Tips For What To Do When You Have Mastitis And Are Trying To Breastfeed
FULL DISCLOSURE! This post about my experience with Mastitis contains affiliate links, which means that I get a tiny commission from sales that result from this post (at no additional cost to you!) I ask you this - will you click and buy from my links before you leave this page? (insert prayer hands emoji, and fingers crossed emoji)
I've learned that breastfeeding is like a roller coaster. There are so many ups and downs. I did not foresee myself trying to overcome mastitis while breastfeeding two weeks after my son was born, but sure enough, mastitis set in one night and it rocked my world. If you have ever experienced mastitis or even a clogged milk duct, you know all too well about how painful these situations can be.
Mastitis happens when a milk duct becomes clogged. Sometimes, it can lead to an infection. Once this happens, then BOOM, mastitis. Your doctor will feel you in on alllllllllll the details.
Waking up with a rock-hard, mastitis boob two weeks into nursing.
For me, mastitis came on fast and furious. I was two weeks into nursing. I was already having over-production issues, which I believe is a mess that I created due to over-pumping early on as a new mom. It was difficult for my son to keep up with the amount of milk that I was producing. I felt like my body thought I was feeding triplets!
I Wish I Had This Lactation Massager When I Had A Clogged Duct!
Full on engorgement all the time. This lead to my mastitis, luckily, only once!
It looks as bad as it felt!
I knew something was wrong when I woke up in the middle of the night with a 103.5F fever. I was shaking uncontrollably, and sweating like I've never sweated before, and my right boob was fire hot.
I called my doctor immediately. Once I visited him in his office, he confirmed that I had mastitis, something that at the time I had never even heard of.
That night was the start of a four-day unclog-the-duct battle (and meds!). We had newborn photos the following day. I did not want to cancel, so off we went. They turned out pretty good, despite the fact that I felt horrible.
Pressing through a newborn session with mastitis
The mastitis boob was as hard as granite. Seriously, rock hard. It was bright red and hot to the touch as well. Hardly any milk was coming out. It was completely backed up! I tried everything from hot showers to cabbage in order to attempt to unclog my duct.
I pressed on with continuing to feed my son directly after taking a hot shower. Somehow, he was occasionally able to eat from the mastitis boob. Since he was eating 8 times per day, this required 8 hot showers per day before each feeding. I kept thinking to myself, "what mom is ever able to survive breastfeeding?!" I was hoping that painful situation would soon be over.
On day four, the duct became unclogged. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to have a duct finally become unclogged. I finished up my antibiotics, and within a week, things were back to normal. I had survived mastitis! And somehow, I was able to continue breastfeeding, which was great for me since I was hoping to be able to continue.
Finally, back to normal after surviving mastitis
I now understand why some moms breastfeed until their kid is headed off to kindergarten. It is so incredibly difficult to do, that once you get into a routine MONTHS later, you might as well stick with it!
7 Breastfeeding Must-haves: These products will help to soothe as you work your way through the breastfeeding journey.
1) Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter: This was my favorite nipple butter to have on hand. This butter provided relief for me in between feedings.
2) Lovies: These breast packs are filled with golden flax seed. The flax seeds have a high oil content, which allows the seeds to hold heat longer than other fillers used in breast pads. These packs are great for clogged milk ducts and other breastfeeding pains.
3) Ameda ComfortGel Hydrogel Pads: These gel pads worked wonders for me when it came to soothing in between nursing sessions. You can place them in the refrigerator and then apply them to your nipples in between feedings. My lactation consultant is the one who turned me on to these and I just loved them!
4) Soft French Terry Nursing Bras (to hold all of your therapeutic pads in place!): I am a firm believer that you need at least 10 nursing bras in a rotation while breastfeeding. I promise you, it doesn't take long before you need a fresh bra when you are nursing around the clock!
5) A Lactation Massager - What a genius product! I wish this was around when I needed it!