Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mastitis & Breastfeeding Problems

Breastfeeding issues are a little odd to discuss with just anyone and when I started having problems this time around I had no idea what was wrong with me. I was scared and didn't have a clue as to what I could do to make myself better; that is until I spoke with my mom. Who would have ever guessed that my mother would be a wealth of information about all things mom (note a little sarcasm).

Let me start off by saying that after I give birth to my kids I essentially hibernate for two months until my kids have had their first round of immunization shots. I do this because there are so many new strands of viruses and bacteria and if my newborn were to get sick so early on it would be a HUGE ordeal with taking him to the hospital and putting him through all kinds of tests. To me, it is not worth the risk. I am not a complete germaphobe. After our 2-month wellness visit we are out and about and going all over the place.

I breastfed my first born child William for several months with absolutely no mishaps or issues to speak of. He latched on from day one in the hospital and ate as much as he could whenever he could. I did have difficulty pumping with him, so when he started eating solid food he was weaned off of the breast because I couldn't keep up my milk supply.

With my second son Steven I started breastfeeding at the hospital no problem. He takes a little while to latch on, but he eventually gets there. Recently I had family over to visit at my home and I noticed soreness in my left breast. I didn't sleep well the night before because Steven was being fussy. I was extremely tired and as soon as my family left I put both of the boys down for a nap and tried to sleep as well. This was not going to happen...

I could not sleep because I could not stop shivering. I had a fever of 101.4 and I had extreme nausea. When I tried to feed my son I could only do so in little increments because I would need to put him down to go vomit. My left breast felt like someone was sticking needles in it. It was rock hard and hot to the touch. Not fun at all! I had awful flu-like symptoms and no idea how I could possibly have gotten the flu. We are still in the hibernation phase with Steven and limit who we are in contact with. Needless to say I was terrified I had caught something and I was going to pass it on to my newborn.

I told my husband about my symptoms and he thought it might be food poisoning. He took our toddler to his parents house and left me at home with the newborn to rest and try and recover. I slept on and off the whole day, waking up to breastfeed and vomit. I was not a pretty sight.

Later that evening my mother called me to chat and I told her all about what was wrong with me. She suggested that I might have a clogged milk duct and that I should look it up online.

Out came my ipad and I started my search. I googled breastfeeding problems associated with clogged ducts and read an endless amount of information from a ton of different websites. Some had described the problem, some even had a picture of what it could look like, and a few even offered multiple at home solutions to help cope.

I emailed my Dr. and requested an appointment for first thing Monday morning. I would try the at home treatments all day Sunday. Normally I would go to walk-in-care, but my past experiences with walk-in-care leave something to be desired. I guess it says something that I would rather suffer and wait a whole day than go to walk-in-care. What can I say I am stubborn.

I took multiple hot showers and continued to breastfeed my son starting with the affected breast. I tried to eat and keep down my food. I rested and rested and rested some more. I massaged the affected breast and used hot compresses. Pretty soon my fever was down to 99.9 and I was starting to feel better. With mastitis you need to be put on antibiotics in order to clear up the infection. Even though I was feeling better I knew I had to go into the Dr. still in order to get antibiotics. I was told that the antibiotics were safe for my baby to continue with breastfeeding. Mastitis was something I could encounter again while breastfeeding. Just because I had taken care of it this time around did not mean that it was something I would never have to encounter again. Hooray me!

The antibiotics have to be taken four times a day. After one day I felt completely better. I am so happy that I was able to figure out what was wrong with me. I have spoken to several women who completely stopped breastfeeding because they had a clogged duct or mastitis and didn't know what was wrong with them or how to make it better. I think that if more information is out there about this than more women can successfully breastfeed. I believe in being well informed.

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