2)I can't even feed her the way nature intended, so she has to wait for a damn bottle to warm up in the middle of the night when she's starving. We can't even co-sleep because she's on a heart monitor, and is so aware of it that she pulls on the cords all night long.

Sorry this is such a rant, I'm just feeling very defeated today, I guess. I just want one day where she nurses...that's not too much to ask is it? Hell, I'd settle for one *time* if that's all I can get.

post #6 of 17
Sarah--I can just feel the sadness in your post and glad to know I'm not the only one up thinking those kind of things while pumping (again!) I've just started again trying to initiate some skin to skin time with dd during the day and am going to have DH help me have a bath with her a couple evenings a week. These were a couple of things that the LC recommended to me when I saw her a couple weeks ago. She also suggested trying to bottle feed dd in nursing positions (to lessen her aversion to all things related to nursing) and try switching from bottle to breast. Have you been working with an LC? I probably should email mine and give her our update (dd was still nursing at night when I saw her last) because she at least is a hopeful and encouraging voice for me.

Maybe me need another thread here for support for ep'ers...I think maybe there was/is one in the Finding your tribe area?

So no, mama, not to much to ask or hope for at all. The skin to skin stuff I tried today was hard because she was *right there* but not nursing, yk, but at the same time it did have that warm, snuggly feel that I didn't realize I've been craving so much. Hang in there, mama!
post #7 of 17
WOW! I have been feeling the same things that all of you have just posted. I think you could make yourself truly crazy if you think about how long you can/should pump. I can't even imagine stopping. I too told myself as long as I was producing milk (even though I have a low supply) I would still pump...but there are some days I don't think I can do it. It is so draining!I also feel the same way about being around all of my bfing mama friends. It just doesn't seem fair! : Why is it that mamas who truly want to be all they can be for their babies have troubles and it seems those who don't care all that much have smooth sailing??? Just needed to vent!! Hang in there mamas!
post #8 of 17
to you all

i have more to say, but sleep time is calling our son...

and someone just started an ep'ers tribe on the breastfeeding challenges forum (see my siggie for the link)

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mama-a-llama
My nursing relationship with dd ended early, and in my community it's not uncommon to still be nursing at 18 months+ so I feel pretty weird. I mean, most people are perfectly happy with 6 months!
Exactly!! That's what I mean, I think if I still was in a 'mainstream' crowd of people, I'd be done thinking about this now because I probably wouldn't know anybody who bf past 6 months, MAYBE a year.

And yes, I have to agree, it takes everything in me to give a nice, civil response to people who have said things like "But what does he EAT then?" (When he was younger and had major dairy and soy intolerances and a formula.) There were days I just wanted to cry, and I did get some 'attitude' about it, like I must not have really tried. Fortunately for me, I did find a lot of support in my local LLL group, which I unfortunately did not get to a meeting of until DS was a month old, and too far gone on the nipple confusion/horrible latch--all of it for anyone there to know what to do. It was beyond the average problem.
At least THOSE comments have stopped now that he's a big year and a half old child, he's at the point where most don't expect him to be nursing anyway I guess....

*I* obviously still think about it.
post #10 of 17
I pumped for 13 months for my first. At the time, when he was about 11 months and I just couldn't keep up anymore and had to make the decision to slowly wean, I was heartbroken and convinced that somehow I was failing him. But in some ways I was always failing him. It's a hard lesson to learn to get beyond guilt. In retrospect, it was so hard to pump exclusively and I did really well and am glad to not have to ever do it again. I don't know how one gives oneself permission to stop. It's a process that you have to go through a decision you have to make for yourself. But I get where you are. I was there once too.
post #11 of 17
Just want to say that commiting to pump when nursing isn't working is a big commitment. You are all good mamas for doing that for your kids. Don't feel guilty that you aren't continuing to some particular age. Just look at all the factors in your family and decide what is right in your family.
post #12 of 17
There are alot of us here that couldn't breastfeed for one reason or another and are still AP.
post #13 of 17
thank you for moving this back to the breastfeeding challenges forum.

post #14 of 17
Thank you so much for this thread. I am not in the EP tribe but the Low Milk Supply tribe. Every mama I know IRL ebfs, except one mama who is in the same boat as me. I am so grateful to be able to commiserate with her. But she is really busy and we don't get to see each other or talk much.

I think I feel the grief even more when I am in my AP playgroup (which I started). The women are wonderful, and I love them to pieces, but sometimes I get sad when I am sitting there fumbling with an SNS while ds is crying for milk, feeling very NON-AP and just like a bad, failure of a mama in general. I know mothering is more than being a food source. But I still feel the grief. I think I may have a touch of PPD because of it. I talked to a woman who runs a local PPD support group and she said many womens' PPD involved a failed bfing experience.

