Clothes & Accessories
Mastitis & Blocked Ducts
Aches & Pains
I had a bad start to breastfeeding with my first baby. After a long birth, my baby was given formula every three hours due to a suspected infection, while I struggled with expressing and unsuccessful attempts to latch my baby on. I ended up with injuries that gradually got deeper and deeper with each feed as time went on. I finally got my baby latched on on day 5 with the help of a nipple shield and then attempted to exclusively breastfeed.
I realised I must have developed mastitis during week 2 when I awoke for a feed in the middle of the night and suffered excruciating pain when my baby latched on. I was given antibiotics by the doctor which solved the problem for the time I was on them, but it returned in weeks 3/4 so I was given more antibiotics. My baby had already been given antibiotics for the suspected infection in week 1, so I really began to wonder if I was doing the best for my baby's immune system by continuing to breastfeed her.
I soldiered on, spent days in bed trying to recover, struggled out to buy a well-fitting nursing bra because mine was too tight, and tried many of the tips on this excellent website: kellymom.com. These included massaging with warm flannels in the bath, using a comb to massage out the blockages, and using heat packs. It was so hard though because I honestly felt too exhausted to do any of these treatments. Sitting in the bath is quite a difficult thing to achieve with a young baby. The easiest thing for me to do was to stick a Nuby Natural Touch breast aid in the microwave just before a feed and massage it over the lumps. I also found that Savoy cabbage leaves from the fridge, scrunched up to release the juices and then put in my bra between my breast pad and boob offered great relief. A less smelly but more expensive alternative is Lansinoh cooling pads. I attempted different feeding positions, but my nipples were so sore, I was genuinely scared of the pain a new position might cause.
During the fifth week I hired a lactation specialist to come to the house to check my baby for tongue-tie. My baby did not have tongue-tie, but the lactation specialist agonisingly massaged out all my blockages during a feed. The lumps came back quite quickly the next day and since she had told me to solely express for a day or two to allow my nipples to heal, I did. Unfortunately I was not very good at expressing, maybe due to all the stress, and I stopped letting down. I tried to put my baby back on the boob, but she was no longer interested. Read more on my Stopping Breastfeeding page.
I combination fed my second baby for four months and only suffered from mastitis and blocked ducts right at the end because I wore a tight dress (read more). Here is what I did to avoid mastitis until then:
- Before my second baby was born, I re-read all the books on breastfeeding I had discovered during my difficult breastfeeding experience with my first baby.
- I made sure I had well-fitting nursing bras.
- I made the decision to use a nipple shield for every feed to avoid the issues with sore nipples I had suffered before.
- I used Lansinoh Nipple Cream before and after every feed in order to keep my nipples moist and therefore to help them to heal.
- I used Dr Wheatgrass Superbalm as often as I needed to to speed up healing.
- I tried different feeding positions early on to avoid wounds getting too deep.
- I have followed a routine to avoid missing feeds and suffering from engorgement.
- I have successfully mixed bottle feeding with breast feeding to avoid sore nipples.
- I have dropped breastfeeds gradually to avoid engorgement.
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Mastitis caused me to stop breastfeeding Not rated yet
I am proud to say that in the end I managed to breastfeed my second baby for four calendar months exactly, a huge improvement onfive weeks with my first baby...