Finally, my links are updated. I’ve been wanting to that since before Peanut was born. Hey, it only took me 6 months! These days my internet time is gold. I generally can just squeeze in enough time to read a few blogs and maybe make a comment or two.
A good bit of my online time is spent on the exclusively pumping (EP) boards. Although I mostly lurk there, again due to lack of internet time, I cling to the support like it’s a raft on a stormy sea. This whole experience of EPing has been a rollercoaster. At first, pumping was just to provide supplemental bottles until Peanut was big enough to latch. Then he was big enough, but still hadn’t figured out how to get a good latch. Then we came to the point where he cried every time he saw my boobs. Then came the point where he cried every time I laid him down on the nursing pillow. He didn’t even need to see the boobs, he knew what was coming. So I took a few days off from attempting breastfeeding, at a lactation consultant’s suggestion, and realized that Peanut and I were both much happier. I was no longer crying at every attempt to breastfeed. I wasn’t tense while feeding him. And he was still getting my milk. I still felt like a failure, but at least I didn’t have the constant failed attempts to add salt to my wounds.
Now Peanut is almost 6 months old and I’m still EPing. It’s still a struggle, especially when I’m home alone and all he wants is to be held by mommy. Nothing is more heartbreaking then having your crying baby look you in the eye, when you know he just wants to be cuddled and you have 5 more minutes to go in order to get enough milk.
One recent discussion on the EP boards was initiated by a mommy who attends a breastfeeding support group (I won’t name them although I’ve mentioned them in the past). Let’s just say this group has a reputation for being hard core about nursing. Although I’ve had positive experiences with them, other mommies haven’t. I also found little to no help from them in dealing with trying to nurse a preemie. The group leader tried her best to provide information, but it did no good. So for a group that’s all about helping women to breastfeed, I have to admit I’m disappointed in them.
Anyway, she attends meetings of this group and was looking for ideas to bring to them about EPing as some members are not so friendly to women who don’t breastfeed.* On the website for this group, EPers have been referred to as “human milk feeders”. Nice label. Great way to insult women who have had to make a hard choice. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it a choice. I tried unsuccessfully for 8 weeks to breastfeed. Had I not given expressed breastmilk, Peanut probably would not have gotten enough nutrition to thrive. So, I never had a choice between breastfeeding and pumping. It was a choice between expressed breastmilk and formula and I chose milk.
This whole elitist crap gets me every time. Why do we feel the need to judge other mothers. Is a formula-fed baby less loved than a breastfed one? Is a mom lazy because she gives up on breastfeeding because the baby can’t latch, it’s painful, she has recurrent mastitis, she needs to return to work, or she doesn’t like doing it?
*I consider baby breastfed even if he doesn’t get it directly from the tap. He’s getting breastmilk, I have to bust my boobs to provide it for him, and both my ob and the pediatrician consider what I’m doing to be breastfeeding. If I had a “choice” I would breastfeed – it’s much easier than lugging a pump, parts and bottles all over, making sure I have a private place to pump, cleaning and sterilizing the parts, and cleaning bottles.
Does this make me better than a mom who formula feeds? No.