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Mastitis: When Breastfeeding Is a Pain

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My baby was about 4 weeks old when my problems began. He was my second son and breastfeeding was going much better than with my first baby. But a pain in the side of my breast started on a Thursday and continued to grow worse into the weekend.

My son had a doctor’s appointment the day that the pain began. I can remember asking his pediatrician about it. There I was in the exam room, a typical looking Mom with a newborn. My button up shirt pulled at the front trying to hold in my breasts that seem to grow by the minute, as they produced milk. Dark circles shadowed underneath my tired eyes. My hair pulled loosely back into a ponytail. I carried a diaper bag, purse and my newborn in his baby carrier. I walked slowly and confused, in the sleep deprived stage of the first weeks with a newborn. Our pediatrician asked how I was doing and I was honest, I told her about the pain. She recommended that I call my doctor.

I was still adjusting to my baby’s eating schedule and the night before had been especially tough. At first, I only noticed slight discomfort. I would press on the area, hoping for some relief. No such luck. As time went on, I noticed the skin was red and a hard lump formed on the side of my breast. It looked like red streaking, as if that area had been slapped.

I called my doctor’s office and described my symptoms. Although admitting that it was hard to assess over the phone, I was told that it was probably a clogged milk duct. I was then asked if I would like to make an appointment to come in. I looked over at my sleeping baby. I had collapsed on the couch after the morning appointment. I was exhausted and my body ached. No, I did not want to make an appointment. That was a big mistake.

Throughout the next day, I treated my breast as if I had a clogged milk duct. My husband would bring me hot compresses that I would hold onto the spot that hurt. I took warm showers and tried to “knead” that area in the hopes of releasing the blockage. By Friday evening, I was running a fever, had the chills and my body ached like I had the flu.

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EmpowHER Guest

I had recurrent, terribly painful mastitis throughout nursing 3 babies! I asked different medical "professionals" how to prevent it, but did not get any beneficial advice. I frequently ended up on antibiotics to quell the infections. Finally, shortly after #4 was born, a doctor informed that all I needed to do was to slightly rotate each breast during the nursing times and this would help to drain all areas of the breast more evenly. I never had a case of mastitis again!. Let your readers know that most cases of mastitis are from the breast not being "drained" evenly, and having the milk sort of stagnate in those areas. Good luck to all. (From a mom of 5, getting ready to adopt #6)

October 8, 2009 - 7:25am
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your comment and great advice! Readers will benefit from the information that you have shared with us. Thank you and best of luck with your kids!

October 8, 2009 - 8:11am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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