19 August 2008

jeepers, creepers, what's an EPer?

I had this post ready to go all day, but I have been unsure about posting it. It is much "heavier" then the usual hiphomemaker content. But then I decided that because it has become a defining aspect of my life as a homemaker, I would go ahead and hit publish...

One of the many new and unexpected things about motherhood is how completely challenging and sometimes impossible, breastfeeding can be. Avery was just too small when she was born to get a good latch and as she has grown, she has never quite figured out how to work the whole breastfeeding gig. That, with the fact that I started back to work yesterday, has changed our entire plan for good newborn nutrition.

At first, I was devastated that I couldn't breastfeed. Every attempt to get her to latch ended in frustration and typically tears from at least one of us. The pumping regimen was brutal, every 2 hours, even at night and I wasn't sure how long I could keep it up. I had planned for so many things for motherhood, but I had never anticipated this as a challenge. On top of that, I thought that everyone else could figure it out and we were just a little slow, but then I started doing a little research. The internet is a beautiful tool, connecting people, providing information. I found whole communities of women who for one reason or another couldn't breastfeed in the traditional sense but had chosen instead to become an Exclusive Pumper (EPer). These women understand the value of breastmilk and choose to sacrifice time and sometimes comfort to continue to supply their babies with this natural nutrition. Some of them had been able to pump and bottle feed for a year. Besides the realization that we weren't alone and it was hard for A LOT of women and babies, I found some inspiration and information to keep going and make the pumping thing work.

Now, 8 weeks into motherhood, I too am an EPer. I am down to pumping every 5-6 hours and way out producing our now pleasantly plump bean. I also have accepted that I can only do what I can do and if it becomes overwhelming and we end up switching to formula at some point, we will still have a healthy baby who has a great family.

So, despite the challenges, we are all growing and thriving here at our house...

3 comments:

autumndaesy said...

I'm sorry to hear that you are having trouble, but I'm really proud of you for "finding another way." There are many babies that are not breastfed, and when you stand them up next to each other, you can't tell the difference! Besides, when it comes down to it, the most important thing is a full baby and a relaxed Mama. You guys sound like you are great parents!

Lisa Hensley said...

I had a terrible time with our first little guy, and had to give it up because of other problems going on with my recovery. I too felt just awful about not being able to breastfeed...until my mom reminded me that I was a formula baby and turned out OK. So glad that you found resources to help you discover that you're a good parent, even if you're not doing things 'by the book.' Bean looks great!

MB said...

I exclusively pumped when my daughter was 4 weeks to 10 weeks and then somehow we both clicked and went back to the "normal" way.