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Down for the count

08/01/2013

Belle

19 days till our move and I wake up sick as a dog today. Fever, chills, body aches and a damn sore boob with a big hard lump that I can’t seem to pump out. Sabine keeps turning her nose up at lefty like it is toxic, too. I would venture to guess lefty is infected. Just what I need when we are scrambling to close on the co-op, secure our movers, handle logistics, prepare for a garage sale on Saturday and more.

July 31 - reading books and playing with Mommy

All of this while I try to nurse, snuggle and play with an increasingly active Sabine. We had a jolly good time yesterday afternoon sitting in my lap, watching Sopranos, reading a book and making faces and jazz hands. It was the first time I felt like she was more a little human and less a little parasite. It was wonderful and I was eager for more today. Now I’m playing the nurse her, swaddle her and put her to sleep for an hour game so I can get a tiny bit of rest. Hopefully the Professor will have some time tonight to interact with her. Poor dear looks so bored.

I also need to take a quick moment to clarify something after receiving a comment this morning re: my last post. Yes, breastfeeding is hard but for all intents and purposes we are doing it successfully, meaning Sabine is growing and thriving and up until today my boobs were doing what they needed to. Latch issues, pacifying, exhaustion and possible tongue tie are all normal challenges and NOT reasons to stop. I do not intend to stop breastfeeding until I am directly harming my child. While I know that comments saying “it is ok to quit” are meant to be supportive, they are not. I need to be reminded to press on, and that challenges are normal. I need stories of triumph, not of failure. And now I’m going to step off my soap box and wake this baby and beg her to please suck the lump out of lefty. 🙂

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24 Comments

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  1. tchrgrl05 #
    August 1, 2013

    6 months EBF here and loving it 🙂 a tip for your lump: get in a hot shower and try to express out all of the milk by hand. I had to use serious force when doing this and I had to do it twice but it worked and my clogged duct went away. As I’m sure you know be careful it doesn’t turn into mastitis. Good luck and keep up the good work bf’ing! I’ve struggled at times but we’ve always made it through and I love it!

  2. August 1, 2013

    If you have a fever it might be mastitis – better caught sooner than later!! I only ever once had a big lump (and didn’t own a pump yet), all while she nursed I kept her on that side and kept pushing on it, then after I went into the washroom and kept pushing on the lump over the sink. I did get it out (though my boob was hella sore!) hope you get it out!!
    Ps – congrats on the nursing! The first couple months are more difficult as you feel like you are forever whipping out the boob, but later it gets soooo much easier, especially when they only nurse a couple times a day and it’s predictable. I promised myself at least 6 months and now I don’t know how/when I’ll stop!

  3. mylifeisaboutthejourney #
    August 1, 2013

    I had a lump similar to what you are describing a few months back. I Googled and found that someone suggested laying the baby down and hovering over to nurse for a few sessions. It sounds really wacky and it isn’t the most comfortable, but it totally helped and got rid of the blockage really fast. Maybe give it a try if you become desperate!

  4. nonsequiturchica #
    August 1, 2013

    Yikes. Like other commenters, I would be careful it is not mastitis (only know the term from when other bloggers have had a similar problem). It sounds painful and I hope you are able to get some relief soon!

  5. Romy #
    August 1, 2013

    Hopefully at this point its “just” a clogged duct and not mastitis. Are you massaging your breasts while pumping? I can only pump one side at a time and I have to squeeze my breasts or else I end up with clogged ducts. My body still produces more milk than Sawyer drinks and the LC’s I saw told me to continue pumping or I’d end up with clogged ducts because not all the milk is being drained from just nursing. I’ve had a few and it’s always taken a day or so to massage it out, working at it a little with every pumping and nursing session.
    I get your frustration over the “just quit” comment. When my parents were here for 3 weeks they constantly told me to stop because of how time consuming it was at the time. This was when I was working with LC’s and transitioning Sawyer to EBF still, so I was breastfeeding and pumping every 3 hours and then meeting with LC’s and feeding Sawyer every hour because he still wasn’t getting enough from the breast, etc. So yes it was a very difficult few weeks but I had decided for myself that I want to breastfeed and I hated the daily suggestions to stop and even worse, the comments that the benefits of breastfeeding weren’t that great and didn’t warrant this huge effort. I’ve been away from the Netherlands for 6 years now so I don’t really know what they teach women there about breastfeeding, but seeing as every friend and family member there who had a baby in the last few years didn’t breastfeed, I think they may not be promoting it as much. Which would be bizarre because the WORLD health organization is a strong advocate.
    Good luck today, I hope you’ll be able to massage the lump out and will feel better soon.

