To the Patron Saint of Boobs: I Could Use Your Help

Wait… what is mastitis? It is a breast infection, that happens when moms are feeding their babies.

It is often confused with a plugged duct, which is a painful obstruction caused by a plugged duct that can cause swelling and pain in the breast. Sounds awful, right? It is! Mastitis is worse. 

Mastitis is defined as, “s an inflammation of the breast that can be caused by obstruction, infection and/or allergy….local symptoms are the same as for a plugged duct, but the pain/heat/swelling is usually more intense.Typical mastitis symptoms include a fever of 101.3°F (38.5°C) or greater, chills, flu-like aching, malaise and systemic illness.”

It is worse than childbirth.

Treatment for Mastitis is to rest as much as possible, drink, eat and nurse. Strong antibiotics are often needed if the mom isn’t better within 24 hours.

Since giving birth to Sawyer, I’ve struggled through this awful infection twice. The first time, he was only a week old and only one side was infected- I was down for the count for 3 days (read: no laundry, no cuddles with the toddler, no cooking dinner…) But I was able to get back to most of the things within 3 days.

Then, last week, I was struck with this really awful infection AGAIN. This time, both sides were infected and I was nearly delirious between the lack of sleep and the fever.

I tried fighting it myself, but this time, after day 3, if I got up off of the couch, my fever would return. “The girls” were hot, swollen and achy. I was prone to break out in sweats while nursing because the pain was so intense. It was really, really, really bad. (No, REALLY.)

I caved and called my doctor, who was able to prescribe antibiotics. I consulted with a couple of lactation consultants, who were both amazingly supportive and helped me to figure out some different techniques to help manage the infection. (Jeannette at Babies in Common has an awesome website if you’re ever in need of help.)

When my fever finally broke, I was almost myself- but I was still in a lot of pain. And feeding Sawyer continued to be painful. (Really.)

Not one to give up, I went to a great breast feeding support group at Milford Regional Hospital, and the leader of the group was able to help me determine that my tiny guy has a lip and tongue tie, which is likely the cause of all of these infections.

I’m a bit nervous about the next couple of steps in helping Sawyer, but I am so glad that I have an explanation for why this keeps happening, and a way to help prevent it from happening again.

Cross your fingers for me. (Is there a patron saint of boobs? Because I could use some of her help…)

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