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Friday, January 18, 2008

NO MILK!

Well that's it then. My boobs have given up the ghost!

I forgot to post this, but Christmas Eve at about 10.10pm, my boobs stopped producing milk. Well, I'm sure they were still producing, but there was no semi-skimmed in my lovelies that night! Of course, to make matters worse, we were staying Teignmouth with my parents and didn't think to take emergency formula as we hadn't introduced that yet!

Panic set in and whilst Drew sat in the arms of my Mum in their living room, Jerry and I sped all round the roads of Devon trying to find somewhere that would be open that would sell formula...on Christmas Eve!!

We headed towards Newton Abbot Hospital in desperation and my Mum gave her my last drop of expressed milk to keep her mildly content.

We can laugh about it now, but at the time, driving manically around late on Christmas Eve was like driving around a ghost town. Everyone was in their warm cosy homes, watching a Christmas Eastenders or Two Ronnies Special and there we were looking like a kerb-crawling couple, driving slowly past garages and corner shops squinting to see if there were any lights on. Nothing.

Twenty minutes or so passed and all we kept thinking was 'why didn't we think to bring some formula with us???'. But you don't. We haven't done this baby thing before...how would we know? No one tells you these bits. You just learn...the hard way!

Jerry was adamant we wouldn't find anywhere open and I asked him why we were even out scouring the roads and he said "I'm doing it for you. Its a mental thing". I could have lost it at that point, but it only made me laugh like a mad person.

As we carried on driving in the dark night, we both focused on a dim light in front of us.
It looked like a garage, but the garage lights were off, but the inside shop appeared to be lit. Could it be open now at this time of night? As we drove nearer, it shone like a beacon in the frosty evening and we could just make out a outline of a person...an angel. We let the light guide us closer and low and behold...it was an all-night SPAR and it was open!

We have never been so pleased to see a grumpy Scrooge working in a tiny garage shop ever!! He had a tub of formula which we bought and I'm sure he probably thought we hadn't eaten in days as we were both so relieved as we held the shining tub of food above our heads. BEHOLD...SMA GOLD!!!

We called my parents to let them know we had struck lucky and we were on our way back only to hear Drew's cries in the background...which tugged at the old heartstrings. Thankfully, Drew took the SMA like a duck to water and I'm sure she was relieved her belly was finally full. I know we were.

From that point on, my boobs never recovered. I was never able to give her a full feed no matter how hard I tried massaging them so I continued to top her up with formula to ensure she was getting what she needed.

After Christmas, we changed from SMA to Aptamil (as mentioned in a previous post) and Drew had no problems switching. I also continued to feed from my breast as much as possible and topped up with Aptamil.

However, last Friday, after trying for sometime to get my breasts to make more milk, trying the hot flannels trick and applying more massage, they gave up. I had lumps all over them which were really painful and tender to touch. Even lying down was too much to bare. My right one had also just started bleeding too and I was getting uptight about not being able to give her what I wanted.

I made a GP appointment that very day to check whether I had an infection because of the blood and he was great. The GP reassured me that the blood had come from a cracked nipple due to Drew sucking so hard to get the milk. He basically suggested that because I had introduced formula, my boobs were making less milk.

I pointed out that I only used formula BECAUSE my breasts weren't making enough and he said you have blocked ducts (pointing to the tender lumps) and again advised massage and hot flannels or his other suggestion was to switch wholly to formula as he could see I was getting stressed. The GP then said I had done well to breastfeed this far and that I had done as much as I could and I shouldn't feel guilty.

He read me like a book. I DID feel guilty and I know that's a natural feeling that ALL mothers feel when they stop breastfeeding at any point. It's drummed into you so much in your antenatal classes, the hospital, the health visitors, the midwives, the books and the Internet, it just subconsciously happens. You also hear 'Don't feel guilty' lots and sometimes that just makes you feel even more guilty...especially if you had it sorted in your head. You were okay about it and didn't feel guilty and then someone says 'Don't feel guilty'...it makes you starting worrying about it again. That's what happened to me yesterday.

After the GP appointment and talking it over with Jerry. We made the joint decision to switch to formula and I braced myself for the pain the GP said I would feel for days or weeks while the milk was absorbed back into my body.

The pain was really bad that Friday night and no position was comfortable. It was like sleeping with two melons on my chest with pains shooting down them both. Painkillers did help and after the hot flannels again, I had to express a tiny spoonful just to ease the pain. Each day that goes past, they feel better, but they are still lumpy and tender in places. When the milk eases up I'll be able to see how far they droop for the rest of my life!

Anyway, back to what happened yesterday...it started with Drew's first vaccinations...read my next POST to see what happened.
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