As I mentioned a couple posts ago, for the time being I'm exclusively pumping... this may be a short term thing, or it may be a long term thing... but for now I am an Exclusive Pumper.
Exclusive pumping is like living in limbo when it comes to "how do you feed your child?" I don't feel like I fit in anywhere. Some people who breastfeed successfully tend to view someone who's exclusively pumping as someone who didn't try hard enough to make nursing work. People who formula feed their babies tend to look at an exclusive pumper as a snobby over-achiever - I've actually been asked, from someone with their eyebrows raised in defiance, if I have something to prove and was told that there's nothing wrong with formula so there's no point in trying so hard to be perfect. Um... I'm not trying to be perfect, and I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I'm just doing what I think is best for me and Madeline.
Part of me feels that I still fit in the breastfeeding group since my breasts are still supplying food for my child.... but, then again I'm not nursing her... so maybe I don't get to be part of that "club."
EPing is hard work. You have to clean and sterilize bottles like formula feeding moms do, but you also have to clean and sterilize pump parts. You have to pump every two hours during the day, and every 4 hours at night. So, you're still sleep deprived like you would be if you were nursing a baby. EXCEPT, I have to feed Madeline a bottle of EBM and then put her down and pump and then do dishes. So, it's extra work, and extra time consuming.
It's not that bad when Jeff or my mom can help entertain Madeline while I'm pumping... but when it's just me and her alone at home it can get tricky. I may have mentioned before that Miss M has a bit of a temper and doesn't like to be put down. *sigh* I've had to pump before standing up, holding Madeline out at arms length, trying to bounce and shush her to get her to stop crying... needless to say THAT pump session wasn't very successful! lol! Also, the night pumpings are brutal! Not only am I exhausted, but it's lonely. I wake up when she does and change her diaper and feed her a bottle. Then I sneak out of the room and into the office to pump... then have to get her next bottle ready, do dishes, etc. If I had been nursing her I could have already been asleep for that past hour.... see how it can be extra tiring?
Then, there are the supplements. Nursing a baby directly from the tap stimulates more milk to be made MUCH better than pumping does. Especially during growth spurts. So, I've been taking Fenugreek supplements as well as a Nursing Magic supplement that has extra Fenugreek in it as well as a list of other supplements that all help with milk production. And, with Madeline getting close to her '12 week growth spurt' I'm trying hard to UP my supply. That means extra supplements and extra pumping sessions. EPers suggest doing a 'power pump' day where you pump for 10-15 mins every hour to try to replicate a growth spurt in the hopes it'll increase your supply. I've yet to do a power pump day, but I'll definitely need Jeff's help with Madeline!
I've been writing down how much I pump at every pumping session and tallying it up at the end of the day for the past week. Thankfully I am seeing an increase, slowly but surely. Last Saturday I was only getting approx 22 oz a day, yesterday I pumped approx 28oz! I don't know what I'll get today, yet, so I'm unsure if yesterday was just a lucky fluke or if it's closer to the norm... but it's nice to see that my hard work is paying off. I'd like to be able to eventually have a nice stash built up in my freezer so I can eventually leave Madeline with my mom while Jeff and I go to dinner and not have to worry about rushing home to pump asap. Also, once I get a freezer stash built up (at least 1 week's worth) I'll be able to hopefully drop one of the night pumps... which means more sleep YAY!!
Anyway... the point of this post was mainly for me to talk through how it feels to be an EPer since I don't always feel comfortable talking to someone face-to-face since I feel like I don't fit it with whatever they did with their kid and I don't want to be harshly judged for my choice. It is alot of work, but I'm glad I'm doing it. :)