mastitis tips

The truth about breastfeeding: Mastitis

Mastitis.

Yep, it is as nasty as it sounds. Alongside things like blocked ducts, cracks, and blisters, Mastitis is a potential medical condition that can occur while breastfeeding.

Mastitis is inflammation in the breast tissue or milk ducts, in all or a portion of the breast. It can be caused by a variety of things, one of the most common being reducing the amount you’re breastfeeding. Yep-you can thank your baby and the massive growth spurt they just came down from (just kidding, you can’t blame your baby, obviously. Blame your partner. )

If you’re reading this you probably have symptoms of mastitis (flu-like symptoms, hard breast, redness in breast tissue, swollen breast) or have been diagnosed with mastitis and are waiting for me to get to the part on how the heck to deal with it. Okay, here goes:

How to deal with Mastitis

If you're experiencing symptoms of Mastitis you can find some relief with these tips, but always be sure to consult with your doctor!

(First thing first, my friend: I’m not a doctor. However, I’m a Mama who’s breastfed 4 babies and has had mastitis. I’m also a Postpartum Doula and have helped other Mamas with mastitis.

The information that I’m about to share with you is based on my personal experience of what’s worked, which is information based on research that I’ve done from reputable sources.)

Get rest

Your body is fighting an infection. You’re going to be run down. You’re going to be sore.

Give yourself some time to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and be kind to your body. Bring your baby into bed and grab a good book! Find someone to take care of any other children you have-right now you need to take care of you!

Feed that baby

You are going to want to continually drain the breast that has been affected by Mastitis. Put baby on that breast as often as possible-start with this breast every time you feed. Try different positions to see which one encourages baby to take the most milk. If your baby isn’t super into feeding as much as you need try some gentle hand expression or a pump.

Heat, heat, heat

Use a hot compress or warmed washcloth and apply it to the affected breast. The best tip, though? Get in the shower (lock the door to the bathroom, eh?), let the warm water do it’s magic, and very gently massage your breast to relieve some of the swelling. (This is a double positive- you get some relief and some time to yourself.

Do one or the other before every feeding to encourage milk flow. Make sure you don’t make your heat source excessively hot, however. You could cause damage to the skin.

See your doctor

Don’t hesitate to see your doctor right away if you have symptoms of Mastitis. Mastitis can get worse quickly and can build into even nastier things, like an abscess.

If you notice that you’re not getting relief within a few hours of the onset of symptoms be sure to book an appointment as soon as possible. Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary to get rid of the infection.

You've been waiting a long time to have sex after giving birth, but there are a few things you need to know before you get back to it!

Things you need to know before having sex after giving birth

So, you’ve been given the ol’ go-ahead from your doctor or midwife to resume sex after giving birth.

Yay! Or not…

You’ve probably realized by now that the fun act of having sex was what got you into this predicament in the first place, and now you can’t get past that massively significant detail.

Your new realization, combined with the mild burning sensation you still experience in your perineum when you poop has made your enthusiasm towards a once carefree activity a little less so.

Your partner is rearing to go. It’s been a while, let’s face it. The last month of pregnancy was essentially a no-go in the sex department, understandably. You were beautifully very pregnant, overheated, overhormoned, and overwhelmed. Sex could have been a consideration if sitting on the couch eating an entire watermelon wasn’t the other option. (Don’t even tell me I’m the only pregnant woman to ever eat an entire watermelon in one sitting…)

After a long month of hearing “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I CAN’T EVEN SEE THE VAGINA YOU WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH” topped with approximately 6 weeks of strict orders to avoid sexual relations your partner, and perhaps you are ready to get back in the saddle again.

Bow chicka wow wow.

Or not…

So far, you’ve experienced change in every aspect of your life since welcoming your little person to the world. Don’t expect a change in sex after giving birth to be any less drastic.

There are a few things you should know before having sex after giving birth:

You've been waiting a long time to have sex after giving birth, but there are a few things you need to know before you get back to it!

