Breastfeeding Woes – Engorgement

I really do not know why it’s not a “woman’s world”

Was the response I gave a friend after she reached out to me this morning. I had a rant fest on my instastory in the early hours of this morning after I suffered breast engorgement through the night.

“Breast Engorgement” – a process by which your body punishes you for denying your baby breastmilk. At least, that’s the definition I’m giving it in this case because I am currently weaning my 9 month old baby off the boob. Wikipedia defines the symptoms: “…the breasts being swollen and oedematous, and the skin appearing shiny and diffusely red. Usually the whole of both breasts are affected, and they are PAINFUL. The woman may have a fever that usually subsides in 24 hours. The nipples may become stretched tight and flat which makes it difficult for the baby to attach and remove the milk…”

Most information you find online talks about engorgement in the context of the ‘early days’ whereby your milk supply exceeds your newborn baby’s intake. What you find less of is experiencing the same thing after breastfeeding is established and is it more painful!

This week I successfully got my baby girl to take formula in a bottle during the day (we’ve been at it for two weeks now) but we regressed mid-week when she needed comforting with teething, at that point I also got tired of making bottles – this might sound flimsy but I actually do not enjoy making bottles, the washing, sterilising, measuring out the milk, being worried about contaminating the milk… you don’t have to worry about all of these while breastfeeding as it’s the perfect temperature each time you feed the baby…

Back to my story: so my milk supply picked up again and her expectation of getting breastfed also increased, she started waking 10 times through the night (ok I exaggerate) to feed despite taking some formula at bedtime early mornings (3am & 5am) are the hardest. So I decided to go cold turkey and not breastfeed at all the whole day, when she woke up at 3:30am yesterday morning I gave her formula milk so she slept until 6:30am fantastic! I carried on offering her solids and formula milk which went smoothly. Close to bedtime around 7pm I started feeling my breasts filling up so I popped in my reusable breast pads to catch any leaks. Next it was the ache, which began around 9pm as I tidied up downstairs at this point I used ibrupofen to help ease it. The annoying thing with engorged breasts is you don’t its full effect while wearing a bra, by 10:30pm when I was getting ready to go to sleep the real pain started.

I did everything in my power to relieve me of the pain but all to no avail – I massaged both breasts while taking a hot shower which seemed to work cos I started leaking, had to place a towel on the bed to avoid a disaster. I fell asleep only to wake up around 1:30am to one boob furiously leaking and the other still hard as a rock! I considered using something with Pseudoephedrine in it (also known as a decongestant that’s meant to dry up your milk supply) or even pain relief but my husband wasn’t home so I just laid on the bed writhing in pain… It was at this point I started ranting on my instastory…

Finally at 3am ish the baby wakes up crying, I try to soothe her by patting her back but it didn’t work so I gave in on my ‘no boobie’ policy. That’s how my pain ended. You see why I said engorgement is punishment?

Anyways, we will continue with phasing out the boob in order to avoid such situations. Maybe only offer the boob at night {if she wants it}.

Until next time!


Author: fabmomma

Young and quirky momma of two, sharing my experiences as I trudge through life...

4 thoughts

  1. Aww, I know this so well, you’ve taken me down memory lane, haha. Well done mummy, this too shall pass 🤗. My babies were easy to wean though (once I saw teeth, goodbye 😄). I remember not taking anything that would cause my body to produce more milk for a while to reduce my flow i.e. reducing my water intake, cutting fruits, eating more nuts, that sort of thing. That might help. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for the tips @MumZone! At the time I wrote this, I was on a water challenge plus I was eating alot of oranges so I cut down on those. Even nuts! I eat alot of those so I did reduce my intake and it worked, probably got engorged one more time after that day and that was it 😀


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