You all know I should be on the NHS ads for breastfeeding having fed the kids on average till the age of two. I have never given a baby a bottle in my life and would need to read the instructions if I had to! So you would have have thought my boobs wouldn't be able to experience anything new on the feeding front. I have had thrush on the breasts from all the kids' mouths in the early days. I've had blocked ducts at least three or four times with each baby so I know all about cabbage and boob-combing. I've had mastitis (the worst illness of my life - like flu with knobs on) once with Charlotte at nine months, and once with Léon so know the first signs of that mean beg for antibiotics instantly before you are shaking so much you can't get them into your mouth. When I had Anna I got cracked nipples for the first time ever and had to resort to those awful nipple protectors at least on four occasions. I cursed the little besom for sucking wrongly but got on with it.
This week, however, has been the worst of my eight or nine years of breastfeeding. Last Tuesday night my left breast felt like I was developing a blocked duct so I had a hot bath and combed. No result... so I went to bed having taken two nurofen and slept a total of 35 minutes in the whole night. My temperature soared, my clothes were soaked through and I was in a great deal of pain. I assumed mastitis and begged for the antibiotics on Wednesday. I managed half a night's sleep but again had to change all my clothes and was still in agony. Friday didn't see it improve and it was starting to nip.
I noticed Amaia's mouth was white again - did I have mastitis with thrush thrown in? I googled.
I seemed to be showing the signs of the thrush being inside the ducts rather than on the nipple. Inside I was on fire and I could feel swollen lumps all the way along at least one of the ducts between my nipple and my underarm. Even when you know it is feeding-related, feeling tangible lumps inside your breast sits uneasy with you as a woman :-(
I have now been on a different set of antibiotics since Monday and have had oral thrush treatment. I can now almost touch my breast but often get a short hot stabbing pain on the inside and feeding has gone from excruciating to vaguely unpleasant so I have a way to go yet. I just hope when I finish my antibiotics tomorrow things continue to improve slowly because the next 22 months are going to be a nightmare otherwise!