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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DD is almost 9 months old and BF has always been challenging for us. She was born tongue tied and by 6 weeks had to have a frenulectomy because of breastfeeding challenges. I had to use nipple shileds until she was almost 4 months old. She was a very colicky baby until about 4-1/2 months when we discovered she had food allergies. Since then, we are both on a diary-free/gluten-free diet. Since she was born, I have had 27 clogged milk ducts and right now am sick with mastitis for the 8th time.

When I get mastitis, I get really sick really fast. I feel like I've been hit by a train and run fevers of around 103 for a couple days which makes taking care of an infant quite challenging. The only thing that will help is antibiotics. I've tried most of the standard suggestions: lethicen, no underwire bras, being careful of my position to sleep, lots of water, low fat diet, phytolacca, vitamin C, tons of nursing on the affected side, etc.

I work full time and pump while we're separated. So far I've been able to keep my supply up with her demand but I think we're going to needing to supplement soon if she increases her intake much more. DD isn't really a comfort nurser. In fact, if there's anything even remotely more exciting going on, she'd rather investigate than nurse.

Everytime I get sick, I swear that I'm going to quit breastfeeding. It's just taking so much out of me. I had mastitis twice in October alone! It feels like I'm always either sick or on antibiotics. Not only does the thought of quitting breastfeeding just break my heart
(I'm at work, pumping, typing, and crying all at the same time) but I sooooo need to nurse to get any sleep at night. My daughter is a horrible sleeper and still can't sleep more than an hour or two at a stretch. The only way I get any sleep is to nurse her back to sleep (we put her in her crib for her first sleep stretch and then cosleep for the rest of the night).

I'm so torn about what to do. I want to provide the best for my baby but I feel so broken. To top it off, I was on the La Leche League website looking for information when my coworker (another nurse) saw the website and said "Oh, those breastfeeding nazis". Somehow I managed to keep myself from hurting her.


I guess I'm just looking for some support and would love to hear any suggestions for dealing with my defective breasts.
 

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I am so sorry about your boobies
:

I had a BI three times with DS 1, and once (that wouldn't quite quit) with DS2.) I had good luck with the homeopathics (remembering to take them once I felt better was the problem.)

I finally figured out what was setting me off - the cold. If my boobs would get cold, I'd get an infection. So now I always wear an undershirt, a tshirt and a sweater. (and a tshirt and sweatshirt to bed.) And never go outside without a coat.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Edit to add - you're on a low fat diet - but do you take essential oils? They need it and so do you. I don't know if that would have any effect, but its good for you.


Hugs mama,
 

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:

Please don't quit momma!!! Walk, no RUN to your nearest bra boutique and have them measure you to make sure your bra is the right size!

Trust me, from a mom who has had quite a few mastitis attacks in her life (not quite as many as you have, though).

If your bra is too small, it will keep milk from circulating properly, and backed up milk can cause infections. Most people get plugged ducts first, before mastitis, but with me, I never seem to get plugged ducts, just mastitis, and I got it EVERY SINGLE TIME I wore my cheap walmart nursing bra.

When I got a bra from a different place, (I was wearing like a 34 DD, and I really needed a 38G
in the right size, my mastitis attacts totally ceased.

Keep us updated, momma!
 

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Another possibility. . . yeast infection in your breasts that lead to mastitis? If you have been on lots of anbx, it is a possibility. Could you get scrip for several rounds of the oral yeast meds (can't remember what its called)? Then eat lots of yogurt/probiotics to avoid yeast overgrowth.
 

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I know you said you're already not wearing underwire bras, but do you wear bras to sleep? I got Mastitis repeatedly until I finally figured out that it was from sleeping on my side with a bra on, even though it was a "sleep bra" It can still but pressure when your breasts are hanging sideways or whatever. I know you may leak all over, but it's best to sleep with just a warm shirt and no bra. If you wear breastpads during the day get some Lana Wool ones to keep your breasts warm.

Good luck mama, I really hope you get this cleared up.
 