-Just because you’ve been given the go-ahead from your medical health professional doesn’t mean you have to have sex. It’s a personal thing and when you feel ready you’ll know. There are loads of variables that contribute to a person wanting to, or not wanting to have sex. Just because your friend is resuming her vivacious sex life (for now…wait until that kid is a bit older) doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit. Live vicariously through her for now and you do you (literally) when you’re ready.

-Your partner may be into being sprayed by your let down, but if not keep it contained by wearing a bra with breast pads.

-Go slow. The last time your vagina was getting attention it was because there was a freakin’ baby coming out of it. Show the gal some love by making sure that you go slow until you’re fully comfortable with speeding up the pace.

-On the note of vaginal loving, make sure you stay lubricated, too. You’re probably a little nervous and the lovely array of hormones that are coursing through your body aren’t helping on the natural lubrication front.

-Figure out birth control before resuming sexual activity. Clearly, the one you were using last didn’t work;)

-I was kidding about the looking at your vagina thing. You do need to acknowledge the change that’s occurred in your body. It really is the only way you’re going to get back to being comfortable. Grab a mirror and get reacquainted with your beautiful body (p.s. scars from perineum stitches look super badass.)

-Maybe give the whole thing a whirl on your own before with a partner. Explore your changed body and see what feels right and what doesn’t. Share this information with your partner so that they can modify their actions to accommodate to what works for you.

-Your previous style of sex life may no longer be possible. May I suggest some Kama Sutra just for parents?

Acknowledge and accept that sex after childbirth is different than sex before childbirth-for a while, anyway.

There are different sensations, sounds, even smells. You may have a hard time focussing or getting in the mood. It’s normal to experience these changes. However, if you are finding that it’s been a great deal of time since giving birth and you still are uninterested in sexual activity you may want to discuss it with your healthcare provider to rule out things such as Postpartum Depression.

Sex after birth is a new experience, and it truly can be a great one. Explore. Communicate with your partner. Laugh (yeah, I’m serious).

Have fun, you sexy vixen!

There is a whole lot to know about nipples! Here are 9 fascinating facts that you should know before you start breastfeeding!

9 surprising facts about nipples

Most people have at least one or two nipples.

There’s a natural progression in the fascination with nipples as we grow:

Childhood: I’m going to play with these things on my chest and repeatedly say the word nipple.

Pre-Adolescence: Everyone gets a Purple Nurple!

Early Adolescence: Nipples rising!!

Late Adolescence: I’m going to let other people play with these things on my chest.

Adulthood: WTF is coming out of there?

Nipples are fascinating. They’re a lot more than a little (or big) protrusion on your chest/breast. There are a few things you’ll learn for yourself along the way (like the many, many sensory receptors in the nipple) but there are a few things you may not know yet.

Here are some fascinating facts about nipples (you need to know before breastfeeding)

  1. Nipples are erogenous zones for a lot of folks. This means that nipple stimulation can often trigger a sexual arousal response. In fact, scientists have shown that stimulation of the nipples transmits to the brain the same way as from stimulation from the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. Just be careful…a little nipple play can get you into more trouble than you can imagine.
  2. Your nipples can change colour and shape in pregnancy. As your breasts grow and change your nipples do, as well.
  3. Your areola (the area surrounding your nipple) will likely get larger and darker throughout your pregnancy. This is so, and get ready for this, your baby can find your nipple easier!!! How amazing is that!
  4. Remember that first fun fact? Nipple stimulation to induce labour has been an idea that’s been floating around for quite some time. While some folks swear by it, there are others who say that it’s ineffective or causes labour contractions that are stronger than normal. ALWAYS talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider before doing anything to bring on labour (no matter how desperate you are or how many go-aheads you get in a Facebook group).
  5. There are lots of different types of nipples. They come in different shapes and sizes: flat, inverted, protruding, or unclassified. Some of these characteristics can make breastfeeding a little more challenging, so if you’re having difficulties it may be worthwhile to talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider, or lactation consultant to find out the best way to breastfeed with your nipple type.
  6. Nipple pain is normal…to a point. Breastfeeding shouldn’t cause a whole ton of pain, so again, if you’re experiencing pain that is intolerable you may need to source out some help.
  7. The average height of a nipple is 0.9 cm….unless you’ve breastfed 4 kids. Then, you’re likely carrying around nipples that resemble AA batteries.
  8. Trying to find the perfect lipstick? Your ideal match of lipstick is the colour of your nipple! Now, if only there was a way of figuring that out in the makeup store without being too obvious…
  9. Nipples can leak breastmilk without any extra help. While some folks require hand expression or a breast pump to extract milk, others experience a “free pour”. Using some good quality breast pads can reduce circle stains on the front of your shirt!

