Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Bragh! In celebration of St. Pat’s day, I decided the wearing o’ the green meant cabbage leaves in my “bragh.” Not really.

I believe I mentioned that as my daughter turned one last month we had begun weaning. As she’s a bad eater (yes, still looking for any and all ideas on how to get her to eat more solids), I was pretty slow in the weaning process – waiting nearly a week between cutting feedings / replacing with foods. But about two weeks ago I finally finished. Well… she finally finished. My body was not so aware of that and thought it’d just go right on producing.

I talked to some friends about this before I weaned and most said that if I just did it slowly (they suggested about 3 days between cutting feedings), I should have no issue with engorgement. I wish they’d told that to my left boob. Sorry – is this TMI? You might want to stop reading now. Last week I noticed a big solid lump there – not the whole boob of granite as I’d noticed with engorgement before, but just sort of a ball of it in the center – that hurt like anything when the munchkin would bump into it (which she did often – how does she know?!). I decided to call my doctor. After I got past the receptionist’s attempt to web MD my problem (have you tried a warm compress? Um, could I speak to someone with a medical degree of some sort about this? I just want to make sure this is normal.), the doctor told me that this sometimes happens. I can try ibuprofen and a warm compress (ok, receptionist, you win this round!) and I should come in if it doesn’t go away in a month. I’m sorry – let me repeat – A MONTH. Argh!

The warm compress wasn’t doing much, as I soon discovered I didn’t really seem to have a blockage per se (there’s not delicate way to put this so let’s just be blunt – when I tried to massage out the “blockage” in the shower, I sprayed all over.) – just more engorgement. So I decided to go back to the old wives tales my friends had told me to use in case I experienced engorgement when my milk first came in (I didn’t. I felt like I was waiting for enough milk FOREVER). Note – now that I think of it, some of those ideas include icing the swollen area – exactly the opposite of what you do for a blockage, but I digress. Anyway, the main one had been cabbage leaves in the bra. Even her pediatrician had suggested this for weaning. And heck, as it was almost St. Patrick’s Day, what good timing… (I wish there were a sarcasm font.)

The first night, I put them in for a couple of hours. The small amount of remaining milk on the right side seemed to respond (that hadn’t really been a problem anyway), but not so much the other. So now… well, I’d have to say I was uneven. Just call me leftie. Southpaw? On second thought – DON’T! Great. I’m pretty sure this was only obvious to me and not something other people were really noting (as we’ve gone pretty far down the TMI path already, I’ll just go ahead and note that my chest is usually pretty un-noteworthy so no one is staring anyway). Regardless if that is true – I’m going to tell myself that.

So the next night, I tried going to bed with cabbage in the left cup. As a side note, my friends who’d suggested doing this when my milk came in had been very clear that I should NOT leave the cabbage in for very long – I think their suggestions were along the lines of half an hour – as it was very effective and could dry up supply too much. So I’d thought the couple hours the first night should be more than enough. Sleeping with it I thought might dry up supplyso much it'd make breastfeeding impossible if I ever decided to have a second child! But, um, no… At least not right away.

A day later it did seem like maybe things were on the mend. And now that St. Pat’s day is actually here, well it’s possible that I won’t even need to get “festive” and wear any green in my bra all day! Wouldn’t my ancestors be so proud…?

Did anyone else have trouble weaning due to engorgement? What did you do? How long did it take to fix? What’s the weirdest suggestion you heard – actually, let’s not limit to engorgement on that and go with any nursing suggestions?! And, as always, please send along any ideas for getting the baby to eat solids and/or recipes for making baby food. Thanks!


  1. We are still in the process of weaning here. Bruiser doesn't like regular milk and is just now learning to drink out of a cup. We are still plugging along on the weaning thing but until he decides that whole milk is a good thing, a nursing we will go.

  2. i did not breast feed unless you count the 3 days i did it with my son. i got nothin' for ya.

  3. I have a babyfood making blog:

    It has a ton of great recipes and a new one every day!

    As for the cabbage leaves, cabbage has a natural chemical in it that helps dry you up. As for it drying you up where you won't be able to nurse a second child, that won't happen. It will just dry you up this time. It helps, believe me. A tight fitting sports bra will also help constrict your breasts and inhibit milk production.

    What you experienced was a clogged duct. I've had two of them and they SUCK!

  4. I've heard about the cabbage leave thing but I'm not any help because I formula fed.

    I'm mildly annoyed right now 'cause I'm usually such a know-it-all.


  5. Not quite to the weaning stage yet...not looking forward to it!

  6. Hrm...with the solids. It takes 10 times for the baby to truly reject food. I would keep at feeding a good variety of colors, textures and flavors. I am very fortunate to have a 12 month old garbage disposal. She didn't like pea consistency stuff early on but other than that, she has eaten everything!

    I did not breastfeed but I leaked for my whole last trimester. It was horrible. When my actual milk came in and I worked to dry it up, I used the cabbage one night and it helped. For the most part, I wore a snug fitting sports bra and milk pad thingies. It took about 2 weeks. Hang in there!


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