Up until the birth of my baby, all I heard regarding breastfeeding was how to boost your supply. That and what a struggle women have to produce enough for their babies. It hadn’t occurred to me that producing too much milk is also a thing!
But before we start this roller coaster. This post is pretty descriptive so please only read this post if you are:
A. Currently breastfeeding
B. Plan to breastfeed
C. Have a significant other who fits into category A or B.
Alright, buckle up.
My days in the hospital after my c-section, were spent learning to breastfeed. And pumping to give my body the hint, that I need milk.
The morning after I got home. My boobs hurt like crazy and felt like they doubled in size. I, being completely nieve, thought it was a normal everyday-post-birth thing. So let me paint a picture of our perfect storm.
Brand new baby: who is just now learning how to breastfeed (yes, they have to learn just as much as we do).
Me: In pain, holding a hungry, crying baby who can’t latch.
This was the one and only time, I gave up and just gave her formula.
The problem here is I was so engorged, it was basically like trying to suck on a bowling ball. So not only is she brand new at this nursing thing, but my body decided to just make it as difficult as possible.
So later I had the bright idea (and I say that with as much sarcasm as humanly possible)
“Hey, I wonder if pumping would help.” (keep In mind, I didn’t realize pumping was something I HAD to do). It helped HUGELY! So in the days to follow I was constantly either attached to a baby or connected to the pump. Mind you, I only pumped until I was comfortable and It took me less than a week to stockpile 50 oz. of breast milk in our freezer. I found that pumping, in combination with temporarily using a nipple shield, really helped my little one learn the skill of latching and nursing. I know a lot of lactation consultants don’t like nipple shields. However, they do have their place in the world. The L.C. I spoke to equated it to tapping a keg, which I think is the PERFECT analogy.
The problem though, was that it was really inconvenient to make time sit down for at a time to pump. So I spoke to a lactation consultant and she had me try a few things.
1. Block feeding
Block feeding is when you nurse on the same side multiple times in a row. So I would feed her twice on the right side then twice on the left. (This same idea works if you wake up lopsided one morning. Just feed them twice on the small side and once on the large side until you even out. This gives your body the cues it needs to produce more on one side, and less on the other)
2.Don`t pump as much
You have to let your body know that it is producing too much. So only pump to relieve pressure if you need to.
3. Express milk in the shower.
The shower is a wonderful, relaxing place. The warm water will also help the milk flow. You can express milk in the shower, so you won’t have to pump to release pressure. The downfall to this is that you can’t save the milk.
4. Cabbage leaves
Be careful with this one! If you leave them on too long, it can dry you up. Take green cabbage leaves and crush them up. You can place them along where the underwire of your bra runs. I was told not to leave it there, any more than an hour.
I mostly used 2. and 3. And it took maybe 2 weeks for my body to get the hint and produce the right amount of milk. After some time, my body naturally adjusted and produced the right amount that my baby needed. But just like everything else in life, breastfeeding requires patience.
Did this article help? Let us know what you think! What do you struggle with in breastfeeding and motherhood?