Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The foibles of nursing mothers

I won't belabor, but I figured enough women out there would relate to this that I'd dedicate a short post to it. That's what this blog is all about. :) Serving up Too Much Information on a regular basis...

Anyway, today's installment is devoted to my undergarments. You see, when I nursed Henry (for over a year) I had a major problem with clogged milk ducts. Nothing makes you feel like a dairy cow more than thinking about ones "milk ducts", believe me. It's very unpleasant, and it HURTS like a very, very bad word. You get a very tender, hard spot and nothing relieves it except for the baby nursing and clearing it. I had *dozens* of clogged ducts when nursing Henry, and the pump only cleared them 1 time. The others, I had to wait it out until I got home to nurse him.

At first I thought it was related to my milk supply changing when I returned to work after delivering Henry (and consequently pumping), but eventually the lactation consultant I met with told me that it was my bra. You see, I am very uncomfortable wearing a bra with no underwire. Let's just say that I'm not the most endowed of all women, and that I like a little liftage support, ok? B cup bras just look ridiculous with no underwire.

And so I was wearing nursing bras with underwires. The lactation consultant tsked me with a furrowed brow. Apparently underwire can cause clogged ducts, and I had to replace my nursing bras right away.

As if I didn't already *hate* nursing bras. I do, I really hate them. I'm going to just say it: they're ugly. Just because we're nursing a baby doesn't mean we want to feel unappealing and undesirable. I really think Victoria's Secret needs to make nursing bras. Maybe we'd like our husbands to think of something other than the functional aspect of that part of our anatomy when they look at us, kwim?

So anyway, I crankily bought 2 nursing bras sans underwire, one nude and one black, and although they fit well, I still hated them. AND the clogged ducts persisted, although not quite as frequently. It was a real problem until I weaned Henry.

Now, with Anne, everything is totally different. 5 months and nary a clog to behold. So, I got complacent.

Yesterday, I wore a regular bra. Sweet, sweet regular bra! My nursing bras just have such thick straps that they're always showing and I couldn't take it anymore. In my regular bra, I had nice thin straps that stayed inside my shirt, I didn't have to worry about my (sorry, I have to say it) nipples showing through without those shifty little breast pads stuffed in there, I had just 2 dainty hooks to worry about in the back, and the whole shebang was attractive and delicate. I just figured I'd arrange it craftily when I went to pump, no worries.

Until the later part of the afternoon. After I pumped for the second time, I ran to the ATM to get some cash. My arm bumped against my side when I walked, and I thought,

"Ouch. Gee, that hurt."

I was in denial, so I let it go. Suddenly, I noticed that that side hurt even when nothing was touching it.

"Gosh, something sure feels tender on that side."

Pretty soon I was discreetly trying to feel myself up as I walked.


The verdict was in. I had a clogged duct. No more regular bras for me. :(

I had to suffer until I got both kids home whereupon I nursed Anne immediately on that side. The clog was gone in minutes.

So I think I have to break down and spend yet more money on something I hate, but it has to be done. I see that has some for a cheap price. *frowny face* The ones I have just aren't working. I want something less conspicuous (thinner straps) and it would be nice if they had actual cups that aren't paper thin. Does anybody have any recommendations that won't cost a fortune?


  1. Don't get the Walmart ones. They actually do have underwire, which I ended up cutting out, and besides, they're not very nice at all. They're thin, they have wide straps, and they're ugly. 0 for 3.

    Don't know what to recommend, though -- I used the Walmart ones exclusively for a year, and now I'm back to my Victoria's Secret (A-cup) non-nursing bra, because the Walmart ones got baggy once we were down to only nursing twice a day. I love the VS ones myself, because that style was the only A-cup I could find with no wire and no padding, because I hate both. Tastes are different, I guess!

  2. Very interesting, thanks Sheila! I didn't get the Walmart ones. :) Someone recommended Fig Leaves to me, and I just ordered 2 bras. I'll post about it tomorrow. :)

  3. I buy Target. They have colors outside of the three big ones (white, beige, and black).

    Oh, and I read somewhere that using a comb and sort of stroking the clog helps if you don't have kids around. Or messaging it. Don't know if it will help you, but I thought I'd throw that out there.


Thank you for commenting! I read and appreciate every single one, and I will respond to each one personally!