Struck down by mastitis!

I have mastitis and it is horrible!

I’ve been getting a couple of lumps on the right side over the last week, but I’ve been massaging them out and using hot flannels etc so thought I’d nipped it in the bud. Not the case. On Sunday I had to go and get my hair done; it hadn’t been touched since the end of my pregnancy and was beginning to get out of control, plus my roots were starting to make me feel physically sick! It took so long and there was a balls up with appointments so I was in there literally for hours. Although I expressed before I left, I ended up skipping two feeds while I was in there! Ouch. I tried to hand express in the toilet sink but I got so paranoid that everyone would think I’d passed out in the loo, I became too flustered to ‘let down’ and I couldn’t get anything out.

Stupidly I’d also worn an underwire bra, and whilst it fit well before I left, the longer I spent in the salon, the tighter it became. I was convinced I could see them growing under the hairdressing gown. By the time I was on the train home I started feeling really weird. I think I kind of knew that it was mastitis, and I also knew I had to get that stupid bra off asap. When it comes to your boobs when you’re breastfeeding sometimes there is no time for formalities, so I whipped off the bra in the middle of the train carriage. To be honest if it wasn’t for the awol breast pad I don’t think anyone would have noticed. Still, no time for shame, I was now getting the shivers and feeling like I was going to pass out; I can’t believe how quickly it came on. I got home and expressed about a million ounces and fed Phoenix a full feed straight afterwards, but it was too late the ‘mastitis mafia’ had already took hold of me! My whole body ached and I was shivering and sweating. I’ve never had flu before but apparently it’s like that, but with the added pleasure of feeling like you have shards of glass in your boobs. Lovely stuff.

I went to the docs first thing the next morning and got some antibiotics which pretty much started working instantly. When the doctor took a look at my breasts he looked really sad and said ‘oo you poor thing’. It was another one of those moments where I thought ‘yep I’m definitely a mum’ …never had that reaction before after showing a man my boobs!

Also I have to mention this, as I can’t actually believe it happened: after I’d had my hair colour put on, the hairdresser got a bit creative with his conditioning treatments and ordered the shampoo girl to pour a glass of milk over my head and massage it in. Can you believe the irony of this?! It seems that wherever I go, with or without baby, I am destined to be drenched in milk. If only I’d have offered to use my own milk I may not have been in this pickle!

What has been nice though is that as mastitis is so common, a lot of people I know have had it. From friends, family, friends’ mums to readers of this blog, everyone has been really empathetic and offered lots of good advice. I’ve listed it all below in case it’s of use to anyone else and also in case I get it again!

1) Chilled cabbage leaves in your bra to reduce heat

2) Massaging breasts lying on your front in a warm bath

3) Going braless as much as possible

4) Feeding frequently to keep the milk flow stimulated

5) Expressing regularly and at the end of every feed to completely drain the breast and not let any milk stagnate

6) Take Phytolacca 30c when you get lumps or tingles and think it’s coming back

Here’s hoping that I’ll be back to fighting fit soon, I am feeling much better already, the antibiotics were very speedy. It’s very hard looking after a baby when you’re feeling rubbish, us mums really are superwomen aren’t we, lets all give ourselves a well deserved pat on the back! Pat, pat!

Em x

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4 thoughts on “Struck down by mastitis!

  1. Tash says:

    Ow! That sounds horrible. And here I was hoping that all my strange baby-related health issues would miraculously cease after labour day!! Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Kirsty says:

    Wow that sounds awful. I guess I should be glad that when my boobs are full they just leak everywhere. Well, thats the polite version. Last time they soaked through two tops, a cardigan, a scarf and the seatbelt as I raced home to feed! Probably low risk of mastitis though, on the bright side.

    Hope it’s better soon.

  3. Naomi Ellis says:

    hi! great blog 🙂 feel for you – Mastitis is so painful and horrible – I have had it several times and hated it – hope you recover well and at least now you know what it is like and be prepared for signs of it coming again – enjoy you little cherub…Naomi

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