Not even close to weaning, thank you very much!

by Janice

I have got mastitis again. I have lost count — but I think this is the fourth time this year.

The great thing about routinely getting mastitis is that you know exactly what is happening and you can get your antibiotics started right away. My first bout of mastitis was agony because I waited too long before getting to the doctor.

Since I get medicated early, it really doesn’t bother me that much that I have mastitis. To me, nursing is definitely worth some pain and illness.

So it shocked me when the female doctor at the clinic looked at me like I was crazy when I told her it was my fourth time with mastitis this year and asked me, “Well, when are you going to stop nursing?”

Taken aback, I replied, “Oh… not yet! I nursed my son for 16 months and I will nurse Olivia until she is at least 18 months old.”

She shook her head with disgust!

I defended myself, “I don’t mind getting mastitis. The antibiotics clear it up quickly.”

“Well, it is not good for your body. You could get abscesses…”

I was in shock that she was suggesting I wean! I am not even CLOSE to being ready to wean — and neither is Olivia. I can’t even imagine weaning her right now.

It is going to take more than a few bouts of mastitis to get me to wean this early!

I LOVE nursing. It is such a wonderful bonding time with Olivia. Especially as a working mother who has to spend too much time at my computer away from my baby girl, nursing is a wonderful time to connect with each other.

It is already breaking my heart that she is growing up as fast as she is! If i wean her, then she really will no longer be a baby!

No thank you. I am not ready to wean!!!

What do you think? Do you think my body is telling me to wean? Or, do you agree with me that a few bouts of mastitis isn’t enough to cut my nursing plans short?



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gretchen October 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm

I think people are surprised when a mother does something that might almost seem *sacrificial* (gasp!!). Imagine, doing something so good for your baby, even if it means some temporary discomfort for you!!

Keep it up….you know what’s best for you and your baby!!

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2 Maggie October 10, 2008 at 2:19 pm

For me, it would be. Unfortunately I did not enjoy breastfeeding. I did it because it was best for my son. But if you enjoy it that much, don’t stop!

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3 Nancy October 10, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Well I can see the nurse’s point of view, too many rounds of antibiotics will cause your body to begin to NOT respond to the antibiotics and not just from mastitis, but any infection and then you will get abcesses. This is why there is such rampant MRSA infections, too many antibiotics. If you are taking antibiotics more than once a year, you are at risk for causing yourself to become resistant. MRSA is not a rare thing anymore, its very serious.
In this day and age I think most people are in agreement that nursing till at least 1 yr is extremely important, beyond that, if the mothers health is at risk you probably should stop. You cant care for your baby if you are in the hospital with an absess! I beleive breastfeeding is the best thing, I dont think that nurse was disgusted by your insistance on breastfeeding, I think she may have felt you dont care enough about your own body. Occasionally mama has to come first.
I’d say if you want to continue breastfeeding be cautious and do what you can to prevent another bout of mastitis.

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4 Kalisha (Mommy Lounge) October 10, 2008 at 2:39 pm

No Way! You stay strong and work through it! I nursed my youngest until she was almost 18 months and I don’t regret a moment. I probably would’ve nursed her longer, but I had to take some antibiotics for a week and I had to wean her. Breastfeeding is great for your bonding and health. You keep hanging in there and it will all pay off in the long run!
Goodluck!
Kalisha

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5 Lee October 10, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I would be ready to wean. I had mastitis twice with my son (nursed till 14 months) and have had it twice already with my daughter (she’s 9 1/2 months). I agree that mastitis is no reason to stop nursing. However, from what I’ve read, there’s not a lot of benefit to nursing after a year anyways. So I usually just make it to that point and then hold on to the bedtime nursing for a couple of extra months. The antibiotics issue concerns me a little too simply because your body will adapt to it and it will no longer be effective. But there are ways to clear up mastitis without medicine if you ketch it early. Pump after every feeding, hot compresses and expressing milk, lots of ibprophen, water, and tons of rest. But it has to be caught early and you have to be careful to listen to your body. You may end up needing antibiotics even with these steps.

