Recurrent mastitis is a bear. It sucks when something is messing with your enjoyment of your bonding and breastfeeding relationship with your little one, not to mention making a very sensitive part of your body hurt and causing a fever and body aches and sensitive skin.
Thank God it’s over with hours after you realize its started, if you get some rest and get the plug out.
But this past month it’s been overly tedious for me. It’s getting ridiculous. With Azita I had one bout of mastitis– one— and it was due to wearing an underwire bra, a nice common reason that once eliminated, life was good again. And I know many, many, many woman who never have so much as a close call with it– no plugged ducts, ever.
I can say that with confidance, as I come into contact with more nursing moms than most as an LLL Leader. Which is great news for you, if you are a pregnant or newly nursing mom, deliberating the joys and challenges of sustaining your baby this way.
So I had learned through other moms that dealt with too much milk, or over-active letdown, or fire-hydrant boob, as I like to call it, that once they eliminated dairy from their diets for their nursling, their too much milk often got better.
For me it was strange— it worked with gluten and eggs, as I discovered my intolerances to them. Three times I’ve reintroduced eggs in my diet and got some fire-hydranting the next day. But not dairy. And I figured that since dairy often stimulates the glands, as many people get a runny nose or glue ear that alleviates when they stop dairy, it worked on that pathway.
But my body never seems to follow the norms these days. I had found one study in the Breastfeeding Answer Book that said that women with environmental allergies often have higher rates of mastitis, so I thought maybe it works on that pathway for me.
Today I found this on Kellymom.com, so it looks like I’m not the only person with this theory, and I definitely dig the complex immune response stuff. My body seems to be full of complex immune responses.
In her book Breastfeeding Matters, Maureen Minchin theorizes that if a mom has allergies, recurring mastitis/plugged ducts might be caused by the “complex immune responses” that occur when she is exposed to an allergen. In a group of food-intolerant women, Minchin observed that their plugged ducts, “which rarely progressed to overt infection and which often recurred either premenstrually or before ovulation,” were “often accompanied by other symptoms of allergy intolerance.”
And yes, I’ve been eating store-bought gluten free bread, made in a factory with wheat. Ada seems to be fine, but she doesn’t like it, and she nurses less and less these days, so I am bearing the brunt of my eating it. I’d probably find it easier to avoid if she were the one suffering.
Each week I get a headache and a plugged duct and I tell myself to stop eating that bread. Then I have a good week and eat some. Then that night my milk supply goes nuts and I get sick. I’ve also been enjoying the seriously awesome little Halloween cupcakes I made, and sugar always makes my ears cloggy so maybe that’s part it.
And the bread isn’t even that good! Store bought gluten-free bread never is. I make homemade stuff better. So why, why do I keep doing this to myself? Isn’t that a sign right there?
Anyway, I thought I’d mention this, in hopes that some woman coping with recurring mastitis that could use this information stumbles upon it— as I think most of my loyal readers aren’t dealing with this at all.
Just another post on breastfeeding and my crazy self-discoveries. Thanks for reading!