It might be easier if I was in a community of people who don't bf - but I think then I would still feel weird because I really do support bfing. I think if everyone else I knew had stopped, I would be a little sad that mamas who could bf aren't doing it!!
post #15 of 17
I am so sorry you are all going through this ... but I am happy to have found this thread. My little girl has moderate reflux and does not like to nurse Things are getting better but I am not sure how much longer we will be nursing. Pumping and washing and bottle feeding are so difficult and at times seems so far from the AP ideal that I had in my mind when I gave birth to her. I did not start out AP w/ my son so when my daughter was born, I was like, I'll AP from the very beginning and everything will be perfect! Of course, the reflux threw a wrench into my plans. But in a way, pumping and doing all that hard work just for your baby, takes even more committment to the AP ideal than if BF were easy for us, doesn't it? Not disrespecting those who have it easy when they BF, just throwing that thought out there!
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
When does that go away, the sadness/frustration over those who CAN choosing NOT to do it, when you would give ANYTHING just TO be able to do it?
My first experience with that was with my friend whose son is 2 weeks older than mine. She was having some relationship problems and had to go to work...we live in a not very bf'ing friendly area for many jobs and just being new, well, they can come up with any reason to not hire or to fire here, so given the situation, she decided to just stop nursing--it was before I stopped pumping. I really understood in some ways, but in others I felt like 'why not at least bf when you're home?'
And my friend who's pregnant, she keeps saying she's only bf'ing this one a couple of months, her first she did about 5, the second, over a year. she's one who doesn't have to struggle, she doesn't know how lucky she is...I think I understand in a way wanting to go back to school and stuff, but on the other hand, I have known people who've made it work pumping and others who've made it work by doing formula part time and nursing at home.

Sometimes I do want to say something, but I don't know what to say that's not going to come off totally wrong or like I'm lecturing. But I DO think it's important to bf as long as it works for you...I guess that's the thing, I've had enough people make assumptions about my situation and say some really hurtful things, so I don't want to do that for anybody else.

And YES I think it takes a bigger commitment to do pumping and bottles full time, or even to commit to doing that while you work or go to school or whatever you have to do than if you can directly nurse full time. Honestly, there have been times I've wanted to say to people "But I do TWICE the work of a directly nursing mama, trust me, it's not for FUN." or even "I'd like to see you try this for a DAY...then come back and tell me I didn't try absolutely everything to not be where I am..." (back when I was pumping)
I'm fortunate though in that most of the people who matter supported me. Except my dad and at the time we lived with him, that was hard. He'd tell me to come take care of my kid while I was pumping, that none of us were bf and we were fine, etc. daily...I kept it up anyway.

anyway congrats if you made it here....
post #17 of 17
I am an EPer. DD (now 7.5 months old) had some issues at birth and could not nurse properly until 2 months, and then refused the breast after 3 months. I use a Medela Lactina Select. I pump hands free. I have a huge oversupply. (about 75 ounces a day, its both a blessing and a curse) I purchased my third deep freezer about 3 weeks ago.

Its been a difficult road so far. DD is a high needs baby, who wants to be constantly held. And she hated slings and carriers. It *had* to be my arms. Or she would scream like she was in a horror movie. It was rough in the begining, since dd could not tolerate being put down for even a second. So I mostly pumped while she napped. (Which meant no sleep for me and no housework getting done for quite some time) I also learned to pump hands free. I was then able to lay her on my lap while I pumped. Never to this day have I let her cry while I pumped.

As she got older (after 4 months) She was able to tolerate being put down for short intervals. This made pumping much easier, since she does not nap more than 1/2 hour a day now. I sit indian style in the middle of the floor, with her exersaucer, bouncer chair, swing, and a play matt and mobile in a circle around me. I also keep a basket of toys next to me. When she gets bored in the exersaucer (about 5 minutes) I move her around the cirlce. Pumping hands free is great, since I can play and pump at the same time. She still loves to be held, so I hold her at all times while not pumping. She seems to be happy with this arrangement, so I am as well.

A tip for other EPers... You can do almost anything while you pump! I can pump and drive, pump while I cook dinner and clean the house and do laundry! (dh is home then so he holds her) This can even be done with my huge Lactina pump! Put it in a backpack zipped up with just the cord and tubing out. Put on the backpack. Attach the cord to a very long extension cord and plug it in. Pump hands free. I know it sounds crazy, but it works! (I am too cheap to spend the $200 on the battery pack) I also pump during the night. I sleep while I pump! I sit propped up with pillows in bed and pump hands free. I set a cooking timer for 20 minutes. When it dings, Im done! I keep a mini fridge in my bedroom so I don't have to run the milk downstairs. Keep several sets of horns up there so you don't have to constantly wash them. Or I just reuse the same set all night, by storing them in the refridgerator between usings.

As you can tell, I got good at this pumping stuff. Sure I have other problems (very sore nipples, thrush, NO free time for myself unless I pump while on the computer like now, frequent engorgement, etc) but My dd is happy, and she is getting my milk! Even if I quit now at 7.5 months, she would have enough of my milk to last her to over a year old. So even if breastfeeding the traditional way does not work out.... There is another way to get your baby your milk! It is so much work, but so worth it!

Some family and friends of mine think I'm nuts, but I am doing everything I can for my baby. She is so healthy, never had any illness. I am so glad that I didn't give up.

All of you EPers out there are great mommy's for going the extra 10 miles to give your babies the best! Keep it up!
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