Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TBD: Mastitis

Any breastfeeding Mama who has had mastitis probably just shivered when they read the word mastitis. It's been over a year since I had it, and I still cringe when thinking about it.

Mastitis is an infection caused by blocked milk ducts. It causes intense discomfort, swelling and tenderness of the breast, a painful burning sensation while nursing, and flu-like symptoms like fever and weakness. The worst part of mastitis is that you have to continue nursing, even though nursing feels like they are sucking glass out of you.

Most often it happens when milk isn't properly removed from the breast. The milk lingers in the ducts causing them to be blocked. It can happen for many reasons; improper latch (which was my issue), infrequent nursing, and some think it can also be caused by tight fitting clothing.

Before we figured out our inverted nipple latch issues, Fynn was nursing great on one side... and not much at all on the other. I didn't really know about mastitis except that another woman in my breastfeeding support group had it once, so I didn't know what to look out for. When suddenly I ached all over and had a high fever, I headed over to Dr. Google to figure out what was going on. I quickly knew what it was, and waited in agony until the doctor's office opened at 8 am the next day. It was excruciating! I started crying every time Fynn was hungry. My toes curled up in pain the entire time.

The doctor was very sympathetic and prescribed an antibiotic that cleared it up in just a couple of days. After that I was really careful about not letting myself get engorged and making sure Fynn nursed well on both sides. I was really scared, as we started the weaning process, that cutting back and stopping nursing was going to cause another case of it, but so far we've been good. Probably because we cut back so slowly that my body was able to adapt to lower and lower demand. 

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