Monday, June 20, 2011

Breastmilk with no baby....

This is something no one really wants to talk about. For those who are going through it the pain is too severe, those not going through it do not even want to think about if it were to happen to them. I am the later. It happened to a family member of mine, my sister to be exact. Years ago she lost her first child while 8 months pregnant, due to a feak accident with the umbilical chord. Never mind the fact she had to go into labor, knowing her son would not go home with her...... but to then experience breastmilk production? To me it is just a huge slap in the face and yet another emotional pain that no one wants.

But it does happen...... more times than it should. At no fault of anyone. For one reason or another...... a mummie will produce breastmilk with no baby to share it with. A mummie will go home...... baby-less. It could be just after birth, days or even months down the road..... somewhere out there a mummie finds herself with no one to feed.

First I want to say, the phrase "don't cry over spilled milk" does not apply in this situation. If you (or someone you know) are going through this..... please PLEASE understand it is okay to cry over this.

I have found some tips and support that I wanted to share with you. If you find yourself needing to stop lactation, the tips are the same as if you had to stop breastfeeding due to medical reasons. Try to use a tight sports bra, anything that can apply pressure and "bind" your breasts will work.

(I know "binding" is a hot topic and many people do not believe in it. It can cause Mastitis and other infections... if you are not careful. I choose to do it when I had to stop breastfeeding Pooker... but it was my choice. I did the research on it and thought it was the best way for me to go. BUT I also used frozen cabbage leaves in my bra. These help draw out an infection and also is a great cold compress. I was so horribly engorged that ANY slight touch or even brush on my breasts made me scream out in pain. So wearing a tight sports bra did help keep my breasts close.... which did help the pain if they were touched. I also pumped a little amount two times a day, to relieve the pain. I did this for 4 days.... and then my body got the idea and stopped producing so much milk. These tips and ideas are only suggestions. Please do not take them as me telling you what to do. You still should research and decide what is best for you.)

Cold compresses will help with the physical pain, the use of frozen cabbage leaves inside your bra will help as well. There are also herbal teas that you can drink that will help reduce the lactation. Earth Mama Angel Baby has a "No More Milk Tea" for this very reason.  You can also take Advil for the pain and Benedryl has also been known to dry up (reduce) breastmilk.

If you are already established with your breastmilk and you are suffering from the loss of your baby.......you might find yourself in a different situation.The pain from the engorgement might be too severe to deal with. Please know it is okay to pump or hand express some breastmilk. Do not do this to the point of being empty, just pump or express enough to lessen the pain and discomfort. Only do this method when you can not stand the feeling of being engorged. Maybe once or twice a day and try to lessen the amount of time each session. I do suggest you try the above methods as well. Stopping the production of breastmilk is all the same, no matter how established your supply is.

If you find yourself with more strength than I think I would have..... and you want to give your breastmilk to another baby in need. You could do this in loving memory of your lost baby. There are milk banks that accept donations, you could speak with a Lactation Consultant from your local hospital, or find your Le Leche League Chapter to see if they know of  babies in need.

(Human Milk 4 Human Babies is another way you can donate. I have be a follower of theirs for sometime now... and they do amazing match ups with babies in need. They are more of a connection than a milk bank. They put a face to the baby in need and allow you to be connected with the family you donate to. Thank you to the poster below for reminding me!)

There is no reason why these little babies are taken from us. There is no explanation a parent can get, that will make it easier to handle. There is also no explanation why "un fit" parents seem to not experience this heartache. There are only hugs, love and support that we can give to those in the situation.

My heart aches for you and your precious angel. I won't say "hang in there" or "it will get better". I will say you are loved and you are not alone.






6 comments:

  1. I cannot imagine going through this, but would wish courage to anyone who must deal with this type of situation.

    Here are some further tips on decreasing lactation: http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milksupply/herbs-oversupply.html

    I would avoid binding your breasts, as it can lead to mastitis/plugged ducts, you can read more about it here:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/weaning_mom.html

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  2. Thanks for giving more information. "Binding" may not be for everyone....I choose to do it, but also used the cabbage leaves at the same time.

    Thanks for adding some great links!

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  3. This is a very good post,and something that is rarely addressed (but needs to be). You addressed this topic very gently. Thank you!

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  4. Breast binding is not recommended because it can cause mastitis and plugged ducts. I understand you chose to do it, but it is not something you should be advising others to do (because of the high risks it carries).

    As for donating milk, human milk 4 human babies is a great place for milk sharing/donation. It is free, and may mean something more to the mother who is donating, if she can actually see how her gift has helped another child thrive.

    Some other ways to dry up milk are sage pills/tea, sudafed, or estrogen based birth control pills.

    What you wrote about is so sad, and unthinkable for many of us. My cousin lost her baby in her 8th month - the baby died in utero, and labor had to be initiated in order to get her baby out :( I cannot even imagine going through all of that, and knowing there is no chance for the child :( My heart breaks for all of the mommies (and their families) who have had to experience and endure that pain.

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  5. I wanted to mention that I did edit this post. I did not remove or change any text. I did however add some. What I added is in bold and italic print.
    Thank you to the mummies who have commented and shared their tips!

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  6. I've had two friends lose their babies the day of delivery. One occured during my pregnancy, the other shortly after my son was born. Both situations brought up feelings I never new existed until becoming a mother myself - thank you for posting in such a delicate manner. Hopefully someone finds comfort in your posts.

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Thanks for commenting!