This morning I woke up shivering and feverish and aching all over. I naturally assumed I was coming down with a bug, until I moved. Oh. My. Goodness. It was like there was a ball of fire inside one of my boobs, and I realised.
It’s all my own fault. Last week I worked in-house for a client and didn’t express during the day. Then, the following day, because I had a deadline to meet, instead of either pumping at lunchtime or popping home to feed Little B, I again went all day without expressing or feeding. Big mistake: missed feeds and not emptying the breast properly are key causes of mastitis.
The question is: what’s the best way to treat mastitis? It’s a nasty business which can turn even nastier, and before the advent of penicillin women died from infection. I’ve always tried to avoid taking anything when breastfeeding – even paracetamol and ibuprofen which they say is ok – so I really don’t want to take antibiotics unless completely necessary.
I’ve had a look online and aside from the obvious – drinking plenty of fluid, a hot compress on the affected boob to keep things flowing and feeding from the affected boob to clear it out – it turns out there are a host of natural remedies including:
1. Get plenty of rest and ‘snuggle’ with your baby in bed. They haven’t met Little B.
2. Massage therapy-grade lavender oil onto the affected breast. Harder to come by than you might expect.
3. Eat four to five raw garlic cloves a day. Nice.
The trouble is I feel it is completely necessary to take something I know will stop the spread of infection. My head is pounding, my body is aching, my temperature is soaring and to say my boob is smarting is an understatement. Forget the ring of fire: this is worse.
So, despite the fact it goes against my instincts, I’ve been to the doctor and I’m now dosed up with paracetamol, ibuprofen and a course of antibiotics.
I just hope Little B’s poo doesn’t turn blue…