Re: Involution and discomfort
Yes, exactly! It's a normal part of the lactation experience, and some people think that this interlude of cell death may be why women who nurse are less likely to get breast cancer than those who never breastfeed. It's possible that involution clears out some precancerous cells. Neat, right?
So...everyone goes through involution
Not me. And I haven't heard a lot of complaints from moms who weaned gradually. Moms who weaned abruptly, when they still had lots of milk, yes- but not the ones who weaned slowly.
If so, has anyone else been this uncomfortable?
This seems really unlikely to me. Thyroid hormones do affect supply. But the master regulator of milk production is prolactin, which is produced in your pituitary gland. The way it works is that when a baby nurses, you respond by producing oxytocin. Oxytocin stimulates your pituitary to make prolactin, which travels to the breast and stimulates milk production.
Just worried that if the new meds are working and my hypothyroidism is subsiding a bit...could my milk be coming back?
What's missing in your picture is the stimulation of the breast. You haven't been nursing or pumping until just recently, so there should be no reason for milk supply to bounce back up. This makes me think that the soreness you are experiencing may come from something other than being full of milk... But what?
If the discomfort is so intense that you really can't stand it, go ahead and pump or nurse. The only potential downside is that pumping or nursing creates more milk, and if being full is the source of the soreness, you're going to perpetuate that problem.
And, if so, should I pump a little bit and eventually let myself dry up?
I think you have to go by symptoms. If you spike a fever, start feeling generalized aches and pains, see redness on the surface of the breast, feel a lot of deep breast pain- then you're heading into mastitis territory.
How would I know if this stuff was puss or if it was involution milk?
Seeing plugs after weaning is not typical. I'd keep a very close eye on them, and watch for those other symptoms.
I do not have any streaks or redness and I do not believe I have a fever. I can physically see the plugs but wasn't sure if that was normal after weaning.
ETA: Vibration can sometimes help break up the plugs and allow milk to flow. So if you have a personal massager or electric toothbrush, try holding that against the breast and seeing if anything changes.
So bummed about all of this.
Last edited by @llli*mommal; June 28th, 2014 at 05:11 AM.
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