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6 Tamara Cosby October 10, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I think I can’t stand it when people who think they have the answers tell me when it’s time for me to stop nursing. I remember my first child and the nursing situation I was in…it wasn’t a happy one, I was without a support group and dealt with a woman who thought I should nurse in the bathroom at a restaurant…if that had been me NOW, she would have been told exactly what I think of feeding my child in a bathroom but I was a big chicken then! I think if you are not ready to wean, you should NOT WEAN!!!! That is ridiculous!!!!!

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7 Renee Garcia October 10, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I think you know your body and your child best. Mastitis stinks but it is easily cleared up. Don’t let that stop you!

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8 Mom24 October 10, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I could not disagree more. I think you are exactly right. I also disagree with the person who said there’s not a lot of benefit to nursing past a year. That’s not true. It’s just not what we’re comfortable with in the states. There is so much pressure, direct and indirect not to breastfeed, or at least not to past 6 weeks or so. I say hang in there as long as it’s what you want. You’ll be just fine, you’re in tune with your body, you’re catching it early, you’ll be fine.

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9 Stefanie October 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Mastitis is the reason I quit breastfeeding. I had it really bad and was in horrible amounts of pain, but the time it was over my milk was pretty much dried up.

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10 GreenJello October 10, 2008 at 2:51 pm

By all means, keep on breastfeeding. It’s the best thing you can do when you have mastitis.

That being said, 4 cases so far this year is a LOT. You may want to step back and look at certain things that encourage mastitis– Is your bra too tight? Are you breastfeeding on a regular basis (i.e. don’t wait 10 hours between a feeding, and then go 3 hours to the next. Pump if you have to.)? Are you completely emptying the breast?

And remember to never use creams or lotions on the nipple.

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11 Charlsie Swadley October 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm

I say keep up the good work. Don’t stop nursing. I agree it is such a special bond. Plus as I am sure you already are doing continue with mastitis prevention!

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12 lifeasamama October 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Oh my goodness – don’t give up! I’m finally and a little sadly starting to wean my 23-month old daughter… and I had mastitis a number of times too.

My causes of the infections were bras that were too tight or not nursing frequently enough. Once I figured both of those out, I haven’t had any problems in, oh, gosh, almost a year.

You do what you think is best, and while you take your nurse’s comments into consideration, don’t let her bully you into doing something you don’t want to do!

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13 se7en October 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Well done, you, for persevering! It is hard to go against the flow… I think four bouts of mastitis is a definite indicator that you need to slow down a little bit and smell the roses. I know as soon as I get a hint of a breast infection I cancel everything, take my baby to bed and play “camp” for a day or two… everyone enjoys the change of pace – who wouldn’t like to snuggle in bed with a pile of stories!

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14 Tonya October 10, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I agree with you. As long as you don’t feel it is a health problem. You know your body better then any ole doctor. My little girl is going to be 13 months next week and she and I both still love nursing. It is just so special. I’m not ready to wean either.

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15 ayla October 10, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I think you should get an LC to check her latch, and take scrupulous care of your nipples. Four bouts of mastitis in a year is quite a bit, but not, i feel, a reason to wean. I’m just curious if the abx are actually clearing the infection each time, or if you have a more drug-resistant strain of bacteria that keeps growing. Might be worth looking into.

With a new doctor, that is. What a tool!

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16 Sharon October 10, 2008 at 3:20 pm

No way. I think it’s a challenge mother nature is throwing your way, but I don’t think it’s a way of saying to stop nursing.

I’ve basically stopped letting people in on the fact that I’m still nursing my 18 month old. My dh is fine w/ it, and he’s mostly weaned.

I think it’s time to wean when 1) YOU are ready and 2) your baby shows signs of being ready.

I’ve had Mastitis, too. While it DOES stink, I don’t think it’s a way of saying stop.
Good for you for standing your ground! (and I want to say shame on the doctor for not recognizing the benefits of nursing a toddler!)

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17 ayla October 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm

And just one more thing, people cannot become resistant to antibiotics. Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. They’re not like pain medication or alcohol where you build up a tolerance (unless you’re a bacterium). Yes, taking too many antibiotics is a problem, because it creates drug-resistant bacteria, but you yourself will not be resistant.

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18 Tatiana October 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm

I think that, unless there is a DIRE threat to the health of yourself and/or your daughter, there’s no reason to stop breastfeeding until you are ready to!

And really, something that can be treated with antibiotics isn’t “dire”.

