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My First Mastitis

Not from this particular night, but pretty representative of how it felt.

I made it all the way to five months of breastfeeding without any major ailments or problems. Since I thought most of the issues would come in those confusing early weeks, I assumed that by now I was sort of in the clear.

So when I woke up Thursday morning with a sore spot in my left breast, I decided to wait it out a bit and see if anything else developed. Of course I Googled mastitis symptoms and treatments so I would know what else to look for, and sure enough, they popped up one by one.

The night before, I’d stayed up way too late waiting for my husband to get back into town, so I attributed feeling a little off to sleep deprivation. A pounding headache started next, but again I thought this might be a combination of dehydration and too little sleep.

My best friend from home came into town Friday afternoon, and I let her know I was worried I might have something brewing. The soreness in my left breast continued to bother me, although it never turned hard, hot, or red – all things that would have been clear indicators of mastitis.

As I crawled into bed that night, I could sense that things were getting worse. My clothes felt painful on my skin, and my whole body ached under the covers. I spent the entire night either freezing with shivers, or soaking through my sheets with sweat. This was most definitely mastitis.

The only thing worse than feeling like you have a horrible flu, is also hearing the sounds of your baby crying through the monitor. Cullen is going through some sort of 6-month sleep regression, and not sleeping well at all this week. Every two hours or so, he’d wake and cry, and the shrill sounds of his cry combined with my headache and chills made my brain feel like it was bleeding.

God bless my husband for getting up and dealing with the tears, blowouts, and sheet-changing. It was all I could do to drag my body into the nursery and sit there to nurse him, while pretty much feeling like I could die at any moment. Now I understand why so many moms warn to treat mastitis immediately.

I felt a bit better in the morning, but still called my midwives’ office and a lactation consultant as soon as they were open. By that afternoon I was headed in the right direction, but I still took it easy and didn’t do nearly as much as I’d planned or hoped to. Good thing best friends will always understand, even when they flew across the country for a visit.

Mastitis is most definitely no joke, and here even a few days later I’m trying to take it easy, drink lots of fluids, take extra probiotics, and nurse as much as I possibly can. The soreness is almost gone, but I’m not taking any chances. Hopefully there will be no next time, but if there is I’m jumping into action immediately. Oh the joys of motherhood!

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