What made you turn to EP? — The Bump
Breastfeeding

What made you turn to EP?

I'm always curious about other people's stories.  I don't know any EPers IRL, just me.  I love that there are so many others out there. 

For me, it was a couple things.  The main thing being that Alyssa had a poor latch, or when she did latch, she didn't have a good suck.  She was either killing my nipples or she was flutter sucking which tickled in a really uncomfortable way.  She also was lazy when it came to eating.  She would lay there w/ my nipple in her mouth and just not suck.  Or she would, but she get frustrated with the fact that she had to work for her milk.  And then she would start screaming.  (And my milk also came in on day 7!!  So I don't think Alyssa was getting much of anything, which I am sure contributed to her unhappiness)

I felt like SUCH a huge failure.  I cried a lot.  I was so upset.  I knew bfing wasn't easy but I also didn't think it was hell on earth, either.  Before I even left the hospital (I had a c-section, so I was there five days), I was introduced to the pump.  Prior to being pregnant, I had no clue what a pump even was.  Had heard of it but paid no mind.  This seemed like the solution. I knew I would keep trying and trying to nurse, which I did for two weeks, but I finally decided I couldn't stand seeing my daughter hungry anymore.  When she would get the bottle, she would gobble the milk down like it was going to be her last.  That broke my heart to see.  So I started pumping as much as I needed to and resolved within myself that if this was how my child was going to get my milk, so be it.  My goal was October.  I'm still pumping.  I have a ginormous amount of frozen in a deep freeze.

Interestingly enough, when Alyssa was about a month old, she was screaming for her bottle.  We were warming it up and my husband suggested, just to see, trying to get her to latch.  She latched perfectly and ate for 45 minutes from one side, and 30 minutes from the other.  I couldn't believe it.  I was in tears from happiness.  My daughter was nursing.  Amazing. 

I continued to pump so I wouldn't mess things up but I also kept nursing her.  I ended up with clogged ducts, a feeling of still being full after she ate, and a sense of doubt with regard to how much she'd eaten and when she would need or want to eat next.  After about a week, I decided that pumping was what had become how I feed my daughter, I'd made my peace with it, and I should stick with it.  I do not regret my decision. 

 Will I try to nurse a second child, should we have one?  Absolutely.  Will I fall back on pumping if I have to?  Sigh.  Probably.  But it's hard and it's time consuming and frankly, it's not fun.

But hey, that twenty minutes, several times a day, I was doing, gave me lots of time to read!!  I've read more in the last 8 months that I have in the last two years!! 

Re: What made you turn to EP?

  • I became an EPer when Cecelia was 6 weeks old.  She had struggles with her weight gain and still had not reached birth weight at 6 weeks.  We found out that she was not sucking correctly around that time.  She hid it very well, I would go see LCs and she would suck correctly when we would start the session, but then get lazy and go to flutter sucking, which would not draw any milk.  She also had plenty of wet diapers.  So I was tring to bf, then I would give her a bottle, then I would pump (but only for about 5 minutes).  The whole process would take about 45 minutes and then I would start it again about an hour later.  I was exhausted.

    The LCs thought I was not producing enough when in reality, my body thought that she was only eating for a few minutes and never produced any more.  (So I'm really not sure if I have a supply problem or not.)  At 6 weeks an LC finally figured out that she wasn't sucking correctly and had me try a SNS to teach her how to suck, but it didn't work, so I decided to EP.  When I started, I would only get 3 oz. per day and now I am up to 10oz. on a good day. 

    When she was about a week old, I was already supplementing with formula, and I was so so upset about it.  I remember coming back from seeing an LC and DD had lost another ounce over 2 days.  I felt horrible.  Like I was hurting my baby for trying to breastfeed her.  I was also heartbroken that I wasn't making enough milk for her, I felt like a freak.  I think I cried that night for 6 hours straight. 

    And when I first started EPing, I felt like such a failure.  I wasn't getting hardly any bm.  I had given up on my dream of bfing for at least a year.  And I felt like everyone with babies around me was able to bf.  I didn't want to admit to people that I had given up bfing.  In my warped mind, people gave up bfing too easily and if they had just stuck with it, it would work out, I mean, a baby's gotta eat right?  I wish I had known how wrong I was.  It probably would have saved me from beating myself up so much over not being able to bf.

    I am really glad that I found other EPers here.  My LCs never even mentioned it as an option, so if it weren't for you girls, I would probably be doing all FF.  (Not sure if I should thank you or yell at you all for thatStick out tongue)  I

  • What an interesting post/.  I was very fortunate that I did not have any problems with breastfeeding, so it is interesting to read what other people are willing to go through to make sure that their babys get mama's milk!   I commend you!   I go back to work next week and will be pumping several times a day, so that I don't have to supplement with formula.  I was getting concerned that pumping is going to be too much of a hassle, but after reading what other people are willing to do to pump for every feeding is certainly encouraging!  If other moms are willing and able to pump for every feeding, I can certainly do it while I am at work!

