Breastfeeding Worries

Updated on March 26, 2008
R.B. asks from Ketchikan, AK
10 answers

When I breastfed my first child, it was a nightmare. But I was really hardcore about doing it because I know that it's the ideal nutrition! After 8 weeks of my daughter not latching on (I pumped during that time), I began to get mastitis very often -- once requiring doctor intervention, other times requiring me to use a hot pad immediately to stave off worse infection. It rarely seemed to be a plugged duct -- rather a hard swelling that seemed to come from within the breast.

My doc said that I probably had 'old milk' creating problems (meaning I wasn't getting fully emptied), so I began pumping after every breastfeeding to ensure I was 'cleaned out' -- which helped a little, but the mastitis still persisted until my daughter eventually weaned herself at 11 months.

Now Child No. 2 is expected in July, and I'm terrified to breastfeed! Especially when a post-feed pumping regime will be unlikely when I have a 2-year-old waiting in the wings for momma's attention.

Has anyone had a similar issue with persistent mastitis -- and/or ways that I can make sure this isn't such a regular (and really painful) issue?

MANY thanks, everyone.

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answers from Seattle on

You don't say what type of pump you used, a manual or power, I might suggest trying one that is power operated. I used the avent isis, i don't really recommend it doesn't get much out. My friend used a double pump by medala(sp?) and she liked it. you might try renting a couple to find one that can pump best for you.

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answers from Seattle on

lecithin supplements (from your local healthfood sotre or in the natural supplememnts section at Fred Meyer)

lecithin helps prevent mastitis. That and take a Flax oil, fish oil supplement....

When you are admitted to the hospital for delivery, ask for a lactation consult within 24 hours of delivery.... see if the lactation consultant can visit you in the few hours after delivery as well to help with latching. Then schedule a 1 or 2 week follow up with the lactation consultant.

I was like you with my first and stressed out big time. the second was SO much easier and the third and the fourth....

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answers from Eugene on

Congratulations on the new baby! It is so wonderful to have two. They make each other laugh all the time.

With my first I had one severe breast infection and would have had several more but managed to head them off at the first sign of them.

My problem was clogged ducts due to a small bra. I set the girls free and got fitted by a pro and never had that problem again.

Nursing number two was definitely easier. I was more experienced and things went more smoothly and with much less discomfort.

I am still nursing my first, so any sign of fullness or the baby letting off before all my milk had emptied could be taken care of by my little professional.

I think it is a great idea for you to get help now. Nursing is such a wonderful gift to give to your children.

I am currently working on my certification to become a doula. One of the services I will be providing women is breastfeeding education and support. I would highly encourage you to seek help from a doula. These educated and highly trained women can come to your home and offer you the help and support you may need. Check out the site for more information on doulas.

Hopes this helps and good luck!

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answers from Eugene on

Hi R.,
I nursed two kids both for several years but I did not have the issues of mastitas. With my first, I did have problems with my milk supply and I pumped round the clock sounds similar to what you did. My son was 3 months old before he could nurse on his own without me pumping and putting him on an supplemental nursing system (SNS) that I tapped to nipples.

I understand how tiring and demanding this is. I totally congratulate you for being so "hard core" because what you did was what was right for you at the time.

It's the feeling in your heart that will take you to the place you need to go and only you can decide what this is.

Many people were behind me telling me not to be so "hard core" with my first but there was something inside me that would not let this go, the desire I had to do what I thought was the best thing for my baby, which was to breastfeed.

That was what was right for me. I felt so strongly about this that I made it through to the other side of the problem after 3 months of round the clock pumping and using the SNS.

With my second, because I was experienced as a parent I was much more comfortable, and I knew how to nurse, everything went so much smoother.

I really want to encourage you to hook up with a local La Leche League group if there is one in your area. Without the support I got from my local LLL group I would not have made it through with my first.

Here are some links to the LLL website that talk about recurring mastitis and the issues around that.

You are right to be seeing out information ahead of time. I don't mean to be disrespectful but what I have found is that medical Dr's generally do not know much about successful breastfeeding relationships.

Mother to mother support is really beneficial, especially when it is another mother who has had a successful breastfeeding experience. That's what you will get with LLL.

All the best,

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answers from Portland on

My first breastfeeding experience had some similarities to yours, I had to use nipple shields due to flat nipples, my son had a hard time figuring out how to latch on, I had mastitis 5-6 times and he weaned himself at 10months(he prefered a bottle-with formula which we had started supplementing with at about 6 months once per day). I also was concerned about how my second(born 21 months after the first) would take to breastfeeding. I was resigned to the fact that I would need to use the shields again, but at two months she rejected them and began to nurse "naturally". She also refused a bottle and pacifier which was a blessing and a curse! At about 9-10 months she started picking up her brothers sippy cup and drinking but continued to nurse up until her birthday when I "cut her off". Each child is different- it is worth trying to breastfeed and then coming up with a new plan if needed!

After reading the other responses I wanted to add that with my second I did NOT get mastitis at all. Also with my first I lived at the lactation consultants but with the second- the team had changed and I did not find them as helpful- but of course I was more experienced the second time around and I understood better what my body was doing.



answers from Seattle on

for engorged breasts insert cold cabbage leaves in bra. i know it sounds strange but it helps the pain. for painful nipples use lanolin cream.



answers from Seattle on

I agree with everyone who says it's different each time. With my first she nursed great but I used the avent manual pump and couldn't get one ounce from both sides after the first week. I got mastitis after two weeks and again when I was weaning at 21 months. This time I have a medela single pump and three months in have had no problems yet! Although she had problems latching on at first so it was more painful. Good luck, although you might not need it!



answers from Seattle on


If you'll be delivering at a hospital, they often have nursing centers. Check now and see what they have available. Even if you're delivering at the same place, they may have updated their staff to include lactation nurses. Find one that you like and use her up.

Also, a friend of mine had trouble with her first latching. After two and a half months she ended up at a specialist Physical Therapist and he recommended the Soothies pacifier. That helped the baby to put his toungue in the right position.

Good luck.



answers from Anchorage on

I just ordered merino wool/cashmere nursing pads. They are supposed to help prevent mastitis by keeping the breast very warm. I also made some fennel seed heat pads I just stick them in the microwave for 15 seconds and they fit inside my bra.
There is hope! You may not be just doomed. My first one was a natural eater. She latched with no problems and drained both breasts at each feeding. She was so good I thought breastfeeding was instinctual for all babies! Boy, did I get a suprise. Each experience has been diferent! Let's pray you have a healty happy eater this time!
Ask your doc if you have free access to a lactation consultant now. This is new in my area (at least to me) and has been an invaluable resource for me!



answers from Seattle on

Congratulations on the new baby on the way.

I'm sorry to hear you had such a challenge with breastfeeding with your daughter. My first was a breeze, after a few days we had it down. My second on the other hand had troubles latching on and only really latched on, on one side. My point is, is that all babies are different. Your new baby could be the worlds best Breastfeeder. Take a deep breath and have the supplies ready for the mastitis, and have a basket of "new" toys or books next to the chair where you breastfeed, for your toddler to play with only while you're feeding the baby. Eventually you'll be able to read a story, build leggos or dress a dolly while you breastfeed.
And don't stress if you have challenges breastfeeding, and have to give formula, yes Breastmilk is most nutritious, but it's more important for a babies growth to have a low stress mommy. I'd say no stress but we're moms and that's impossible.

Enjoy the new Baby!!!!!

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