Updated: Nov 6, 2019
I was pretty smug, I had read that it only happens in the first few months of breast feeding, I am 9 months in and she is trailing off, I thought I had dodged a bullet as I had heard it can be painful. And BOY they were not kidding !! It hurts like hell, you can get it any time you're breastfeeding and it happens especially as she is self weaning. Im talking about Mastitis!!!!!! Inflammation of one or more mammary glands within the breast, usually in a lactating woman. Mastitis can be felt as a hard, sore spot within the breast. Mastitis can be caused by an infection in the breast or by a plugged milk duct.
And I got it over the Easter period. I was feverish, in agony, nauseous, headaches. I felt like I had been punched in the left breast by Tyson. I had never know pain like that , it was hot, hard and throbbed constantly. No amount of hot showers , massaging or feeding my baby was shifting it. It took a combination of every bit of advise and old wives tales and modern medicine to fix it. So when I awoke with it one morning, in such pain, I immediately knew I had been got ! The best thing I knew to do was A, google it and B reach out to the Mummy Mafia. Both came through for me.
Get a Dr's appointment, if yours is anything like my surgery you need a crystal ball to know when you're going to be sick so you can book that far in advance. But I got an emergency call back for a duty doctor. Told them what I had and they gave me a prescription for antibiotics if I needed them.
Invest in produce, cabbage to be precise, grab a couple of those big leaves and make yourself a new bra with them. Sounds weird, and I am not sure of the science behind it but boy does it work. I cooked a couple of those suckers for a few days with my body heat. But be warned , they smell. I was in such pain , I just did not care, but you do get funny looks, especially as they were peeking out of my bra at dentists!
Hot water of any kind, get in the shower and knead effected breast under the water, massage , hand pump anything to move the blockage. Hot bath , same thing. For me it hurt just to touch the whole breast let alone the blockage but I had to keep treating it.
Hot water bottle, I had one down my bra cooking the cabbage leaves.
Electric toothbrush, you have to move the milk and a gentle massage of the area with the vibration of the toothbrush helps. Start on the outer rim of the breast and massage towards the blockage and then to your nipple to move the milk downwards and out.
Chin to breast, we naturally do this anyway but the thinking is to focus on the area of the blockage and while bubs is feeding to manoeuvre and squish Breast towards chin to try to shift the lump
Oil and massage , anything that helps to get your hands and fingers in to the deep tissue to help the blockage. Or a large tooth comb dragged down the breast . Anything to move the milk to nipple and flow out.
Pump pump pump, with your hand, a machine, a mother sucker , anything to help you flush out your breasts. This too can be good as if it turns to an infection , then the milk can taste funny for bubs so pump and dump as much as you can. I felt like a cow at milking time and had to turn up the tv over the sound of my electric pump.
Feed your baby, often. It's hard as I got the infection as she is dropping feeds so encouraging her to help Mummy out wasn't so easy. But she did her best and was obliging as I twisted her around in to every position. Rugby ball , dangle and even sitting up on my knee ! Trying different positions helps to drain and refill different ducts and hopefully the releases of new milk will push the residue through and let it all flow away.
Pain killers. I was in agony and painkillers only just took the edge off but I had to take them, even carrying wee one on that side and slight pressure against my chest was enough. Don't be brave , help yourself.
Once I had got to top of it, the amount of Mums that I mentioned it to that said oh yes I had that , feck it hurts ! Was numerous. It is something that any one can get any time. Early on in breast feeding and or when they start stopping or skipping. You can get it repeatedly , ( finger crossed that doesn't happen , once was definitely enough thank you ) in both breasts and even if you don't breastfeed ! So ladies who are on the bottle get educated just in case.
I hope that you never experience it, it is something that I don't wish on a worse enemy. But if you do join the club you know what to do now. I didn't and now I do.