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Recurrent mastitis

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  • Recurrent mastitis

    Hi, everybody, this is my first time posting. I have a wonderful 11 month old, Ben, and we have a beautiful breastfeeding relationship. We co-sleep, he nurses a lot for comfort and suckles a lot throughout the night. I just love the intimacy and close bond breastfeeding has brought us. I have had two bouts of severe mastitis that both landed me in the hospital. Not only has this taken its toll on me, but my husband and mom have to use sick days to care for Ben when I'm ill. I don't know if I can expect them to keep doing this for me if I keep getting breast infections. I had planned on nursing Ben for at least another year, and ideally for as long as he wanted to do it because i enjoy it too. I feel if we stopped now it would be traumatic for both of us, I'm sure Ben more than me. I don't know why this is happenning, It probably has something to do with the nighttime feedings. Also, I am always getting plugged ducts if i miss a feeding. I don't feel run down, but I am sure that I am because I haven't really gotten a full nights sleep since before Ben was born. Has anybody else had this problem, or does anybody have any suggestions on how I should go about this?

  • #2
    That sounds horribly painful Abby! I hope you have contacted your local LLL. Call them! LLL Leaders want to help!
    I know you have seen multiple medical doctors but they may not be taking a more holistic approach. Have you been on IV/antibiotics long?

    What can I do about my repeated cases of mastitis?-click for link
    "Failure to fully recover from the initial case of mastitis can be a contributing factor to recurrence."

    I have not read or heard anything, even in an anecdote, to suggest night and comfort nursing leads to breast infections.
    Could you tell us more about the extent of your symptoms and the treatment you received?
    Last edited by naomifrederickmd; 04-04-2009, 08:50 AM.


    • #3
      Contacting LLL is a good idea. I had looked into it before and then forgot about it. There is also a lactation consultant at my local hospital that i had seen earlier when Ben was about 8 weeks and she was very helpful.

      Both times i had the infection, it came on very suddenly. Actually, both times were very similar except in opposite sides. They both started with a plugged duct and within a couple of hours my breast was swollen red and very painful, and I was down with a fever. Both times my fever rose to 103 degrees and I had to go to the ED for treatment. There has litterally been no warning for me. I had IV Unasyn and Vancomycin, 1 time doses of each. This time the doctor wanted to keep me for 2-3 days but I decided not to because I didn't want to be away from my baby for that long and I would have gone back if I got worse and so far I haven't. I am currently on Augmentin for 10 days but I am following up next week and the doctor mentioned that I may need to be on it for a month. I had mentioned long term antibiotic therapy to couple doctors and none of them had ever heard of it. My OB's office actually said that two times is not that bad and that some women get mastitis 5-6 times before they quit nursing. I know she meant well by this, but I can't see going through this again, and maybe those cases weren't as serious as what I have been through. I am now following with a breast specialist. So far all of the health care staff that I have come across have been very kind but I can tell have been a little taken aback by my desire to continue on with nursing.

      It is good to know that there is no evidence relating nighttime nursing to mastitis. The reason why I thought about this is there are some nights were he nurses so much that by the morning, by nipples are really sore and then it takes me a couple days to get better. We use the sidelying position and he pulls a lot and he teeth rest on my breast while he sleeps (he is not a biter).

      I know that breastfeeding is no supposed to be painful but for me it is sometimes. Could I be ignoring early symptoms? I hate to call to doctor every time I have a little pain, but maybe I'll have to. Thanks for the suggestions and I hope these details help.



      • #4
        Hi Abby,

        I had mastitis a few times, but I was able to treat it with antibiotics (one of the times), very high doses of vitamin C, and lots of nursing before it got too bad.

        The last time happened when DD was between 1.5 and 2 (she's now almost 2.5). I had a fever of 103 as well and it took me 2 full days to break the fever. I started to feel better very rapidly, however, after I took my first dose of 1000 mg of vitamin C.

        Anyways, when I had this last episode, I thought very strongly about weaning. I felt like there was no way I could go through that again. But I didn't wean, and we're still nursing strong, and doing great. I think it's a natural reaction to illness to want to avoid whatever is associated with it. But give yourself a little time before making any decisions.

        I have also been hospitalized twice since my daughter was born, for other reasons, and I know how hard it is to be sick and be a mommy. But just because it's happened twice doesn't speak anything about the future! Don't let yourself live in fear about what could be. Hang in there and enjoy your health now that it's back!


        • #6
          Thank you both for your comments and suggestions. You have both been really helpful and inspirational. We aren't going to be weaning anytime soon. Right now, I just can't imagine doing that, he's just not anywhere near being ready and neither am I, but I am going to contact LLL and try to do my best to prevent a future "attack." Thanks so much.


          • #7
            Do you have a breastpump? Maybe when you get a plugged duct you could feed your LO and then pump and just keep doing that until the pain goes away. Then maybe you won't get mastitis. You could also do breast compressions and change your baby's position when he nurses.



            • #8

              Hey Abby,

              I write for Examiner on Erie Attachment Parenting, and happened across your post while doing some research for Mastitis. I was wondering if I could share some of the advice/experience you share here in an article. You can check out my site at: and let me know. Also, I'd love to do an interview to see how the breastfeeding ended up. Thanks!

              Also, contact info: