When I was young, and people would say “life’s not fair,” it never occurred to me that the statement could someday apply to breastfeeding. I mean, it was usually a response to a classmate taking the ball I wanted to play with at recess, or the last a cookie being devoured by someone who wasn’t me. It was not issued as a warning that, despite all the effort one goes through to maintain a pregnancy and to establish breastfeeding, things can still go wrong. By “things,” of course, I’m talking specifically about engorgement, and the weird things moms do when they’re engorged.
Seriously, I have no judgment about any and all ways a breastfeeding mom decides to alleviate this specific situation, because it’s such an annoying ailment that often requires immediate attention that. Personally, I've gone from, "Am I even making milk anymore?" to, "OMG someone save me from these rock boobs," and tried everything to make sure my engorgement didn't escalate into mastitis, which, as many of us know, is the absolute worst.
Since breastfeeding is often at the crux of engorgement relief, we can add all the regular yet quirky breastfeeding habits that a woman may have developed in order to save herself from this particular problem. While I don’t think my experience is representative of every other mom’s (because it isn't) I think there’s something soothing about knowing we’ve all felt what it’s like to have rocks in our breasts. Here’s a small sampling of how I suspect many of us have coped:
Repeatedly Searches For "Cures"
I'm not sure why I expect dozens of new magical spells that will cure my ailment to suddenly get posted online, but for some reason, I keep checking.
Reads The Same Few (Trustworthy) Articles That Have Helped In The Past
The internet is fluid. I just, um, like to make sure nothing has changed in the last seven minutes.
Constantly Checks Breasts
Is there a lump? Where is the lump? Has it changed in size? What's it feel like? I need to assess.
Obsessively Breastfeeding At Every Possible Moment
This isn't necessarily a "weird" part of being engorged, but definitely a necessity if your milk has come in and there's no where for it to go. Partners of breastfeeding mothers, please don't suggest taking a "break" from breastfeeding. Just, you know, don't.
Breastfeeds In The Weirdest Positions Imaginable
I hear that gravity can help dislodge blockages, guys. And, of course, by "hear," I mean "completely rely on the idea."
Feels Solidarity With Every Other Breastfeeding Woman, Ever
Perhaps what's even crazier than the actual discomfort one feels while being engorged, is knowing that so many other women have experienced it, but rarely is it ever discussed. Perhaps, when I'm president, I'll change that.
Pumps Until The Break of Dawn, While Watching Any And All Television
What is worse than reluctantly attaching oneself to a breast pump while the sun comes up? This isn't a joke, it's reluctantly attaching oneself to a breast pump while holding a phone with, like, eight percent battery left.
Hand Expresses At Every Possible Moment
Commercial break? BRB!
Puts On A Sweatshirt Or Coat On, Instead Of A Bra
It doesn't matter if it's eighty degrees out. Nothing even close to restrictive is going anywhere near my torso.
Seriously Contemplates Weaning
What would it look like? What would it feel like? Will I get to run freely through fields of wildflowers like I always imagined I would?
Seriously Contemplates Formula
Not sure about you guys, but feeding my son in a way that's unlikely to bring me serious physical pain and discomfort is sounding pretty nice right about now. How weird!