When people asked me during my pregnancy if I was planning to breastfeed I always responded, “I’ll give it a whirl, and if I can’t, I’ll just give her formula.” Brushing it off like it wasn’t a big deal to me. I’ve heard that breastfeeding was hard, so I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to do it in case I was not able to.
Well, I’m able to. Not only am I able to…I love it! I love the bonding experience, the angle at which I can see her (and no one else can get that angle!), and the fact that my body can produce the nourishment she needs in order to grow and thrive.
As much as I love it, I’ve learned to deal with some downsides of breastfeeding, in particular: Engorgement! Here are seven things that go through my mind when I’m engorged:
1) Am I…? Yep!
It starts out innocent enough. I know it has been a few hours since I last nursed or pumped, so I give the girls a feel. Lumpy? Check! Hurts to move? Check! Hard as rocks? Check…Yikes!
2) I can’t believe my boobs right now!
This statement is two-fold: A) I can’t believe how good they look! I’m a member of the itty bitty committee, and to look down and see that cleavage is mind blowing! B) I can’t believe I have two massive boulders on my chest right now. How is this physically possible, and why didn’t anyone warn me?
3) Am I leaking?
Now that I’ve successfully determined that I’m engorged I need to make sure I’m not leaking. I usually am, but I wear nursing pads regularly so I’m not dripping through my shirt. Given my “mombie” status as of late, I need to triple check they are there. Those things can really only handle so much, sometimes they get soaked!
4) Maybe I should pump?
When engorgement hits, I urgently think of if I can relieve myself. If I wake up in the middle of the night from the pain, I go back-and-forth in my head about either being too exhausted to pump, or if I get up and start pumping will my baby start wailing because of good old Murphy and his law! Typically, I stay in bed, stay awake because I’m in pain, then baby wakes up shortly.
5) Ugh..I’m done breastfeeding!
I set a goal of breastfeeding for a year, and on days where I’m engorged, and can’t get rid of my clogged ducts, I toy with the idea of waving the white flag. I work full time, and am pumping in the Mothers Room three times a day, which is not as efficient as feeding baby, so more times than not, I’m walking around uncomfortable.
6) Eh, the discomfort is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Mom guilt really sets in when I start to think about giving up. I think to myself that the discomfort is just a minor sacrifice I can make for her to benefit from breastfeeding.
7) She’s ready!
Is that a cry I hear? Time to go feed my daughter…And get some relief!