Forced to Take a Break From Breastfeeding

by Dagmar Bleasdale on February 23, 2009

l-cross-eyed

I haven’t breastfed Landon in days. I finally had to take antibiotics for the mystery virus I have had for two weeks, and it seems that because of the virus or the antibiotics my skin is more sensitive.

I got three deep cuts at the base of my nipples from letting Landon still nurse, and at some point last week I started crying when he nursed, it was so incredibly painful.

That was it for me — I had reached the breaking point and decided that I have to stop nursing him until those wounds heal.

But what to do? Landon has never been a day without breast milk since he was born two years and almost 4 months ago. How would he react, and how would I manage?

Well, I called my La Leche League leader, Lee, and she said I have to hand-express the milk so I don’t lose my milk supply.

I wanted to use my hand pump, but that would damage the skin even more. So I started my feeble attempts at hand expressing, which was so tedious and aggravating. There was milk all over my hands, more dripping than actually squirting out, it was so frustrating.

I was afraid I would get engorged if I could not manage to express more milk, but after a day of practice it got easier, and by now I’m a pro.

In the first few days I let Landon nurse once a day on the right side, but the wounds would rip open again and I was kind of back to square one.

I finally had to accept that he really can’t nurse until the wounds are totally healed. It’s too bad that both breasts are affected. I think it will take another two days for at least one nipple to be healed enough, I hope.

Even though I keep the wounds clean, put breast milk, antibiotic ointment, Bacitraycin, and another cream on them, the healing process has been surprisingly slow.

How is Landon doing with all of this? The first few days he asked for “ba ba” like he always does, about three times during the day or when he hurts himself, and I would try to explain to him that Mama has an “ouchee” on her breasts.

I offered him water and water/juice, and he was fine. During the night, when he usually nurses once or twice for a minute to fall asleep again, he cried when he could not nurse, but when I offered him to lie on my chest, he finally fell asleep again.

A few times he also asked for juice or water, which was a totally new thing, and after he got it, he fell asleep again with me shushing him. Now Landon might ask for milk maybe once a day, but I also make sure that he doesn’t see my exposed breasts or see me express milk, because I know he would want to nurse then.

Last night Don took Landon to see Grandma, and when he called me from there and put Landon on, the first thing he said was, “Ba ba.” It was so cute, but also heart-breaking. He loves his baba!

I really hope that this is not the end of our breastfeeding relationship; this is not how I want it to end.

Landon is slowly weaning himself, but we were still going strong. He still needs it and I still need it.

I’m not ready to give up this incredible thing I’m able to do for him, give him the nourishment and the comfort he needs. With all the benefits for Landon’s and my health that result from breastfeeding, why would I want to give this up?

I hope and pray he still wants to nurse when my breasts are finally healed.

Update: After a break of two weeks, we resumed breastfeeding – hooray! I wrote about it here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) November 25, 2009 at 11:42 PM

Ouch. It sounds like you had no other choice. I’m so glad it worked out in the end. Yay!

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