6 weeks ago today I was pushing out of me this tiny human that I had no idea I was going to fall head over heals in love with in a matter of seconds. I did not believe in love at first site until I had this smushy baby that I created laid down across my chest for my tear filled eye to gaze down upon. 6 weeks later I am still in awe when I gaze down at his face and wonder how I am so blessed to have been able to create such a previous gift.
With all the joys come the pain, breast pain for me that is. Unfortunately, I got mastitis in my right breast about 12 days ago. It is almost completely resolved now with the help of an antibiotic, Keflex, that the urgent care doctor prescribed me. It was however one of the most painful experiences I have endured.
I did not have much knowledge of mastitis prior to getting it and I had been feeling very fortunate that I had not experienced any issues with breast feeding that so many mother’s deal with. Since Addison was born he had a great latch. He was nursing within 30 minutes of his delivery and enjoyed a long 45 minute boob sesh.
At the hospital we had several nurses and a lactation consultant oversee how I nursed him and they all said he had a great latch and I was producing colostrum efficiently. They told me not to worry about pumping just yet because it would be overwhelming and to focus just on breastfeeding for the time being. So that’s what I did for the next two weeks.
At Addison’s 2 week appointment the pediatrician said that I should start pumping so that I can begin introducing him to a bottle. She said the best time to introduce a bottle is between 2-4 weeks so the baby has no issues accepting the artificial nipple. She said to start we only needed to offer him a bottle once a day to once every 3 days. So I started trying to pump once a day to build a supply in our fridge & freezer. We offered him a bottle once every couple days and he had no problem taking it.
Everything seemed to be going great as far as breastfeeding and pumping until I was hit out of no where with mastitis. It hit me all off a sudden with flu-like symptoms, chills, fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and a steadily increasing fever. The symptoms started around 4pm and I was able to take nap for a few hours and woke up to a 101 fever. About an hour later my fever had gone up a full degree to 102 and at that point Scott said that he thought I should go to urgent care and not wait til the morning. I was feeling to weak to drive and I didn’t want the baby at the urgent care around a ton of sick people and germs being unvaccinated yet so I had a friend drive me.
Luckily the wait was short and I was able to be seen in a timely manner. The doctor asked if I had any red patches on my breasts that felt warm and I did recollect having noticed one my right breast . He did a breast exam and immediately diagnosed me with mastitis. He told me that it was fairly common and a result of a clogged duct that resulted in a bacterial infection the breast tissue that was very painful and if untreated could turn into an abscess.
The doctor told me the antibiotic he was going to prescribe was safe to take while breastfeeding and I could still nurse on that breast but the baby may not nurse on it because the taste of the milk is usually altered. He said that since I overproduce milk in my left breast I could nurse exclusively from that one and pump the other one every 2-3 hours.
Starting off I decided to nurse only on the left side and pump the other. That lasted about 2 days and I became completely exhausted by pumping all the time and realized how much I took nursing for granted. It is so much easier to just pull out your boob and attach your baby to it than it is to set up your pump, wash all the pieces, rinse them and soak them in soap and water and lay them out to dry for the next session 2-3 hours later. Although it’s a daunting task during the day it becomes torturous at night.
I posted in a breastfeeding group on Facebook and was told by prior mastitis victims that having the baby nurse from the infected breast is the best thing for you because they are able to suck in a way that a pump can’t and it help alleviate the infection much more quickly. I immediately started nursing from both breasts again and although I did have pain the first couple days when he would nurse from the infected boob it almost immediately alleviated my symptoms which would occur only at night but become instantly incapacitating.
Breastfeeding started off on a good note but quickly turned sour.the doctor told me to help prevent this from happening again I had to make sure my breast were being emptied completely and no milk was left to linger that could clog a duct and create an infection again.
He said when pumping to make sure I don’t stop until the milk stops coming out. This is definitely something I will make sure happens because mastitis is no joke and I do not wish it on anyone.
Hope you all have a lovely and pain free day!