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Mum shares honest post on the agony of breastfeeding and mastitis.

Love What Matters Facebook page shares one mums honest and raw post about the agony of breastfeeding.

“This is mastitis.

After hitting the 1 year breastfeeding mark last Sunday I felt compelled to share my story.

Breastfeeding did NOT come easy for me.

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My milk came in after 5 days. I wasn’t aware that it could take that long, I didn’t even necessarily know what “milk coming in” meant. (Nobody ever taught me.)

I was the only mother breastfeeding on my ward. One woman did try to breastfeed, but switched to formula after 12 hours because she “had no milk” (nobody taught her either.) While the other babies slept with full bellies, my son screamed and cried attached to my breast through the night. (What was cluster feeding? Nobody told me)

When I got home, problems started to arise-my nipple literally cracked in half. I have never felt such pain, I dreaded every feed, but persisted with tears in my eyes until I was healed. (Nobody taught me that breastfeeding could be painful, nobody taught me what a good latch looked like)

When feeding my son out in public I would either go to the bathroom or pump at home and feed him with a bottle. Because I felt embarrassed and as though I would make others uncomfortable. This resulted in clogged ducts and engorgement. (I feed freely in public now, and have done for a long time.)

Then came mastitis.

I remember waking up at 3am shivering, putting on my dressing gown and extra blankets and trying to feed my son. The pain. It was excruciating. I was shaking and sweating but freezing to my bones. At 5 am I woke up my boyfriend and told him I thought I needed to go to the hospital. We got my stepdad, a doctor, he took my temperature and said it was slightly high, but to take a paracetamol and try and sleep. 7am comes, I’ve had no sleep, and now I’m vomiting, he takes my temp again. 40 c. I had developed sepsis overnight. This was because I was not able to recognise the more subtle signs of mastitis (as I had seen no redness that day) I was rushed to resus, given morphine, anti sickness and the strongest antibiotics they could give, and separated from my baby for two nights.

I was heartbroken.

During my hospital stay, I repeatedly asked for a pump, because if I didn’t drain the breast my mastitis would get worse. (And it did) The nurses response was ‘We’re having trouble finding one as we don’t get many breastfeeding mothers here.’

There’s a lot more to this story but my point is, the lack of support and education surrounding breastfeeding is terrible. And I don’t mean in terms of relaying the benefits of breastmilk and handing out lactation support leaflets. I mean general education, about the basics of breastfeeding, about cluster feeding, about the problems that can arise and what to do, how to spot them and how to remedy them.

The peddling of formula in the 60’s/70’s has broken the vital cycle of passing knowledge from one generation to the next. (I know formula saves lives and serves a great purpose) but in the past we would have had our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and friends, all giving their support, their wisdom and their knowledge. But many of our mothers and grandmothers don’t know, as they never breastfed. Women are not expected to give birth alone, but somehow today they are expected to breastfeed alone, and not share their experience with others, and this is why so many breastfeeding relationships end before they’ve even really started. The breastfeeding rates in the UK are shockingly low. The health system, and society in general is failing breastfeeding mothers. I see many professionals push breast is best almost aggressively in some cases, and yet there is no real support post baby.

Breastfeeding is HARD, it needs to be taught and it needs to be learned. Just like walking, talking, reading and writing- it may be natural, but it does not always come naturally. And this is what I should have known but didn’t. If new mothers knew just how difficult it can be at first, more would take themselves to prenatal breastfeeding classes, buy books, join forums, and ask more questions- But we don’t, we just assume that it will feel as natural as breathing. Because no one ever told us.”

Originally by @mamaclog via Instagram

Her post has attracted over 2400 shares and with over 1200 comments many other mum’s also shared their experience.

“With my first child I also got mastitis and was told to keep feeding my daughter, which felt like shards of glass in my breasts, the abscess burst and I was rushed into theater to be drained. I still have these scars after 7 years. I think new mums need to know what could happen and how to deal with it.”

“Thank you for sharing. I had mastitis with my second son and it was unbearable the pain was so excruciating and my fever was so high but with chills. I was in the hospital as well but luckily they had a pump to help me pump and dump. I had to stop breastfeeding after due to the antibiotics etc. But it is so true the education surrounding this is few and far between. I had no clue (6 years ago now) what it was or that it ever existed. So, once again thank you for sharing it is needed!”

“Most painful experience I went thru , on top of having a 4th degree tear with ripped stitches. Add thar to the mix. I was in the hospital too. All I got told was squeeze under a hot shower. You can imagine I took a lot of showers.”

“Sorry to hear that I had the same problems woke up shaking took my temp 104.0 Called dr and he said to take baby off and stop. They told me no put him back on the breast the baby will suck all infection out. Within a day I was feeling better. Sorry to hear you had a horrible time.”