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19 Rachel October 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Weaning when you have mastitis will actually make it worse and that is what will cause an abscess, not the mastitis itself.

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20 Heather G October 10, 2008 at 3:43 pm

I wouldn’t wean. But I would meet with a LC to see if she had any insight as to why I keep getting mastitis. Good luck continuing to nurse your daughter until you are both ready to wean.

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21 Blessed October 10, 2008 at 3:44 pm

My little one is just a month older than yours and we’re not ready to wean yet either! – I would talk to a lactation consultant if I were you and see if you could figure out what was causing the mastis to be so frequent but by all means – keep nursing!

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22 Sharon October 10, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Oh yeah, re-reading my comment, I don’t think I wrote it correctly. I meant to say weaning when the child shows readiness, as in child-led weaning. (unless the mother is not happy w/ it)

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23 dh October 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

I think the weaning question is yours alone to answer and no one can make the decision for you. My daughter preferred the bottle at 5 months and literally cut me off. My son went a lot longer. However, the question I have to ask is about the antibiotics and what affect will they have on Olivia and you. Doctors tell you how too many antibiotics can cause bacteria to develop a resistance to antibiotics which can really cause harm when you really need them to work. How much exposure to that is good for you, even if it works well right now.

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24 Michelle October 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm

You are definitely doing the right thing!
I would still be nursing right now if my little girl didn’t up and quit one day. I was upset for weeks because it was so sudden. I love nursing! Keep it up :)

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25 Terri Mackmer October 10, 2008 at 4:17 pm

My 3rd baby (who is almost 8 mos now) and I had thrush in the beginning but I thought it was the “normal” pain and it wasn’t until I realized I probably shouldn’t be SOBBING during every feeding that it was something more. I thought it was interesting how many people were quick to suggest quitting right then. I was determined though (esp b/c this was my first child where I had pt hours at work and am now staying at home since we moved across the country for my husband’s job). 8 mos and still nursing and I am SO glad I only listened to those around me who were encouraging me to do what I thought was best for us. I totally respect those that choose not to breastfeed or decide to quit at any point but think it’s a little silly to think there is no pain or sacrifice in the decision to breastfeed and that it’s not worth sticking it out esp. with all the help you can get from lactation consultants now…. I feel for you on the mastitis – my sister in law got it multiple times and I remember her saying “at least I know and can start fixing it right away w the antibiotics”. He son sort of weaned himself at 8 mos but it was his choice not hers. I’ll stop rambling on now. sorry.

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26 Ashley October 10, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I am shocked that a Dr would act that way. I have had friends who have had the same sort of thing happen to them. Good for you for standing your ground! Our Alivia just turned 12 months on Wednesday. I don’t want to wean yet either. I nursed my first daughter for 13 months and she weaned herself. I missed it so much and I don’t want to cut myself short this time.

My pediatrician told me it has nutritional value up until age 2. I am not sure if I will still be nursing at two, but I say do what is right for your family. I can’t stand when people act all weird about breastfeeding. It’s so wonderful!

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27 Kris October 10, 2008 at 4:26 pm

As a still nursing mom to a 19 month old,m I would say No, no reason at all to wean.

We are weaning now, but going slowly.

I had mastitis once, but I would have dealt with it if I had it more.

I was unable to nurse my oldest and I still feel bad about it to this day.

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28 Gretchen October 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I think that Dr was being a little bit silly to just suggest that you wean. Like everyone else is saying, you can check into it a little bit and find out if there’s anything you can do to stop the infections first. I’ve had it a few times and the problem that I had was thrush causing nipple cracks that let in bacteria. It was easily taken care of. So that’s another thing to check into if you haven’t already. Good luck!

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29 Lis Garrett October 10, 2008 at 5:38 pm

I can definitely see your doctor’s point of view, although I think her bedside manner could use improvement. If she’s worried about YOUR health, she sure has a funny way of showing it. Like one of your readers suggested, you should look at the things that might be causing you to get mastitis on a more frequent basis and take preventative measures. Although, I think some people are just more prone to the infection.

HOWEVER, as someone who is still nursing a child who is three years and three months, (you can pick your chin off the floor now!) you shouldn’t give up nursing until it feels right for the both of you. With that, I’ve been trying to wean for a good 18 months. My daughter’s will is stronger than mine, I think!

