Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mommy Confessions ~ My Experience EPing!

I think by now most of you know I have been exclusively pumping (EPing) for Lucas since day one. I tried so hard to nurse him in the beginning but he was never able to latch. I was fully aware this could happen because I had the same latch problems with Logan and Abigail. The hospital lactation dept was beyond amazing. My milk took what felt like forever to come in which I am sure was from the stress of Lucas being in the NICU and missing Logan and Abby so much. My milk fully came in once we were finally home.

Exclusively pumping is no joke. I had to pump 6-8 times a day for the first 12 weeks on top of feeding him a bottle that many times a day. I had a rough patch around 3 weeks that I thought I should throw in the towel because it was just so painful and down right exhausting. I already felt like a failure for not nursing him and then pumping seemed to not be working. It was like my control freak self had no control what so ever and that made it even harder. I met with a lactation consult to see if this was going to work for me. After 2 hrs with her, I felt like even if I couldn't keep pumping I had given it my all. She made me see that a happy mommy was better then a stressed out one. At that point I set a goal of 3 months. I would freeze as much as I could and be done.

After about a week it started getting better. I was pumping 50-60 oz a day, it started to hurt less and I felt I was back in control again. It still was not easy but it was manageable. I was freezing three or four 6-8oz bags a day and building a great freezer stash. My 3 month goal came and I decided to reset my goal to 6 months. Then the worst thing you can imagine happened...MASTITIS!! It was as horrible as everything I had read. It comes on so fast and you feel like a Mack truck ran right into you. I called my midwife and got some meds that night. It took 3 full days for me to start feeling better. Of course my supply dropped on top of it all too. It happened the week of Thanksgiving which was nice and sucked at the same time. I only had to get up and get the kids on the bus one more day and then Matt was off Thursday and Friday. I declared that I was done pumping. I never wanted to feel like that again. I couldn't wean during that time though because it would just make the mastitis worse so I continued to pump and got through it. I read about things that would help prevent it like Lecithin. My supply bounced back and I decided to keep my goal of 6 months.

Over the next few months I slowly dropped pumps, 6 then 5 then 4 then 3...my supply slowly decreased but I was still pumping more then he was eating.

Fast forward to today...I am at 2 pumps a day and almost 7 months postpartum. I ended up with a stomach bug at the end of January and it killed my supply. I was pumping 35-40oz a day now I only get 10-12oz a day. We had to start using 2 bags out of the freezer and whatever I pump that day to make his bottles each day. My freezer stash got to 3,230oz at its highest. Now it's down to around 2,700oz. I don't have a goal anymore, just pumping until my heart feels its OK to stop or my body decides for me. I never imagined it would be so hard to stop emotionally.

Exclusively pumping is not for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and support from those around you. Matt has been beyond amazing this whole time! When I wanted to stop he was supportive, when I decided to continue he was supportive. He got up in the middle of the night and fed Lucas while I pumped even though he had to work the next day. He has washed his fair share of pump parts and bottles without complaining once. He was and still is a big part of why I am able to continue pumping. I have read of so many husbands not being helpful or supportive and I am so thankful that has not been the case for me.

I am very proud of myself for coming this far. Everyday that I pump is just one more day that my sweet boy is getting the best possible nutrition!

I pump for this cute face!


Mandi Roach said...

Hi there! I have ventured over from the GFC blog hop. I'm enjoying this little peak into your world! Just lovely! XOXO, Mandi @ All My Happy Endings

Amber Cease said...

Girl, I give you credit! Kudos for doing this for your littleman! "Difficult" doesn't even touch exclusively pumping (especially, when you have other children to look after)... I can sympathize because I nearly exclusively pumped the first month of my son's life (while he was in the NICU) and also had to exclusively pump with my daughter the first few weeks until we worked through latching issues. You have obtained super-momma status in my books! :)

MommaBBabyboy said...

That's truly amazing! I only pump once in a blue moon so the fact you do it every single day, multiple times, is incredible to me! What a great Mama you are! Xxx

KatyK said...

Wow! Good for you. I only made it 6mos nursing, but Boomer was a food monster lol. I applaud all mommies who do what they can for their kiddos.

Megan B.B. said...

Uhm, I'm milk jealous. Pumping was TERRIBLE for me. I pumped when I went back to work for 4 months, and the most I got from 4 sessions was like 18 oz total.
Good for you!!
Megan @ thememoirsofmegan.com

Heather @ Cookies For Breakfast said...

Seriously, seriously, I cannot even give you enough credit for this! You are truly one amazing, dedicated mama! So many people would not do this! Let's give you a round of applause! Pumping is no joke and a serious pain in the butt! I can't believe you've stuck with it this long and that you have so much stashed away in the freezer!

Truly, truly amazing, Krystle. Give yourself the gold medal of motherhood for this one :-)

Shellsea said...

Pumping with two other kids wow! I pumped after every feeding with my son when he was a newborn. I had low supply issues. I would pump every two hours for 15 minutes or more. You go mama. I am worried about how everything will work this tiem aorund with a toddler.

Anonymous said...

He is too cute! You definitely shouldn't have felt like a failure at all, you were giving it your all, and even though he couldn't latch, you still were giving him breastmilk! That's incredible, especially that you've been able to do it for so long.

New follower from the GFC hop!


Qisthi said...

Found your blog when I googled on exclusive pumping.. and I found your story very inspiring :")