Nursing Mom Developed Mastitis And Almost Died From Sepsis. She Uses Her Traumatic Experience To Educate Other Moms
September 24, 2018 11:04 By Fabiosa
These days, there is an almost universal agreement that breast milk beats formula, and that breastfeeding itself is good both for the mom and the baby. Breastfeeding is natural, and it may seem easy to some, but there’s actually a lot to learn about it.
A traumatic mastitis experience
One UK mom named Remi Peers knew a lot about breastfeeding before her son was born, but she didn’t know enough. She wants her painful experience to be a lesson for other nursing moms.
A few months after she gave birth, Remi woke up one night with fever, chills, and pain in her breast when trying to feed. She took an anti-inflammatory to bring down her temperature and tried to go back to sleep. In the morning, the mom started vomiting and her temperature had increased to 40 C (104 F).
Remi was rushed to the hospital, where doctors immediately started her on antibiotics. She had developed mastitis which led to life-threatening sepsis.
Luckily, Remi received life-saving treatment just in time and all ended well. Several months after her ordeal was over, the mom decided to share her experience in a candid post on Instagram.
This is mastitis. After hitting the 1 year breastfeeding mark last Sunday I felt compelled to share my story. Breastfeeding did NOT come easy for me. My milk came in after 5 days. I wasn't aware that it could take that long, I didn't even necessarily know what "milk coming in" meant. (Nobody ever taught me.) I was the only mother breastfeeding on my ward. One women did try to breastfeed, but switched to formula after 12 hours because she "had no milk" (nobody taught her either.) While the other babies slept with full bellies, my son screamed and cried attached to my breast through the night. (What was cluster feeding? Nobody told me) When I got home, problems started to arise-my nipple literally cracked in half. I have never felt such pain, I dreaded every feed, but persisted with tears in my eyes until I was healed. (Nobody taught me that breastfeeding could be painful, nobody taught me what a good latch looked like) When feeding my son out in public I would either go to the bathroom or pump at home and feed him with a bottle. Because I felt embarrassed and as though I would make others uncomfortable. This resulted in clogged ducts and engorgement. (I feed freely in public now, and have done for a long time. Fuck this backwards society!) Then came mastitis. I remember waking up at 3am shivering, putting on my dressing gown and extra blankets and trying to feed my son. The pain. It was excruciating. I was shaking and sweating but freezing to my bones. At 5 am I woke up my boyfriend and told him I thought I needed to go to the hospital. We got my stepdad, a doctor, he took my temperature and said it was slightly high, but to take a paracetamol and try and sleep. 7am comes, I've had no sleep, and now I'm vomiting, he takes my temp again. 40 c. I had developed sepsis overnight. This was because I was not able to recognise the more subtle signs of mastitis (as I had seen no redness that day) I was rushed to resus, given morphine, anti sickness and the strongest antibiotics they could give, and separated from my baby for two nights. I was Heartbroken. Continued in comments...
This mom’s point is, there’s a complete lack of education about breastfeeding in her country and elsewhere. New moms are constantly encouraged to breastfeed, but they aren’t taught how to do it right and what difficulties they may face down the road. Remi calls for better breastfeeding education and hopes her post helps other nursing moms be more open about any breastfeeding issues they may have.
What are the signs and symptoms of mastitis?
Mastitis refers to an inflammation of breast tissue, sometimes with an infection. It’s commonly associated with nursing, but it’s not very common – only 1% to 3% of breastfeeding moms will develop mastitis, according to WebMD. Although it’s unlikely, it’s possible to develop mastitis if you aren’t breastfeeding.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of mastitis may include the following:
- Breast tenderness and warmth to the touch.
- Breast swelling.
- A lump in the breast or thickening of breast tissue.
- Pain or burning sensation.
- Skin redness.
- A general sense of being unwell.
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Contact your doctor as soon as you can if you have the following symptoms (whether you are breastfeeding or not):
- Breast pain.
- Nipple discharge other than milk.
- Any of the symptoms listed above.
Seek emergency medical help if you develop the following symptoms:
- A high fever that doesn’t go down after taking anti-inflammatories.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pus drainage from the breast.
- Red streaks on the breast extending to the arm or chest.
- Dizziness, confusion, or fainting.
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The very low chance of developing mastitis shouldn’t deter women from breastfeeding. It’s good for the mom and the baby if done right.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.