No matter how much a mom may want to breastfeed, sometimes it is simply out of her control. While it can be incredibly frustrating, moms need to remember that their breastfeeding abilities don't match what they may have wanted or expected. Even though they may feel like failures, it certainly doesn't make them out to be that way.
Our bodies let us down sometimes or just don't live up to our breastfeeding goals.
After having a baby our body goes through a lot of changes, but it doesn't just stop there. We also go through some serious changes as our milk comes in and then again when it dries up. While both are supposed to be natural processes, sometimes our bodies just don't get the message or can't handle it.
It's extremely frustrating when our bodies let us down. It can really mess with a mom's head when her body doesn't provide the nutrition and nourishment that her baby needs or she for some reason has to stop. It's hard to let go of what we hoped for and wanted even though it is likely for baby's best interest.
The end of breastfeeding is bittersweet. On one end, we are so excited to get more sleep, our bodies back, and wear regular bras. On the other hand, we are losing a great season of bonding with our babies, and formula is expensive. As our milk dries up, our hormones will go wild yet again. It's crazy how much our body goes through during these stages.
20 Should Stop: Engorged And Sore
Engorgement during the first few days after birth when our milk comes in is normal. Engorgement after that, especially longer than 24 to 48 hours, can signify a problem. According to KellyMom, it is something that we should be able to generally treat ourselves. If it continues though, despite our efforts, it can impact the baby's ability to latch on or be a sign of mastitis.
Engorgement doesn't sound like a huge deal, but it can be rather painful. It proves to be a problem when it is super painful for us when baby latches on. It is also troublesome when the engorgement makes it too difficult for a baby to eat.
19 After You Do: The Pounds Go Up
Some moms swear that breastfeeding is what makes their baby weight basically fall off. They might be on to something. Breastfeeding requires about 300 to 500 extra calories per day according to KellyMom.
Once we stop producing milk, our appetites will probably take some time to adjust and go back to normal. We'll likely be consuming more than we're burning.
Breastfeeding makes it hard to diet because we need to maintain calories to produce milk. In order to not gain weight once we stop producing milk, we'll likely have to readjust our diet and caloric intake. Many of us weren't aware of how quickly that will catch up with us once we stop breastfeeding and put on the weight we dropped after baby.
18 Should Stop: Mom Has A Fever
One great thing about breastfeeding is that it creates antibodies that we pass to our babies to help build up their immune systems. It usually isn't a big deal that mom is sick, and normally she is encouraged to continue to breastfeed. KellyMom reports that breastfeeding is fine for the baby if mom is sick.
It may not be best for mom though to continue breastfeeding if she has a fever. Many of us do not get enough fluids while sick which can hurt our milk supply (and baby). One common cause of fever in a breastfeeding mom is called Mastitis. Though we can continue to breastfeed through it, many women stop as a result of it especially if it is recurrent.
According to MayoClinic, one risk of Mastitis is having it previously. It can come back throughout our time breastfeeding, and it is hard to take care of a baby while we are repeatedly sick.
17 After You Do: Milk Leaks
Just because we decide we are done breastfeeding does not mean our body gets the message right away. It will take time for our milk to dry up. As our body catches on and still produces milk, it is pretty normal for us to leak milk. The process of drying up is anything but instantaneous, which is why many suggest weaning slowly.
According to KellyMom once we have produced milk it is normal to leak for weeks, months, or even years though it is usually mostly contained to the 2 to 3 weeks after we stop breastfeeding. Looks like we won't get rid of those wonderful pads so soon after all!
16 Should Stop: Plugged Ducts
Plugged or clogged milk ducts are painful. It's quite unpleasant, but it is something that happens to breastfeeding moms all of the time. Oh, the things we go through for our kids!
While a plugged duct on occasion may not be a reason to throw in the towel on our breastfeeding journey, repeated plugged ducts can be.
If the baby is not an effective nurser, chances are he's not emptying us. This can lead to a plugged duct. TheBump also reports that wearing a too tight bra and having too much pressure on the girls can be a cause for plugged ducts.
Plugged ducts leave moms feeling bruised and in pain. It can even hurt to nurse on that side which is what turns some of us off from breastfeeding. It is often a problem that we either have to suck it up and nurse through or quite honestly, quit breastfeeding altogether.
