It’s been exactly 3 weeks since I last nursed Brooks. We are all doing fine. I have frozen breast milk saved so I’ve been able to give him a bottle before bed which he loves. Since I stopped nursing he hasn’t once tried to go for my breast. He’s content with the bottle. It’s as if he too, knew it was time to stop. Still, that doesn’t mean that a tiny part of me doesn’t miss it. I miss the physical bond. There have been times when he’s cried when the bottle is empty and I feel bad because I can’t offer him any more milk. Other times he’s cranky, hurt, or being difficult and I wish I could use my #1 tool. Nursing always calmed him down. Now, I just have to be a bit more creative, animated, or silly to get over these mood swings. I was reading online that some women suffer depression when they stop breast feeding. Considering them, I feel lucky. I only feel a minor tug at my heart that goes away with one sweet little hug.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to write this post was not to go over my emotional state. Weaning was a painful process for me so I wanted to share some input to hopefully help other women in the future. I had read online to give up one feeding every 4-7 days. I stopped nursing Brooks in the morning about 5 days before I stopped nursing him at night. We left town the following day and 24 hours later my breasts were huge, engorged, and painful. I expressed small amounts by hand that night and occasionally over the course of the next 9 days. I had read online not to express any milk but I was in so much pain I couldn’t help it. I could literally use one finger and press the top of my breast and have milk squirt out. Sorry if this is t.m.i. (too much information) but it’s the truth. I did research online and tried everything. Cabbage leaves are amazing for about 5 minutes when they are cold but then they lose their effect. I wore a sports bra for about 48 hours straight until my boobs felt like smores and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I drank sage drops mixed with water. I didn’t nurse Brooks even though I was dying to. I didn’t pump until the 9th day when I was over being uncomfortable. We were going to the Jay Z/JT concert and I wanted to enjoy it so I broke down and pumped 2 ounces from one side and 1 oz from the other. It was instant relief and also the end of my misery. That was now 10 days ago and I haven’t had any pain since.
What I’ve learned from this experience is that next time I will take a longer time to wean. I think I’ll let 1-2 weeks go by before I cut out another feeding. For instance when I stop nursing in the morning, I would then wait 1-2 weeks until I stop nursing at night. Also, I think when I stop nursing altogether I’ll still pump for a few days to a week after. Not everyone has such a difficult time weaning and I’m guessing it’s because I’m a good producer and because Brooks has a big appetite. When I first weaned him he’d easily finish a 7-8 oz bottle. Had I pumped for a few nights I could have slowly decreased the time spent pumping and hence the amount of milk so that my body stopped producing so much. My body was used to producing 7-8 oz each day/night and when I stopped it didn’t get the memo.
Anyway, I hope this helps some poor woman with painful breasts or even better prevents someone from having this problem in the first place.