Yesterday, I shared my experience with taking a breastfeeding break due to breast abscesses. And because I know there are moms out there in similar situations who want to keep breastfeeding but may feel helpless, today I wanted to share some tips. It’s important to realize that if your milk dries up due to surgery, illness, or some other problem, a lot of times you can get it back. But it does take some work—and you have to be borderline obsessive about it. Here are five things that worked for me!
5 Tips to Begin Breastfeeding Again
1. Time off. Take off at least one week to focus on nursing your baby and pumping as frequently as possible. This was helpful to me not only because it helped me get my milk supply up, but also because after my illness, I desperately needed the rest.
2. Pumping sessions. I set an alarm that went off every two hours. Then I pumped for 15 minutes. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was for the first week when I didn’t get ANY milk on the affected side. I also can’t tell you how excited I was when I got the first drop to come out after over a week of pumping.
3. Skin-to-skin contact. In the end, I think this was what brought the milk back. There were a few long, lazy, luxurious days in there where I was in bed, baby on my chest, nursing and watching movies. I think this was also good for my daughter, who had just been through quite an ordeal as well with all the surgeries and almost three weeks of hospital stays.
4. Good food…and a lot of it. Looking back, I think one of the reasons I got so sick after my daughter’s birth was because I wasn’t eating enough. Do not restrict your calorie intake in the first few weeks after delivery. When I increased my intake of lean meat and raw fruits and vegetables, I noticed a significant improvement in my health.
5. Hydration. By now you’ve probably heard the helpful tip to have a glass of water with you at every feeding. During this period, hydration is especially important, so try to have a glass of water with you at all pumping and feeding sessions.
In four weeks, my milk supply was back to normal and breastfeeding was even pain-free. I went on to nurse my daughter well into toddlerhood, and breastfeeding my second child has been a breeze. If you are in a similar situation and are determined to continue breastfeeding, know that it can be done.
By the way, did I mention support? I couldn’t have done it without the support of family and friends, as well as online support groups and an amazing lactation consultant. If you are dealing with an abscess and have questions, find support. In fact, please feel free to email me here with any questions about my own experience.
Did you have a rocky breastfeeding experience? How did you get through it? —Nicole