Monday, 3/1/21, the day my dream baby didn’t feel so dreamy.
After my recent bout of mastitis, things were off. The day before I got sick, last Wednesday, what was taking Sprinkle 10 minutes to nurse was now taking 30. Thursday is when it hit, it’s 4 in the afternoon and I tell Joel I feel like a ton of bricks hit me. Sure enough, I started running a temperature and within an hour, I was at 101.9. Tylenol was helping, but by the time it would wear off, I would spike again. Nervous about Covid, at 3 am Thursday night, I drove myself to urgent care. Covid and flu were negative, and at that point, my only symptoms were body aches, fevers and chills. We wrote it off as a cold and new mama exhaustion. Luckily by morning I no longer had a fever. Sprinkle was still taking significantly longer to nurse than her usual. During one of her afternoon feeds is when I noticed a red mark on my left breast, this led me to believe I had mastitis. Since almost all my symptoms were gone, I didn’t call my doctor or go back to urgent care, by Saturday I felt like myself again and the mark was gone, but on Saturday I started noticing a change in my supply, specifically when pumping. On top of that, Sprinkle was still nursing for such a long time, her naps weren’t lasting more than 40 minutes, sometimes I could get her back down, sometimes I’d have to nurse, sometimes we we’re just up. Side note, she is going through a “leap”. By Sunday night I was obsessing over my supply and her schedule. But Monday… Monday was THE day. Every time I nursed I cried. And not tears, sobs. I kept reminding myself these are hormones, my baby is fine and she’s healthy, but nothing. I immediately put a call into Dr. Schell. My package had expired, but she sensed my desperation and talked me through my options.
It’s normal for your supply to drop for a few days after Mastitis, which by the way, I knew this (because of course I was googling every possible scenario), but it felt more reassuring coming from her. Her and Joel had similar suggestions, first breathe, but bottle feed her from the stash, see how she does, pump and most importantly call our doctors (Sprinkle’s and mine). Luckily, I already had an appointment with my OB scheduled for Tuesday. The rest of the day I took to nap with Sprinkle, made my current favorite dinner and have Joel help out a little extra. Oh, and go to bed at 9 PM.
Monday night Sprinkle slept until 5 am, I was so relieved, on top of that, her feedings were almost back to her 10-15 minute time frame and most important, I wasn’t crying! I didn’t call her pediatrician because my mama instinct didn’t think this was much other than a spurt combined with a change in my milk supply. At my OB appointment, I discussed all the symptoms related to mastitis I had experienced. He cleared me, but told me to keep an eye out, that sometimes your body can rid it on its own and a decrease in supply is very common. We were doing all the right things, feeding as much as possible and continuing to pump.
Something I gave a lot of thought to the last few days was the idea of the goal of breastfeeding. Goal, I now feel, is the wrong word to use. A goal is something you, for the most part, have control over in achieving. Breastfeeding is not something I have control over. While I set out with this “goal” of breastfeeding Sprinkle for a year, taking a hit with my supply really forced me to change my outlook on my “goal”. Instead, I have to look at this as something I get to do for as long as my body is able to and that’s ok!
While I’m so relieved things are somewhat back to normal, I can’t say I’m not a teensy bit scared of my hormones and feelings getting the best of me again. I’m so grateful and thankful for everyone who was so supportive the minute I opened up. It may not have stopped the tears or made me any less tired, but it was definitely less of a lonely place.
Reaching out to those around me was the best thing I could have done. It can be scary and daunting, but if you’re struggling and reading this, I encourage you to reach out! My inbox will always be a welcome, safe space!