Do you have any other fascinating facts about nipples you think should be shared?

Also, if anyone has found their perfect lipstick colour please share how you got it!

There are a lot of truths about breastfeeding that we don't talk about. Nipple blisters and cracks are a couple of those things.

The truth about breastfeeding: Nipple blisters and cracks

You’ve just given birth. It’s entirely likely that you’re struggling to cough without being in immense pain or that you’re unable to pee without using a Peri-bottle to clean up.

Everything below your rib cage has been stretched out, torn up, and is inflicting a whole new sensation of pain that you’ve never experienced before.

Everything above your ribcage may be feeling a little tender at the moment, but the potential for pain that far surpasses anything during childbirth (thanks, Oxytocin) is lingering close by.

Pain in childbirth: we all know about that. We talk about it freely. We see it in movies. However, nobody talks about the pain you might feel after childbirth. Healing from birth, uterine contractions, and hip pains are often present once you’ve delivered baby, but what about breastfeeding?

First things first, this post is not meant to deter you from breastfeeding. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. This post is simply meant to prepare you for possible outcomes and how to prevent them!

I breastfed four babies for a total of many years, and I experienced a gamete of complications from blisters, to blocked ducts, to mastitis. My least favourite of all those experiences was cracked, blistered nipples, so that’s what we’re going to chat about here!

There are a lot of truths about breastfeeding that we don't talk about. Nipple blisters and cracks are a couple of those things.

First of all, this is a big, huge, massive reminder:

THIS IS A LEARNING PROCESS. You and your baby are learning how to breastfeed. Try to take a deep breath and give yourself grace and patience.

Okay, onto scary nipple blister talk.

A nipple blister is on the nipple or areola and is usually caused by a latch that is not quite correct. When baby’s mouth is not covering the correct amount of area on the areola their tongue and roof of their mouth pinches the nipple causing a blister. Cracks are developed the same way.

These nipple blisters and cracking can be no thang for some folks, but for others (like your old pal here) it can be absolutely excruciating.

Here are some steps for if you’re experiencing pain caused by nipple blisters and cracks:

(Hey, big ol’ P.S. here: I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice. This is me sharing my experience and course of action for nipple blisters.)

  1. Keep breastfeeding. This will pass.
  2. Make sure you have a proper latch. This is a great video on how to get that latch. If you’re still struggling to get comfortable contact your local La Leche League, public health unit, or lactation consultant.
  3. Don’t pop that blister. It’s tempting, I know, but it’ll hurt a lot more in the long run. It’s best to leave it be. Plus, it probably looks pretty gnarly, so whenever your partner is complaining about ANYTHING you can just whip it out. You’ll be surprised how quickly the whining stops.
  4. Take a breastfeeding friendly pain relief medication. Goodness gracious, you’ve been through a lot. A little relief you deserve!
  5. Try different positions. Lay down. Football hold. Cradle hold. You may find some comfort in a different position as there won’t be so much friction on just one side.
  6. Go topless. Perhaps it’s wise to not do this in public, but when you’re at home try and get as much air to your nipples as possible. Also, when you’re done nursing express some breastmilk and let it dry on the nipple blister.
  7. If you’re concerned or the blister won’t go away go see your doctor. You have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your babe.

