Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE (AND SO I AM ASKING FOR MORE)

You guys are just absolutely amazing. Thanks so much for your support and suggestions about the whole leaking and sweating thing. Really, THANK YOU. And a special double merci to Mel who posted on the Lost and Found that brought so many of you here to help.

Ah! This community! it just rocks.

I know you know, but: it is so great to feel not alone! This was me a few days ago: I'm so abnormal, what the fuck is going on with my boobs, am I a freak of nature?! This is me now: I may be uncomfortable, but many others have been through it, and I WILL survive.

Woo wee. Deep breath: it's all gonna be ok.

I have been wearing a bra at night with my regular reusable breast pads. It has worked so far except on one occasion where I leaked. One out of the past 5 nights is not bad.

But... (isn't there always a but?) A few things of note:

I have found since not leaking at night I wake up incredibly engorged. My boobs (already size G since giving birth) are hard and full and heavy.

AND: this new bra-wearing, non-leaking regime has coincided with the baby deciding to sleep through the night! Not that I am complaining about the sleeping (he has slept from about 9pm until 4 or 5 am the past 3 out of 4 nights), but this is exacerbating the engorgement of the boobs.
Furthermore, I think I have a plugged duct on the underside of my left breast. It hurts. Like a bitch.

So... here are my questions for today:

1- My supply will go down, and the engorgement will stop, right? If the baby stops his night feeding then my body will stop producing milk and adjust, right?

2- So given that, if I pump to empty my breasts so that I leak less, the pumping will actually stimulate my body to produce more milk. I think I have that correct, do I not? So I think that I am only going to pump when I need the milk.

3- I have resigned myself to wearing a bra at night (which I don't enjoy, but is a necessary evil, I guess.) Given my humungoid breasts, does anyone have a suggestion for a very comfortable bra to wear at night?

4- I am interested but weary of using Lilypadz. What happens to the milk that leaks? It's no good if it just pools around the nipple, is it? I am not adverse to using them, I just don't want to spend all that money (on one set of pads!) and never use them.

5- Back to this plugged duct... what do you guys recommend? I am going to use hot compresses through the day and see if that helps.

AND AGAIN: you guys are the greatest. There is nothing in this world that can compare to the support and love that I feel from you.

***

Do you want to hear about the baby at all?

I'll be brief (in case you don't. And in case he wakes up in the meantime...)

Sacha is doing great. He's 7 and a half weeks old (He'll be 2 months next Thursday!)

He is getting chubby, so I know that he is eating well. His long slim fingers he had at birth are no more. And he has like 4 necks. He has even grown out of some of his sleepers, and is fitting well into clothes that he was not able to wear in his first month. I have no idea how much he weighs (we haven't been to the doctor since he was 2 and a half weeks old), but I would guestimate about 10 lbs. To think that I was worried about my breast milk and about him getting enough!

It's also fun to watch Sacha do new things. He's been smiling for a few weeks (especially for The C, it's so delicious to watch!) and in the past day or so I think that I can identify a little laugh as he is smiling. Sacha also loves his mobile- he can lie under it for 45 minutes just babbling away to his little animal friends. I try not to use it as a baby sitter, but I have to admit that it does give me time to take care of some things! We also try tummy-time at least once a day, and some days are more successful than others. Sacha is getting more consistent at holding up his head, and he likes to look at the baby in the mirror.

And his sleeping... I told you above that he's maybe starting to sleep through the night (praying for no regression...). He naps well too, in short spurts during the day. He rarely has trouble going to sleep in his crib as long as I swaddle him tight. He is even learning to fall asleep on his own in his crib (as opposed to before when I would only put him down after I rocked him to sleep in my arms.) Don't get me wrong, he does fuss- he is a baby after all. But overall in this department I count myself as totally lucky. (And luck has everything to do with this!)

Ok, I'll leave you with one yummy picture. (Taken a week and a half ago.)


Next time I will try not to write about my boobs. Maybe I will tell you about the good and bad behaviors of my husband...

18 comments:

Nic said...

I'm glad you got some helpful advice on your last post.

Re: the lily padz - I found them pretty useless for stopping leaking until it had really slowed down (which will happen at around three months). I had one case where my lily pad let go, leaving me with a dinner-plate sized wet spot on my chest. Loverly.