Hang in there . . .

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30 Kate October 10, 2008 at 5:50 pm

I think it’s great that you are still nursing! I go back to work in 2 weeks and know I will miss being able to nurse all the time. I just hope that I can keep it up in the mornings and evenings as long as you!

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31 caitlin October 10, 2008 at 6:08 pm

I totally agree! I had mastitis twice and thrush a lot {seems like non stop} with my son. And I kept going. Totally worth it.

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32 heather October 10, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Reading everyone else’s comments, I guess I’m lucky that I’ve only had mastitis once, when my dd was 3 weeks old. She’s now 16 1/2 months, she has been night weaned for a long time (her doing, not mine) b/c she sleeps for 12 hrs straight. Then we nurse a lot during the day.

I say do all that you can to prevent another bout so that you don’t have to worry about becoming resistant to antibiotics. And nurse to your’s and Olivia’s content!

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33 Lani October 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm

I agree with you. It’s your decision anyway. Can you avoid this doctor in the future?

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34 Alison October 10, 2008 at 6:32 pm

I’ve not heard of being advised to stop nursing because of mastitis, but then I’ve never consulted a professional about it. Frankly I’m surprised that they give you antibiotics while you are nursing. I lost a tooth after my first was born because the dentist would not give me antibiotics when nursing.

I agree with all the advice regarding care before it reaches this point. My kids were not at all constant in their demands, which caused me a lot of trouble. With my first I was in a lot of pain a few times, but I managed it myself and never ended up at the doctor. Having said that, I did not have a fever.

With my second I was really good at expressing and going without a bra if necessary. I did not nurse lying down either after I tried it once and developed a problem.

I don’t know what age your daughter is, but all my challenges disappeared after my kids were about 6 months old. At that point their needs were more consistent and it became really easy to continue on until they were older.

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35 Renee October 10, 2008 at 6:34 pm

I would say nurse some more it will help to get the infection out!!!! and Olivia will stop when she is ready so I wouldn’t force her to do it now!

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36 SarahHub October 10, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Of course your body isn’t telling you it’s time to quit nursing! I think some people are just more prone to mastitis than others. You’re better at mothering your daughter than any nurse could be. Don’t second-guess your instincts, and stay with breast feeding as long (or as little) as you want! Good luck!

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37 tracey October 10, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Sigh…. I hate it when medical personnel pretend to know better than their patients. If medical issues were “exact” it wouldn’t be called “practicing medicine”. There are no all-conclusive answers for anyone’s body or lives. Citizens nowadays know almost as much as most medical professionals (and sometimes we know MORE since we are more open to discussions and alternative answers).

Human bodies are not textbooks. Doctors ARE fallible. Good for you for realizing that SHE is the one with the problem, not you.

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38 Tara R. October 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm

You go girl! I’m still nursing MY Olivia and she is 20 months old. I love it, she loves it, it’s everyone else that has the problem! Don’t give it up until you are BOTH ready!

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39 thefarmerfiles October 10, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Has the dr. rotated antibiotics, given you a different medication? Nooo, you wean when you want to!!! Just weaned my son at 18m a few weeks ago. It was the right desicion for our family…since we are under a lot of stress with an impending move. The World Health Organization recommends 2 yrs of nursing. This country recommends 1 yr.

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40 Jenn Johnson October 10, 2008 at 7:36 pm

No way would I wean just because of mastitis! You’re completely right, and I totally agree that your little Olivia needs to nurse, and needs that time with you! Go you for dealing with it 4 times, though! I have breastfed most of the last 2 years (my daughter until she was 18 months and she weaned herself when I was 6 months pregnant, so I had a 3 month break in there) but I’ve never had mastitis. (Knock on wood, huh?)
Again, congrats on nursing through it!

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41 Virginia October 10, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I agree that she probably wasn’t disgusted that you are still breastfeeding, but rather concerned about your health. However, you don’t necessarily need antibiotics to clear it up. I had a bout of mastitis when my son was only a few weeks old. I had read in one of my books that you can treat it by holding hot compresses and nursing the baby as often as they will go for it, painful as it may be. I didn’t even know at the time that antibiotics were an option. When I later told my doctor about it, she was shocked to hear that it had cleared up on it’s own and I was feeling better within 24 hours. If it happens again, and I truly hope not because it is torture, you should really try the compresses first.