I’ll tell ya: this can be a real mental challenge. I remember giving myself pep talks before nursing my baby when I had cracked, blistered nipples. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to demand sympathy from anyone and everyone around you. (P.S. Feel free to message me on Facebook anytime with this request. I will happily offer you some commiseration.)

postpartum poo

The truth about the postpartum poo

Ask a 4 year old about postpartum poo and they’ll begin laughing hysterically and making farting sounds. (P.S. They don’t know what “postpartum poo” is and they don’t care. You said “poo”.)

Ask a woman who’s given birth about postpartum poo and her response will let you know that this shit ain’t funny.

Your body has just experienced a majorly traumatic experience. Labour is traumatic. Delivery is traumatic. Hemorrhoids are traumatic. Breastfeeding is traumatic. Parenting is traumatic.

Having a kid is just one big trauma fest, really.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of joy and happiness in having a baby, too, but holy Toledo can it be a massive pain in the ass.

Literally.

Okay, so I’m about to get nice and graphic for you here. If you don’t like talking about poo or you’re still recovering from your own postpartum poo and the thought alone triggers you to clench up so tight you have near buns of steel, then perhaps this blog post isn’t for you.

However, if you’re like the SO MANY women out there who are about to bring a child into the world and haven’t been informed of the truth about the postpartum poo you most definitely need to read on.

 If you're like so many women who have no idea what to expect with their postpartum poo then this article is a must read for you!

Ok, so you’ve delivered your beautiful little baby. Chances are your bowels were evacuated when you were splayed on the table in front of a team of doctors and nurses while your partner caught the whole thing on camera, so you may not feel the need to have a poo for a few days. This is a good thing. You need a few days to load up on soluble fiber, stool softeners, and so much water.

Understandably, when you do feel the urge to push you get a little anxious. After all, the last thing to come out of your body was a baby. While that’s not likely to happen again so immediately, you probably still feel a bit uneasy about the whole thing. However, holding it in WILL NOT do you any service. That shit will just build up, compacting as it does. You’ll be taking “shitting bricks” to a whole new level if you don’t take care of business as soon as the opportunity arises.

Just as birth is different for everybody, so is the postpartum poo. Some poor souls have a 40 hour labour, spend hours pushing, and wind up with first-degree tearing while others deliver their babies after a mild cramp and a sneeze. The same ridiculously unfair comparison applies to the postpartum poo. You may be spending a great deal of uncomfortable time on the toilet, or you may be simply pretending to do so behind a locked door while yelling “I’m almost done. *grunt*” and catching up on your Facebook gossip.

Once you’re finished not pooping out a baby (I mention this fact because I’m sure you considered that was a possibility at least once during this process) you need to give yourself a good, relieving cleaning. Remember that peri-bottle your beautiful midwife or doctor gave you? Yep-that thing will offer as a wonderful substitute for the toilet paper that will feel like sandpaper on your poor bits. It will also make you wonder why you don’t live in France, or at the very least, own a bidet.

You may experience a bit of residual discomfort once you’re all finished. Have you heard of a padsicle? Wet down maxi pad in witch hazel and throw it in the freezer for a bit. Once it’s nice and cooled down slap that baby into your super sexy mesh hospital panties or your super sexy granny panties. This will give some relief to your stretched out vagina (don’t look yet-I’m warning you), those hemorrhoids that are lurking, and your poor anus that truly doesn’t know what just hit it.

Rest assured that any poops subsequent to this first postpartum poo won’t be nearly as traumatizing. Well, not any of yours, anyway…

#newbornpoo #ewww #pooface #uptheback #poosplosion


this is the one thing you will need as a new mom

This is the ONE thing you will NEED as a new Mom

You just had a baby! Congratulations!

a new mom will need this

If this is your first baby it’s likely that you’ve been bombarded with suggestions on all the things you’re going to need for baby.

