Wednesday, 7th September 2016

Mastitis is an infection in the tissue of one or both of the mammary glands inside the breasts. Mastitis usually affects women who are producing milk and breast-feeding. The patient often feels a hard, sore spot inside the breast.

To cap off a wonderful but painful water birth I was given a gift no mother wishes to receive on Mothers Day....Mastitis. OUCH. Not only is Mastitis painful but it also makes you super tired and emotional (like you don't have enough to deal with!). I feel for anyone that gets it.

From birth to 9 weeks post birth I had mastitis 3 times, including a day visit to Emergency followed by a 7 day stay in hospital  to be filled with IV antibiotics (as oral antibiotics weren't working).

To be honest I had almost given up breast feeding, I was so sick and so tired of feeling exhausted and unwell. The positive is I had learnt so much about feeding and milk production/supply as each time I was diagnosed with it professionals would  educate me on the topic. 

Things that helped me on my journey to avoid another infection were:

* Getting professionally fitted for good quality maternity bras. I went to Lin & Barrett at Top Ryde in Sydney, I was actually wearing a bra that was 3 cups too small. 40% of women actually wear the wrong size bra I was told. So I invested in some day and night styles from the Cake range.

* Qiara probiotic which is made from isolated breast milk

*Ultrasound treatment at the Physio. This is a machine that uses sound waves to gently unblock milk ducts which can lead to Mastitis infections. They showed me massage techniques I can do at home in case it comes on during the night. Ask for someone who specialises in Womens Health.

I tried cabbage leafs and wow does it stink! I dorespect the natural remedy but much preferred a hot shower or heat packs before feeding then ice packs after a feed. My Midwife said you can fill a nappy  with water and put it in the freezer for a homemade ice pack and that it gives the best coverage. I used breast disc ice packs which I bought from the chemist, they worked pretty well and you could fit them under a bra. Heat packs are good before you feed bub from the blocked or infected side to open it up and assist with the milk flow from that blocked area. And cold packs after a feed to assist with the pain and swelling.

I have also been doing ultrasound treatment at the physio and massage to prevent it returning as I really want to avoid taking any more antibiotics. This is covered by private health if you have cover.

The risky times of getting it are usually in the first 3 months of feeding as you tend to get engauged breasts due to your milk suddenly coming in, then they have to adjust  the amount of milk your create to suit your babys needs. It can also happen during weaning, so as you drop feeds and/or stop breast feeding.

Look out for signs like lumps, sudden sharp pain, tingles, red hot patches. If you have flu like symptoms then sadly it maybe too late and you may need antibiotics as that's usually a sign of infection.

The following symptoms are occasionally present:
    â€˘    Anxiety, feeling stressed     â€˘    Chills and shivering     â€˘    Elevated body temperature     â€˘    Fatigue     â€˘    General aches and pains    

These products below helped me out.....

5 minutes on the pump.

 NOTE: only if bub wasn't feeding from that side or if he/she doesn't drain it completely. Careful not to empty as you can create more milk which can lead a bigger problem or increasing milk supply and it happening again. Hence why a lactation consultant said to me to only use as a last result and to only do it for 5 min or less just for that urgent relief. Hand expressing in the shower is preferred before expressing with a pump.

Love Tara Hayes