I wanted to start things off by a) apologizing for being so absent from the Blogosphere (I have been reading many of your blogs, but I just haven’t had a chance to leave too many responses), and b) giving a shout out to a friend from my old blog, MissConception, who recently got a BFP (big fat positive, for those of you who don’t speak the TTC or trying to conceive lingo) following a frozen embryo transfer. MissConception is a survivor, an amazing blogger and an even more amazing woman, so please check out her blog if you haven’t already and be sure to send her a big, heartfelt congratulations!
Now, onto the topic of today’s post…that’s right, I’m back to breasts. I can’t help it, I recently developed mastitis so my breasts are quite constantly on my mind. If you’ve been following my blog, then you are familiar with my breastfeeding woes and recent transition to full time pumping and bottle-feeding. If not, let me summarize: everything that might have gone wrong for me with nursing, pretty much did. I now exclusively pump, yet I’m continuing to experience the same discomfort and endless troubles on top of troubles – see above mastitis comment – that I did before. Frankly, the only thing I seem to have going for me at this point is a high supply.
I can’t seem to understand where I’ve gone wrong, and why my breasts seem to rebel at every turn. I try to help them, I do, but still they defy me: letting down, painfully, at random intervals, giving me clogged ducts, red, raw nipples, sore spots, and a frequent uncomfortable sensations – like nails on a chalkboard – when the milk is drawn out through my nipples. I pump on the lowest settings, with a heating pad and well fitting breast-shields, I let my nipples “fly in the breeze” whenever possible, and I consistently use APNO and breathable, organic cotton nipple pads…oh my breasts, what more would you have me do?
So, I admit that though I shoot for every 3-4 hours I’m not always completely on top of my pumping schedule. I will frequently go 5 hours without pumping, but generally, unless it is nighttime when my milk comes in, this isn’t a big problem for me. If I go longer than 6 hours, yes, porn star engorgement ensues, and if I miss my nighttime pump (which I have been trying to slowly reduce in quantity) then I will for sure awaken at first light – in pain and misery – with rocks where my breasts used to be; luckily, my now slightly more rested body (Simran has started napping again!) seems to naturally awaken to pump at about 4am, even if the baby decides to sleep in, so this hasn’t been as much of a problem as it was when I was so exhausted I was sleeping through the initial discomfort.
My lack of success in healing with the pump has almost made me wish I had never stopped breastfeeding. If I’m still going to hurt, maybe I was better off the other way. Sadly, there is no return now. Simran has stopped sucking and starting chomping, and those chompers aren’t getting anywhere near my breasts (even if she was willing to nurse, which she isn’t). I cried when I realized this by the way, as it was truly THE END of the breastfeeding saga…odd how I could miss and mourn something that had caused me so much pain, stress and frustration.
So, what is the moral of this story?
I am still at a loss as to what is going so awfully wrong with my breasts. Why can’t I find a solution that works for them, why won’t they just heal and stay healed, and why can’t they just relax into that promised comfortable rhythm they should have reached back at around 12 weeks postpartum? You know, that place where I should no longer feel engorged unless I don’t empty my breasts for 9 hours, and where pumping doesn’t hurt anymore, and where I can stop with the APNO and and nipple pads?
Will I ever get there? Will my milk production and expression ever cease to be a difficult endeavor, or will it just be like this till I wean Simran off breast milk for good???