Dealing with clogged ducts or Mastitis

Dealing with clogged ducts or Mastitis

Oh the joy of motherhood! Sometimes I wonder in all the time our mothers had to prepare us for it, why are there still so many things we never even heard of. It is as though everything is just smiles and happiness with no obstacles on the road. One of these obstacles I encountered is clogged ducts or Mastitis.

Clogged ducts symptoms and mastitis treatment

CLOGGED DUCTS DURING BREASTFEEDING

To be clear, breastfeeding was not easy for me. Unlike some moms who in a moment of bliss hold their babies to their breast, baby immediately latching, no effort to mom or baby; my journey was nothing like this.

My first child was a post-term pregnancy. He was helped into life with ventouse suction and in the process swallowed massive amounts of amniotic fluid. All seemed well at first glance. But after his first feed, he started convulsing and throwing up and was immediately taken to ICU. This left me, a first time mom, with no idea of what to do next. All my attention and energy went into my sick baby with no thought to myself. Vaguely, I remember the nurses advising me to milk myself out. But as I had no baby to demand feeds, I often forgot. And when I remembered it was so painful that I did not persist and rather focused on my sick child.

I was overjoyed when my child was released. Then, the reality set in that I was now responsible to feed this child with breasts that was so sore it was pure agony to touch them. Like all good daughters I phoned the source of all wisdom, my mom. She immediately suspected a clogged duct, and advised warm cabbage leaves over my breast till I could see my doctor. Although this did bring some relief, it was not a permanent solution and not a comfortable one either.

CLOGGED MILK DUCT SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of a blocked duct or mastitis are a lump or wedge in the area of the breast where milk flow is then obstructed. It is usually only in one breast, and can be very painful at feeding times. A slight fever might accompany the symptoms; which is a sure sign to visit your doctor.

CLOGGED DUCTS OR MASTITIS TREATMENT

Antibiotics are usually not prescribed for clogged ducts or a mild case of Mastitis. A pain killer with an anti-inflammatory can be very useful. There is not much more your GP can do for you, and generally this condition does not get a lot of sympathy. Nobody seems to consider that you just gave birth, still feeling sore, hovering on the verge of baby blues, and your hormones and emotions are out of control. Take a deep breath, you will get through this.

Some practical advice I can give you from mom to mom is to really be proactive. You will have to milk the infected breast as often as you possibly can, at least every two hours. It is safe to let your baby drink from it, although some babies refuse the infected breast as the milk taste slightly different. Before you feed or pump out, keep the breast warm. You can do this by taking a disposable diaper (you should have plenty of these) and filling it with warm water. After emptying the diaper and squeezing out access water you place it over the breast. It will keep the heat for longer than a hot cloth. Something else you can try to relieve the pain before feeding is to soak the affected breast in hot water with Epson salts. Just remember to rinse the breast thoroughly before feeding. Massaging of the lump will also help the condition pass, and cold compressions between feeds might help the swelling and pain.

Lastly you should really speak to your doctor about antibiotics if there is blood or pus present in the milk or you have red streaking over the breast. Any obvious signs of infection need medical advice for the safety of you and your baby.

Hair loss after birth – the untold secret of motherhood

Hair loss after birth – the untold secret of motherhood

Like all other moms, I counted down the days until my son was born. Not just because I was excited to meet my little guy, but I could finally look forward to feeling normal again and kiss the aches and pains of pregnancy goodbye. Little did I know that the consequences of having the surplus of hormones during pregnancy suddenly disappear after birth would only bring on a new set of problems.

Hair loss after birth and post pregnancy hair loss treatment

HAIR LOSS AFTER BIRTH

It started out with my husband complaining that my hair was clogging up the shower drain more often. I put this down as me losing my summer curls, not having much time to worry about how enjoyable his showers were while I was on the bed fighting with my new-born to breastfeed. Eventually it got to the point where I was sweeping up mounds of hair from my bedroom floor after brushing or drying my hair every morning. This is when I started panicking. So, I did what any normal person would do and called on Doctor Google. I know this is usually terrible advice and leaves one convinced they have some form of rare and dreaded disease, but for once it actually left me hopeful.

I found many, many other moms out there who were all going through the same thing – they all started losing copious amounts of hair in the first few months after giving birth. What it boils down to is pretty simple: hormones.

CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS AFTER PREGNANCY

Outside of pregnancy, our hair grows at different rates. 85-95 percent of your hair will be growing while the left over 5-15 percent is in resting stage. Your hair falls out during resting stage. During pregnancy the growing stage of our hair is extended due to an increase in estrogen, which is why we experience minimal hair loss and have thick and fabulous locks. Once our baby is born and this extra dose of estrogen disappears, our rate of growth goes back to normal and we are left with a lot more hair in the resting stage – hence the increased hair loss.

HOW TO PREVENT HAIR LOSS AFTER BIRTH

There really isn’t anything you can do to prevent this. Some moms say that taking extra vitamins helped them, while others get fed up and chop off their hair for a new ‘mom-cut’. As frustrating as this might be, it is only temporary. Your hair should return back to normal by your baby’s first birthday.

I carried on with my postnatal vitamins and went for regular haircuts and pretty much just waited it out (and promised to not clog up the shower drain each day). Keeping up with vitamins B, C, E and Zinc can only do your body good and some moms say this actually helped reduce the hair loss.

DEALING WITH POST PREGNANCY HAIR LOSS

It can be really stressful having to deal with something like this while you are getting used to motherhood, but remember you are not alone. Look to other moms for guidance and support when you feel a little hopeless and remember your body will always bounce back – it just takes a little bit of time.