  6. Amy #
    August 1, 2013

    Ugh. Plugged ducts are awful. I was lucky to not get any until we were well past the six month mark, and it’s only happened a couple of times (first when my pump was failing, last time when I was out of town and thus only pumping and got lazy and didn’t pump as often as I should have). Hot water and massage helped, but it still sucked. The fever and chills sound more like mastitis, though, which I don’t have any tips for other than to consult kellymom’s site. I hope she is super ravenous and gets everything moving for you!

    • Amy #
      August 1, 2013

      OH! And hand expressing, with pressure/massage, after ever feeding or whenever you can. Hurts like hell, but should help. Especially if you’re not pumping (which I would think probably not, yet?) and she is not wanting to nurse on that side. Either way, I would hand express as much as I could just into the sink every time I went to the bathroom to pee or wash my hands or whatever. It seems so weird at first, but it’s a good skill to have in the long run (here’s a video – http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html). I hope it doesn’t last long or get any worse!

  7. August 1, 2013

    Oh, no! Good luck with knocking out this mastitis quickly. You can do it! It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. And even if you have to resort to meds, my understanding is there are bf-safe ones. Take care of youself, Belle! Oh, and you’re right… breastfeeding is freakin’ hard. But it’s the absolute best thing for our little ones. Way to go!

  8. Stacey #
    August 1, 2013

    I agree with the changing positions. Any weird way you can nurse or pump to work on the clog, like the hanging over baby, does help. If you have a fever, I’d see a dr to check mastitis. And keep altering positions in the future constantly to help prevent future clogs. I had SO many clogs with baby 1 and not so many with baby 2. Good luck!

  9. Elizabeth #
    August 1, 2013

    Do you have a sonicare toothbrush? If you do, I heard that it can help a plugged duct. Turn it on, and stick the vibrating end on the lump and press down.

  10. August 1, 2013

    Please call your doctor. This sounds like mastitis. If so, catch it early!!!

    we struggled for 6-8 weeks, Matthew and me, and we went on to EBF for another 48 weeks! No need to quit, just keep pressing on! Its hard though when your nipples ache!

    get better!!

  11. August 1, 2013

    On one hand I see what you’re saying about the it’s okay to quit messages. But on the other hand, I think reading that hit a nerve, which I am sure you weren’t intending to hit (at least I assume not).

    It IS okay to stop. It really really is. But I understand that you don’t want to stop, you want to press on, so I am not telling you to stop or that I think your challenges are insurmountable. I think there is a difference between people telling you to stop because they are sick of watching you struggle and can’t understand why you wouldn’t take the “easy” route, and supportive women who are telling you that You Are Not A Failure If You Stop Breastfeeding. I don’t know your goals for breastfeeding, that is your business of course. But I think most women who leave comments are trying to say that if you do choose to stop before you meet your goals, whether it’s now or in a few months on in a year, that it is okay. And I’m sure you don’t want to think about quitting right now because you are in the thick of the beginning challenges, and you truly truly believe you will overcome them (and you probably will). But I think a lot of new moms, myself included for a while, feel like breastfeeding is the most important thing you can do for your baby(ies), when sometimes when it comes down to it, it isn’t.