15 After You Do: Hormonal Changes
Hormones are a wonderful thing. (Note the sarcasm). Our hormones go absolutely wild from conception all the way up until after we stop breastfeeding. According to SheKnows, feelings of sadness and depression after weaning can happen due to a calming and relaxing hormone that is released when we produce milk. When that stops, it can leave us feeling sad all over again.
Our hormones also impact our skin. Some of us are super lucky that when our hormones change yet again we end up with acne. Super not fun. Things will eventually balance out and return to normal, but it can leave us feeling frustrated.
14 Should Stop: Constantly Cracking
There are some misconceptions about what is normal while breastfeeding. Constant cracking is not normal according to BabyCenter. Although it is not normal, it is something that can happen pretty often. Baby not latching properly is often the cause of cracking.
Another cause of cracking can happen is we are pumping. We may not be lining things up correctly or using the pump improperly. Both things can lead to cracking on a very sensitive area which is obviously painful.
Some women do try to tough it out when they are cracking but seeing a lactation consultant is often the best suggested solution as they can likely diagnose the problem mom and baby are having.
13 After You Do: Engorgement
Just because we decide to stop breastfeeding doesn't mean we automatically stop making milk. If we stop suddenly, engorgement will likely be a problem we experience. WebMD states that the engorgement will have the girls feeling hard to the touch. We will need to express some milk in order to get it to go away. It suggested to massage or hand express in the shower with warm water or a warm compress.
In order to avoid the pain of engorgement, it is often recommended that we wean slowly rather than all at once. If it takes a little bit longer, but we can save ourselves some pain, that's a pretty good deal.
12 Should Stop: There's Pus
One thing no one wants to see come out of their bodies, especially the girls while we have a breastfed baby, is pus. Yuck! Pus is often a result of Mastitis according to WebMD. This is one of the more serious symptoms that require prompt medical attention. Due to the more serious nature of the symptom, it can often time be the end of mom's breastfeeding journey.
Pus can also be a result of a clogged milk duct or a milk blister. None of these things sound fun, and that's because they aren't. Some of us quit when the breastfeeding road gets tough and that's okay. The pus can be accompanied by other unpleasant and painful systems usually. It may also be ingested by baby.
11 After You Do: Aunt Flo Returns!
One of the biggest perks of pregnancy and breastfeeding is that we don't have to worry about Mother Nature's monthly gift. In fact, some women go over a year without experiencing one. A great perk of breastfeeding is that it keeps Aunt Flo away for a while longer.
However when she comes back, a lot of times, she comes back with a vengeance. At least that is sure how it feels.
According to Parents.com, we can expect our first visit from Aunt Flo to be heavier and more painful than usual. It's kind of nature's way of making up for lost time. So just when we may be celebrating having our bodies back to ourselves, Aunt Flo will likely make an appearance.
10 Should Stop: Hard Lumps
Lumps in the ladies are never a good sign. It can be normal that we get lumps from clogged ducts but we should be able to rub them out or they fix themselves as baby nurses. According to BabyCenter, if a lump is small and tender it may be a clogged duct.
Nursing is, in fact, one of the best ways to resolve a clogged duct. It can be bothersome to the baby though that milk comes out a bit slower.
If we continuously have clogged ducts, hard lumps, and tender lumps, we may be tempted to throw in the towel and stop breastfeeding. These problems can lead to Mastitis which can mean mom is pretty sick. It can be hard to take care of a baby when we are barely able to take care of ourselves.
9 After You Do: The Girls Will Shrink
One of the perks of breastfeeding is how great the ladies look. When our milk comes in, they are bigger than ever before and stay that way until we stop breastfeeding. While it might be great to not have so much weight on our chest anymore, we'd be lying if we said we didn't miss them. Big ladies can be a kind of fun!
What's even worse is that instead of just going back to normal, many women's chests actually get smaller than before pregnancy according to RedbookMag.
Sadly, there's really not much we can do to control how our chests change after breastfeeding. Some of us would be happy with a smaller chest while others will really miss having a bigger set of knockers.
8 Should Stop: They're Warm And Red
Warm and red is never a good sign. Warm and red girls can be pretty painful and uncomfortable. They are a sign of a problem, usually a plugged duct or Mastitis. They can occur when the baby does not efficiently empty each side.
One way to solve this problem is to go to bed with baby and nurse for about a day at least, according to KellyMom. We should make sure we are emptying both sides via nursing or a pump.
