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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mastitis

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: 
but a broken spirit drieth the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

              Mastitis (or in more fortunate cases, a clogged milk duct) is not every breastfeeding woman's trouble. However, it is good to know the  "do's and don'ts"  in case you are ever faced with this type of infection. If you do not know what mastitis is (lucky!), then let me give you the Danielle simplified definition: It is a type of infection that occurs in the milk duct(s) of one or both breasts (not necessarily lactating) in a mother (babe in or out of womb). This infection can cover a small or very very large area and will be red in color with even brighter, angrier red stripes. So why do I think that it is my duty to inform you of the whatabouts of mastitis? I have experienced this nasty infection half a dozen times with the most recent time still fresh on my mind and have tried it all. (The first time, I was  pregnant with Dallas. Go figure!) Does that make me an expert or a doctor? No! In fact, if you are already sure before reading this, then you should have already made an appointment with your OB/GYN and are en route for his expert advice. Before I go any further with the negative (after all, my New Year's Resolution is to be more positive), let's look at the brighter side of mastitis:

Pros of Mastitis
1. Rest (read: SLEEP!!!) is the number one recommendation to recovery. Grab some fluffy pillows, warm blankets, and everything you need within your reach; you will not be leaving the bed for a couple of days.
2. Facebook will keep you informed of everyone's life after Christmas- you will not have to worry what every friend's aunt, uncle, and family dog received as a Christmas present.
3. Your friends will be so bored and just sitting around that they will have plenty of time to chat/text!
4. When you forget that the prescribed pain medicine makes you awake and not sleepy, then you can catch up on all five seasons of Friday Night Lights.

Gryffindor loves to cuddle his sick Mommy. 


Symptoms
To make the symptoms simple, you feel like you have the flu (high fever, chills, shakes, body aches, headache, nausea), in addition to a severe knife like pain in your breast. If you are experiencing a clogged duct you should only have a slight fever and not as severe pain. 

Remedies 
1. Warm, Moist Heat applied to the area. Reasoning: the heat is for pain relief and moist heat is more penetrating than dry heat. The best ways to administer moist heat to the area is to apply a washcloth, submerge yourself in a warm tub,  or sit in a shower with warm water directed at the area. I have found the quickest way of pain relief is to fill a bathroom sink (or plastic bowl) with warm water and submerge the infected breast into the water until some relief is felt. 
2.  Massage the infected area. Why in the world would you want to massage a knot of pain? Because the whole time that you are massaging the infected area, you will be thinking, "I am making this painful nuisance become closer and closer to being gone from my body!" Yes, it hurts, but it is also beneficial to unclogging the infected milk duct. (Do not massage too much or bruising will occur.)
3. Cabbage leaves applied to the area. I have never  tried this method, because cabbage leaves are also thought to dry up a milk supply. And if your thinking is like my thinking, then every drop counts! It is worth a try, because every woman's body will respond differently to different remedies. 
4. Pump, Express, Nurse as much as possible. Once again, this is a painful remedy, but very necessary. If you are not getting the milk out that is being let down, then you are doing two very harmful things to your body: causing yourself engorgement that will cause even more pain and possibly more infection and raising your chances of lowering your milk supply for when you are through with the infection. 
5. Antibiotics. If you know me personally, you know that I am not a fan of antibiotics being used on a whim. But a breast infection is not something to be messed with! A clogged duct should be able to be quickly alleviated by the previous methods- once you are at the stage of an infection (high fever, increased pain, redness, able to feel swollen knots), then you need to see a doctor who will prescribe you an antibiotic. (And a pain pill if you act pitiful enough!)

My supplies at hand. 



The End is Near! 
You may not think that the end will ever be seen... But if you want to eat more than applesauce (think, Chick-fil-A waffle fries and a nutty chicken salad sandwich!), then you are a step closer to being able to life your arm and nurse your baby without pain. Don't worry, the laundry has been patient (mine even gathered friends into a large party extending into four hampers!), your social life will still exist, your husband will love and respect your job as a mother/wife/maid even more after he has obliged to pick up your slack from being so sick. 

It was too painful for me to nurse her, plus my milk wouldn't drop. 
So, Daddy taught Lillie-Mae how to take Mommy's milk from a bottle! 
This was a miracle considering she has previously cried for over an hour
refusing a bottle. He's the best Daddy!




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