Early Childhood: Breastfeeding Tips

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How did you deal with mastitis and blocked ducts?

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Mastitis and blocked ducts can be extremely nasty and very difficult to overcome. If you have any tips and advice on dealing with these issues, please share below. Also read what others have said.

I suffered with mastitis and blocked ducts with my first baby

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.
     

Remedies

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.

Prevention

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.

Do you have any great tips for dealing with mastitis and blocked ducts?

Please share them with us!

What Other Visitors Have Said

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Mastitis and abscesses Not rated yet
I found breastfeeding really difficult with my first child. My midwife was a lactation specialist in our local area and was extremely forceful in her promotion …

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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...


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