“Drying up” was by far the worst experience I have had breastfeeding. Since Ms. P self-weaned around 10 months, I thought that weaning my body off pumping would be a breeze. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred, and the process became a painful nightmare!
After Ms. P’s first birthday, I decided it was time to cut back on pumping as we began to introduce whole milk into her diet. Over the course of two weeks, I gradually cut back my pumping schedule to just one time per day. After a few days of just one pump session per day, cutting back the pump time each day as well, I thought I had prepared my body properly for a successful transition. Boy was I wrong!
I woke up the next day with painful, swollen breasts and tender, sensitive nipples. Thinking that this was just the “way it goes, ” I suffered through a few days. By the third day I couldn’t stand to have anything touch my breasts (even clothes), they were just too sore! I headed into the doctor, thinking I had mastitis. She told me to nurse P, and try to relieve the pressure to help ensure that mastitis didn’t actually occur.
Easier said than done! Ms. P was not at all interested in nursing…practically throwing a tantrum each time I presented her with my breast. It was traumatic for both of us, she was crying out of frustration and I was crying from pain. I ended up getting a milk blister, and had to self-express milk to find relief.
My new best friend became the Nuzzle.
If you have not heard of this product… it is a lifesaver! This heating/cooling pad is designed to lay over your breasts, so you can be hands free (which all moms know is key) while you care for your breasts. I wore this religiously for about a week, and the warmth helped to soothe the pain and engorgement.
Happy to report that everything is finely back to normal! The one benefit of this experience is that I know have a better understanding of some of the struggles that some new mamas face with breastfeeding. With so much pressure on women about nursing; what to do, what not to do, what is best and what is not… my take away from this is that we as women need to support each other in making the best decision for ourselves and baby. You never know what another person is dealing with, until you walk in their shoes. More empathy, understanding, and support are key!
Breast wishes to you 🙂