I loved breastfeeding. Well... I mostly loved breastfeeding. Some aspects of feeding my children with my chest I loathed. I don't care how crunchy a hippie earth-goddess you are: no one lives waking up at 4:00 a.m. to feed another human. No one loves having their baby accidentally bite down on their nipple. No one loves engorgement. I know this because I've experienced that sh*tshow first hand and I asked breastfeeding and formerly breastfeeding moms to describe what engorgement actually feels like. Guess what? Not one of them liked it. That's just science, my friends.
Engorgement is weird. It's simultaneously otherwordly and about as in and preoccupied with your body as you can get. Many of us will go through dramatic physical changes over the course of our lives, but those changes tend to be gradual — changes we only notice once they've settled onto us for a while, like a few extra pounds, longer hair, wrinkles. Engorgement, on the other hand, is a dramatic physical change that happens in the blink of an eye. It's also uncomfortable, and that's your best possible option. At worst it hurts like a sonmabitch.
Trust me on this one: I once spent five days away from my 13-month-old baby while nursing. Despite regular pumping sessions, I basically spent the whole trip looking like the kind of cartoon woman a 13-year-old doodles in his notebook during a particularly boring biology class and feeling like I was going to break something. (Or, more accurately, burst something... and by "something" I mean "one or both of my breasts.")
But don't take this as gospel on my word alone. I've got 14 other mamas to back me up on this: