I can't go on like this!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2011
I can't go on like this!
4
Mon, 05-23-2011 - 2:08pm

I am only 5 1/2 weeks into EPing, and I am going insane! Having to watch the clock, have my LO cry while I pump, sore nipples, engorgement pain, clogged ducts, and night time feedings turning into hours, I feel miserable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2010
Mon, 05-23-2011 - 8:05pm
First of all, all of the thoughts and feelings you are having are totally normal and I bet everyone on the board can sympathize with you. Pumping is HARD. I think I cried most of my daughter's fourth month of life before I decided I had to relax a little or else.

My advice to you would be that you need to see if you can do something to make pumping more bearable, because as it is now, it does not seem functional for you to do it. You have to be able to enjoy your little one and feel like you have some sort of life. Motherhood is hard, but it should not be torture!

First, are you hands free? If not, you definitely need to get a hands-free bra or make one by cutting little holes in a sports bra or tight regular bra. Second, are you pumping while baby is sleeping or eating? Those are two times when baby is virtually guaranteed to be happy, which reduces stress on you. Third, do you have a "pumping station" with everything you need (pump, parts, a drink, binky, bouncer, whatever baby needs) to make things easier? Fourth, are worrying more about the number of pumps per day than the spacing? If you need to get out of the house (who doesn't?!) you can pump twice close together and buy yourself four or five hours out and about. Fifth, are you putting your pump parts in the fridge between pumps? Cuts down on the washing big time. Sixth, are you watching tv or net flix or going on the computer while pumping when possible (napping baby, husband watching baby etc)?

You say your husband wants you to keep at it--does he help you? A lot of the husbands of moms on this board do all the part washing for them to help out. If he is not helping enough and could be doing more, can you suggest specific things he could do, since he is so adamant that you keep at it? Could you sit down with him and tell him that him doing x y or z would really be a big help (watching baby more, washing your pump parts, doing one of the night feedings, etc).

I hope this information is helpful, and I will bump up the beginner's guide in the roll call section in case you haven't read it yet. Hang in there--you're doing great! And remember, many very smart people were raised on formula, so it isn't the end of the world, and ultimately kids need love and care, and a miserable mom is less available to provide those things. So in the end, if you are still miserable, maybe it's time to re-evaluate and make some changes. It's also not all or nothing--would you be willing to pump some and supplement some with formula? There is always something for a mom to feel guilty about--if it's not about providing breastmilk, it will be about what you are feeding them or how much you practice sports with them or whether you let them watch tv. So remember that you deserve to enjoy your little one, and your little one deserves a happy mom, so do what you need to do to make that happen!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2011
Mon, 05-23-2011 - 9:36pm
*hugs* I can so relate to what you're going through and I haven't even had half of the complications you have. I'm almost 8 weeks PP and I can't make enough to feed my baby. I'm on my last bag of freezer stash and I'm supplementing with about 8oz of formula every day. On a bad day I pump 3 times, on a really good day 6 or 7. I can't seem to pump at night at all. I always have night duty (hubby can't get sleep deprived for medical reasons) and by the time I feed and change baby I can't keep my eyes open. Just about every night I fall asleep with baby on my chest as I'm burping her. The next thing I know it's 3 or 4 hours later and I have to feed again.
I just want to share what gets me through. I know I'm hurting my supply by not pumping often enough or at night. For me though a bit of formula is worth being able to leave the house and do things I can't get done in three hours. Skipping the night pumping for me is worth being able to function in the morning. Pumping when I can as often as I reasonably can helps me stick with it. Sure it's not perfect and baby is not on 100% breast milk but I consider myself lucky. 8oz of formula per day is a lot cheaper than 30oz. My baby doesn't seem to mind formula and she spits up without discrimination :). She's also pretty happy and not very clingy so while she naps or plays (stares at stuff over her playmat), I pump. Even so, the days go by in a blur of pumping, feeding, diapers, eating, playing, soothing, washing parts and bottles, and more pumping. This isn't easy, but I picked what is essential for me (being there for baby, getting rest, and staying sane) and what is negotiable (pumping, housework, and everything else). I figure if I mess up my supply, I can always go to formula, but if I head into depression, that will be a whole lot harder to recover from.
I wish you the very best. Hang in there, but don't be afraid to not be perfect. I've made my peace with supplementing and it took a lot of the pressure off. Maybe you'll be lucky and have a bigger supply than me on fewer pumps. Remember, EP doesn't have to be an all or nothing deal. *hugs* stay positive and try to find a happy medium.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-24-2008
Tue, 05-24-2011 - 1:40pm

The first 6-8 weeks are by far the hardest - if pumping stayed that hard none of us would make it to a year plus! You are still recovering from the birth, baby is at his/her neediest, and you have to pump often to build your supply. It is very easy to end up feeling isolated as the mom of a newborn (especially if this is your first) whether you are pumping or not. And if you ended up EPing because BF didn't work out, there is all the frustration (and usually physical pain) involved in that process. I remember being quite frustrated with the whole breastmilk thing when my daughter was a months old, and not knowing how long I would keep going. But I went on to pump a year for her, and for her little brother, and expect to pump for #3 (due in August).

The big turning point for me was when I went back to work at 6 weeks after DD was born. I know this is not an option for most of you (this board seems to be mostly SAHMs), but pumping is WAY easier at work - at a minimum you have the commute both ways (unless you are one of the lucky few with a 5-minute drive), and lunch break, which is at least 3 good pumps where you don't have to worry about a crying baby. In the early days you will have to squeeze in a few more during the day, but still no issue with an upset baby (that is the hardest to deal with). When I went back to work DH also started feeding baby at night while I pumped, so we would both be up under 30 minutes instead of me up for an hour (he felt this was only fair since I worked the exact same number of hours during the day with no chance of

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2010
Fri, 05-27-2011 - 2:13pm

chin up babe :)

you've done great !!

like the above posts, try a handsfree pumping bra :)