Oh, if I had only known how to treat my breasts before breastfeeding, I could have avoided so many problems.
Let me begin by saying that I did have a fair amount of knowledge before jumping into breastfeeding, but my son has a tongue-tie, which I wasn’t prepared for. His tongue is too short to be able to get milk from me, so even though I was nursing at least twice the recommended time, most of my milk was starving in my breast. When too much milk stays there, it’s called engorgement. If the milk sits there for too long, it seizes up and creates a clog in the milk duct.
Usually, a clogged duct is warm and hard, feels lumpy, and is generally only in a single spot on the breast. Since I was so engorged for so long, I’ve developed multiple clogs all over both breasts. My right breast is so lumpy, it feels like how cottage cheese looks.
I’m doing everything I know of to help. I’m pumping my milk every 2½ hours, I’m using warm compresses, I’m massaging the areas, and I’ve bought some Epsom salts.
Apparently, the worst thing I could do would be to stop pumping. I really hope that it doesn’t get more difficult to use my pump, though. My breasts have gotten harder and lumpier throughout the day, and it’s difficult to attach my pump now.
I’ve also been supplementing with formula today. I’m not getting nearly enough milk out at a time to keep up with my son’s appetite. I’m assuming that’ll improve in time as I get better and my milk increases, but he’s getting at least half formula right now.
I didn’t want this. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed from the get go. I had a natural childbirth, and I wanted to continue that. However, I’m so grateful to live in an age and country with so many resources. I may not have wanted to formula feed or pump or use pacifiers, but it’s amazing that I can.
If you’re in a similar situation, remember, we can do this!