Posts tagged fever

Breastfeeding Foe’s: Mastitis and Plugged Ducts

PART 1 – Be More Prepared than I was!

First of all, I have so many experiences to share with you on this topic that it was getting WAY too long for one post so I had to split it up (and probably will have many more to come)!  And, before I start, you should know I am a huge fan of breastfeeding!  I think it’s sad that so many moms out there either don’t do it or stop after a short time.  This post is not intended to scare anyone away from breastfeeding but to help you be better prepared for challenges than I was.  I hope this post will help prepare moms-to-be and help those who have had similar troubles to get through them successfully.  I nursed Jack about 26 months (my initial goal was 12 months).  I am now nursing my 2nd baby, Walt, who is 3 months old.

After Jack, my first born, I had 3 uncomfortable and frustrating bouts of what I thought was mastitis.  Breastfeeding was something I knew I wanted to do and would do but I just thought you put baby to breast and voila, thats it.  I didn’t read up on the topic, techniques, didn’t ask anyone for tips or advice on breastfeeding while I was pregnant.   I didn’t know anything about how to hold baby, what engorgement was, mastitis, that it could be challenging.  I think I just thought breastfeeding, you just do it and thats that.  I didn’t expect it to be hard or to run into any problems.

So when Jack was born, I tried to let him nurse right away, which he wasn’t interested in at first but an hour after birth he figured it out.  The first few days were a piece of cake.   It might sound weird but I was excited for my milk to come in.  It was all very intriguing to me, everything that was happening with my body related to pregnancy, birth and now breastfeeding.  It was empowering and amazing to me how my body would produce nourishing food, milk, that my baby would thrive on exclusively for some time and I was eager for it to come in and to nurse my baby boy!  However, when my milk did come in it was chaos!  Jack started becoming partial to the left side and avoided the right like the plague!  We later discovered it was due to his C1 vertebrae being fixed and tissue around it inflamed and it was easily corrected by chiropractic adjustments (by mom and dad).  This lead to engorgement.  All of the sudden my right breast just got huge.  I thought I was going to explode!  It became very painful.  I did have an electric pump and figured, that must be what those things are for!  Pumping gave me some temporary relief.  However I didn’t know anything about pumping either.  I don’t think I completely emptied the breast.  I just continued to pump when I started to get huge and painful again and did that repeatedly (it took a day or 2 to figure out why Jack wouldn’t nurse on my right side and to get it corrected).  The frequent pumping with my electric pump seemed to cause me to just produce more (supply and demand) and I was really getting fed up and could not get things under control for the life of me!  At our postpartum visit with our CHOICE midwives they suggested a hand pump (which they had several available in their awesome resource room) and to have Jack nurse on both sides each feeding and to nurse often.  I WAS only feeding Jack on one side per feeding (don’t know why, I guess I just thought that was how it was done and don’t know where that thought came from) and if he fell asleep for long periods (he only did that the first few days, then I don’t think he slept a full night until 2 yrs old!) I didn’t wake him to nurse.  So I would go sometimes 6+hours before nursing on one side, ya, no wonder I had problems!  Like I said, I knew nothing about techniques or protocol for breastfeeding.  Hint, hint, if you’r pregnant get advice, read, go to La Leche League website to get info BEFORE your baby is born.

After Jack was adjusted and willing to nurse on both sides and once I started nursing on both sides each feeding, nursing about every 2 hours, icing to reduce inflammation, and using the hand pump to relieve pressure if he didn’t empty both sides everything cleared up.  By everything I mean the flu-like symptoms I experienced including: fever, head ache, body ache, and extreme fatigue.  These symptoms came on shortly after the initial major engorgement I experienced.  I was never checked out by a doctor or lactation consultant to determine if it was a plugged duct or mastitis but whatever it was, it was resolved within a week thankfully (no meds required).  I had a similar experience 2 more times while breastfeeding Jack.  Both of which I believe followed weekend trips I made in which I had to bring my pump and not my baby.  I really felt that electric pump caused an increase in demand and therefore supply followed by engorgement and the rest of those “fun” symptoms.  While each episode I experienced was not fun at all, they all did manage to resolve themselves in about a week by nursing often, using the hand pump and icing when my breasts felt hot and sore.  I also did go to a few local La Leche League meetings.  It was nice to be around other nursing moms, many with years of experience.  I enjoyed talking with them and listening to their advice.  The rest of the 26 months of breastfeeding Jack went very smoothly!

Come back soon for Part 2:  The Second Time Around – New Challenges-  I thought it would be easier but new challenges presented themselves.  Come back to learn what they were!

