*Lightening strikes, thunder roaring; the skies are black with no promise of sun*
It is actually very nice out. No rain, no thunder, none of all that dark stuff happening here in Orlando. I was just in my moment.
Ah! so nice of you fellas to finally join the ladies and I here at #TheeMilkBarr. I knew the word BOOB would be suffice enough to get your attention (Grinch evil smile face). No but seriously, ladies thank you for your returning support and love and gentlemen *whom are sitting in the far dark corner to prevent being seen* Bonjour (French), MarHaba (Arabic), Ni Hau (Mandarin), Welcome (good old English). I think I can speak for all my breastfeeding moms, soon to be moms, mothers to be in the near or far future – that we all want to breastfeed or pump or probably both. Either way every mom wants to be able to provide that liquid gold for their little one. If you object to that bold statement, that’s actually okay! I think after reading this you will let out a huge sigh of relief and will be thankful that you never boarded this train. When we think of breastfeeding we think it is going to be a great day. The baby will cry a soft sweet cry maybe even a high pitch but nothing too overwhelming. We grab ahold of our sweet precious cargo bringing them forward and latching them to the breast. They connect, there begins the bonding between mother and child as the baby drinks from the tree of life.Sweet melodies play as you lay there while your baby nurses and all is in a state of bliss. *Birds chirping*
Then I woke up.
First of all, shame on me for not doing my research. This beautiful nourishing journey comes with a big bad wolf and it had targeted me. Not once. Not twice. No, not three times either but more like five times (we all gasp exaggerating our lean back and there is always one that will faint). Yes, Mastitis was one of the meanest boob monsters I was unfortunately destined to cross paths with. Sebastian was about a month the first time I faced this beast. For all who may be wondering what in the breast world is Mastitis, it is one hell of an infection (I think it’s some sort of evil sorcery and NO ONE can change my mind) of the breast tissue. Bacteria can find its way in from your babies’ precious mouth into the nipple or it can occur when a milk duct is clogged. According to my doctor this is very common in the early stages of breastfeeding. For mommies who may be fortunate enough to have an overflowing milk supply such as myself, this was a blessing and a curse.
I didn’t latch Sebs. I could never get it. I had two consultants help me during the hospital stay, I watched videos and read articles but could never get him to latch properly. A close friend of mine gave me tips of different positions to hold the baby and it was just not working out for me. I didn’t want to give up (on top of the fact that my close friend was an advocate of breastfeeding and would REFUSE to give up on me) I decided to pump. I was happy knowing I could still give him my milk whether he could latch or not. Now I was producing a very good amount of milk supply and honestly it was hard to keep up with. This was brand new for me, the new born on one end and pumping comes with cleaning your merchandise when I could barely clean my own…OK! So the point was my milk ducts would get clogged often. Mothers we all know how hard it is in the beginning. Imagine having to clean up the bottles and the pump supplies too on top of everything else. I woke up one afternoon with a fever. I was at 100 F and I thought I had the flu. I could not stop shaking, my headaches were monstrous and I was very weak.
Are you freaked out yet? Aw don’t be. I haven’t gotten to the painful part yet.
The fevers were loyal. They would fade for a short period of time and come back with arms wide open lol. So after some hours of this fight, I noticed my right breast was red all the way from under my arm to a little bit above the nipple and OOOMMMMGAAAHHH did it hurt! I could not even poke this boob for the life of me. I was in the shower and I thought I was going to pass out from when the water touched it. I went to my doctors office first thing in the morning and he broke the news to me. The big bad wolf Mastitis was alive and well in my life. He suggested the following along with antibiotics:
- Continue latching or pumping (I remembered the water touching me and how much it hurt. I flinched at the thought of this) but because the antibiotics were approved for nursing still so that was nice.
- Empty the breast often and completely every chance you can to avoid the milk being backed up which was my scenario. I wouldn’t drain completely and guess who came to play due to my poor decision.
- Do not wear any tight fit bras. Doc, I didn’t even want to wear a shirt. I was in so much pain.
- A cool wash rag helped me. The breast is extremely warm on the infected side and this provided relief. Even if it was short lived. Relief in any amounts was satisfying enough.
- Massage during the nursing or pumping. The clogged ducts feel like rocks. Massage those babies out!
By the third time of this vicious cycle I became a pro at how to handle this monster. I would pump as often as possible which was about every hour (A PAIN IN THE REAR). If you breastfeed you know if you do not release milk when it is time to your breast will shoot a stingy sensation as a reminder. Something like “Either you drain me or else” reminder. When I would pump, the first release of the milk would feel the same but with Mastitis it was 5X worse. So mommies who feel my pain (literally) stay strong! Mommies to be with plans on breastfeeding or pumping – take care of yourselves with this one. Having a fever and flu like symptoms with a new born is NOT fun. It’s already hard trying to adjust with a new baby so you can just imagine. You are indisposed at that moment and it takes a mental toll on you too, I get it! I know it gets overwhelming and to sit down for 15 minutes to pump while adding an extra 5-10 minutes to make sure it’s all out can be a lot but release those jugs and make sure they are EMPTY! Avoid it if you can but as I was told it targets breastfeeding moms regardless 😱 I wish I would’ve known this (alright alright stop laughing at me already) and you would be surprised at how many men and women are unaware of this. Men, I know you’re not breastfeeding but this is a struggle your wife may be experiencing. Your support and help is MUCH needed. Women, daddy is just as overwhelmed. His MVP is down and he is now in lead with a new baby. He is probably freaking out but resting is so important during that time and you fathers should give yourself more credit. You got this! No seriously. You got this (hands them the baby).
Good luck mommies & daddies. If you happen to run into this Boob monster, make sure you go see your doctor right away! The consequences of untreated Mastitis can cause a serious aftermath. On the contrary they say fed is best so congrats and many blessings to you if you are on this breastfeeding journey. I just want to raise awareness in our motherhood community with this one. Again, you would be surprised as to how many of us are not aware of this. Feel free to let us know if there are any other monsters we may come across. Please like, comment or share. All feedback is appreciated and enjoyed.
Photo Credits to #VanityKrystal on Instagram for both pictures featured on this post.
Here is my other monster: going on 4 months soon. Slightly older picture but isn’t he just the cutest?! 🙂