    I actually think I would have stopped breastfeeding the babies earlier and would have felt a lot less guilt if I hadn’t constantly been told to press on. I wanted to stop at around 2 months, and as a last ditch effort I called a lactation consultant. And for the next two and a half months I was pushed to press on, press on, press on. Even though I was crying at every feeding, and constantly getting angry at one of my babies, and stuck to a pump, and crying when I would put off a feeding because I didn’t want to deal with it, and struggling struggling struggling. And still, press on, you can do it, etc etc. So when I came to my breaking point, and just flat out quit, I felt like a complete and utter failure. And that feeling hasn’t left.

    So yes, you are continuing on, because the challenges you are dealing with are ones you expected and want to deal with. But the women who are trying to support you are most likely coming from a place like me, from having tried and had to stop and felt like a complete failure. And that feeling lingers on and on. You weren’t asking for that support, but I guess people who feel so terrible about having stopped breastfeeding want to help other women to NOT feel the way they do. I certainly would never want you to experience the constant nagging that I feel about it, even though I know it was the right decision.

    I know you don’t plan to stop, I guess I just felt the need to speak up for the people you don’t want to hear from… I guess doing the opposite of what you specifically asked for haha. Sorry :-/

  12. August 1, 2013

    No one tells you just how hard those first weeks of EBFing are. But it’s worth it. I had the same issues with my daughter. Our evenings would be several hour stretches on non stop sucking and she had no intention of taking a paci. It does get better. She is two weeks shy of her first birthday and she chooses when to end feedings. Especially when she feels the need to crawl over and examine a toy or cat. It does get better. I’ll be honest, I miss those first weeks when I was all she wanted and needed. Hang in there.

  13. August 1, 2013

    Plenty of good suggestions here on etting the clog out, but you can also take grapefruit seed extract (natural antibiotic) to try and combat what sounds like the already pending mastitis. Keep working at it and you’ll get it cleared. Maybe try block feeding for a while to get your supply regulated and beware bras with an underwire. They promise perky boobs but in turn give you lumpy ones!

    You’re doing amazing, I’m so happy everytime I read one of your posts and know you’re kicking ass at motherhood. Xoxo

  14. Amy #
    August 1, 2013

    Please call your doctor or midwife-just to make certain it’s not serious. If it is just a clogged duct, a hot bath & hot wash cloth will work like magic. I survived 45 days of pumping in the nicu, a very premature baby ( among many, many other health challenges) & unsupportive neonatologists to very successfully breastfeed. In fact, I breastfeed my daughter & her baby brother now & I am one of those women breastfeeding in the backseat of the car…It’s worth all the hard work & it’s not forever.

  15. August 2, 2013

    Don’t forget to massage that lump as much as you can, even if it hurts like hell! That boob needs to be drained! Try kneading it with your knuckles. Remember to stay hydrated, too. Nurse’s orders 😉

  16. Louise #
    August 2, 2013

    Get to the doctor to check it’s not mastitis! I went from feeling completely normal when I went to bed to unwell during the night, woke with fever and chills and a sore boob/lump. Within another 6 hrs I could not stand up and threw up even water. Thank god for modern medicine – I needed IV antibiotics and soon felt much better (though it took quite a while to fully recover) but I was truly amazed at how quickly it developed

  17. August 2, 2013

    Woo hoo on forging on with breastfeeding! You’re clearly a pro at muscling through the tough stuff (Sabine didn’t magically appear from one tequila-soaked night of passion. IVF if for warriors.) and this is no different. You go, mama. I hope my boobs are one day as painful and scabby as yours. Ugh, gross. But seriously.

  18. August 2, 2013

    Sounds like mastitis. Take Advil or Tylenol and get lots of rest! Hopefully it will go away soon. Lots and lots of nursing. As for when people say it’s ok to quit nursing… I can relate. When I was having such a hard time with my first baby, my OB told me formula was ok. No big deal. HA. Well I proved him wrong and nursed for almost 2 years. I’m currently nursing my second. Take it one day at a time and those days will become weeks and months and so on…

  19. Trish #
    August 2, 2013

    Hi Belle,
    You have gotten plenty of suggestions regarding how to fix the sore boob so I won’t add on. I really just want to tell you how amazingly happy you look with your beautiful Sabine. Thank you again for giving us all hope. Have a great day and I hope you are feeling better soon.

