I delivered a surrogate baby 4 weeks ago. He lives in another state and since he left (at 3 days), I've been pumping and donating to a milk bank. My nipples are still WAY sore-- like don't-hug-me and showers-are-evil sore. What's the deal? And is there hope in sight?
Background: I've been a heavy pumper in the past. My breasts are hypoplastic, so I have low supply, which has necessitated lots of quality time with the pump. With my second baby, I did the weigh-nurse-weigh-pump-feed routine for months and then pumped when I went back to work. No problems. Pumped with my first too (I nursed both babies too, in case that's not obvious). I never had any soreness beyond the first couple of days (or maybe weeks-- I don't remember-- but not like this!).
Now: I'm pumping every four hours, but skipping the one overnight. I use a Medela Classic (hospital-grade) at home and a PIS Advanced at work. My breasts are not sore, just the nipples. The breastsheilds I'm using are the standard size, which I feel pretty confident is correct. I use the lowest suction on the Classic and middle/high on the PISA (a similar level to low on the Classic). I'm getting about 22 oz/day total.
The area around my nipple is light pink-- you can tell it's sore or healing or something. And I guess most accurately, it's that area immediately surrounding the nipples (not the whole aereola) that's the most sore-- though the actual nipples are sore too, I think. Ow. I had a couple of cracks immediately after the birth (within the first week), but they healed and there's nothing obviously wrong now.
I really don't want to pay to go to an LC when I'm only pumping to donate. Anything you can think of for me to try? My midwife suggested using olive oil to lube, but that didn't help. I know the other option is to just stop pumping, but after all the supply battles in the past and having to rely on donated milk myself, it's been so awesome to be able to "pay it forward," so to speak. I'd really like to keep it up for at least a few more weeks-- ideally, for a couple of months.