Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Pain of Mastitis

The other day I had fever and chills which reminded me of the time when I was breastfeeding and having recurrent mastitis. I had severe fever and chills then. I felt so cold and sick during one of the occassions, I thought I was really ill and almost checked myself into the hospital emergency section.

I almost gave up breastfeeding then. My husband thought I should do so too if I had another bout of mastitis. Fortunately I never did. I remember being on at least two rounds of a 10 day course of antibiotics and feeling really guilty and unhappy about feeding baby breast milk laced with antibiotics. The paeditrician assured me that the milk contains only a small amount of the antibiotics but I felt guilty and unhappy nevertheless.

My baby failed to latch on and thats probably why I had the problems I did when breastfeeding. I had milk blisters and blocked ducts which led to mastitis. Milk Blisters are like little white pimples on the nipples. Sometimes pumping would release the milk and the milk would flow freely again. I can't describe the feeling of joy when that happens. However, once, pus was released instead and I had to pump and throw. What a waste. How tiring to pump and throw away the precious breast milk but I had no choice, not when the milk was green with pus!

Breastfeeding was really an emotional journey for me. The pain, the worry, the joy... it was an emotional time indeed. It was full of stress at the beggining but worth it eventually when we got it right. It did take a long time for us. (About 2 months) but I managed to breastfeed for 3 years so the beggining hard months seem little in comparison but it was really hard at first and it seemed like a long time then.

Breastfeeding can be hard, stressful and does not feel natural at all but do perservere. Its really worth it. Feeding your baby the best milk and bonding with baby is definitely worth it don't you think?

If you are suffering from a milk blister, blocked ducts or mastitis, I'd like to point you to some of these pages on kellymom which has very comprehensive information and links. One of the ways to lessen your worry and stress is by reading up and acquiring more knowledge about breastfeeding (and theres so much to learn!). I hope that the links below help you. Good luck in your breastfeeding journey.

How do you treat a milk blister?
Plugged Duct and Mastitis
Recurrent Mastitis or Plugged Ducts

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