It’s nearly three weeks since myself and Pip finished breastfeeding. It’s been an odd few weeks I must say. I suppose I’ve been taken aback by the level of change because it’s something I never thought to plan for. I didn’t really consider what the implications of no longer breastfeeding would be or how I would feel about it.
The biggest surprise has been to my poor boobs who didn’t know whether they were coming or going. Even though we had slowly cut down the feeds in the preceding weeks to ease Pip in to the idea of stopping and to manage my milk supply, my boobs panicked at the end and went all comicbook superhero on me. I spent two whole weeks in a medium level of discomfort with my trusty breast pads making a reappearance in my daily wardrobe. I can only imagine the patchy horrors my colleagues were saved from without their steely protection. There were a few tricky days there where I would watch my cleavage grow as the day went on and seriously wondered if I might take someone’s eye out in a meeting. I also had to perform a number of very sexy manual expressions in the disabled toilets which isn’t the best for morale.
Every day I was massaging in the shower to try and alleviate the fullness. This was way more uncomfortable and very much less salacious than it sounds because they were quite lumpy and sensitive to the touch. I really had to work out those little knots to avoid blocked ducts. It felt like such a waste watching all that milk disappear!
The discomfort and engorgement went on long enough for me to get concerned until a timely post by Jill at Properfud suggested the lactation-reducing properties of sage and a lovely link through Kellymom which pointed out that it takes one to three weeks for breast discomfort to alleviate after weaning. The Internet saves the day again. Maybe it was a coincidence in the timing but two days of a few cups of sage tea seemed to do the trick nicely although I made many, many trips to the loo in that time! It was almost as if my body was peeing away any excess fluid from my body.
Emotionally it has been tough but not as tough as I thought it would be. I do have to admit a moment of desperate weakness where the best laid plans nearly came undone while I was staying with my sister for a few days. Pip was having a very unsettled night and after being awake and upset for well over an hour no matter how I tried to comfort him, I was seconds away from offering to feed him when my sister knocked on the bedroom door to see if she could help. If she hadn’t, I’m not sure what I’d be telling you now because I was this close…he wasn’t looking for it, mind but in my tiredness and helplessness it was my fall-back method of soothing him. He fell asleep about five minutes later.
Now that we’re not nursing any more, in one sense I feel like I have lost a superpower. Breastfeeding was so much more than a way of nourishing my baby. It was his sleep aid, his comforter when he was upset or hurt himself, his medicine when he was sick and an emotional support when he needed it. To have that disappear takes some getting used to. My husband even commented that he felt its loss. He also feels that we have a level parenting playing field now, be that both a good and bad thing. Pip has been doing great though. He’s in flying form and as I mentioned before we’ve been doing lots of cuddling. He’s also just grasped the concept of kissing which is great fun. Lots of mwahs going on!
It’s been nearly two years since my body has been my own, where it’s been working just for me. I ask myself now if I feel liberated in some way, which I thought I would, but I think it’s probably too early to tell. I was never resentful of being pregnant or breastfeeding but some days it did get on top of me or I felt I was giving too much of my sense of self, if that makes sense?
I haven’t been out on the absolute batter yet although I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon! (Not worth it anymore I think, at least at the moment. Is this an Irish thing? Do other mothers think about getting terribly drunk when they stop breastfeeding?) I am enjoying wearing clothes that don’t button down at the front and the odd turtleneck. I’ve also had to root out my old pre-pregnancy bras because during the two days of sage tea, my boobs literally deflated and my nursing bras had swathes of access material flapping around.
It’s nice to be back in my perky, delicate bras but tell you what, boy did I have an overinflated idea of what my pre-pregnancy cleavage was. What a MASSIVE disappointment. My husband must be raging 🙂 No more boobs HD, just regular 34C boobs. No biggy.
Watch this space for how my ass reacts. I need to keep reminding myself that I’m 500 calories down a day. By the way my hand keeps ramming the tasty snacks into my gob, my stomach clearly hasn’t realised. Some self-discipline is definitely on the cards…tomorrow maybe…
You may have noticed that I’ve made my old TMI post a permanent page up on the menu bar. This detailed post on my lumpy breasts etc prompted me to stick it up there! I thought I should forewarn new readers. You love all the gory detail really, don’t you? That’s why you’re here 😉