You would think after successfully breastfeeding 4 babies, and well past 12 months, that number 5 would be no different.
Yes, I thought you would. I thought so too.
How wrong could we both be?
Turns out after 4 babies my breasts decided enough was enough. They were going to fight letting the milk come in after birth (this took 5 and a half days), they were going to make the pain on my left side so excruciating it was toe curling (which I can handle as this pain usually subsides after a few weeks, alas it did not), and just for good measure let's throw in a couple of bouts of Mastitis.
So for 12 weeks I have been fighting. Fighting for my babies right to have the same breast milk privileges that his 4 brothers received before him. I have been on medication to increase supply, I have been using a breast pump to increase supply and to also use on the sore side when the pain was just too bad that I was unable to use it. I have even taken a 'tonic' from the alternative medicine store which was so disgusting it was a battle just to keep it down.
Baby was tongue tied, and we thought this may have been the problem, so he had the procedure to cut the tie. I was expecting immediate relief.
It didn't happen.
I tried going to a lactation consultant, they tried to help and basically put me in the 'too hard basket' (her words).
We stayed home alot, it was too hard to go out when I had to express each feed and also use a bottle aswell. It was hard to keep up with the expressing, it was too easy to skip a feed and not express. Especially in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter.
It was at this point, during the onset of the second bout of Mastitis that I was pointed in the direction of a new lactation consultant. They fit me in the same day I called. She was determined to help, and rang my Dr to order a swab and blood tests.
It was during the weekend, whilst awaiting the results, that something astonishing happened. I was able to feed on the sore side with no discomfort, which is to be expected after not using 100%, but I was able to feed on that side for the rest of the day with minimal discomfort!
More so, baby was satisfied and did not need formula top ups for that day! He was fussy at dinner time, which is his hangry time, so he had formula then to help calm the savage beast.
I am still in shock that perhaps this problem may be resolving. In my head I was just convinced it would never be easy, that we would be comp feeding forever and the pain would be constant. I am just guessing, but it was either the second round of antibiotics that possibly killed off a nasty bug that was causing the pain. Or perhaps it was the cream I was using for nipple thrush (which was an unlikely cause, as the only symptom I had was the shooting pain, but that's how desperate I was to get answers).
So just after I wrote this I received a phone call. Well, a message was left from the nurse at the Medical Centre I attend. So I called and she explained that the Dr had my results and wanted to see me urgently.
Not something you want to hear and for around 2 hours I was internally freaking out.
So that nasty bug I had guessed at was indeed a nasty bug.
Noice. I have had this for 12 weeks, and therefore most likely to have picked it up in the hospital. Had to be something to stress me out, couldn't just go smoothly with #5 now could it.
The pain had alleviated slightly over the weekend because I had just finished the 2nd course of antibiotics and it had actually started to work. But it just wasn't long enough to kill it off. The pain had started to come back yesterday and now I know why.
I have a double course of the antibiotic to take now, and then will need another swab.
Apart from feeling like a leper I feel very optimistic that all of our feeding problems may just resolve once this is all sorted out.