September 30th, 2008

Breastfeeding TMI

Hey, you've been warned.

There's a lot of lactivist commentary out there on breasts and what they are and are not for, and the relative priorities of those uses. Mixed in with some of that commentary is a lot of loose talk about how (bad) fake boobs look suspiciously like engorged boobs. My personal experience with engorgement with T. was red and painful so I never got that.

I do now. I can also tell you that what I _thought_ was an oversupply has turned out to be an unbelievable oversupply. Here's a little of the backstory.

When T. was born, he nursed on both breasts, but his latch wasn't so great on the left breast and over time I took to thinking about it and calling it the bad boob (even tho at one time or another I had plugged ducts and/or mastitis in both). When I got pregnant with A., I more or less only nursed him on the right breast because while that was painful, it had nothing on how unpleasant it was to have him on the left boob. Despite essentially no demand on it through the pregnancy, it never fully stopped producing -- I could express drops of milk and eventually colostrum right through till the day I had A.

I have mentioned in a previous post tandem nursing them at the same time, which should indicate clearly that bad boob had a few days of not painful production. Then transitional milk started showing up in the mix on Sunday, and yesterday day and evening, it got harder and harder to convince A. to latch on the increasingly full left breast. I could still talk T. into working at it, but the result was weird looking: a flattened top of a still scary full looking breast. I got the pump out this morning because overnight, it started standing up on its own on my chest. Just like a really bad fake boob. Ice packs had, miraculously, dealt with the heat and soreness -- it was just crazy full. And I pumped 4 ounces out with an Avent Isis (yes, that would be a _manual_ breast pump) at around 7 and another 3 ounces at noon.

This is insane. I'll be discussing it with the midwife, but my guess is I just leave it mostly full and hope the supply/demand thing works As Advertised and supply notches down substantially in a couple days and this becomes bearable.