Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Breastfeeding boob!

GAZING DOWN into my baby’s cherubic face, I smiled. Her huge blue eyes were the exact shade and shape as mine. Her soft blonde hair curled around itself at the nape of her neck, a mirror image of my ringlets.
‘Are you hungry, sweetie?’ I asked, fumbling to undo my bra for her mid-morning feed.
Anais opened her mouth, moved closer to my bare breast and - chomp! - bit down hard on my nipple with something else that were also a photocopy of mine. Her two bucked front teeth.
She was eleven months old and these incisors had just cut their way through her sore, pink gums. But these weren’t teensy little baby teeth.
No, these suckers were giant tombstones, sticking out at a wild 45 degree angle, with a motorway-sized gap between them.
With her mouth closed, my baby looked like she’d fallen out of a Michelangelo painting, all podgy dimples and velvet skin.
Lips apart, she resembled SpongeBob SquarePants. Only her teeth were bigger, more prominent – with a vice-like clamp that now had me screaming for mercy.
‘Ow,ow,ow,ow, OUCH!’ I yelled, finally prising her jaws apart. ‘That’s it. No more breastfeeding. It’s bottles for you from now on.’
Those huge gnashers were too dangerous now. I’d become quite attached to my nipples, and wanted to keep them both intact.
So I stopped breastfeeding, just like that. I wanted my boobs – as well as my life – back.
‘It’ll be fine,’ I told myself. ‘Anais is on solids anyway. How hard can it be to get her to drink formula from a bottle?’
Big mistake. I hadn’t figured for the only other thing bigger than my baby’s front teeth – her stubbornness.
I bought special bottles with teats that resembled the breast. ‘Waaaaaaah’ went Anais, spitting it out.
I tried a beaker, a cup, a syringe, even a spoon. The results were just the same - a puce-faced baby screaming so loud it made my brain shudder.
Sssh, it tastes nice,’ I pleaded, placing the bottle next to my breast to try and trick her. No such luck.
Exasperated, and feeling like crying myself, I turned to my husband, Alexio. ‘You’ll have to do it,’ I said, thrusting the baby and the formula into his arms.
Without me there, our thirsty daughter gave in and emptied a bottle, then another.
I ran upstairs to escape – and that’s when it hit me. A red-hot pain slicing through both my breasts, making my nipples and under my armpits throb.
My boobs were engorged with milk. ‘Oh no,’ I panicked, running a bath and placing hot flannels on them. Nothing.
I slumped in front of the TV, trying to ignore the pulsating agony now overwhelming my top half.
‘This is hurting me more than it hurts you,’ I said through gritted teeth as I tried to pump the excess milk away, while a now-full Anais stared at me.
An hour later my boobs were bigger and more painful than ever. More worryingly, they were full of lumps.
Oowwwwww,’ I yelped, unable to even put my arms by my side in case they grazed my swollen breasts.
All day and night I watched my breasts balloon until they must have been 44JJs.
I couldn’t wear a bra. By bedtime I couldn’t even wear a top. I took painkillers to try and fall asleep, then dreamt I was drowning in milk.
The next morning, I could hardly see over my Dolly Parton-size appendages. ‘Are you OK?’ my husband asked anxiously as I downed more painkillers.
‘Do I look all right?’ I snapped, trying not to jiggle my boobs for fear of knocking myself out.
‘Look on the internet to see what I can do,’ I begged. I couldn’t get near enough to the keyboard to type.
Every website said the same thing. Do not stop breastfeeding suddenly. Drop a feed at a time so your breasts don’t become engorged.
Too late. My baby was on the bottle – and that’s all I wanted too. I hadn’t drunk for almost two years but a bottle of rioja was the only way to get over this agony.
Unfortunately, it was only 10am, so I needed an alternative, but what? I couldn’t cope with these giant breasts for much longer.
And then I remembered reading that cabbage was a cure all. ‘Well it’s meant to help with sore nipples when you’re breastfeeding,’ I thought. ‘So it must work when your whole boobs are aching.’
But I wasn’t going out in public looking like this. So I sent Alexio. ‘It has to be a Savoy cabbage,’ I instructed. ‘I’m looking for a cure for my poor boobs, not an ingredient for soup.’
Half an hour later, he was back with a whole bag full of greens. I ripped the leaves off one and started banging it with a rolling pin.
‘I need whatever goodness is in it to come out fast,’ I told a puzzled looking Alexio. Then I shoved the cabbage down my top and waited…
I looked ridiculous with Savoy leaves sprouting over the top of my T-shirt but within 10 minutes a strange thing happened – the pain began to subside.
Half an hour later, the soreness was bearable and my nipples didn’t feel like they were being sawn with a rusty axe grinder.
Aaaaaah,’ I sighed, collapsing my arms by my side for the first time in 24 hours.
An hour later, I was pain-free and my boobs were slowly reducing.
I changed the cabbage leaves every few hours, while praying no one came to visit. By the end of the day I was cured.
There were no lumps, no bumps and my breasts were back down to a more manageable 40DD – still big but at least I could lift up my baby, and see where I was going.
‘Mamma’s all better,’ I said, cradling Anais. She looked up at me and smiled. I winced at the sight of those teeth.
‘Better start saving for braces,’ I thought, imagining the orthodentist’s bill in 10 years time.
Still, at least she was happily guzzling formula from a beaker and I was back in my pre-pregnancy bras.
I headed downstairs for the fridge. ‘I love cabbage,’ I said, grabbing it from the shelf and throwing it in the bin. Part of my five a day? Never. I couldn’t eat it again knowing where some leaves had been. But when it came to sore boobs Savoy cabbage was the breast. 


  1. Very very funny - especially the bit about the Savoy Cabbage!

    Liz (LivingwithKids)


  2. this made me feel a bit sick...