Mastitis and Me {NBW}

 I've been breastfeeding since June 2009. I had a 6 and a half month gap between feeding Charles and Harry.
With Charles I faced serious breastfeeding pain in the first 8 days due to tongue tie. My feet would curl. My nipples bled. It was awful.
Feeding for the next 18 months was a dream (despite the odd bite!) and then when I fell pregnant it became sore again, not to the extent of the early days, but it wasn't pleasant due to the heightened sensitivity due to being pregnant.

The early days with Harry were also quite painful, for no apparent reason. It just seemed it took a while for us to find our rhythm and connect. He also won the nickname "Harry Larry Lazy Latch" as he almost just wanted my milk to fall into his mouth rather than him actually sucking for it.

I remember when Charles was 3 months old and I was sat in bed at stupid o clock and noticed a hot red patch on my breast. I knew this was a symptom of Mastitis. By morning it had gone and hadn't turned into anything.
I felt lucky to bypass it.

Then came Wednesday the 2nd of May this year.
I woke up with a pain in my left breast. To describe the pain I'd say it felt bruised, almost like one of the boys had headbutted me very hard.
Initially I tried to ignore it but as the morning went on it felt as though it was getting worse. I took some paracetamol and headed to the city to shop with the boys. I'd told myself that if this pain hadn't gone by tomorrow then I would just get checked at the doctors or at Baby Cafe.
As soon as we got home the pain got even worse. The paracetamol hadn't touched the pain at all anyway but this was a new level of ouch!
I tweeted about it, hoping for sympathy, and had a reply from Katie aka @mummydaddyme mentioning Mastitis. She asked if there was a red patch, I looked and all of a sudden there was. 5 minutes ago there wasn't as I'd been checking all day.
Then I started to feel dizzy, poorly, feverish.
It was as if the symptoms were all appearing at the same time but in bucket loads.
I called our breastfeeding team who then arranged a call back from one of the nurses (breastfeeding counsellor).
She agreed that it didn't sound good and told me to phone my doctors immediately and get a prescription for antibiotics.
In the time of first ringing them to them ringing me back the redness had spread to cover almost half of my breast.

It was 5pm. The doctors surgery told me that the doctor would have to call me and there was a long waiting list.
I didn't hold out any hope.
Then, 50 minutes later the doctor called back and subscribed some Amoxicillin.
I was in bed by 8 which NEVER happens, EVER!

As I type this (in advance of the post going live) its the 8th of May and I have 4 antibiotics left. They have worked!
By Sunday my breast was feeling less sore but was still slightly tender and achy. Today I just get short "pangs" of aches but other than that I'm better.

Before I had the Mastitis diagnosed I guessed I had a blocked duct and so fed as much as I could from that side. This was the best decision to make, which was confirmed by my Breastfeeding Counsellor. Although it hurt to latch on at first I felt almost a sense of relief as Harry drained the milk from that breast.

A friend of mine said that she knew of someone who stopped feeding altogether because of Mastitis.
Now, although I am not being snobby or claiming to be an expert, stopping feeding is the wrong thing to do. By doing this you're making the breast even more engorged and less likely/longer to heal.
Its best to either letting baby continue to feed from that breast or to pump that breast and let baby feed from the other one if you want to continue.

Of course its also best to get this sorted early and to get treated as quickly as possible.
You know your body. You know when something doesn't feel right.
Listen to your body.

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