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42 Morgan October 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm

I 100% agree with you! I’m so surprised a doctor said that to you. I, also, love nursing. I nursed my first for 12 months, 2nd for 18 months, and am nursing my 5 month old.

Good job sticking it out!

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43 Jenna October 10, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Good work! I understand the agony as i got it with my first son and had no idea what was happening! By the time i got to the doctor my sight was going funny! When i had my second son i thought it wouldn’t happen to me (because i know it all second timeround lol!) but of course i did but knowing what it was i got treated quickly! Have you tried freezing cabbage and then stuffing your bra with it as soon as you notice a lump? Change cabbage with every feed. IZt really works if you catch it early.
Don’t listen to the nay sayers! You doing the best thing for your little girl!

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44 Lisa October 10, 2008 at 9:42 pm

it drives me crazy when people think it is ok to judge you for doing something that is beneficial for your child!!!! ACCK!

I would definitely not stop until you (or Olivia) is 100% ready!

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45 casual friday everyday October 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm

I’m so anti antibiotics personally. My doctors shoved them down my throat a couple of years ago for infection (breast) after infection (ears) and I ended up getting very sick from it. My Candida grew out of control and I’m STILL fighting to get my good bacteria back and kicking out the bad.

Having said that, I don’t think you should stop nursing until you feel it’s time. And it was crappy of her to react that way. It doesn’t sound very professional. More like her own personal opinions got in the way.

Is there a natural way to clear up mastitis? Or to prevent it? Maybe you should look into that so that you don’t have to keep taking the antibiotics. I’d make sure you’re getting some acidophilus (pill or powder) to help your gut stay healthy with all the antibiotics that have been going into your body.

Nell

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46 Faerylandmom October 10, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Keep going. However, to prevent mastitis, there are other things you can do, like an herbal immune protocol. It involves garlic, honey, echinacea, bee pollen, etc…

It’s something you can take that is an excellent natural antibiotic-type thing, as well as a HUGE boost to your immune system, which would help fight mastitis before it starts.

I’m a labor doula, and if you like, I have a lot of info I could email you about this issue. :-)

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47 Faerylandmom October 10, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Oh…I just copied your post to my doula message board, along with a link, so some of these great gals (some of which are also lactation educators with TONS of experience) will probably leave you some excellent tips!

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48 Casey October 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I get frustrated when I hear medical professionals encouraging moms to stop nursing because of issues like yours. Yes, you may want to look into doing something different. If you are having recurring mastitis, there are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood that it will continue to occur. Check out this link for ideas on what might be causing it and how to treat/prevent it: http://tinyurl.com/q2jcx I have access to significantly more information about mastitis treatment and prevention and information on recurrent mastitis. Either e-mail me or leave me a comment on my blog if you want me to send it to you.

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49 Casey October 10, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Also, I read in one of the comments that a dentist wouldn’t allow a nursing mom to take antibiotics. There are many antibiotics that are fine for nursing moms. Dr. Thomas Hale has a book and a website with message boards that will cover nearly every medication and its safety for nursing moms and babies.

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50 Linda October 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm

I nursed my first daughter for 14 months. My second daughter for 17 months. At the request & recommendation!! of my third daughters doctor nursed her for 28 months! (really bad divorce & custody battle with supervision of visitation on his part, etc…) With Boo(third daughter) I had mastitis so bad that my size DD chest was SQUARE! on both sides :( Painful, but… easy fixed! There are alternative antibiotics that are fine for nursing mothers! It was recommended to me to nurse on one side, keep a warm washcloth on the other, alternating, etc… expressing milk and donating it to the local hospital(<-here in VT, they have a pump they will loan to you for that purpose!), and/or using a homemade heating pack during times that my children were using sippy cups in addition to nursing, and/or taking a warm/hot shower and letting the steam/heat aide in the let down, etc… all those things help in the prevention of abscesses and mastitis. NO ONE knows your body like YOU do! NO ONE knows your child like YOU do! Whether it be physically or emotionally!! Follow what YOU believe to be the best for YOU and YOUR child! :) Good luck!
Linda

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51 RefreshMom October 10, 2008 at 11:51 pm

I think you need to do what you know to be best for yourself and your daughter. I don’t even tell people how long I nursed because once you hit the socially acceptable 12 months the opinions are all over the place and it was a personal decision that didn’t concern anyone else anyway.

