It was a classic setting. My husband, my brand new baby boy, and I had just come home from the hospital. After a sleepless night–but a good night, nonetheless, as we were in familiar surroundings–I woke and snuggled up in bed to nurse my sweet new baby boy.
But, he wanted nothing to do with it. As soon as he saw my breast, he fussed and turned away.
After about an hour of trying, we called the hospital and asked what we should do. The consensus was to take him back to the hospital.
Well, it was a rainy July 4, and a Saturday to boot, so we had to go to the emergency room.
My poor sweet baby boy was instantly diagnosed with jaundice and a lactation consultant was called to speak with me.
The instant the lactation consultant saw me, she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness are you ever engorged!”
She poked at my breasts and shook her head. My breasts were essentially the size of basketballs–so full that the milk was backing up into several, painful, larger-than-golf-ball sized lumps in my armpits.
“You’ve got hyperlactaion,” she uttered after a short examination. Then she called for a breast pump to be brought to me.
I praise God for that hospital grade Medela breast pump that came to my rescue that day. It relieved the tremendous pressure which I had previously thought was normal. Plus, it provided fresh milk for my poor little boy to eat.
Every three hours that night, I pumped, tried to breastfeed my baby who still wanted nothing to do with it, then bottle fed him pumped milk through a bottle.
The next morning we were released from the hospital–again. This time armed with more knowledge as to what was going on with my body.
When we got home, my hubby went out and rented a hospital grade pump so I could relieve the pressure and feed my baby. After about a month of renting, we went ahead and bought a Medela Freestyle pump.
I wish I could say that the Little Mister and I finally succeeded at breastfeeding. But that’s just not how our story went. I tried every day for hours to get the Little Mister to breastfeed, but he screamed each session and refused to properly latch on. We attended many lactation consultant meetings, met with other breastfeeding moms, and tried as best we could. But I was never able to successfully breastfeed my firstborn baby.
With a strong desire to provide him nourishing breast milk, I instead pumped my breast milk for him.
What was weird was that I quickly discovered that, even though I was only pumping two to three times per 24 hour period (I’d usually only pump when the pressure became too painful), I produced enough milk to feed my son six times over! Hence the reason I was told I had hyperlactation–I had an abundance of milk.
Other issues I had was waking up with my entire shirt and sheet soaked, my breasts would violently squirt milk pretty much no matter what (well, when they weren’t covered), and I’d go through a ridiculous amount of breast pads (I’d stuff about three thick cloth ones into my bra at a time).
After feeding my son, I would freeze my milk for future use. A vast majority of it was donated to our local milk bank.
After almost a year I decided to wean my son from breast milk (at the same time our doctor said he could switch to cow’s milk) because pumping was very annoying and because our freezer was SO overrun with milk that he had enough for another year anyway!