When Little E was approaching her 11th month, I grew more and more concerned with proper weaning strategies. I had recently decided to become a surrogate, something that I’d thought about since my early twenties. I found out after I had been accepted into the program that I was to discontinue breastfeeding – a stipulation I was not prepared for. We agreed that the agency would wait until I gave them the green light – that was, when we were all weaned and ready to go – before putting me into their matching system.
I spent months preparing my daughter for this moment. We broke her sleep/feed association. We gradually shortened her five feeds per day to just two. Two weeks before her first birthday, we were only nursing before bed. I took special care not to give in to her nuzzles and shirt-pulling requests. Instead, we cuddled, read books, and redirected her attention to the sippy cup.
At last, we had weaned. And I was pretty darn excited about how well it went. No more pumping before bed. No more constant attachment from wake-up to bedtime. After one week, Little E stopped asking to nurse. But I was faced with a new problem.
I had a blocked duct.
I was very aware my breasts were taking on their old form, slowly transitioning back into normal boobs. Prone to blocked ducts, I occasionally squeezed and felt around to see how things were going. At first it seemed great. Then, ten days later, my worst fear was realized. And that’s not even the worst part! I had something I had never experienced before weaning – a milk bleb (I urge you not to Google this).
I initially felt it in the shower. Aware that my boob was a little sore hugging my husband that morning, I massaged my breast and found the familiar, hard lump on the underside of my boob. What I did not expect, was the painful, solid bar that sat horizontally under my nipple. For those of you that have never heard of it, a milk bleb is a clogged milk pore that formed on my “slacker boob”. Unable to hand express, I turned to the internet to see how to unclog my now infection-prone boob.
There was surprisingly little to read about “hard bar under nipple” except for some horror stories on What to Expect. I ended up resolving to pump it out. The problem? I left the pump in my baby’s closet…and she was napping.
I started to squeeze, first at the base of the breast. Hand expressing is not my forte, but I was getting some drops out. After it seemed my breast was flattening out, I moved my attention to the bleb. I pinched my nipple, where a steady flow of milk erupted. I went back and forth from my sore nipple to my sore duct, until I felt I could accomplish no more. To my surprise, I managed to express a good ounce of milk! Not bad for a dried up mom-boob. Yikes! That didn’t sound right!
Anyway, if you are a newly-weaned mom, and you’ve found yourself on this blog for some advice, I hope I can bestow this one little nugget on to you. Blocked ducts are some serious business. When you have one, the LAST thing you should be worried about is your milk supply. I promise your boob will not explode back into producing mode. It’s all about supply and demand, and expressing a couple of ounces to clear up a blocked duct won’t kill your weaning dreams. Take care of your “situation” first, and I promise your boobs will thank you.
Need more advice on blocked ducts? Read my tricks and tips. And don’t forget to leave a comment below! I’d love to hear about your weaning experience.
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