When my DS was 14 months or so, we had recently moved and I went to an urgent care clinic for a prescription for an inhaler. She asked one of those interview questions like “LMP” or something so it was relevant to mention that I was nursing. Same expression of disgust that you encountered, I bet, and she gave me the “You know it doesn’t benefit the baby after 12 months” lecture. I sat there in stunned silence, half mad at myself for not being able to say anything to this “medical professional” who was condescending and rude in addition to spewing “medical advice” that wasn’t even true. I don’t know whether your nurse was primarily concerned about your health or not (it would be nice to believe that that’s so), but I do think the profession as a whole needs to be more supportive of breastfeeding.

If you’re really concerned about whether it’s time to quit or not, I’d pray that God would give you some clue in addition to the mastitis if that’s what’s really going on. In the meantime, take care of yourself and keep caring for your sweet girl the way only you can!

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52 Rachel October 11, 2008 at 12:18 am

Hey Janice,

I have to tell you that when I *tried* breastfeeding my preemie and he wouldn’t latch (even with lactation consultants and LaLeche advice, etc., lol) I was devastated. I pumped for the 6 weeks he was early and kept trying….but I gave up because I just was so stressed about it. People don’t realize what an emotional toll breastfeeding takes on a woman…..for crying out loud, you watch Animal Planet, these animals pop out and the momma pig has 8 little piggies feeding 5 minutes later…. and some women can’t even get ONE human on there!!!! You’re like ok, I’ve had fourteen people TRAINING me and my kid on this …and we still can’t get it, but 8 little piggies do? LOL. I say, keep it up as long as you can, if you can stand it. It’s an accomplishment!!!

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53 Donielle October 11, 2008 at 6:41 am

Mastitis does stink! Luckily I only had it once and knew exactly what it was when I woke up with cold sweats in the middle of the night so I got on antibiotics very soon. The problem with antibiotics is that they kill of all the good bacteria in your system as well, causing you to be less immune to illness and also more apt to get yeast infections. Try making sure you get a lot of yogurt or other probiotics in your diet to help replace the good bacteria when you’re done with the meds.

Also for mastitis, since it’s basically caused by not fully emptying each time, I’d make sure she’s not falling asleep at the breast. When they do, they don’t nurse fully (which causes them to nurse more often) and they often leave their mouths on the breast while not sucking which can cause bacteria to then enter through the nipple, since nothing is coming out. I also found that pumping in the morning for a few minutes after a feeding helped to make sure I was emptied FULLY at least once per day.

Good luck, and sorry you had such a bum doctor.

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54 Jamie October 11, 2008 at 9:36 am

i think it’s time to stop. your body cant handle it anymore. and too many rounds of antibiotics and it wont clear it up anymore. not enough to risk getting even more of an infection, imo.

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55 april October 11, 2008 at 11:49 am

I am not sure why a dr. or nurse would tell you to stop nursing when you have mastitis. It is always better to nurse through it and empy your breasts to prevent an abscess. I am wondering if the reason you are getting it is because you aren’t emptying your breasts at least once a day? Just a thought. Taking lots of Vit. C and other suppliments to help build up your ammune system will help also. I nursed my twins until they were 16 months old. Durning that time I went through mastitis and then a horrible yeast infection in both of my breasts that lasted for 6 weeks because my dr. diagnoised it as mastitis. At that point I found a new Dr. and a second opinion. It was very worth the health of my twins and my breasts to continue. Do what feels best for you.

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56 Musings of a Housewife October 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm

I can’t believe a medical professional in this day and age would tell you to stop nursing. Of course antibiotics aren’t good for us either, so maybe I’m off base, but I don’t think I would let that stop me. I nursed my kids for 19 mos, 26, mos, and 15 mos. I did quit at 15 mos with my 3rd b/c of medical issues. But I was ready. If you’re not ready, then carry on!

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57 Lori October 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Good luck with continuing breastfeeding! As for post-12-month benefits, every month you continue to breastfeed can add an extra point to your child’s IQ. Plus, they continue to get immuno benefits and greater bonding and comfort for you both. I had mastitis three times in my first six months, but have had no problems since. We’re now on month 20.