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The only thing worse than plugged ducts (OOOOOuch!) is mastitis
: I couldn't figure out why I had so many plugged ducts (2-3 pr week) Finally, when I took medication for thrush, they stopped. My only symptom of thrush was nipple pain, but I wanted to try treatment anyways. I was so desperate for a solution. Something else that helped with the pluggs is, and some of you will know what I mean by this "massage the plug down to the nipple, and dig the white dot out with your fingernails" Be very clean about this to avoid infection. Once I got the plug out "bleb" milk would shoot across the room. Such a relief! I was able to stop the pluggs with diflucan, but could never gain a full supply after that storm had past. We are still nursing at 10 months, but with less than a full supply. If you have tried everything, consider seeing a breast specialist. I encourage you not to stop, but you have to be kind to yourself as well, it sounds like this is making you really sick. I hope you can find a solution and feel better soon.
 

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Hi,

Your situation so reminded a friend of the problems I've had that she emailed me a link to your post. In less than 5 months, I had 5 bouts of mastitis with a raging fever and some other more minor inflamations of the breast to fill in the gaps between. I also was constantly on antibiotics which seemed to upset my son.

Because of my son's tight frenulem, I initially found breast feeding very painful, but only at 7 weeks had his tongue clipped. While this and nipple shields did finally help resolve the open sore I had developed from his chomping down, I continued to get mastitis.

Fortunately, my sister is linked to a nursing school. A lactation consultant who specialized in older children came to visit me and pointed out that although the frenulectomy freed his tongue, it did nothing to show him how to use it properly. She could feel that he was still chomping down on the nipple rather than sucking at it, and also pointed out that his muscles had not developed for this action. Her point was that he never got to practice sucking in the womb because he tongue had been tied down so tightly (so tight, that he had a heart-shaped tongue- cute but not very practical).

She got me lined up with an occupational therapist. Under her supervision, I have started little tongue exercises and also stretching exercises. He has really quickly improved. He still muches once and a while, but it is better than everytime and I haven't had mastitis since. (I'm now fervently knocking on wood.)

My consultant preferred a occupational therapist trained in the Beckman method: http://www.beckmanoralmotor.com/therapists.htm

However, she also said that a hospital with a good NICU should have an OT that can help. In the end, I did both!

People (my doctor, the non-specialist lactation consultant I had been meeting wish, my pediatrician) at first thought I was a little nuts for being insistent about this, but it has made all the difference in my case. I was also at the point of stopping.

All the best,

Alexandra
 

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I concur with Alexandra, I think that the root of this situation lies in nursing technique. My son had tongue tie and I had an over active letdown. Because of this- the fact that he couldn't really nurse right was not a health emergency- and it went unnoted. I had many breast infections over the 3years we nursed. My son's tongue was not discovered and corrected until he was 7 years old... this was a big lesson learned for a close friend of mine who became a LC in the interim- hindsight is 20/20. I don't blame her- she wasn't even a LC back then- but she still feels so annoyed that she didn't think of that angle.

I hope you are able to stick with it and that you can get your daughter's suck evaluated with this particular situation in mind.

I hope you feel better soon!

Love Sarah
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you so much to everyone for the support and suggestions. Fear not my breastfeeding buddies, I have not quit. Even though I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired, I love nursing my baby and just couldn't bring myself to quit. To answer some questions, my infections tend to be pretty random - different areas of both breasts with no real rhyme or reason. This most recent infection was actually both breasts at the same time which I think contributed to my frustration. I don't sleep in a bra. I don't have cracked or sore nipples. I go from normal healthy breasts to red raging breasts in a snap without any warning. I worked with a LC quite a bit in the beginning when we were dealing with Stella's tongue tie. Back then I'd had 6 clogged milk ducts and 1 bout of mastitis. She seemed a little perplexed by that but didn't have many suggestions other than diet and being careful to not squish my boobs. We thought about doing OT way back then to help with Stella's less than ideal latch but since we were successfully breastfeeding without pain and with adequate weight gain, I never persued it. Maybe I'll reconsider. For now, here's my game plan:

1. I'm going to get a professional bra fitting and shell out some serious dough for a good nursing bra
2. I have a colleague who went to a lecture on breastfeeding and breast infections that was given by a LC from the University of Washington. She's trying to get the woman's name and I'm going to see if she will meet with us. The LC I saw before was great but I got the impression that her specialty is newborns with latch difficulties, not older infants.
3. I'm not going to stop breastfeeding. I'm going to stick with this even if I continue to get infections until Stella is at least a year old. I doubt even then I'll really want to give it up until she weans herself but I'm at least giving myself persmission to keep the door open for my own sanity.