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  • My DS would not properly latch within the first 24 hours after birth, and we had to supplement with fourmula, but I was brought a pump to encourage my milk to come in.  At about 30 hours after he was born he latched but kept falling asleep and flutter sucking.  He appeared to nurse for 30 minutes, and then he fell asleep.  I thought, alright now we are getting somewhere!  30 minutes later he woke up ravenous, and drank 27mL of formula (which is a ton in a newborn!).  He was starving!  We continued to pump, and feed him the tiny amount of colostrum that I got, and also supplement with formula.  My milk finally came in on day 5.  We continued with every feeding for the first week to get him to latch and then supplement.  But his demand was always much greater than my supply, and I was getting tired of fighting to get him on the breast knowing that I wasn't making enough for him anyway.  So I quit getting him to latch, promising myself that I would start up again after I was making enough.  After about a month of pumping I was finally making enough!  But my mother was visiting, and I got tired of her trying to help with his latch, and I became very uncomfortable with the whole situation.  So I decided that I would wait until she left.  What is a couple more weeks?  Well, at week 5 my mom had left, and I was ready to start trying to get him back on the breast.  Well, then he started having seizures, and we went through a month and a half long nightmare getting him diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis and Infantile Spasms.  After all of that, he is getting 2 medications a day by bottle...which would be virtually impossible to administer if he were BFing solely.  So the breastfeeding issues that seemed so paramount in the beginning, really turned out to be a blessing in disguise and not that huge of a deal in the grands scheme of things.
    image image image image image 9/07 m/c baby boy @ 18wks, 4/09 m/c @ 4.5wks
  • Before DS was born, I wasn't sure what I would do in regards to feeding... I wasn't even completely sure I would try to BF.  But as his arrival came closer and I did more research, I decided I would go in with an open mind in regards to nursing.

    Brandon had a great latch at first.  We had zero problems in the hospital, and the LC there looked at me like I had 3 heads when I mentioned I would like to rent a pump (I knew I would be back at work in 8 weeks, but she didn't want to hear anything about it).  Surprisingly, I enjoyed nursing and knew I wanted him to have the BM. 

    Once we got home, I continued to BF.  Brandon would still latch and then fall asleep, which seemed normal to me from our stay in the hospital.  Then, he didn't poop one day.  I called the pedi, and they said BF'd babies don't always follow the rules, he's still wetting diapers and his skin tone isn't jaundiced... you're fine.  Then his lips were chapped but I thought nothing of it.  I just thought it was from too much suckling at the boob because he was doing a ton of that.  As his first few days at home progressed, he became fussier and fussier.  DH and my in-laws were worried he was hungry, so dh bought me a pump and we did some bottle feeds.  Brandon sucked those bottles dry, so we thought hey, he loves his food like his daddy.  I continued to BF, and DS continued to wet plenty of diapers.  I continued to feel like something wasn't right, and I talked to the pedi on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Wednesday I called because there was red stuff in his diaper, which I later found out were uric acid crystals. 

    Fast forward to his 1 week check up.  Brandon had lost 18% of his birth weight (8 lbs 13 ozs down to 7 pounds 3 ozs).  NOT good.  He's dehydrated, and needs to go the hospital.  So, dh and I drove Brandon to the ER at Cinci Children's, and they ran all sorts of tests to see how he was doing.  Brandon was a champ through all of this; myself and dh were a wreck.  He was certainly dehydrated, and they needed to put an IV in.  He was so dry they *almost* had to put it in his head, but fortunately on their last attempt before that they got it in.  I can't tell you the guilt we had because ds wasn't eating enough.  We were doing everything we thought was right-- bfing on demand, feeding with a bottle when I was too tired (which I know they say is a no-no, but he had to eat and I couldn't hold my head up), and Brandon was latching and wetting lots of diapers.  He wasn't jaundiced either, and he only had the uric acid crystals once.  We didn't know he wasn't getting enough food, but man oh man I can't tell you how guilty and scared we were. 

    Because he was so dry, he was admitted to the RCNIC at Cinci Children's (aka NICU) so he could get IV fluids and his feedings could be monitored for a few days.  They chose this floor because he was soooo little and didn't want him to pick up any other diseases.  The RCNIC is the cleanest floor at Cinci Children's, so they knew he'd be safest there.  We got up there and they told us to go get food and that he was in good hands.  When we came back, he was hooked up to 3 monitors, and the IV was around his arm with one of those pillows that kept him from bending it.  Brandon loves his hands, and him not being able to use them just made it worse-- at least for dh and I!  He was definitely a trooper through all of it, and during his stay at Children's, he at a lot of formula.  They brought me a hospital grade pump, and I pumped around the clock for the 3 days he was there.  An LC came by to see me for a long time on Friday, and while she was helpful, she couldn't figure out what DS wasn't doing correctly because she saw that he could latch just fine.  Her theory is that he doesn't swallow and he has what is known as "wimpy white boy syndrome."  I think she's right... he would rather just sit and suckle than actually do any work.  We fed him what BM we could, and tried to get him to eat at the breast, but he preferred the bottle. 

