by: Kimberly Bowman
If you notice a hard lump in your breast while breastfeeding do not burst into tears and call the oncologist. Instead, let your baby finish his calm nursing session and check for the lump’s perimeter. Have you noticed feeling run-down or any flu-like symptoms? If the answer is yes, take your temperature. If you have an elevated one, you may have mastitis and you will need to see your doctor for an antibiotic prescription. Do this without delay and read my previous post Anti-Antibiotics? Let it Go When Facing Mastitis.
Another possibility is that your answer to those questions is no and you are experiencing plugged ducts. By finding the edges of the lump you will be able to sufficiently massage it while nursing and apply warm compresses to help relieve any discomfort. It is safe for your baby to nurse while you cope with plugged ducts and will also help. Also gently massage the area while in the shower as the warmth and pressure can help clear the duct. Watch your symptoms for any increase in severity. Plugged ducts, and your susceptibility to them, are often pre-cursors to mastitis. They are a clear sign that you are overwrought.
When mom is overwrought, everyone in the family loses. Make sure your partner is aware of your situation. Extra rest and vigilance will keep you out of the doctor’s office but we ultimately have to take responsibility for trying to be in more than one place at a time. Knights in shining armor are super rare these days. If you want to be saved, you must rescue yourself. You only have two hands and one head. Use them in coordinated ways that enable you to get reasonable things accomplished while staying healthy. Putting yourself first ensures that everyone else gets a place in line for their dose of mommy.