So from my experience where I was leaking 1/2-1.5 oz at a time between feedings, they were NOT worth it. If you aren't leaking that much, they work quite nicely (I used them with great success after the 3 month mark).

sarah said...

what about the birth story?

armsforanangel said...

I am of no help on the boobs front, but can say that your little man is beyond adorable!

sky girl said...

I'm so glad you updated. I popped by just yesterday to see what all your readers had to say. Your little guy looks like he's really thriving!

On to your questions.....

1. Yes! It may just take a while.

2. Exactly! I wouldn't pump at all at night if I was you. That will not help the supply issues.

3. Oddly enough, I'm a naked sleeper but after months of wearing a bra to bed, it felt really odd to NOT wear a bra once I stopped nursing.

4. Don't know. Never leaked once so never had to use pads. Wish I could help.

5. Plugged duct? I had that happen twice. I got a really hot heating pad and applied it as much as possible. And I nursed, nursed, nursed. It resolved itself very quickly. I would be very vigilant about this as you don't want to get mastitis.

Waiting Amy said...

Only got a minute, so:

1. Blocked duct -- nurse, nurse, nurse as much as you can for a day or so. Warm compresses help too.
2. Engorgement -- YES will let up. But you could pump a little of it off first thing in the morning if you are too uncomfortable, just taper the amount if you don't want to keep having that supply.
3. Lillypadz -- not familiar, but breast milk on your nipples isn't a problem, in fact with cracking they recommend you let breast milk dry on the nipples.

Hope that helps! He's a cutie!

robin said...

Oh that baby is such a peach! Perfect.

I've been using Lily Padz during the day, and cotton pads at night. The lily padz stick to your boob, pressing the nipple in, which (theoretically) prevents the leak rather than absorbing it. I found them to be less effective at night -- and I would guess that with the amount you're leaking, that would also be true for you. Maybe wait until your supply levels out.

For engorgement: have you tried cabbage leaves? Sounds funny but really works! Use the biggest leaves from the outside of a green cabbage, straight from the fridge so they're cold. Rinse, pat dry, cut a hole in the middle for your nipple and put them inside your bra. Rrrooowwwr... sexy, too!

I'm jealous that your guy is sleeping so heartily -- pass some of that my way. (^_^)

Good work, mama.

(And where did you get that black shirt he's wearing? I'm up to my eyeballs in blue and pastel!)

Tash said...

Here from L&F, excuse the intrusion -- I bf my daughter for a year, also an overproducer.

1) yes. you might try hand expressing in a warm shower for some relief if you're feeling like a bowling ball. Also, I produced so much I used to feed exclusively on one side per feed. Either pump or let the other go, and my body adjusted so that one was ready at mealtime.

2) If you don't mind pumping actually, I would pump the excess and bank it in the freezer. You never know when you'll need it, and believe me, there will come a day when you'll be so happy to have a stash to tap.

3) and 4) no idea. Sorry.

5) You can try massaging the lump in a hot shower, or putting a warm compress on it (like a moist washcloth in a ziplock, thrown in the micro for a few seconds), or massing the lump while the baby eats (best case scenario).

G'luck!

Alex said...

The lily padz are supposed to stop it so it doesn't come out. I never tried it myself but the idea is like sticking a finger over your leaking nipple...it can't come out. so no pooling.

I don't know...I would seriously reconsider weearing a bra at night...it DOES increase engorgement. Within a few weeks your breast will get use to not feeding at night and they will stop(mostly) and you won't be leaking. Your breast basically "train" themselves or create their own "stoppers" and well...stop. But wearing a bra at night...with pads especially thats begging for problems. I say suck up your pride for a few weeks and sleep with a towel wrapped around your breasts as you sleep on your side. It catches the mess and allows you to wake up lump free. Seriously...its so much more comfortable. And the more comfortable you are the more pleasant breastfeeding is, and the more likely you will be to continue it long term. A good bra is important for comfort and support...but at night or during the growth spurts when your breasts are regulating...its really likely to be more pain than gain. I naturally have size...G or H breasts and I've nursed 3 babies...so I know that when large breasts get engorged...it ain't pretty.

And yes if you pump to drain them...they'll just increase your supply. Let them adjust naturally...

You son is a cutie :) He looks very content!!

infertilepediatrician said...

My wife (www.uterusx2.blogspot.com) just got the lily padz yesterday and so far she loves them! She even blogged about it today. She's been getting plugged ducts on the undersuface of her breast and our LC thinks it may be from the bra, so we're hoping the lily padz help.

