One week after Charis was born, I was breastfeeding her at 3:00 AM and was not feeling well. I had left breast pain (no redness), aches, fever (>101.5 degrees), chills, and felt run down. I woke my husband up and was crying. He told me I should call the on call doctor (which I did). The physician told he thought I had mastitis, to call when the office opened and set up an appointment, and in the meantime to alternate taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Drew stayed up with the pumpkin and read to her out of his Spanish Bible, while I tried to get some rest and felt like a failure as a mother because I could not be the one up with her. We were able to go in and see the OB-GYN where I was officially diagnosed with mastitis and placed on an antibiotic. The next day, I felt 100% better. We also had our daughter's first Pediatrician appointment that day, and he wanted me to see a lactation consultant, which I did a week later. The lactation consultant told me my daughter was not latching on correctly and was able to help me correct this. PTL!!
Here are a few things I have since learned (and remembered from reading articles and books before my daughter was born):
- Nipple pain is NOT normal. It is a sign that something is not right.
- Breast pads help wonderfully with leaking. There are still times I put them on and am SO THANKFUL I did. I only wish I had invested in cloth breast pads earlier.
- A few things and products that helped my cracked nipple were:
- Breast milk has anti inflammatory and anti bacterial properties in it. After you nurse your baby, rub some breast milk into your nipple and let it dry.
- Lanolin helps keep cells from drying out.
- Hydrogel pads do not stick to wounds (like my cracked nipple) and protect the moisture balance.
- Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue.
- Signs and symptoms
- Breast pain, redness, tenderness, or swelling
- Risk factors
- Cracked nipple
- Not emptying your breasts completely
- Using only one position to nurse the baby
- Antibiotics-take as directed and complete the course of treatment!
- Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and continue to breastfeed on both sides. Applying treatments can also help.
- Don't be afraid to seek a lactation consultant who will try to help and discover what the problem is.
- If you have these symptoms, seek you midwife, nurse practitioner, or physician to let them know. They will most likely want you to come in and examine you.
- While breastfeeding, fully drain the milk from one side before transferring your baby to the other side.
- Nurse using different positions.
- See a lactation consultant who will be able to help you.
What difficulties did you have with nursing your children?
What did you do to help? What would you have done differently?