Intro and Mastitis help — The Bump
Parenting after 35

Intro and Mastitis help

Hi, I'm moving over here from Pregnant Over 35. I am 40 and just had a baby girl on Thanksgiving. We've had a rough start. After being induced I went through 12 hrs of very painful labor and 2 hrs of pushing but she was stuck and wouldn't descend so I had to have an emergency c-section. I lost a lot of blood and had to have a transfusion.

We tried to nurse but haven't been successful. She has latching issues, I've had supply issues, and now I have mastitis.

I've been doing everything I'm supposed to do- hot shower massaging the breast, heat before pumping and cold compress after, but I'm not getting anything out of the side with mastitis and that was my good side before.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Any advice for what else might help? I've been on antibiotics since Sunday night so hopefully they will kick in soon but I need to get the milk out. Really frustrated right now. :(
Me:41, DH:41 Positive for MTHFR mutations- one copy C677T, one copy A1298C. One daughter born on Thanksgiving in 2013. Six losses.

Re: Intro and Mastitis help

  • Did you try posting this on the breast feeding board? They are really helpful.
  • ELF4321ELF4321 member
    edited December 2013
    I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with BFing. Do you have a lactation consultant that you are working with? They should be able to help with the mastitis and also recommend supplements that might boost supply (Motherlove More Milk Plus is a good starting supplement). The website kellymom also has a lot of info. If you're on Facebook, there's a support group for women dealing with IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue) and low milk supply. It really helped me when I was struggling.

    I know how emotionally draining it is when you have BF issues. I know you want to BF and I encourage you to take reasonable steps to make it work if that's what you want to do, but I also want to say what too few people are willing to say --- it's also okay to give up, if it's just too much and is making it hard for you to take care of your baby and yourself. Your baby will benefit more from a mommy who is happy, healthy, and able to spend time with her rather than attached to a pump all day. It took me a long time to accept that when I never got a milk supply at all, but DD has been formula fed since day 4. She's healthy, happy, smart and no worse off for it.

    Hugs and best wishes to you.


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  • I know this is late to the game...  I EP so here are a few things I learned from that...  And something to consider is pumping might get that side going properly or if you're having a lot of issues emptying to go ahead and pump because the mechanism is different from latching so you may end up with not as many supply issues. 

    Baby Center was great for tips/advice when it come to these issues...  After going to the doc for the antibiotics...  a.) Gross as it's going to sound, when you're in the shower, "go to town" and get that block sucked out while applying massaging pressure to that area...  otherwise, in a HOT as you can reasonably tolerate tub, chest in water, hand express..  It's going to hurt like the dickens, but once you get the blocks through it'll help considerably....  b) Take Lecithin 2x/day...  If you've got thyroid issues order the kind that is sunflower based and not soy...  Lecithin is a natural emulsifier which should help reduce or eliminate the clogging.  This is what they recommend for anyone who has issues with repeated mastitis. 

    Finally - most Moms if asked will think  they've got supply issues.  Make sure your thyroid is functioning optimally and you're also taking care of yourself.  If those aren't being done it's going to make things all the tougher.  Finally, if you do end up supplementing some, DO NOT EVER get down on yourself!  Some of us just don't have "Elsie" as a nickname when it comes to production.  The only important detail is that your baby is fed and happy, whether that's BF, FF, EP, supplemented with formula, or any combination there-of. 

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  • Thanks you guys, I'm sorry it took me so long to get back on here. The antibiotics cleared up the mastitis thankfully and I'm feeling so much better. I have been taking a hot shower and massaging every morning before I pump. My supply has very slowly improved but it's still nowhere near where it was. I am 4 weeks post c-section so I guess there's still time for more milk to come in. I'm trying to remain hopeful.

    I am exclusively pumping because we just couldn't work through the latching issues. She was brutal and totally destroyed my nipples. Pumping is EXHAUSTING but I really want to try to give her as much breastmilk as I can. Right now I am only able to give her 1 ounce for every 3 ounces of formula. I just keep telling myself it's better than nothing.

