Total breastfeeding Wipeout

The artist's rendition of a boob

A couple of weeks ago, I was woken up in the middle of the night — it wasn’t Anne but the pain of engorgement due to a milk blister, of the ‘skin growing over the hole’ variety. Unfortunately, there was no real help to be had, as even the doctor I saw was hesitant to go to the extreme step of piercing it with a sterilised needle. The advice was to ‘feed through the pain’, which I did (holy fuck did it hurt), and Anne managed to soften and tear off enough of the skin to clear the blockage.*

Phew!

And then late yesterday afternoon, I noticed engorgement in the same area again, but there was no new blister, and Anne was pulling off and crying when I tried to feed her from that side. After lots of frantic Internet searching (I even contemplated that she may be refusing the right side altogether, or that she may have an ear infection), I realised that I am now probably quite prone to those ducts being blocked. Cue lots of frantic (and unsuccessful) hand expressing and pumping. I’d read about ‘dangle feeding‘ and ‘feeding around the nipple clock‘, so I tried that, but the cheeky little monkey thought we were playing a game and only gurgled, laughed, and kicked me in the boob (she also punches me in the face and steals my glasses on a daily basis — if breastfeeding, short-sighted mums aren’t the perfect target market for laser eye surgery, I don’t know what other demographic would be). I finally managed to get Anne latched on (not too well, but something’s better than nothing) by feeding her standing up — and bouncing.

Tangent: she’s never latched on quite right to that boob, and especially poorly after the blister. I’d been too lazy to correct it. That was stupid of me.

Cue Neil coming home from work to a frazzled and increasingly desperate serialdeviant. He did what he could to help (taking over holding Anne, making dinner — not at the same time — handing me hot towels while I tried to pump and express for a second time, again with no luck). I finally gave up and went to bed, hoping Anne would be able to sleepily clear it overnight.

At around 2am (I think), I woke up to feed Anne and the boob only felt marginally better after, but the other one was full. Cue insomnia due to the fear of two engorged and sore boobs. So I got up, got my book, and headed to the living room. Basically, I had to pump the non-painful boob as dry as I could, and keep trying with the blocked one. At four I went back to bed.

Consolation: this is the most reading I’ve done in five months.

This morning, it had cleared. Hallelujah and praise the baby’s sucking reflexes! So now I have to work on her latch on both sides to make sure that she keeps the milk flowing.

* So I guess she’s had her first solid food. Human skin. That’s something to tell the grandkids.

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