Originally Posted by MajorGroover
I thought about EPing but I don't quite make enough. Plus I added up all the time it would take to pump & realized that I'd rather spend that time with her instead of the pump. I could probably still be talked into EPing, if anyone has advice. I'm just exhausted from all this - colic, reflux, BFing, pumping - I'm ready to enjoy my baby! We started Zantac today and it seems to help, so I'm optimistic about that too.
EPer here- 5.5 months and counting. I have a preemie with reflux and some as-yet-undiagnosed chronic illness that's made it nearly impossible for him to nurse well. He goes through spurts where he *wants* to nurse, but whatever is wrong in his head/neck/ears is flaring up right now, so he's having none of the boob these days. He is also medicated for reflux (prevacid), which is the only thing that keeps me hanging onto my sanity by a thread.
Anyway, EPing sucks. I won't lie. And now that I've had 2 pp periods, it's getting worse (my supply is dipping below his demand). I was up to 32 oz a day, now I'm down to 24-28. My job is going downhill and I'm getting a lot of pressure during the day to drop my 2nd pump at work (I pump 5x/day as a goal, sometimes only 4). We've also had to have DS at the pediatrician's office or hospital twice a week or more for the last month, so stress is playing a part, I'm sure.
If I had to do it over again, I'd definitely still EP, though it is the suxxor. My kid may have a genetic immunodeficiency, so every ounce of mama's milk is helping him and probably worth it's weight in gold- not to mention it got my 5 lb 33 weeker up to 16 lbs at 5 months.
I am seriously just at the outside margins of being able to continue working, EPing, trying to BF, and dealing with DS's mystery illness. Oh, and we just decided to move to colorado from DC. (
) The way I'm able to keep up with pumping is knowing I'm going to be staying home with DS for at least a few months after the move. If I had to continue on this same path, I might seriously be considering formula and a mainstream-style intro of solids.
I will say this, though- the reason I've gotten this far (and 'this far' is relative in terms of EPing- check the EPers tribe on the breastfeeding challenges board to see some seriously amazing mamas) is sticking to a routine, even if I can't have a *perfect* schedule. I did 7 pumps per day for the first 3 months or so, then gradually dropped to 5 per day when I went back to work. I take fenugreek and blessed thistle, which don't seem to bother DS at all. I eliminated 95% of dairy and soy from my diet (he's inherited his mama's issues with food allergies), and I drink A LOT of water. Personally, I think water intake might be more critical when EPing than directly BFing, as you have to really coerce your body into letting down (I think of it as 'putting out') for the pump. I haven't found that to be the case when actually nursing my son- even though 99% of my milk has gone into a bottle, it comes out more easily for his mouth.
The other thing I had to do (and this depresses me still) is pretty much make the decision that trying to BF would take a backseat to pumping. When I went back to work, it became physically impossible to 'triple' feed (breast, bottle, pump). I was falling asleep at my desk, and nearly dozed off a few times in the car. I decided to give my babe ONE nursing session, if he so desired- right after I get home from work each day. He often screams and refuses, but I show him the boob, regardless (I just put it away if he balks).
If I'd been able to stay home with him longer, maybe we could've gotten more direct nursing done. Right now, formula is really a last resort, as EVERY SINGLE KIND has given him wicked stomach issues. We'd go with goat's milk, except for the fact that one of his issues is anemia, and GM doesn't have enough iron. (We will, however, probably do GM instead of cow's milk at 1 year.)
I'm very proud I've been able to give him my milk for this long, and even though we just used up the last of our freezer stash
:, I'm keeping up. (I do, however, have a case of nutramigen. just. in. case.) Who knows how bad his illness would have been otherwise, KWIM?
Anyway- that's my take on EPing. It's really, really hard. Not the hardest thing I've ever done- having my kid in the NICU beats pumping for sure. But it does blow, quite frankly. HOWEVER- it can be done, even when working FT and dealing with a sick baby. But only one person can decide if the benefits outweigh the costs.
Probably way longer than you wanted to read- sorry 'bout that! Babe is asleep for the time being, and I'm enjoying the relative freedom of sitting in a chair at the computer.