These problems can get worse though and can reoccur if not treated promptly and properly. There may be an issue with baby's latch or she may not be getting enough milk.
7 After You Do: Saggy Ladies
Just as many women experience their own personal form of shrinkage when they quit breastfeeding, many of us find that the ladies just aren't as perky as before.
In fact, they might not even be anywhere near the vicinity of "perky" anymore.
Elle reports that both breastfeeding and pregnancy can cause our girls to stretch out as they fill with milk once we deliver the placenta. Just as the elasticity of the skin that was stretched everywhere else changes so does the elasticity of the girls. This can be a large factor in the saggy ladies that we often experience once our milk is gone.
6 Should Stop: Lumpy Milk
Obviously, breastmilk doesn't expire like the milk in our fridge, but it can still have lumps. The normal lumps in breastmilk are usually seen when we pump. It is the fat and regular milk separating while refrigerated according to KellyMom.
Though we usually don't see what baby gets when he is nursing, we may end up noticing if our milk has lumps while nursing simply because it may cause baby a little hassle. It's not to say that our milk went sour because that's not the case. But it likely means we have a clogged duct somewhere that baby is hopefully resolving and working out. Clogged ducts do require attention because if they are not resolved and unclogged, they can cause infection.
5 After You Do: Better Bedroom Time
It is hard to feel hot when we are leaking milk, so it's not a total surprise that quitting breastfeeding will result in better mommy and daddy time.
According to Parents.com, breastfeeding can often cause trouble in the bedroom. We don't want to be touched, especially there, which can hinder some things. Sometimes we're even sore from breastfeeding especially if we're new at it.
Our emotions and insecurities should start to regulate as we get our own bodies back. As our hormones go back to normal we may even notice that we are wetter than we were while breastfeeding as that can often be a cause of dryness.
4 Should Stop: There's Red
One thing that definitely raises red flags is when we have blood in our milk. During the first few days, it can be normal if we experience cracking or milk blisters. Though it is freaky, it is safe to breastfeed even if our milk shows blood, according to VeryWellFamily. It can be caused by Mastitis or broken blood vessels in the ladies.
If we have infections that can be passed through blood, it is important we stop breastfeeding ASAP to protect baby from being infected. Though a little blood can be normal, even without infection, if it continues there could be a more serious problem such as Paget's disease or ductal carcinoma.
3 After You Do: Better Bladder Control
Almost immediately after having a baby we just have to accept that we will undoubtedly pee when we laugh, cough, or sneeze. Though those problems will never completely go away, the good news is that once we stop breastfeeding, we will at least have a little better bladder control.
So basically we'll only pee some of the time. It'll keep life interesting that's for sure!
Just as we blame our hormones for a lot of things, they are the culprits behind those little pee sneezes as well. As reported by TheList, a hormone known as Relaxin is produced when we give birth to make things easier and looser. Once we are done breastfeeding, this hormone should go away for the most part, improving our bladder control.
2 Should Stop: It's Painful To Nurse
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding breastfeeding is that it is supposed to hurt. It's not. Our toes shouldn't curl. It shouldn't be worse than birth. Though we can experience contractions in the first week or so after birth as our uterus shrinks, it shouldn't hurt every time baby just latches on.
Though we may want to tough it out for the benefit of the baby, we shouldn't. According to KellyMom, pain while nursing usually indicates a problem with baby's latch, our anatomy, or a possible infection. Skin damage such as cracking or blisters will be painful and are also signs of a bigger complication.
Engorgement is usually pretty painful and a sign that baby isn't doing his job at emptying our milk like he should which can be a potential problem for both of us.
1 After You Do: Plugged Ducts
Plugged ducts occur when we aren't properly emptying the ladies. Just as they may be the reason we stop breastfeeding, they can happen afterward. According to KellyMom, weaning too quickly or suddenly can cause plugged ducts.
Our body doesn't know that we are weaning and will still produce milk. With the milk not leaving, it can cause a clog that can get pretty painful.
These plugged ducts can turn into engorgement if we don't resolve them. Though we may want to quit, we might still have to remove enough milk to relieve the clog as to not cause further problem or infection.
References: KellyMom, KellyMom, KellyMom, Mayo, Kellymom, TheBump, SheKnows, BabyCenter, WebMD, WebMD, Parents, BabyCenter, RedBook, Elle, KellyMom, Parents, TheList, VeryWell, KellyMom