Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Kamala vs Mastitis: Rounds 1 & 2

This was meant to go up in the days after my latest round of mastitis, but there were more important things to do, like looking after a sick bubba and settling a shaken dadda. There are 2 parts in this saga, look out for the second part over the coming days. In the mean time get a cup of tea or coffee or water or a glass of wine and make yourself comfortable, but I should warn you that this post has a little "too much information", consider yourself warned...

Kamala vs Mastitis: Round 1
Well, after wearing a non-breastfeeding specific top all day, one day back in November or December 2013, I found a lump in my left breast and managed to massage it out pretty quickly, but I missed the one in my right breast. The lump had been there overnight and was in the same place as the one in my left breast, so why I hadn't looked I'll never know... I spent the next day checking out the Australian Breastfeeding Association's website and information on mastitis, massaging the lump, putting cabbage on it (nicely chilled in the fridge), and massaging my breast while feeding Jimmy. That night I Jimmy feed from my right breast all night.

By the next morning my breast was looking a little red, but I thought I was ok. We made it to Jimmy's make up swimming lesson, he wasn't thrilled with me or the instructor, but I think that had more to do with the class being at the exact same time he wanted to nap. Oh well. We had a Friends of the Birth Centre morning tea to get to that day, and then something else that afternoon (I think...). After swimming, Jimmy slept. He slept so soundly I was able to have a shower (!!!) and that's when I saw how red my right breast was. I knew I wasn't feeling great but I'd just put that down to not sleeping well the night before and a lack of coffee, but there was a big, angry red triangle from my ribcage to my nipple. This wasn't just a blocked duct.

There was some frantic texting to friends to say that I wasn't going to be at the morning tea, that I had to look after my breast, and to please say hello to my midwife, if she was there. I was in tears. I had really, really, really wanted to go to the morning tea. I really, really, really wanted to give my midwife a hug because she had been a great source of support, especially after Jimmy was born*. I cried and cried. Somehow, Jimmy kept sleeping... Our housemate A was a little concerned, but then relieved to know that the situation wasn't as bad as I was making out. Because it wasn't. But I didn't feel well. And I didn't take the advice of my nurse friend (sorry G!), and book in with my GP straight away because, if I'm honest, I was feeling unwell.

The rest is a bit of a blur because I don't remember if I saw my GP that afternoon or the next day, after more cabbage leaf application and massage. Suffice it to say, I was basically told off by my GP for not seeing him the day before because now he had to get permission to prescribe me a stronger dose of the usual mastitis antibiotics.

I got off fairly lightly. The antibiotics kicked in, I started to feel better, we made it to Jimmy's regular swimming lesson, I finished the 6 day course of antibiotics and kept the repeat prescription in a safe place.
Mastitis: 1, Kamala: 0

Kamala vs Mastitis: Round 2
I was getting ready for yoga, feeling far too big, broad and pale to be wearing a nursing singlet and leggings, I pulled on another top and tested for breastfeeding friendliness. (I may have wore it another time, but without a bra, and felt a bit exposed... anyway...) It was a bit firm, but it was only going to be for a few hours, it was going to be ok, right? Wrong. Even though I took the offending top off within 30 mins of returning home and fed Jimmy at least once before some of my mummy friends visited with bubbies in tow, there was still a big lump in my left breast.

No. It wasn't big, it was HUGE. From memory, I did try to massage it out, but the next morning it was red, red, red, and I was feeling 'a little poorly', so rightly or wrongly I skipped the trip to the GP and went straight to the local pharmacy, Jimmy in tow because Michael was at work, had the script filled and started taking the antibiotics. Ahhhhh... Don't get me wrong, there was still a lot of massaging to do, but I had nipped the infection in the bud.
Mastitis: 1, Kamala: 1

To be continued...

*The midwives at the Birth Centre, at the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, do home visits every few days for two weeks following a birth and are available for chats on the phone during and after this period. They usually work in teams of three but as it transpired we only had one midwife plus a backup midwife. They were lovely, and without their care and support, I would think about Jimmy's birth rather differently, but that's another story, for another time.


  1. Where's Jimmy??? ....there's Jimmy

    1. I was not expecting that in the comments for this post! But you're right, that's what was happening when I took that photo :)