Pregnant again and dont want the same engorgement/mastitis issues/HELP!!!!!

Angie - posted on 11/09/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )




After a perfectly smooth pregnancy & birth I was SOOOO excited to meet my darling son who mind you came a week late (doh!) I was really looking forward to breastfeeding my baby and spending lots of time snuggling and skin on skin contact but just one week after the birth things went into a dizzy sping for me - i still get upset thinking about it!!

Yes I had read the books but really I had NO idea about breastfeeding and just assumed it would come naturally and the nurses/midwives at the hospital would be there to lend support. The nurses told me to feed every 3 hours around the clock. My milk came in 2days after birth. I had NO idea what correct latchment was or how long to feed or ANYTHING - I blame myself for not educating myself correctly. No one in my family had kids before me and the mums & aunties never asked so i never mentioned it, the nurses saw baby on my boob and assumed i knew what i was doing and so did I... By Thurs/Fri morning my boobs were SO severly engorged, hot, inflamed and sore that I was asking anyone & everyone to help! I was given Tramadol painkillers, voltaren, hot/cold-ice packs, cabbage leaves, massage but NOTHING and I mean NOTHING helped. Feeding was SO excruciatingly painful that I cried every time I had to feed and during the entire feed. I had a lactation consultant sit with me for a day and she said everythings fine babys latching on well even though i kept saying it KILLS - i constantly had sharp shooting pains in my breasts and no one listened everyone kept saying its fine its fine keep feeding :(

I assumed this is breastfeeding so suck it up and get on with it. I was sent home Friday morning with my baby, breast pump & painkillers in hand. At home I fed around the clock and pumped to try and reduce the engorgement but no matter how much milk i pumped I never felt relief... Within a week I collapsed in bed with the shakes and my boobs went from a full-B cup to a BURSTING DD-cup and i remember asking my mum to get me a bigger bra cos the dd was tight..... I didn't know what day it was, my husband would bring baby to me when he'd cry so i could feed and the days&nights turned into a blur... One night I was so bad, my husband had to call the ambulance. Poor husband had to deal with a sick wife and a baby - (god love him for his strength). Paramedics said I'm ok but to get me to the hospital the next day and have the dr check me out properly.
At the hospital the doc checked me out and said I'm still engorged and suffering mastitis in BOTH breasts and was sent off to have ultrasound on both boobs. 2 days later I was back in the midwives office and they all agreed/recommended I stop breastfeeding and bound me up in a tight cotton wrap which i wore for 2 weeks. Like so seriously tight i had trouble breathing at times. And that for me was the end of my breastfeeding days - I felt horribly guilty that i couldn't breastfeed my baby and suffered a huge bout of depression which i had promptly treated (phew), I spent the next month crying, depressed & anxious. Slowly I started to feel better and really enjoyed being a mum, i could hold my son to my chest again i just remember thinking i'm so sorry i failed.... (tear).

I am so proud to be a mum and LOVE my son more than anything but still feel guilty for not being able to breastfeed - thats all i wanted to do - i am now pregnant with my 2nd baby and due in April 2012 :))) I want to know as MUCH as i possibly can about breastfeeding so the same thing doesn't happen again... Books can tell you everything but nothing compares to a mother's experience - so anyone who has suffered alike problems or had super successful breastfeeding PLEASE share your experiences: I look forward to hearing from you :)))

I am not blaming anyone but myself for not knowing enough and not asking for help on time so please dont judge.

p.s. I remember in the first two days while i still only had colostrum the midwives said to give the baby formula for the 9pm feed so baby would sleep better... could this have contributed to the engorgement..? i.e. skipping feeds... I had a LOT of milk when it finally did come in and need to know how long to feed/express for before i feel a letdown... don't know what that feels like......?

thanks for sharing... :))


[deleted account]

What a difficult experience. You really fought through a lot! Don't beat yourself up for that. You sound like a great mom!

Don't pump at all in the first several weeks. By feeding and pumping you kept telling your body to make more and more. I had pretty bad oversupply with my first. I had mastitis once and so many clogged ducts that I lost count. Look for a local La Leche League group. You can start going to meetings now to get answers to your questions. If you don't have one close enough you can still call a leader for free. Look for a local group here: You should find wonderful support and stories from experienced moms. Don't supplement with formula. All baby needs is colostrum in the early days. Newborns will not sleep well. They are not designed to sleep well.

