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Thread: Major bf issues 2nd time around

  1. #1

    Default Major bf issues 2nd time around

    My 2nd DD was born 6/24/11 and we've had a rough go with bf'ing. Started out with a cracked nipple due to improper latch that took a few weeks to heal, then I got mastitis in the other breast, which quickly escalated into an abscess. I had to have that drained and stay overnight in the hospital for antibiotics. Got home yesterday from the hospital and put DD to the affected breast (per the LC's encouragement) using the football hold to avoid my incision. I didn't latch her on properly (more at a side angle) and now I have two bulging milk blisters on that nipple and maybe a small crack. I switched to pumping on that breast and nursing on the other so the baby wouldn't introduce any (more) bacteria into the "hurt" side. I called the LC, who advised to soak the nipple in warm water and do warm compresses, and maybe hand express vs. using the pump.

    I nursed my 1st DD for 27 months. Had 3 minor instances of mastitis early on, but never the problems I'm having now. LC suggested it was because of a lowered immune system due to lack of rest. It is impossible to rest when baby sleeps with a 4-year-old in the house. I'm feeling ready to start exclusively pumping and have entertained the notion of formula feeding (even though I know I just need to persevere and get over this bad time because it will get better). I really want to continue breastfeeding, because I want my 2nd DD to have the benefits of breast milk, especially since we have several of the diseases in our family that breast milk helps ward off--diabetes, Crohn's, etc. The thoughts of having to go through another abscess drainage and mastitis are starting to make me doubt my ability to overcome this.
    I'd appreciate any support or advice you can offer. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    , also a very gentle side

    I don't have any experience w/ mastitis/abscess, and it sounds very ouchy. Hopefully some other mamas can chime in w/ some good advice.
    Little SW, Aug '09
    Miss MW, Jan '11
    Sir RW, Oct '12
    3 kids in 38 mos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    oh, dear mamma. I am sending you a cyber hug.
    You are struggling so valiantly surely there must be a silver lining in store for you and your baby.
    Sometimes there are just no discernible solutions. But the hardship is worth the benefits and one day you can use this experience as a guilt inducing bargaining chip over DD#2. like when she is a teen-ager and giving you attitude.LOL.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    ugh, i don't have any advice, but wanted to welcome you here. i know there are lots of moms her with mastitis experience (unfortunately) - hopefully they'll be around soon!! Get well soon Mama!
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    Oh, poor mama! Another gentle from over here. It sounds like you're someone who is maybe a little more prone to mastitis than average. Do you have a really good pump, with correctly sized shields? I am thinking that maybe one avenue you could take is to pump the breast that had the abscess and nurse on the "good" side. Your baby is still so young that it's probably very hard for her to get a perfect latch under the best of circumstances, but if you can use the pump to maintain production on the "bad" side, when she grows up a bit you can transition to nursing on both breasts.

    Did your LC suggest using an antibiotic ointment on your hurt nipple to combat infection? My LC suggested using a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on my cracks (use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    Thank you all for your warm welcome and encouragement! I'm going to try to hang in there and keep my chin up. It just feels like a new obstacle every day...I'm just ready to get past this and enjoy my family! I had to remove the bandage and packing in the abscess today and I cried like a baby when I saw it. This is the hardest thing I've had to go through, and I endured 2 C-sections. Ugh.

    I think I will pump the hurt side until these issues clear up, especially until the abscess incision heals. As long as I pump the hurt side after each feeding on the "good" side, my milk supply should be safe, right? I do have a good pump (Medela PIS) and I just use the shields that came with it...I think they're the standard size. How would I get fitted for the correct size? I'm pretty small-chested (B-cup) when not nursing, but go up to a D-cup when nursing. I also have pretty small nipples. I asked about using the Jack Newman's ointment that I had for the nipple crack on the side with the milk blisters, but she advised against it for now. I'm calling her back this afternoon w/ an update and will ask again, because I definitely see a small crack under the blisters that needs to be addressed.

    Anyone know what to do for milk blisters to encourage them to go away?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    I'm sorry that I don't have any advice about milk blisters, but I wanted to chime in on a couple of your questions.

    An LC should be able to help with advice about sizing of breast shields. Nipple size is more of a factor than breast size. Here's a helpful link.

    I've used a Medela PIS, and it may work well for you, but when I had mastitis (five months into exclusive pumping), that pump could not drain the breast well enough. I rented a Symphony and didn't fall in love with it, but I could never go back to the PIS. (It was an older model, didn't even have the two phase technology which I do find helpful.) If you're prone to mastitis, it might be worth renting the Symphony for a few weeks to help you get over the difficult early period.

    I think keeping your daughter on the "good" side and pumping the healing one is a great idea. If there's any way to keep a baby at the breast, I'd recommend it over doing anything that could lead to EPing long term. I wouldn't want to see anyone go down that road who didn't have to.

    Your supply should be fine with feeding on one side and pumping the other every time. Since the pump isn't as effective as the baby, though, you'll probably have to put in a little more time with it to make sure it really drains the breast.

    Maybe someone who knows about milk blisters will see this now and be able to chime in with something helpful on that front.
    I breast milk fed my Blossom for fifteen months (after exclusively pumping for thirteen). My Bud (nineteen months) is still nursing directly (after a rough start that included a few months of pumping and supplementing with mommy's milk).

    TwoDewdrops: Nursing Dresses and Tops for Discreet Breastfeeding (and Pumping)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Major bf issues 2nd time around

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*windyhill View Post
    Thank you all for your warm welcome and encouragement! I'm going to try to hang in there and keep my chin up. It just feels like a new obstacle every day...I'm just ready to get past this and enjoy my family! I had to remove the bandage and packing in the abscess today and I cried like a baby when I saw it. This is the hardest thing I've had to go through, and I endured 2 C-sections. Ugh.
    Ugh. This is how I felt after I had a breast biopsy, and the incision wouldn't heal. My breast was beyond black and blue. It was more ... er ... tie-dyed. I went to an LC, and when I showed it to her, she almost . It was so awful looking. But it will heal. It will heal.

    Pump if that is a lot easier than nursing on that side. Perhaps try to nurse more on the unaffected side, so that you aren't as dependent on the supply on the hurt side, allowing it to heal. I'm not saying don't pump the hurt side. I'm saying nurse frequently on the other side.

    Obviously, I'm not a doctor, but I would definitely think some polysporin ointment on your nipples sounds in order. Salt water might help while you wait for the clear from your LC on a topical ointment.

    Some women take lecithin to avoid clogged ducts, which can also help with mastitis. It can't hurt. When I had mastitis, it was also recommended that I get LOTS of vitamin C and take grapeseed extract, for its healing and immune supporting properties. Basically, it might help; it can't hurt.

    For milk blisters, try soaking a washcloth in HOT salt water and applying it as a hot compress to loosen everything up. If need be, you can even lance the blister with a needle, but ow. Try the hot compresses first.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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