Thank you again for everyone's support. Most of my friends and family IRL pretty much said "you've been through enough, just quit". I'm glad I didn't listen. This is such a great community!
 

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I had a few plugged ducts and had mastitis only once. It really does feel like you got hit by a train, doesn't it? My thought on reading your post was that pumping might be causing you problems. I'm not sure what your options are if you're working and pumping, but in my case, when I quit pumping I stopped getting infections and clogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Unfortunately, I have to pump. I work full time and DD's daycare is about 30 minutes away from me so I don't have to time go feed her on my breaks. When I pump, I take all the time I need and always make sure my breasts are as empty as can be before I stop. I use a Medela Pump In Style that was a hand me down from my sister who rarely pumped herself. I've been trying to remember when in the week I tend to get sick. The more I think about it, the more it seems that it tends to happen towards the end of the work week, usually when my MD's office is closed. Maybe it has something to do with pumping all week. After I get home from work, we usually nurse two or three times before she goes to bed around 7:00 pm and then she nurses about every one to two hours all night long with the last feeding sometime between 4 and 6:00 am. I do plan to quit pumping once she's a year old. I'm curious to see if that will make any difference.
 

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I can feel your pain. I had chronic mastitis with my second child. I had a couple of things going on.

1. When I was treated with antibiotics I was never given a long enough course, so it would keep coming back.

2. I didn't pump often enough at work.

3. Mastitis is just my bodies way of telling me I am doing too much. I know that telling a mother to get more rest is like telling a pig to fly, but it does help.

I also got a great tincture from my ND that I can take if I feel it coming on. That combined with rest and alternating hot and cold therapy have saved me.
 

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I had Mastitis and the reason I had it was I was eating a high fat diet and I wasn't nursing in different positions. My MW told me to do football hold then laying down, cradle, and just try to have him do a lot of different postions and that would help.
 

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My heart goes out to you. I had mastitis three times in my son's first four months, and it was a nightmare. The solution in my case was simple: I started washing my bras after each wearing instead of every other day. I had figured that since i was using pads in them the bras were clean, but clearly they weren't. Or maybe, since i had to buy more bras, the new ones fit better. Anyway, i never got mastitis again, even with my second child.
If you think pumping might be the problem, you could probably stop pumping even before she's a year old. My kids never took bottles at all, so at nine months I started them drinking out of cups so I could leave them.
But I think your best bet is another try with a lactation consultant, this time someone who is knowledgeable about the Beckman method and can refer you to an occupational therapist. Please let us know what happens!
love,
L'ora
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by papschmitty View Post
I use a Medela Pump In Style that was a hand me down from my sister who rarely pumped herself.
Have you replaced the replaceable parts? I've never used a PIS so I don't know exactly what that would be, but there must be some kind of flexible part that creates the suction. Even if your sister didn't use it a lot, the part may be old and not in optimal condition, which could easily affect how well the pump works. This could also be affecting your output/supply.
 

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Also, regarding the pump - perhaps the flanges aren't a perfect fit and that could be casuing some of the troubles. Perhaps you could check into some diff. size flanges...It also might be worth your while to have your pump evaluated by a Medela Sales Rep - (a private LC would be my 1st rec. - or a reputable BF store) it may not be pumping as well as it should - or it could be providing inconsistent suction.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I replaced all my pump parts - flanges, valves, tubing, etc. Everything is new except the actual pump itself. I guess I could try getting a new pump all together. I'm not sure if the pump is playing a role or not. I've only been back to work for a coulple months and had mastitis at least 3 or 4 times before I had to start pumping on a regular basis. We nurse in two positions, the traditional cradle hold during the day and side lying at night. She seems to big for most of the other holds. I do have access to a Medela rep on occasion since I'm co-located with a WIC office. I'll check to see if he's coming by soon, maybe he could give the pump a look. My boobs are way too high maintenance!
 

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You are probably anemic.

Most people overlook this connection but anemia is a direct cause of recurrent mastitis. So, assume you are anemic until proven otherwise.

Get some Floradix (natural vegetable and herb sourced tincture) and with your new good fitting bras and continued nursing you will keep the infections at bay.
 
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