I am also planing more posts on the benefits of breastfeeding, what exactly is mastitis and plugged ducts, natural remedies, and more!  So don’t forget to subscribe so don’t miss a post!

What challenges have you faced while breastfeeding and what did you do?


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Christmas Wrap-up


dscn0944_edited-11It’s been a while since my last posting, so here’s an update on Jack’s 1st Christmas!  First of all, I had to mention that it was impossible to find a “baby’s first Christmas” outfit for a baby wearing 12-18mo clothes, but we made due with some green and red. 

 Christmas 2008 on the positive side, it was a nice first Christmas for Jackdscn0947_edited-12

and our family.  We enjoyed

visiting with relatives and friends at various parties.  The CHOICE Christmas party was great because Jack, Greg and I met other parents and baby’s born (mostly at home) by the Choice Midwives.  I met some really nice moms and plan to attend the CHOICE parent/play group on Tuesdays.  I enjoyed watching our family dance and hug and play with Jack, especially Aunt Angie and Aunt “Coco” Erica, who live in Atlanta and L.A. respectively.  I also enjoyed watching and helping Jack open presents.  He loooves paper so he dove right in to the wrapping paper… and of course tried to eat it.  He got some adorable and fun toys from his grandparents and aunts and uncles! 


Christmas 2008 on the down side, right around Christmas… I think after our 4th party (we need to cut back next year) Jack got a fever which lasted on and off for 2 weeks.  He was very sluggish and tired and had a drippy nose.  He also wanted nothing to do with anything solid, so it was back to almost exclusive breastfeeding and the lovely, mushy poop that goes along with it.  I had been spoiled with solid poop, which, when using cloth diapers is much easier to clean (I hope you don’t mind I’m talking about poop!).  His fever went down after a week then shot back up again, as high as 103 at one point, which is still safe for a baby.  But after about 10-12 days I broke down and gave Jack some baby Tylenol.  He just seemed so uncomfortable and pitiful and the fever showed no sign of letting up.  The Tylenol seemed to help and within 2 days he was back to his squirmy, wormy, happy, busy self.  This was a very difficult choice for me.  It was the first time in Jacks life that he had medication of any kind.  I just hate the idea of putting anything chemical and artificial in his system.  I was a little sad that I gave him the meds, but when he started acting himself I was relieved and didn’t feel so bad.  At the time all of this was going on I was sure Jack had some type of virus or bacteria but now I think I was wrong.  After his fever broke his 1st upper tooth showed its face!  My mom said my sisters and I always had “flu” type symptoms when our teeth came in.  I think this is especially true for the upper teeth due to the close proximity to sinuses and the fact that the upper jaw is part of the skull bones, compared to movable mandible bone, which incase the lower teeth.  I am relieved that Jack is still bacteria/virus/infection free at almost one year.  I don’t like this teething stuff!  I hope future teeth make a gentler, quiet presence than these first few!



 Stay tuned for my next post very soon.  It will be a re-cap of my chirstmas shopping for safe and natural toys!


Warm wishes,

Dr. Heather


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Food, Fever, & Healthy Turkey Day Tips!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  I’m looking forward to the 4 day weekend and time with family!  Greg, Jack and I will be heading starting our day in Botkins with Greg’s family then we will finish the day at my parents.  I hope the day won’t be too crazy.  The rest of the weekend will be spent relaxing, visiting more family and some office cleaning. 


This week has flown by!  Jack had 2 first’s this week, but not the kind I was looking forward to.  On Monday afternoon he threw up for the first time ever and then he got his first fever L.  It all started very abruptly out of the blue.  He became very sluggish and extra cuddly.  He wasn’t his perky, goofy, happy-Jack self.  I made sure to nurse him often and kept up on my vitamins and hydration so it would filter down to Jack.  I took some extra vitamin C and Echinacea too.  His fever peaked Monday night and slowly declined through the day Tuesday.  He was back to normal thankfully on Wednesday.  It was not a fun experience and I don’t look forward to the next time.  I am glad he got better quickly though. 


Tips on having a healthier thanksgiving:

  1. Choose a variety of colors on your plate – don’t forget red, orange and green!
  2. Portion Control – smaller portions spaced out throughout the day is better than one mile-high plate of food.
  3. Pass on the rolls – besides being pro-inflammatory, there are too many other yummy choices on Turkey Day!
  4. Try water instead of pop
  5. Hold the whip cream on the pumpkin pie
  6. Participate in a local Turkey Trot walk/run before the big meal
  7. Go for a walk or play some flag football after the big meal



Happy Turkey Day!

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