I don’t think there can be an article in this flat that is not now infiltrated by breast milk. It permeates everything.
Some is from madam messily eating. She used to be quite good – a quick swipe of a muslin and she was clear of it. But things have changed and typically the tide turned when at Mark & Maria’s French-chic flat when finishing feeding using one of their sofa cushions to prop Elphie up. On removing her from said cushion an ominous dark patch showed itself where Elphie had decided to take up messy eating and apparently allow milk to dribble from her mouth onto the cushion. Nice. And not at all embarrassing to fess up to. Nope, not at all.
The solution we have developed for this comes in the form of the travelling pillow. Fred’s sister Samantha had given us something like the following – a curved beanbag cushion with a handle, which at first I didn’t see the point of until I realised it was for travelling, now I don’t go anywhere without it because popping her on a pillow to breastfeed in public is much more comfortable than cradling her in my weak “never done weights” arms.
Then there is concentrated breast milk in the form of baby sick. Luckily Elphie is not a sicky baby, generally only possetting a small amount of milk, although this still has the ability to leave its mark on soft furnishings. The key to avoiding this is to ensure you have copious muslins and that she travels with one, especially when transferred to someone (as we learnt when Anna’s mother gave her a cuddle and she possetted on her shoulder). More fun is had when it’s a full vomit – she has only done this twice, once at the wedding we went to when saying hello to one of the brides precipitating the need for the car seat cover’s first wash; then there was the vomit all over mummy, mostly caught by her dress but also precipitating a wipe down of the sofa covers (thank goodness for Scotchguard).
Elphie is only partially responsible for the great breast milk flood of West London though, the greater villains of the piece being the breasts themselves.
Like eager puppies, they are ready for action at any moment. The let down reflex is a weird pins and needles slightly painful tingling feeling in my nipples which heralds the release of milk from my alveoli into the milk ducts. This can be prompted by Elphie crying, me thinking about the word breast, my desire to have a shower or anything random they decide to react to. At this point one or both will start to drip, destroying clothing, mattresses, bath mats, anything in their path!
This all might be a sign of hyperlactation but I don’t seem to be producing a massive amount of milk based on the amount I can express, it’s just very keen to come out.
The world is luckily full of breastfeeding aids to help control the urges of my mammary glands.
My implement of choice during the day is washable breast pads, round pads of material that slot into your bra. I find the washable ones more comfortable than the synthetic disposable ones and with two boxes seem always to have enough even when a number are in the wash.
For nights, I don’t like sleeping in a bra, so have gone a bit more hi-tech with these moulded bits of silicon (Lilypadz is the brand I got) which stick to your nipple and put pressure on it to prevent leakage.
These are much more comfortable at night, but need special silicon washing stuff and sometimes the breasts win the battle and leakage does occur which can also prevent them from sticking so well until you wash them, but that might be because I should have got the large size (recommended for DD cup size and above but harder to source).
Finally, I have a new toy recommended by someone from my NCT group: breast milk collection shells!
So when I feel that tingling feeling, want to have a shower or one breast gets jealous when using the other – I can pop one of these on, collect the nectar and add it to my expressed collection without the need to pump – genius!
And if things get really dire, for example if I am out and feed her with bottled expressed milk and subsequently my milkshake producers feel left out and become engorged. At this point, no barrier is going to handle their wrath and the only option is to get that milk out stat (I think I have been watching too much House), so I pump it out.
Currently I use a manual Avent pump (pictured) but think I will shell out for an electric one as all that pumping probably isn’t helping my hands recover from their carpel tunnel syndrome!