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Help! Breast abscess and breastfeeding

(7 Posts)
TheRedBaron Wed 20-Sep-17 22:17:25

(Posted on parenting board but just realised this one is better....)

Hi, wondering if anybody has had similar, and how you got it resolved. I'm currently breastfeeding my 9wo. Four weeks ago I got mastitis which turned into a breast abscess after a week. I've been into A&E for IV antibiotics twice and was admitted to hospital as the infection got so bad, and then two weeks ago finally got an appt at the specialist clinic that can deal with breast abscesses. I've had it drained three times (possibly a 4th time tomorrow) and have been on antibiotics for four weeks now. They keep draining it and sending me away, and it keeps coming back. In the meantime I'm still breastfeeding off the good side (the bad side is blocked by the abscess) but that's now becoming sore as well as being depleted and we're topping up with formula.

Has anybody had similar, and how was it resolved? I really don't want to keep going back and forth to have it drained as it doesn't seem to be working, and it's also a nightmare arranging childcare for my older child and I also need someone with me to take care of the baby while I'm having it drained. Really interested to hear others' experiences.

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
1stTimeRounder Thu 21-Sep-17 23:29:09

Hi, I have no experience of this myself, just wanting to send you some sympathy and hope you get some answers.

It sounds like a really hard time you've had. Perhaps some of the breastfeeding helpline or la leche league can offer advice on how to prevent it coming back and how to keep feeding if you are determined to do that.

Good luck

IrregularCommentary Thu 21-Sep-17 23:32:12

No advice I'm afraid, but I second contacting La Leche League.

I know for a blocked duct, the advice is to feed on that side as much as possible. I don't knowing your case, but I'm sure they would.

I hope it's resolved soon flowers

TheRedBaron Fri 22-Sep-17 21:23:38

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will give the La Leche League a call to see if they have info on abscess recovery and also feeding from one side only as I think that's the way this is going.

Yesterday when I went in to have it drained for a 4th time they actually decided to remove it surgically instead. All went well and it was patched up, but then it started to pour with blood and I went into shock. At which point they called an ambulance and I went to A&E for IV fluids and observation. Then today it started bleeding again so we had to go back to A&E to get it redressed. I'm hoping this is the start of it getting better. I definitely can't feed off of it (before, the abscess was too close to the nipple) and now I have a gaping wound above the nipple and can't bear to look at it, let alone have anything touch it. I'm also on flucloxicillin.

Thanks for all your replies. I wasn't looking for sympathy but it was very nice to get some!

OP’s posts: |
1stTimeRounder Fri 22-Sep-17 21:45:44

God @theredbaron that's awful. You poor thing!

I know it's almost sacrilege to say it BUT there's no harm in switching to formula if you are struggling (which you clearly are). Much of the research supporting the benefits of Breastfeeding is fundamentally flawed and the benefits are in fact not proven scientifically.

There is such a push for women to BF that sometimes all perspective is lost on what is best overall e.g. health and wellbeing of the mother (both physical and mental) as well as sometimes the health and well being of the baby. I may get some hate from the breastfeeding advocates on here but look at things like "fed is best" and "the sceptical OB" to see the whole picture.

You will not get the complete picture from any healthcare provider in the UK (or most other placess) because of the "baby friendly " initiative; they are not permitted to suggest using formula at any point, they have to push EBF regardless of circumstances.

TheRedBaron Sun 24-Sep-17 09:15:46

Thanks @1stTimeRounder. I had surgery on it last week and went into shock following some unexpected blood loss and ended up back at A&E. Still feeding from the 'good' side and am hoping still that if we could just sort the abscess out I can easily carry on from one side only. However, if that's not possible I will make the move to formula. That's interesting what you say as we asked the surgeon about carrying on feeding and he said it was recommended, but after some probing he said that was mainly based on NHS policy rather than it being solely based on my circumstances.

OP’s posts: |
1stTimeRounder Sun 24-Sep-17 09:50:24

Yes the NHS policy is based around the WHO Baby Friendly Iniative.

It came about in the 1980s when it was discovered that the use of formula milk in developing countries was leading to preventable infant deaths. Because mothers in developing countries were making up powdered formula milk with unsterile utensils, unsafe water and over diluting the formula to save money the World Health Organising set about banning the marketing of infant baby milk to all.mothers world wide.

Although it is voluntary, most countries abide by it. This means: only EBF is properly supported by healthcare professionals and companies are not allowed to market baby milk at all (all ads are for follow on milk). No incentives or discounts are permitted on formula milk and in many ways it is treated in the same way as alcohol and tobacco products (!!). For example boots won't give you advantage card points on infant milk, no nectar card points and when you get vouchers from the supermarket e.g. spend £40 and get £5 off it excludes formula.

I did a lot of reading on all of this after my own struggle to breastfeed and realised a lot of what I was told was actually quite weakly supported by science and and actually the result of this baby friendly initiative.

Some further reading (if you are interested; totally not trying to push any agenda here, just want to encourage people to get all the info not just one side...)

P.s. I hope you heal quickly and the abscess does not return. It all sounds very painful. And if feeding on one side is working for you then that's awesome, and if it's not and you need/want to introduce some formula then you can do that with confidence and ZERO guilt!

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