I was having a chat this week with a colleague who has two kids, ages 5 and 2. She asked me if I was still breastfeeding, and I said yes… exclusively pumping. Her eyes lit up, and she revealed to me that she exclusively pumped for both her kids. For her oldest, a boy, they had latching problems that frustrated her to no end, and he wasn’t gaining weight in the beginning, so she decided to switch to pumping completely and to forget about nursing in its entirety. She realized it liberated her so much from being the only one to feed him that when she had her second, she decided she didn’t even want to try nursing, and after birth, she asked the nurses to immediately bring a hospital grade pump to her room. She said she didn’t really care to nurse the way many moms initially intend; the direct breastfeeding didn’t really interest her anymore, and if anything, it stressed her out a lot during the first few weeks of her oldest’s life. And she didn’t want to stress over that. With exclusive pumping or “EPing” as we call it, she had total control: she knew how to build her milk supply at the most critical time, in the first two weeks of her child’s life. She didn’t have to deal with the trial and error of getting a baby to “learn” how to eat properly. She had done EPing with the first, so she knew exactly how to do it for her second and had nothing new to learn. The nurses scoffed at her, saying she really needed to at least try direct boob feeding, but she refused. And she went on to feed both of her kids pumped milk for 14 months.
I rarely meet people who talk about EPing, so it was comforting to have her share this with me, not just about her first experience, but how she willingly chose to do it for her second child. Most of the time when you hear about moms who EP, it’s because of issues like latching, poor milk transfer, weak suck — all the things I’ve heard of and have experienced first hand. So it was good to hear of someone who actually wanted to choose this path for herself and her baby.