Regarding your mastitis, though, how often do you pump? If you’re still producing lots of milk and your nipples can take it, you might want to pump more. Then try to nurse on both sides as soon as you can after work. Your baby will drain you more thoroughly than a pump, so she can clear any small pockets that might be left from the work day.

If you pump more than Olivia could ever possibly use, please see if there is a milk bank in your area. If they have a 12 month age limit on your child, see if it’s just a guideline. Most banks set that policy so a woman won’t feel guilty when her milk starts to wane (usually around 12 months) and she’s only producing enough for her baby. They don’t want to be competition for actively nursing babies.

Good luck!

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58 Pamela October 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Perhaps once you are over thew mastitis you could start encouraging Olivia to start with a cup, and feed less, working towards weaning but not rushing it. Remember, whenever YOU take antibiotics, she is getting them also i your milk, and she might develop an allergy one day herself, encouraged by so much early exposure to antibiotics. I nursed my son till he was 2, but really, if anything had pointed towards a reason to wean sooner after 1 year, I would have done so.

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59 Petula October 12, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Oh honey… go with your gut and your heart. Out of my four children I have nursed three. I wanted to nurse my third child until she was ready to stop, but I had to choose my health over that. She was 12-13 months at the time so I think I did pretty well. It was tough weaning her because — like you said — it’s such a wonderful bonding time. I know this is up to you, but just double check that there will be no long-term adverse effects on your health or Olivia’s. You’re a wonderful mom and you know what’s best. If you must, stopping a little earlier will be okay too.

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60 Ashley October 13, 2008 at 1:45 am

I’m no doctor, but common sense, IMO, would be NOT to wean during a bout of mastitis, considering that emptying your breasts as much as possible is one of the biggest helps in clearing it up.
I don’t think it’s a “sign” that it’s time to wean at all. If you’re going to do anything, I would just consider looking into alternative/natural steps you could take to hopefully prevent it from happening again.
Sadly, I think for a lot of the medical community, weaning is the solution for any and all breastfeeding related issues.

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61 Elizabeth October 13, 2008 at 7:43 am

No way would I stop either. Good for you!!! I am nursing my 4th child now each one for a little bit longer. It provides so much nutrition, immunity and comfort for them. I too struggle with mastitis. I’ve found that wearing any under wire or overly constrictive bras can cause a duct to block which then triggers it very easily. I have to be very careful about that. Also chilled cabbage leaves placed inside the bra really help to alleviate the pain and inflammation. My midwife advised me that sometimes using antibiotics can make cases of mastitis reoccur so I try to just let it run it’s course. I have used antibiotics in the past though so you might want to check into that and see how you feel about it. Don’t let this discourage you. You are giving her such a wonderful gift!!

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62 stampedwithgrace October 13, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Janice~ I no longer take antibiotics when I get mastitis; I take cranberry capsules! when you start getting sore take 2 several times a day (like at meal times and bedtime) until soreness goes away. it will go away within a day or so. I also take one cranberry a day to help prevent it! you can get these at a health food store or maybe even Wal-mart. sleeping on your stomach can cause mastitis, so be careful not to do that too much; although it’s so hard not to. I have 7 kids and nursed all at least a year and several longer than that. I didn’t find out about this until child #5 and it really works!!!

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63 BJ October 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm

I’ve only had mastitis with one of my five kids, but I had it four times. I never had antibiotics to treat it – just hot showers and compresses, massage and lots of nursing. Keep going. My youngest is nearly 17 months old, and though my others self-weaned/easily weaned between 12 and 15 months, D is very happy with her “juice” (that’s what she calls it!), so we’re going to keep going for a while.

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64 The Gang's All Here! October 15, 2008 at 11:38 am

Chiming in late here, but I say keep on keeping on! Your body can handle the antibiotics, which likely have the happy side effect of fighting off other things you might not be able to fight off if you continued without medicating. And sacrificing yourself for a short term is well worth the long term gains for you, your body, your bond with baby, and baby’s health. Too many moms take the short-sided view of this issue. And far too many in the medical community are too clinical about it. Given all the relationship issues surrounding a healthy nursing relationship, weaning is not a cut and dry or black and white issue. Go for it!!!!

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