  20. August 2, 2013

    I was told i’d never feed, and I’ve been Breastfeeding 12 months and one day! The jman is a boob man. His first cold was at 10 months old, he’s so healthy. I had a couple of lumpy incidents, one early on in hospital with fever and chills, which seemed to be massive oversupply,and one only a couple of months back. Get in the hottest shower you can and run the water on it, then express by hand. Stay in there. Keep doing it. Check you don’t have any milk blisters on the nipple and if you do hold hot cloths on it & rub gently. Keep on changing your positions, each hold drains a different part more easily. For me, the football hold was a lifesaver, and stopped me not draining the side ducts, and laying down feeds were good but mainly when he was older. Just push on, get antibiotics for mastitis if that’s what it is, get it draining. Nurse often, massage in shower often, massage and express after shower with an old towel, I found hands a lot more effective than a pump at this time! You’ve got this, get on the paracetamol, talk to your dr and get draining. DON’T GIVE UP. 🙂

  21. August 2, 2013

    Since nobody mentioned it, if you get desperate and the lump is stubborn (mastitis or no) you can recruit the Professor to nurse. Position the nurser with the lump at the top of their mouth for best clog removal. If it’s mastitis, the milk will taste awful and be hard to get out because it gets thick and clotted, so it might help to have a speaking opinionated nurser.

  22. Cammy #
    August 3, 2013

    I understand what y0u mean about people telling you it is okay to give up. I know that others are being supportive, but what I really needed when I was struggling with BF was support from others and help to help me continue. It was really important to me and I wanted tough love. I struggled for almost a month and told my husband finally to NEVER tell me it is okay to give up and instead he should figure out ways to help me. I almost gave up at times and cried a lot! Mia clusterfeed for 3 weeks and it was
    HELL! I am so happy that I have stuck with it and I love it now! I go back to work on Tuesday so now to my next challenge of pumping while working! I orginally planned to BF for 6 months now planning for a year! Good luck and call the doctor! 🙂

  23. August 3, 2013

    I know what you mean about needing the opposite of the “it’s ok to stop” comments. I quit breastfeeding early on with my first two due to toe-curling pain and never even tried with my third. My mother (who never breastfed) said it was ok to quit and her words comforted me at the time (I really was so relieved to transition to formula feeding after getting past the initial feelings of guilt). My husband was also supportive and let me quit easily (he’s laid back and just wanted me to be happy and not cringe when he would bring her to me to feed). But over the years, not having the nursing experience became one of my life regrets later. I was secretly jealous of those who succeeded. I never thought I would have another baby but then we decided to go for #4 and halfway through my pregnancy, I suddenly got it in my head that this would be my last chance to experience breastfeeding. I read everything I could find and even took a class. I specifically told my husband ahead of time NOT to tell me that it was ok to quit when things got tough. I told my mother that I was trying again (and secretly resented the fact that she let me quit before because she had formula fed all of her four children). Well, nursing this baby has been tough to say the least. It started with a 19 day NICU stay and learning to latch once he finally got home. At times the pain has been unbearable (actually requiring deep breathing to get through it), though not always that bad. The pumping part has been a part time job all by itself. If I was going to quit, I would’ve done it long ago. But here we are, still nursing at 4 months and 7 days. When quitting was an option in my mind in the past, I took it (at just 9 days oldwith #1 and 3 days old with #2). But the difference this time is that quitting is simply not an option for me–even on the toughest days. Even at four months along with the help of a lactation consultant and a “just in case” course of Diflucan, nursing is still painful for me on a daily basis, but I just won’t quit. I’ve already done that twice before and this is my last baby. I know how I regretted quitting years later before. I’m determined to see it through, even if I have to cringe for the first 30 seconds of every feeding from here on out. How I love to watch bub’s little face as he nurses. It is priceless and worth all the discomfort and obvious inconvenience.

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