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Thread: infected cracked nipples & mastitis

  1. #1

    Default infected cracked nipples & mastitis

    Dear All,

    My baby is 5 wks old today and until recently i have been BF with a supplementry FF once/twice a day (on doctors advise as baby was hungry). Over the last week and half my cracked nipple (one one side) has become infected and developed into mastitis. I had one 7 day course of antibiotics and continued BF (through the pain!), but the nipple got a lot worse, the doctor has told me to stop feeding on that side until it is healed up. I'm now on a second course of antibiotics and have some steroid cream.

    Although i'm hand pumping on the bad side still, I'm now topping up with formula feed every feed and my baby seems to really have increased the amount of milk he takes. I'm breast feeding on the my good side, followed by 50ml of pumped breast milk and then 50-90ml of FF. I don't see how i will now ever be rid of Formula. I'm so worried this means the end of breast feeding, as i don't see how i can match the amount i'm feeding him with breast milk alone, as i seem to express so little when I pump. Also my nipple is so badly damaged I wonder how long it will be before i can BF on both sides again. Can i ever EBF? Or is combined feeding okay, does it always lead to exclusive FF?

    Any advice from others would be greatly appreciated !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,831

    Default Re: infected cracked nipples & mastitis

    Welcome! I have to say that my first advice to you has to be the following: PLEASE SWITCH DOCTORS. At least consider looking for a new pediatrician. Yours is giving you AWFUL advice!

    Should you top up with formula "because baby is hungry"?

    No. That's a recipe for lowered milk supply. Milk supply = demand. Supplementing with formula means that the baby demands less, which gives your body the message that it doesn't need to make as much milk, which can lead to increased need for supplementation. So you should not use formula without a good medical reason to do so- like dehydration or failure to gain adequate weight.

    Should you discontinue nursing on a breast that has mastitis?

    No. The key to beating mastitis is to drain the affected breast as often and as completely as possible. The baby typically drains the breast better than the pump, so the baby should be allowed unrestricted access to the affected breast. Mastitis-y milk will not hurt the baby.

    Good link on plugged ducts and mastitis: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/mastitis.html

    Now, if it is too painful to nurse on the cracked breast, you can certainly sub the pump for the baby. However, the pump generally does not do as good a job as the baby at emptying the breast- especially if you're using a manual pump, which tend to be the least effective models on the market. Here are tips on pumping more: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/p..._decrease.html I also strongly suggest going to a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, for hands-on help with your latch, with pumping, and with respect to the necessity for formula supplementation (or lack thereof). The internet is great but there's a lot that we're going to miss because we can't see what's going on.


    I had one 7 day course of antibiotics and continued BF (through the pain!), but the nipple got a lot worse, the doctor has told me to stop feeding on that side until it is healed up. I'm now on a second course of antibiotics and have some steroid cream.
    Since you've now had 2 rounds of antibiotics, one thing to be alert for is thrush (a yeast infection of the breast or baby's mouth, more common after repeated courses of antibiotics). Thrush can cause cracks and can be extraordinarily painful.

    Although i'm hand pumping on the bad side still, I'm now topping up with formula feed every feed and my baby seems to really have increased the amount of milk he takes. I'm breast feeding on the my good side, followed by 50ml of pumped breast milk and then 50-90ml of FF. I don't see how i will now ever be rid of Formula.
    This link on weaning from formula supplements tells you how to achieve your goal: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html

    I'm so worried this means the end of breast feeding, as i don't see how i can match the amount i'm feeding him with breast milk alone, as i seem to express so little when I pump. Also my nipple is so badly damaged I wonder how long it will be before i can BF on both sides again.
    I think that the sooner you get a good pump and some hands-on help, the sooner you're going to be EBFing.

    Can i ever EBF? Or is combined feeding okay, does it always lead to exclusive FF?
    You can do it! Many mamas here, including me, have supplemented with formula at some point, and gone on to EBF. And there are adoptive moms who nurse and achieve full supplies and moms who relactate- you are way ahead of the game here and with some work and the right help I think you can achieve your goal.

    We'll do whatever we can to help!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: infected cracked nipples & mastitis

    5 weeks is so young... you can meet your goals.

    PLEASE SWITCH DOCTORS. At least consider looking for a new pediatrician. Yours is giving you AWFUL advice!

    what she said cause stopping nursing on that breast all toghether is not what you want to do to get beter, removing milk is what is going to make you feal beter.

    more info here
    how to treat cracks http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...lehealing.html

    and
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/mastitis.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4,894

    Default Re: infected cracked nipples & mastitis

    I had mastitis and continued to nurse through it. In fact, it was the only thing that relieved it. Cracked nipples are horrible. Best advice I can give for that is to leave them out as often as possible. Literally, don't wear a shirt or bra at all. Express breastmilk on them and let them air dry. And I loved MotherLove Nipple Cream. Also, a hand pump cannot get the output you need to counter the formula, which I also suggest tossing. It will take a few days, but eventually your supply will catch up to your baby's demands. Just spend lots of time nursing. You can do this!!
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

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