    Thank you for the positive and supportive responses. I really appreciate it.
    Me:41, DH:41 Positive for MTHFR mutations- one copy C677T, one copy A1298C. One daughter born on Thanksgiving in 2013. Six losses.
  • I had to do the same, as DD never latched on. Pumping worked for a while, fenugreek helped increase my supply.  For the mastitis, did you try cabbage leaves in your bra? Crazy enough, but it worked for me.  And for the price of a head of cabbage, cheap solution. 

    Good luck! 
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  • mwd said:

    I had to do the same, as DD never latched on. Pumping worked for a while, fenugreek helped increase my supply.  For the mastitis, did you try cabbage leaves in your bra? Crazy enough, but it worked for me.  And for the price of a head of cabbage, cheap solution. 


    Good luck! 
    I sure did try cabbage, not sure if it helped or not. It didn't provide immediate relief but I only did it twice so maybe if I'd stuck with it I would have noticed more of a difference.

    It's so strange how what was my good side is now hardly producing and what was my bad side is now providing the bulk of my supply. I pump every 3 hours and I now get about an ounce out of the left, lucky to get maybe 10 ml out of the right. I pump both sides at the same time for 15 minutes, occasionally 20 if I'm still getting some out of the left. I just don't know why the right side won't catch up again. Not giving up though. Trying fenugreek and mothers milk tea.

    Me:41, DH:41 Positive for MTHFR mutations- one copy C677T, one copy A1298C. One daughter born on Thanksgiving in 2013. Six losses.
  • . I pump every 3 hours and I now get about an ounce out of the left, lucky to get maybe 10 ml out of the right. I pump both sides at the same time for 15 minutes, occasionally 20 if I'm still getting some out of the left. I just don't know why the right side won't catch up again. Not giving up though. Trying fenugreek and mothers milk tea.
    Pump longer than 20 minutes!!!  Try 45 minutes to an hour some time - get a gauge of your "letdowns" I found I got squat the first 20 minutes then really "let loose" between the 30 and 46 minute marks.  It's a pain in the tush to pump for longer, but it'll be worth it!
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  • Wow, really?? I had read not to pump longer than 20 or 30 minutes, not sure why. Also, how do you know when to switch back and forth with the letdown button? (I use a medela...). Do you toggle back to the letdown phase when nothing is coming out then switch back over when you're getting milk again? The instructions don't really explain how to use this feature...it confuses me.
    Me:41, DH:41 Positive for MTHFR mutations- one copy C677T, one copy A1298C. One daughter born on Thanksgiving in 2013. Six losses.
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    edited January 2014
    Guennie said:
    Wow, really?? I had read not to pump longer than 20 or 30 minutes, not sure why. Also, how do you know when to switch back and forth with the letdown button? (I use a medela...). Do you toggle back to the letdown phase when nothing is coming out then switch back over when you're getting milk again? The instructions don't really explain how to use this feature...it confuses me.

    Set the pump to what is comfortable and go from there...  Think of it this way - a baby can latch longer than 20-30 minutes - remember the idea is to stimulate just as a baby would or more..  Not all women respond the same to pumping, etc., you have to do what works for you and to figure that out, you have to experiment.  For me it was tossing out what I was "told" and paying attention to my body.  First it was pumping for 15 minutes 8-10x/day, then I pumped for 25 one day because I lost track of time, I ended up with about 50% more, then forgot to pump and combined times... Then I experimented with longer times and found that 45 minutes was the right amount of time for me to get the maximum amount.  Don't turn the pump up too high, but make sure you're getting enough suction.  Also, make sure you're using the right flange size for your nips, that can make a huge difference by itself (tissue size means nothing, nip size is everything!)..  And finally, replace the membranes on your pump ASAP if you haven't done so already!  Some women can go for the entire duration never having to replace them, then there are those of us that have to replace them once a week.  If the pump isn't properly maintained you'll have a ton of frustration and the problem will have nothing to do with you. 

    As for the letdown switch, the only thing I did differently during letdowns was to massage the duct tissue on that side more... I didn't do anything with the pump itself.

    The hard part is that I had to learn this through trial and error.  When I EP for DD when she was a baby, the mere thought of EP got side-eyes from everyone down to the lactation consultants...  I had one LC who basically said if I didn't want to or have plans to latch that I should just quit (while I was still in the hospital)...  Oh how times have changed, I had a completely different experience when I had DS and had a pump before I was even up to the recovery room! 

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