Kiara added her own photo and explained, “This was my mastitis… yep. That’s a 14cm large abscess. I also got a split nipple (other side) with half of it hanging off. My experience was horrific but I had nurses pressuring me to continue (was physically IMPOSSIBLE for her to latch on either side) I ended up with emergency surgery to drain & remove it, and had a drain bag attached to me for almost 2 weeks. By the time my body had recovered, my milk had dried up and my daughter was happy on formula. Even after all of that, I pushed and pushed and brought my milk back over 4-8 weeks. I’ve never done anything so difficult in my life.”

“We really need to educate mothers & expected mothers more, and we need to provide more support to breast feeding mothers.”

This is mastitis. After hitting the 1 year breastfeeding mark last Sunday I felt compelled to share my story. Breastfeeding did NOT come easy for me. My milk came in after 5 days. I wasn’t aware that it could take that long, I didn’t even necessarily know what “milk coming in” meant. (Nobody ever taught me.) I was the only mother breastfeeding on my ward. One women did try to breastfeed, but switched to formula after 12 hours because she “had no milk” (nobody taught her either.) While the other babies slept with full bellies, my son screamed and cried attached to my breast through the night. (What was cluster feeding? Nobody told me) When I got home, problems started to arise-my nipple literally cracked in half. I have never felt such pain, I dreaded every feed, but persisted with tears in my eyes until I was healed. (Nobody taught me that breastfeeding could be painful, nobody taught me what a good latch looked like) When feeding my son out in public I would either go to the bathroom or pump at home and feed him with a bottle. Because I felt embarrassed and as though I would make others uncomfortable. This resulted in clogged ducts and engorgement. (I feed freely in public now, and have done for a long time. Fuck this backwards society!) Then came mastitis. I remember waking up at 3am shivering, putting on my dressing gown and extra blankets and trying to feed my son. The pain. It was excruciating. I was shaking and sweating but freezing to my bones. At 5 am I woke up my boyfriend and told him I thought I needed to go to the hospital. We got my stepdad, a doctor, he took my temperature and said it was slightly high, but to take a paracetamol and try and sleep. 7am comes, I’ve had no sleep, and now I’m vomiting, he takes my temp again. 40 c. I had developed sepsis overnight. This was because I was not able to recognise the more subtle signs of mastitis (as I had seen no redness that day) I was rushed to resus, given morphine, anti sickness and the strongest antibiotics they could give, and separated from my baby for two nights. I was Heartbroken. Continued in comments…

A post shared by MamaClog (@mamaclog) on


Related story – This is what PND looks like…


  Lindsey Bliss, a mum of seven and practicing birth doula, also recently shared a picture on Instagram with the caption” When a good boob goes bad — AGAIN!” READ her story here.

A post shared by doulabliss (@doulabliss) on

The Australian Breastfeeding Assoc explains that mastitis is usually the result of a blocked milk duct that hasn’t cleared. Some of the milk banked up behind the blocked duct can be forced into nearby breast tissue, causing the tissue to become inflamed. The inflammation is called mastitis. Infection may or may not be present.

What are the symptoms?

Early symptoms of mastitis can make you feel as if you are getting the flu. You may begin to get shivers and aches.

Some mothers who do not have any early signs of a blocked duct get mastitis ‘out of the blue’.

The breast will be sore like it is with a blocked duct, only worse. It is usually red and swollen, hot and painful. The skin may be shiny and there may be red streaks. You will feel ill. It is common for the ill feeling to come on very quickly.

What can I do?
Start treatment as soon as you feel a lump or sore spot in your breast.

Drain the breast often, but gently.

It is best if you think you have mastitis to see your medical adviser.

Have you ever suffered with mastitis? What treatment did you find worked best?

Share your comments below.

Image via Love What Matters, Facebook

  • i have had this but it was just the red boob and nothing worse. the docs tell you to feed as much as possible from that boob and it is weird as you think that you don’t want your baby to be drinking from that boob.

    Reply

  • I suffered engorgement, leakage and cracked nipples but nothing to tye extent these women have suffered. It’s quite horrific reading their experiences

    Reply

  • I know a few Mums whose nipples who have cracked within 4 days, when whose part of one nipple started bleeding during feeding and the baby vomitted up blood with her milk overflow as babies normally do.

    Reply

  • So sorry to hear about your pain and problems. We do have great help here in Aust. for breastfeeding mums – so I never experienced what you went through.

    Reply

  • oh geez. I feel sorry for that this lady had this experience. I thank her for sharing this story so we know more about it, especially what to look out for.

    Reply

  • Mastitis is indeed painful and every sympathy to anyone that endures it.

    Reply

  • I had a terrible time breastfeeding, including getting mastiffs. I had flu symptoms and extreme pain. I was prescribed strong anribiotics
    I feel for this poor mumma

    Reply

  • So important to prepare and educate yourself on breastfeeding !
    Luckily I’ve not such negative experiences with breastfeeding.

    Reply

  • Ouch! That poor mumma!

    Reply

  • oh my goodness, I was lucky and never got this – it looks so painful and sounds very horrible. My breastfeeding days are behind me but I will happily forward this to any of my friends breastfeeding to make them aware :)

    Reply

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