Hi there, I am a new mom to a wonderful 5 week old baby boy. We have had quite a start with nursing...
Mom’s problem began a couple days before week 2. I had the initial engorgement and it reduced, then my left breast engorged again. I was trying to empty it, but it managed to get a plugged duct that COMPLETELY stopped any expression efforts. Followed directions in “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” for two days, no improvement and started to have a fever and all the signs of mastitis. Started antibiotics for mastitis, gave it 2 days, but it was no better, and actually probably worse. I had developed a small blister under the skin that looked like milk. I was desperate to get the plug out, so hubby tried, which made the milk blister bigger-so much for sucking out the plug, there was still nothing coming out (baby couldn’t latch on at all because it was so engorged and he fussed and fussed because NOTHING was coming out at all, no matter how hard he tried). The milk blister was probably about the size of a dime on the skin next to my areola. Soooo after 2 days of at home plugged duct treatment and 2 days of antibiotics with no improvement it was back to the doctor. I got a shot of antibiotics in the butt and stronger antibiotics, a second shot in the butt the next day, day 3 the OB/GYN sent me to the general surgeon because he believed it to be an abscess. Sooo… off to the surgeon’s office immediately (I was probably lucky that the OB was willing to call around to find a surgeon that would see me right then). In the surgeon’s office I was telling him the history of how I got here, when I opened my gown to show him the blister I was talking about, he immediately moved for the needles of numbing medication and the scalpel! I am such a wimp, I HATE needles, the thought of cutting into skin freaks me out, but I managed to lay still and not scream as they did an “Incision and Drainage” procedure. Some of the puss just drained on it’s own, the rest, as hubby put it, “was squeezed out like playdough”. Incision was packed with antibiotic dressing that day and we went back the next day for them to repack. Continued antibiotics at home until the course was complete. Things were looking better and the incision seemed to be healing. I was able to hand express some—initially it came out through the incision, then both the incision and the nipple, then just the nipple—but was unable to breastfeed because the incision was too large and too close to the nipple, this also made it impossible to pump, because the suction REALLY irritated the incision, which the flange sat on top of and rubbed.
This past Monday it was looking good, so I decided to try to pump. I tried a waterproof bandaid to cover the incision. It felt ok while pumping using a manual pump so I could control pressure, etc., but when I took the pump off, my incision was really irritated, as the suction had pulled through the bandaid. I also had a new lump on the underside of my breast. That night I started running a fever. Tuesday I was back in to the surgeon’s office where they did another drainage of 30ccs of fluid. Luckily they were able to do this using a needle through the current incision, rather than a new incision. I was also prescribed another round of stronger antibiotics and the fluid that was drained will be sent to the lab to be cultured. I should find out if it is MRSA tomorrow and it’s back to the dr’s office Monday am for another check.
So the doctor said that I should try to express by hand and with the pump. I can get drops out of the pump or hand expressing and the lump that was drained keeps refilling… I feel like it’s a stretched out balloon that keeps collecting. I can get it to feel soft and empty, but it just fills up again. It’s still more tender than the rest of the breast. Do you think that wearing a tight bra might help to pull that lump back in (it is visible)? That brings me to my next question… I have had terrible luck finding a comfortable nursing bra prior to all this (I have a small rib cage and large cup size), but now baby boy has been nursing exclusively on the right for about 3 weeks, so my right breast is ENORMOUS. I can’t wait to have my left back so I can start working on balancing the work load! Where are the best places for nursing bras? How do you measure… I have used a few of the online calculators and they give me sizes varying from 32 FFF to 36 B! I ordered a couple, but they don’t fit at all/were completely uncomfortable, so I have to send them back. With the size difference in my breasts, I realize I’ll probably have to stuff the smaller side or use something with very flexible stretchy cups. If it seems like a tight bra to control my lump might help, hubby had the idea of using a sports bra that fits on the left and cutting out a big hole for my right breast. Thoughts?
Background information (I’ve seen that you ask for this information in follow-ups):
Born 38 weeks-induced due to placental tear/rupture. We had pitocin, pain meds, and an epidural because the pit drip had me contracting every minute really strong for HOURS and they wouldn’t let me move due to all the monitors for baby. I would have preferred fewer meds, but was really happy to have a healthy baby. Day 2 we met with the lactation consultant and she gave me a nipple shield to help him latch because I had flat nipples. This was great because it allowed us to nurse, which wasn’t working too well before.
Weights: (not on the same scale-some pediatrician, some lactation consultant
Birth-7lbs. 1oz. (lots of IV fluids involved)
1 week- 6lbs. 11oz. (pediatrician’s office w/diaper and lactation consultant w/diaper)
2 weeks-6lbs. 5oz. (pediatrician’s office w/diaper)
3 weeks-6lbs. 8.5oz. (lactation consultant w/diaper)
4 weeks-7lbs. 0oz. (pediatrician’s office w/diaper)
5 weeks-today… no weight check today
Output has been pretty consistent with 7-10 wet and poopy diapers each day.
In the first week, we used the nipple shield and he did ok, but was constantly knocking it out of the way. The lactation consultant helped us to transition away from the nipple shield at the end of first week. He was really sleepy for the first two weeks, so we nursed every 2-3 hours because he didn’t demand and he was sleepy when I did wake him up to feed. The pediatrician was concerned that he wasn’t back up to birth weight by week 2, but didn’t suggest supplementing and just asked that we visit the lactation consultant to check and see how things were going—thank you breastfeeding supportive pediatrician!
We are now feeding on demand, which is sometimes 45 minutes per hour for 4 hours straight! Heavy load for one breast to carry! Probably 12+ feedings per day, but I got to stressed when I tried to record them, so I stopped. Unfortunately, with all that feeding, I don't get a chance to work on expressing from the left much at all... maybe 2-3 times per day (it seems to take forever... get hot compress ready, heat, massage, hand express, pump... all for drops of milk--there must still be a plug in place somewhere)
Any ideas/help/support appreciated!