I certainly count myself lucky that breastfeeding has been going so well. My guy is a good eater, and took to it like a champ. I find it totally amazing how a woman’s body works to provide sustenance for her child. It truly is a miracle. But sometimes it takes that miracle to get with the program and change along with your schedule. My body worked hard to produce milk to feed my son through out the night, but now that the night time feedings no longer exist, my body is a bit confused and still produces like Christian wants to eat. What should I do about that?
My mom used to laugh at me when I would talk about my “plans” for Captain Awesome to take late night feedings so I could sleep. She would tell me that my body wouldn’t know that he was going to feed instead of me, and that my breasts would fill. Oh boy was she right! What did women do before pumps? I guess they really were unable to be away from their child for any period of time, because I know how full my breasts feel if The Captain gives a bottle for a feeding. I need to pump which really isn’t much of a break anyway! But I digress…
For those of you who don’t breastfeed let me paint a picture for you…You go to bed nice and comfortable. You are super happy that your kid is starting to sleep longer stretches. You are sound asleep when all of a sudden you are woken up…not by any noise…but by a horrible pain in your chest. So you wake up only to find that you are soaking wet! That’s right…wet! Your shirt, your bra and sometimes even your sheets. You then think to yourself…screw it! I can suffer through the wet, bu not only are you wet, but your boobs are in pain. You are so engorged that falling back to sleep isn’t even an option. How much does that all suck? ALOT! That’s the answer. So the kid is fast asleep, but I still have to get up to pump so that I too can go back to sleep. This all continues that lack of sleep cycle. The problem is that my body doesn’t realize that it doesn’t need to make milk at that point because I still am pumping it out. A catch 22 don’t you think?
So when does it end? I have been doing my best to not pump and suffer through it. I know that soon my body will realize that it doesn’t need to produce as much milk at night…but when will it end? As a matter of fact I just got Mastitis, and I have a feeling it’s due to me “suffering through it” (more on the mastitis in a future post). My recent plan has been to pump before bed which is about 2 hours after putting the kid to bed. It’s great because it helps me store milk and I get to relieve some of the “stored” milk in my boobs…but I don’t always want to HAVE to do that. Some nights I want to go to bed early, but I just panic that I will fill up. If I have to do it that way I will, because it’s better than pumping in the middle of the night, but it’s still not ideal.
So what do I do? What do you recommend? Am I destined to have to pump each night before bed? How long does it take for you body to regulate, if it does at all? Thoughts?
Hand express for a small amount of time on each breast just to relieve the pressure or a short pumping session and then lessen that as the days go on. Try not to go cold turkey. Some women find their bodies do adjust while others don’t. Also remember while your resting your body is prepping itself for morning (the point where our bodies produce the most milk) so it may take a little while.
I miss breastfeeding 🙁 It really is a wonderful thing. Anyways, I’ve been through this problem before, and I remember thinking that I shouldn’t pump because then I’d just confuse my body into making more milk. I was in so much pain I call the lactation consultant at the hospital and she said not to do that, instead just pump enough to take the edge off, and eventually your body would start producing less at night. Good luck!