I saw that there was a there was a thread about exclusive pumping recently and just wanted to share my story. I've been going strong for almost one year now and had a lot of bumps along the way, but EPing is definitely possible!
To be honest, I hated EPing at first. I didn't think I could ever do it long term. Breastfeeding was such a nightmare for me though. DS was extremely sleepy and hard to keep awake during feedings the first few days, so my milk didn't really come in. Then, his bilirubin shot up and he started showing signs of dehydration, so I tried supplementing with a SNS at the breast. It was a royal pain and DS learned that formula came out of the tube, which made our nursing issues worse. I felt so defeated. When I lost my triplets, I got horribly engorged by day 5. Then, I finally have a baby that needs milk and I couldn't produce any! I also developed Raynauds in my nipples which was extremely painful and that was the final straw. My lactation consultant suggested only nursing 10 minutes of each feeding, then give DS a bottle, then pump. It got to be too much of a hassle after just a couple of days and I decided to just start EPing.
EPing was more tolerable with the Raynauds than actually putting DS to the breast, but I was only getting about an ounce total each time I pumped. I took fenugreek and blessed thistle and noticed my supply slowly increasing. Unfortunately, fenugreek didn't agree with DS and his reflux, so I had to stop it. I kept up pumping, made sure I was drinking plenty of water, and by the time he was a month old, DS was getting exclusively breast milk. No more supplementing with formula! A few months later, I was getting 48oz per day and started stocking up the freezer. It was an amazing feeling to see my son healthy and growing from my milk. By the six month mark, I was much more comfortable with things and kept pumping away.
DS will be one in just under two weeks now. I'm still EPing, but in the process of weaning. After everything I went through to build up my supply, I was actually having trouble trying to get it to dry up until I got my first bad case of mastitis last week which cut my supply in half. I'm down to just 10 minutes in the morning now and 10 minutes at bedtime for a total of 17oz per day. It has been an incredible journey through IF, losses, finally becoming a mother of a living child, and then losing the breastfeeding relationship that I hoped for, but I love my son so much am glad that I was able to provide breast milk for him
Now, I'm ready to hang up my horns and start thinking about trying to add to our family again.