How to tell if you’re getting Mastitis.

by Veronica on May 19, 2009

in Life

You might wake up with a sore breast. ‘Hmmmm, probably a blocked duct’ you’re likely to think. ‘Must express on that side today.’

You feed the baby on that side (or toddler) and carry on about your day.

A little while later (in my case it was about 60 minutes – not very long) you start to feel very tired. Your breast hurts and your back/shoulders ache a little and you’d really like a nap. Not too long after that, you find yourself curled up on the couch feeling progressively worse. Your head hurts, your skin hurts, everything is happening so fast and MAN do you feel sick.

Maybe by now your breast has been cleared of blockages and isn’t hurting so much.You still feel shocking though.

You probably have mastitis.

‘The books’ all say that mastitis is an infection in your breast (correct) and that you will generally feel a lumpy painful patch (not always correct. I had pain without the lumps) with a red area.

Just to clarify, a red area in your breast doesn’t look as if you have been slapped or spent too long with your breasts in front of the heater, which is what I was expecting the first time I got mastitis. A red area actually looks like a patch of skin where you can see that the tiny little blood vessels are more pronounced. It’s not terribly noticeable unless you’re looking for it.

My advice:

Get yourself to a Doctor, Urgent Care, the Emergency Room, whatever. Get yourself there as fast as you can. By the time you realise you have mastitis, you probably shouldn’t be driving. All you want to do is sleep and shake and probably cry. If you can, get someone else to drive you.

You need antibiotics as soon as possible.

Mastitis makes you really sick, really fast. Like, REALLY fast.

In general, I find the books telling you that it feels like ‘flu like symptoms’ to be a little misleading. Yes there are the muscle aches and the exhaustion and the temperature. But for me, all my flu’s have started with the mother of all head colds and then moved into my chest. Mastitis is like flu, but without the flu.

Today I woke up with a sore breast. I fed Isaac on it twice (crying the whole time, my infection was right behind my nipple and it was excruciating). When I started feeling too sick to sit up I thought I was just tired. Then it clicked in my head that I needed antibiotics. This is my 3rd (or 4th?) bout of mastitis ever, so I had antibiotics knocking around in the fridge ‘just in case’.

[I might be silly sometimes, but no one tell me I don’t know how to self medicate. I have EVERYTHING hanging around in the fridge, just in case.]

I took an antibiotic and 2 Panadeine and headed to the shower to express. I needed a shower anyway, seeing as how Isaac vomited on my face this morning. If you’ve got a breast pump (I don’t) a heat pack [or hot face washers] and pumping will work too. You need to keep that breast as empty as possible.


Regardless of how bad it hurts, keep feeding the baby. Mastitis turns really nasty if you don’t keep the breast empty.

I am spending today curled up on the couch with a blanket. Isaac has been good and Amy is busily running in and out of the house with Nathan.

Incidentally, if you have EDS, because of poor body temperature control, a temperature will generally be seen by the doctor that is within normal range. My temperature during the last bout of mastitis was 37.3C and the doctor said ‘normal’. However, because my body temps are generally only 36.5C (ish) it was raised for me. After I had Isaac, the midwives kept checking that I was indeed, feeling okay because my blood pressure was only slightly above dead AND my temps were low. The joys, right?

So here ends my public service announcement of the day. I’m off to eat painkillers and curl up sick now. Thank god dinner is in the slow cooker already.

Sharon May 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Poor you! Hope the ABs kick in soon 😉

Brenda May 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm

mastitis is one serious bitch. and you’d want to get rid of her ASAP. I had it with my 3rd baby and it’s an experience that almost turned me off breastfeeding. hope you feel better V.

Brendas last blog post..Of Breasts Lifts, Tummy Tucks and Female Viagra

river May 19, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Sounds horrible. I’ve never had it and I’m so thankful. I’ve heard that cows get it and if the farmer doesn’t notice he can lose a cow pretty quickly.

Janet B May 19, 2009 at 7:40 pm

You poor thing! I hope you feel better soon!

Tanya May 19, 2009 at 8:07 pm

awwww darling I’m sorry xxxxxxxx

Thankyou for describing what it is and what it does, I will be on the lookout.

Marylin May 19, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Aww honey, hope you feel better soon. xxx

CK May 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm

You poor thing. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

(My breasts inverted right into my chest after reading the title of this blog.)

Jenni May 19, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Oh, I hate mastitis. Glad you are resting up.

badness jones May 19, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Poor baby! I never had mastitis, but I had a blocked duct and that was bad enough. I hope that Nathan is taking good care of you. Feel better!

lceel May 20, 2009 at 12:18 am

Under normal circumstances I would offer to ‘Kiss It and Make It Better’ – but I realize you’re probably not in the mood – and there I go, getting myself in trouble with Nathan, again. But my motives are pure. Honest.

Marie May 20, 2009 at 12:21 am

Oh good lord. I’ll keep all that in mind! Take care of you…

Nicole May 20, 2009 at 12:50 am

🙁 Mastitis is one of those things I hope to never, ever, EVER experience first hand! You poor thing! I’ve nursed three kids thus far and my worst breastfeeding ‘complications’ have been cracked bleeding nipples (bad latch, baby #1), and thrush (baby #2, not painful for me or a big deal really).

Get some rest! Thanks for the words of warning!

Mrs. C May 20, 2009 at 3:39 am

Bless you, Veronica, I hope you are well soon. Here’s hoping Amy is cooperative for a few days.

:] Ok, dare to dream.

Mrs. Cs last blog post..Woodjie Fashion!

Taz May 20, 2009 at 5:34 am

here is hoping your feeling better very soon..

thinking of ya..

tiff May 20, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Ouch. Mastitis sucks. I had it and thrush with Ivy and Noah. it was awful.
I hope you feel better soon.

tiffs last blog post..The good things…

Cat May 21, 2009 at 4:48 am

God, you poor thing. Thanks for the tips, never even heard of such a thing. Hope you’re feeling better very soon.

Cats last blog post..After Which I Will Be Saving For Rhinoplasty

anne nahm May 21, 2009 at 9:37 am

Sounds horrible. I am on antibiotics for breast infection as well (and also had only slightly elevated blood pressure and no temp). What is EDS if you don’t mind me asking. Google is trying to tell me it is “excessive daytime sleepiness”.

anne nahms last blog post..Then Again, Maybe Not

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