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breastfeeding after nightmare experience

(9 Posts)
Reubix Mon 11-May-15 20:17:10

Hoping for a bit of advice... I'm now 37 weeks pregnant with my second and in a pickle about breastfeeding this time round.

I had an awful time with my daughter, it all went well at first but she did have terrible reflux so I ended up feeding constantly and built up a huge supply... enough for about four babies lol. Then, when she got on meds to help her keep milk down at about seven weeks, she settled completely and I was left with more milk than I could ever reasonably feed or express.

I got really sick. Mastitis to start, then admitted to hospital with two abscesses - one the size of a tennis ball and one the size of a golf ball. The doctors said it was the worst case they'd ever seen. After several operations to drain them, I had to stay in hospital on a drip for more than two weeks - all this time separated from my tiny baby as I was on a general ward. Even when I got home, I needed constant care. It was a full year of weekly and fortnightly hospital visits before the wounds healed.

The hardest part was being separated from my baby at such a young age.... I swore then I would never do it again.

But now I'm due my second and I just don't know what to do. I'll be honest, breastfeeding is hard, and when I'm rational (not pregnant!) I'm adamant that I don't ever want to go there again. The doctors have warned me that I'm high risk this time, and prone to it happening again. But, wanting to do the best for this new baby, I feel I have to try at least... is it just pregnancy hormones telling me I'm being selfish?! Or should I brave it? Has anybody ever been in this situation before?

Sorry for super long post, I'm not used to Mumsnet ting! Any advice would be much appreciated xx

MindfulBear Mon 11-May-15 22:09:43

Oh you poor thing. Sounds like poor support from the HCPs in your life.
You could try speaking with a IBCLC (qualified lactation consultant) or going to a local leche league meeting or attending your local NCT bf cafe / drop in or calling your local NCT Bf teacher.
All will listen and counsel you and help you with your options.
In the short term you could call one of the bf help lines who can assist you with the same as the above but on the phone.
Most are staffed by volunteers so you might need to be Patient before you get through.
Numbers listed here

I found LLL and Nct most helpful.
I had a doula and an ibclc as well and they all helped brilliantly. We too had a terrible start but did not end up in hospital. Baby almost did but didn't.

Best of luck. Go with the flow is a good mantra and getting those supporters, I mention above, lined up before B day can really help.

FoxtrotOscarBackToEconomy Mon 11-May-15 22:47:08

It sounds like you had a terrible time. With DC1 I had a difficult time getting him to feed properly from day 1 and I ended up with an abscess and incision and drainage which wasn't a great experience.

With DC2 I had a whole mix of emotions. I found it hard to find information on BFing a subsequent child after an abscess. In the end I decided that I would start breast feeding but with a very low threshold for moving on to formula. In the end DC2 took to breastfeeding very well and here I am 10 months later wondering how I'm going to get DC2 to stop BFing! I had a nasty bout of mastitis in the area with the abscess scar tissue but given my history the hospital took it seriously and did a couple of ultra sounds to check that the lump was not an abscess.

In my case I have been able to BF after a horrible time first time round. And that was due to DC2 taking to it like a dream. I found it really helpful to take a relaxed attitude of giving BFing a go. If it worked really well then great, but at the first sign of difficulty being ready to switch to formula with no feelings of guilt because I did not want to have another abscess.

Pregnancy hormones are funny things for making you feel emotional. I hope my success story helps you think things through. With a history of abscess I found it reassuring being able to see the hospital directly and quickly when I had mastitis with DC2 instead of relying on my GP. Would your hospital be able to offer something similar to give you some reassurance?

Hottypotty Mon 11-May-15 22:51:44

Oh gosh that sounds horrendous. I had horrible mastitis at 11 months with ds and gave breastfeeding as quickly as I could so I couldn't get it again so I understand your caution.
Hopefully this time you will be more alert to the signs of reflux earlier on and can get started with strategies and meds much sooner to avoid the oversupply issue.
Likewise you should be able to spot the mastitis symptoms earlier and stop it getting worse.
Best of luck.

InterOuta Mon 11-May-15 22:53:02

That sounds awful! If I were you, I wouldn't do it again, but of course it's your decision.

Hottypotty Mon 11-May-15 22:54:02

Equally if you don't want to go there again there's nothing that says you have to. Maybe give the baby a couple of colostrum feeds and see how you feel physically and mentally

cuphat Mon 11-May-15 23:21:47

I'm in the same position now!

I'm 37 weeks with my second and had mastitis and then abscesses (well, two at the same time) with my first!

However, I got by with regular hospital visits for drainage rather than being admitted for lengths of time. Therefore I had to make a decision then as to whether to carry on feeding or whether to stop at that point. They'd told me that there was a good chance of recurrence if I carried on but I decided to carry on (I ended up bf for 17 mths when I didn't think I'd make it to 4 mths) and I didn't have any further problems once my wounds had healed. However I did a lot of research and took preventative precautions which I'm sure helped (lecithin supplements and regular massage).

This time, I haven't considered not trying to bf but I will be doing as much as I can to prevent recurrence (lecithin supplements and massage again). And I'm not putting myself through all that again (I can't with a toddler to look after too) so I will be more willing to stop if it looks like I'm heading the same way again.

cuphat Mon 11-May-15 23:24:07

And I totally understand your fear; recurrence is my biggest fear about having this baby.

Reubix Tue 12-May-15 20:29:34

Thank you - it's reassuring to hear that others went through the same thing and were successful! Just not sure if I'm brave enough...

I've been to see the breastfeeding specialist at the hospital and she was amazingly supportive (and surprisingly open to my bottle feeding, which was unexpected). Her advice was to try for two weeks, just to get the best for baby, then I stop altogether as I'm not keen to risk it. She also suggested I stay in hospital for three days after birth, just to get extra support, which is amazing.

Thank you so much for all your help. Fingers crossed! Xxx

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