With my second, once my milk came in fully, I offered one breast and just let her nurse until she was done. The next feeding we did the other breast. She's 4 months now and still nurses that way. She doesn't have nearly the tummy troubles that my first had. I think my first had lots of gas because she was getting too much foremilk. If you find you're having severe oversupply again you can block feed. This is feeding baby on one breast for a "block" of time. Many moms do 3 hours, but it depends on how you feel. An example of block feeding: offer the left breast any time the baby wants to nurse within 3 hours. During the next 3 hours offer the right breast any time baby wants to eat. If the side that you're not nursing on becomes engorged you can gently hand express enough off so that you're comfortable (you don't want to pump or remove too much milk because then you're body will keep making too much).

Follow baby's cues. Nurse baby when they become more alert, start to gnaw their hands, turn their head from side to side, smack their lips or root. Try not to wait until they're fussing or crying. Don't time feeds. Let baby nurse until they pull off or fall asleep. If you do nurse both breasts make sure that the first breast feels thoroughly emptied before offering the second. You should be able to easily squeeze milk out before switching. If you need to pump to return to work or something then wait a few weeks until you've got breastfeeding down a little better. I pump once in the morning because that's when I'm most full. I pump one side while baby nurses the other and I donate that milk. Hope some of this helps you! Good luck!

[deleted account]

Sara and Laura have given you great advice I just want you to remember every child is different, I have a son and a daughter and have had different experiences with both.

My son never latched not once, so I expressed for 3 weeks to give him breast milk, the only reason I stopped was because my milk 'dried up' - I pumped for over an hour and didn't even get an ounce! :-(

My daughter on the other hand latched the second time she was put to my breast (first time she was still traumatised from her ridiculously fast delivery) but had to have formula top ups (as she was in nicu), however at 5 1/2 months we are still nearly exclusively bf (she has haphazard solids when she wants them) and there's no signs she's going to stop in the near future. At times It hasn't been easy and it's been down right agony (I was so close to quitting because every feed I did I was sobbing in agony and flinching away as she was nursing) but it's been well worth the effort.

Go into this bf experience with an open mind, leaving your past where it belongs...I'm proof that the second chance can be completely different to the first, I never dreamed I'd still be bf now but I'm almost to 6 months :-) good luck and remember that we're here if you want any support or advice

Merry - posted on 11/12/2011




Wowza! You endured a lot.
First off, you did the best you could! While it's not always comforting, it's true so don't feel guilty.
But good for you for seeking help because I bet your problems could have been avoided.
I'd first recommend you find a la leche leage leader she will be able to give you good solid breastfeeding advise.where as doctors and nurses might have biased advise or be not up to date.
Even your obgyn might not know the really best advise.

Then, when your baby is born try to nurse right away! Within the first hour the baby is alert and should NOTleave your chest to be weighed or measured or cleaned until after he or she has fed.

Then, absolutely no bottles of formula! Yes this can make your engorgement worse.
No pacifiers! These hold off baby's hunger and satisfy it when it should be eating.
No pumping! Pumping indicates to your body that you need more milk. So if you pump, you will produce more milk.
No schedules! Every three hours is BS! Breastfeed babies tend to eat every two hours but some eat every hour. Nurse when your baby wants to, before he or she is crying. Also, if your breasts feel full you can offer and see if the baby will nurse.
Don't feed both breasts at one feed! Block feed. One breast per feeding, and same breast until its empty or until the other breast is too full to ignore.
If it feels painful like mastitis is comming make sure that breast gets emptied first before the other one, but don't neglect theother one so it gets infected too!
Medication for mastitis is safe to use while nursing so if you need it don't wean!
Don't wear tight bras or underwires. They can cause blocked ducts.
Don't sleep on your stomach, even on your back can cause blocked ducts because the breasts are unnaturally smooshed upwards. Sleep on your side, with baby on the lower breast and then switch sides when the top breast is too full.
Letting baby nurse whenever he or she wants all day and night is key. And if you are engorged and baby is sleeping you can always do a dream feed where you put baby to breast while asleep and let baby eat in sleep.

Honestly I've never heard of having to stop nursing for mastitis, and I haven't heard of binding breasts.......
I've has mastitis 4-5 times, twice I had medication, the other times I was able to get it gone with frequent nursing and pumping it til empty.
Now I pumped because I wasn't in the newborn stage, my baby was older and my milk was regulated, I got blocked up from too many hours between feeds one day and so pumping just helped me. But in the newborn age pumping can make you produce even more so avoid it unless a lactation consultant or la leche league leader really thinks its important for emptying a blocked breast.

Good luck! Get some good help, and be confident. I think there's no reason you shouldn't be able to nurse the new baby. :)


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Angie - posted on 11/10/2011




Super helpful, I've never heard of block feeding before so I'll look into that too. Many thanks Sara :D

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