Month 3 Week 2: No rest for the weary

When B began sleeping longer overnight, I still got up at regular intervals to express milk. However, when I mentioned this to a group of other moms at a friend’s party one night, they told me to just sleep and wake with B instead. What a fantastic “get out of jail” card this sounded to a sleep-deprived newborn mom like me!  So last week, despite my internal alarm clock and tingling boobs, if B was asleep, I’d snuggle back down. Then last Thursday, I woke at ~1:30a with a sudden headache and burning boob!  My left side was inflamed and I spent the next few hours restlessly alternating between a low grade fever and chills after downing two Panadol pills and painfully emptying all the milk I could (a measly ~3 oz/90 ml after 6 hours–eek! vs my usual ~1-1.5 oz/30-45 ml per hour). The next morning, my obgyn and a lactation consultant confirmed that I was showing early signs of mastitis and prescribed antibiotics, painkillers, warm showers, cold compresses, manual pumping and massages for my left boob.  It’ll take longer to express milk  because of the added TLC but this will enable me to recover and keep breastfeeding. Else, I could apply cold cabbages to dry up the clogged milk ducts but this would eventually reduce my milk supply.

I didn’t want to wean yet, so I spent all weekend diligently treating my boobs, drinking fluids and resting in between.  Thankfully the pain and swelling have subsided and my milk output is slowly recovering.  Sadly, the biggest takeaway for me after this incident is simply — breast is best but you get no rest!   Last night, when B amazingly slept a whole 8 hours (from 9p to 5a!), I dutifully woke up midway to express.  Nothing beats a mother’s love and sacrifice 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Month 3 Week 2: No rest for the weary”

  1. OMG, Mei! I'm so sorry that happened. I've stopped breastfeeding by now because it turns out that a surgery I had when I was 19 in my breast to remove a huge tumor may have removed most of my milk ducts so that breastfeeding has been a painful, exhausting and did I mention PAINFUL? experience for me that produced very little milk. I almost killed myself wanting to 'do the right thing' and my wise husband said, 'why are you killing yourself? give her a bottle!' Mommy-guilt is a powerfully motivating emotion and I was being ruled by it instead of my common sense. I was too busy listening to everyone else telling me what to do instead of doing what was best for me and my child. Lesson learned!

    Feel better soon! And take care of yourself, mommy! BTW – re: your last post. I'd love to hear more about your decision to stay home instead of going back to work. I'm considering doing the same. I've already taken leave til Sept. but financially it's a huge burden on us for me not to work. I'd love to talk to you about this more!

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  2. Ah, the ups and downs of breastfeeding. It is hard work — something I totally did not anticipate. I never got mastitis but I did get regular clogged ducts, especially around the time when N was starting to sleep longer throughout the night (3-4 months). I learned to take it slowly one step at a time…and I eventually was able to also sleep through the night without waking up feeling like my boobs were made of cement. Take care of yourself!

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  3. Amen, sister! Just before I left on maternity leave, they consolidated our Singapore regional site with Beijing. I wasn't able to relocate to China and the remaining SG opportunities didn't fit my goals and situation. Long story short, I took the reorg severance package which freed me to care fulltime for B. Not sure how long I'll be a SAHM but am glad I'm doing it in his early months….

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  4. Yeah, to be honest breastfeeding is a big reason why I'm apprehensive about having kid #2 (plus, the impact on my career if I take such a long break). Anyways, figure I'll tough it out and over time, the painful memory will fade 🙂

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