Carey does hot compresses for her plugged ducts - uses a diaper (stays warmer longer), pumps like crazy, massages the area and puts the kids to breast (she almost exclusively pumps except when she gets a plugged duct, then she puts the little ones to breast b/c they do a better job of getting it unplugged - guess the plugged duct hurts more than her sore nipples).

BTW we paid $17.50 for the lily padz so it's not that bad of an investment.

My Reality said...

Look how cute he is!

Aurelia said...

Okay, as far as the lumps go, I'd say yes to massage, and frozen cabbage leaves. (No one knows why they work, but they do.)

Biggest help tho is pointing the babies nose to your lump and that lump will be gone in a microsecond. You may have to nurse lying down for this one, maybe even in funny positions, but it will mean no mastitis.

Another alternative to lilypadz is--no joke, always pads, which sop up a lot courtesy of dryweave. They look funny under a bra but who cares at night?

Bravado nursing bras are comfortable and practical and come in size G, and are pretty nice looking.

As for the pumping, you could let the engorgement adjust totally and go away, or try to pump just once a night before bed to stock up in your freezer, and eventually your breasts will adjust to that.

And extra milk in the freezer is like gold. Seriously.

Jen said...

Putting milk in the freezer can be a good thing, I agree, but if you're only pumping to relieve engorgement you may get yourself into a vicious cycle of major oversupply. I definitely did. I'd say DON'T PUMP and let your body regulate itself. You can worry about a freezer supply later if you are going back to work.

I was confused by the "line up the nose with the lump" advice when I had a plugged duct/mastitis. Another way to think of it is draw an imaginary line through the baby's chin and nose. You want that line to go through the plug and zap it!

Lecithin is good for reducing/preventing plugs. I don't know the dosage or protocol but if you google "lecithin plugged duct" you will find it.

Hang in there - it will get better!

Carey said...

I love my LilyPadz and not sleeping in a bra!! (it's only been one night though... but wow, I felt SO MUCH BETTER in the morning!!) There was no leakage - by pushing in the nipple, you stop any leaks. I leak all the time with my regular breast pads. But, I don't leak nearly as much as you seem to be... so I don't know if that will make a difference in their effectiveness.

And yes, disposable diapers make great warm compresses. Just run them under hot water, squeeze it a bit so it does not drip and put it on your breast. And putting the baby to breast is the best at getting rid of those pesky and painful plugged ducts.

Amanda said...

I'm a new blogger, and I just happened upon your blog and I'm glad I did - you asked questions I have been wanting to know, so thanks! I have not been able to find a 34G nursing bra anywhere! I don't know that they exist. I was also wondering if the Lily Pads were any good.

BF'ing is such a challenge! I'm glad I'm doing it, but wow, isn't there so much more to it than you ever would have thought???

Motel Manager said...

I got lots of plugged ducts. Like, five in one day sometimes. Taking lecithin capsules helped. Also, my OB told me that she had been prone to them, and that eventually she realized hers would go away on their own after a couple of days, and she shouldn't freak out about trying to get them out. This turned out to be true for me, too, though this might not be the case for you.

I found nursing on all fours cleared the plugs sometimes, too. Very undignified position, but it seems to work with gravity to get the plug out.

Massaging, heat, and hot water didn't do sh*t for me but seem to work for others.

Also, make sure you sleep on your back. For me, even sleeping slightly on my side would give me a rock-hard lump.

Good luck!!!

sariel & shlomit said...

dear ms c...
first, as usual these days -- no advice, sorry.
secondly, more and more about sasha the delish, please!!!
thirdly, i love hearing about your bodacious tatas...bring it on
but fourth, of course we want to hear about the good and bad behaviour of The C!??? (please give him my love, by the way!!)
finally, it seems it is high time that I plan a trip to montreal!?!?!?! I need to see this gorgeous little baby boy of yours!!!!
Love reading your blog, as always, my friend.
peace and love,
shlomit

Anonymous said...

nice sheets : )

Bean said...

Here from NCLM. For what it's worth, I had lots of plugged ducts when Bfeeding my daughter and a nurse recommended that I not wear a bra (only around the house of course) and (don't laugh, I'm not making this up) shake them around alot. She said it would help loosen things up and I'll tell you she was right. Good luck.