    Brandon spent 3 days in the RCNIC, and dh and I stayed with him the whole time.  While the folks there are WONDERFUL, we were unbelievably happy to come home.  Once we got home, I had a completely different son.  He was healthy, happy, and my sweet baby boy.  I still tried to put him to breast, but he would only get frustrated.  I tried feeding him 2 ounces first and then letting him BF.  He would still get frustrated, and I would wind up feeding him the rest of his normal feed. 

    For a long time, I supplemented with formula.  When I went back to work at 8.5 weeks pp, I finally started beating DS, and I began freezing 1 bottle's worth of BM a day.  At about 5 weeks pp, I found the ivillage message board, which really helped me out the most.  However, I like this board so much more, and it took me a long time to figure out how to EP effectively.  This is why I will do my best to help out new moms because I know how hard it is.  At this point, EPing just works for me and DH.  Most of my pumping is done while I'm at work or while DS is sleeping now, so it doesn't bother me as much.  I'm hands free, and usually when I'm on here, I'm pumping (am now!).  This is what works for me and my family, and I plan on keeping it this way for at least another 2 months.  After that, we'll reassess, and dh and I will make a decision as to what we're going to do.  I would have never been able to do this without his help (thank god he works from home 3 days/week!!!), or my hands free stuff. 

    Oh... and about Brandon.  His 4 month check up was this morning, and he now weighs 14 pounds, 12.2 ounces.  Besides his mild reflux issues, he is a healthy baby who is thriving.  He is also a super strong baby according to our pedi.  She believes that's part of the reason he masked the dehydration so well...  most other babies would have becomed jaundiced, and shown other signs of dehydration earlier than he did.  Regardless, we have the sweetest baby boy ever... at least in the eyes of dh and I, and he loves his "magic milk"!!!

  • Good grief, I wrote a novel!!!  Thanks if you "listened" to my story! 
  • DD would not stay awake to BF to save her soul I tried and tried and tried. SO I got desperate at 4am one night and got my pump out.....it has been out ever since. I am going to keep trying though.
  • I agree w/ the pp... I really commend all of you EPers. I dont know how you do it while watching your LOs. You are such strong women and good mommies!
    image
  • I developed severe pree towards the end of my 1st pregnancy and was induced 2days prior to 37wks. dd was born exactly 37wk 1hr 8min. She was small (had a small mouth). I was on magnesium sulfate for a day and a half b/c my b/p was still so high (it was high for 6 wks pp, but worse than prior to the induction for the first 2 wks pp). I was so drowsy and out of it that first day, that she was tube fed (at least once, I don't remember trying to nurse her that first day, but apparently I did).  The next day I was told it (formula fed) would be on a sliding scale based on how much I pumped. I pumped like a cow... literally, I started getting a 1/2 oz to an oz each time I pumped (of colostrum) and it quickly changed and by one week I was pumping 4 oz of milk each time I pumped.  nice.   She had a poor latch, poor suck... she had to use nuk preemie nipples on the pump bottles.   I didn't need to supplement after that first day.  but did have to feed her every 2 hrs around the clock for the first few weeks b/c she wasn't gaining well the first week or two. which I later found out was normal for bf babies. but b/c she had lost a good bit and had to be readmitted for jaundice, the new pedi (one on call for our pedi's office) had me freaked out for a good month(even though she recovered from the jaundice within a week).  Anyway, we tried and tried and tried. I saw Lact nurses at the hospital, at the pedi office... by one month I was in tears every day. I saw a IBCLC in the area who was very supportive and helpful.  I started trying to latch less and just pump... we just got into the tub every night together where she'd latch but couldn't tolerate the let down and really couldn't suck effectively enough (she had a receding chin and still has quite an overbite).  At 2 1/2 months, we got into the tub and she latched and it felt different!  She got something! she barely took a 1/2 oz of pumped after her bath!  So every night before bed, she'd nurse before bed in the tub.  Then we moved at 3 months and she stopped for a couple of weeks... by 4 months I had her latching on again (only in the bathtub though).  by 6 months she was nursing full time and would no longer take a bottle. 

    EP was emotionally draining.  It was hurtful.  Looking back I stressed over it all too much. But at the time, I thought there was no way I could do it for a full year (the first 2 months were the hardest!).  She refused formula during a milk shortage (after our move when she was 3m/o)... wouldn't even swallow it!  I tried mixing it with bm... forget it!  

     

    with ds, he had jaundice issues (not nearly as bad as dd's) and latch issues (not nearly as bad as dd's) he started latching some in the hospital. but I pumped and bottlefed to prevent the severe jaundice issues we had with dd.  within a month he was nursing!   It was much easier the second time around. I was less stressy about it. I think stepping back and trying to get him to latch less often and just focusing on feeding him first, (even if it meant pumping for most of his feedings) and actual latching second, helped move things along for him. that and the fact that he doesn't have the overbite she does. 

     


  • really no choice, she had a super great latch but i had a MAJOR oversupply issue. MAJOR!  she would suck so hard and milk would just squirt everywhere and flow out of her mouth. i tried a ton of different alternative positions and it just didn't work. we worked with three different LCs to help with the issue and it just wasn't happening.

    she would cry and scream every time we tried to BF. when i started pumping i was pumping 10x a day until week 12. i was getting around 100oz of milk a day. was ridiculous.

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