Well, Mama, I’m here to share a little secret with you: babies really don’t need a lot!

Look at that tiny little bundle. They truly don’t care if they have the newest playpen or bouncy chair or ridiculously beautiful baby hammock that you bought because YOU wanted it but didn’t actually need.

you don't need a lot of stuff for baby

Don’t get me wrong. As a mom, I’ve gone through my fair share of “things” for my babies. I’ve had the swings, the chairs, the this, the that, but truly there was only one thing that I would ever get for a baby again*:

A BABY CARRIER!!

 

*Just to clarify, I AM NOT having any more babies. When I reference any future babies I mean them as hypothetical. This ship has sailed pour moi, ladies. That said, I entirely WOULD have another child if it could stay a newborn for a really, really long time. Considering that isn’t a thing, I will swoon HARD over yours and every other newborn I encounter, and I’ll mush and gush at the idea, and my ovaries will flutter when I think about itty bitty newborn smell….BUT I AM NOT HAVING ANY MORE BABIES!*

Your tiny little bean really just wants to be held. Not like a little bit held, but a lot a bit held. It ain’t called the fourth trimester for nothing! As a new Mama you’re going to want to comply with this request, but truly sometimes it’s a bit challenging to do things like feed yourself while you hold this a little package of sweetness.

So, what do you do?

When my now ridiculously huge children were cute, squishy, itty-bitty babies I used a Cuddly Wrap. Basically, it’s a long piece of stretchy fabric that you wrap around yourself to create a pouch that baby hangs out in. This keeps baby nice and close enough that they can hear your heartbeat, smell their Mama, and be entirely content (in theory).

BONUS TIP: If you’re having a difficult time nursing, skin to skin contact helps your milk come in. Strip baby down to a diaper and put the wrap on yourself with no top or bra on. and enjoy some skin-to-skin while you make yourself some delicious lactation cookies!

my newborn in the carrier

Follow me on Instagram by clicking on the photo!

When my little ones turned about 3 months old I put them in my Ergo soft structured baby carrier. The Ergo does have a newborn insert, but my kiddos never liked it, so we always stuck with the Cuddly Wrap for the first bit.

I bought my Ergo second hand when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I LOVE MY ERGO. Like, I don’t know what I’m going to do when the day comes that I don’t use it anymore. Each kiddo has practically lived in it from the time they were three months until they were almost three!! I wore it while pregnant, I nursed in it, I folk festivaled in it, hiked in it…I’ve done EVERYTHING in my Ergo.

baby carrier that rocks!

Now, as I sit here trying to sell you on Ergo baby carriers (and yes, that’s what I’m trying to do because I will make a commission on each sale at no cost to you, but mostly because I really, really, really think that every Mama needs an Ergo!!) I originally thought I would borrow someone’s brand new Ergo to take some nice photos in. However, I had a quick change of heart when a friend asked to borrow mine to take her little for a walk and I genuinely felt as if I was giving a piece of my heart away! It’s a good thing I love that Mama to bits because I don’t loan my Ergo to just anyone!

This super stained, tattered lovely little baby holder has been my saving grace! I’ve been able to keep my little ones super close to me while I still accomplish everything that I need to. Out of everything I’ve ever used as a Mama this is the one thing I would say is an ABSOLUTE NECESITY!

A few things to note about Ergo baby carriers:

-When you’re wearing your little person on your back you may forget she is there! An Ergo baby carrier is so comfortable that it’s happened to me a time or two. If you can’t seem to find your wee one check on your back before panicking.

-Take advantage of the extra weight you’re carrying. Do some squats or lunges. Get yourself a free workout in when you can!!

-Don’t wear an Ergo with an adult onesie. Inevitably, your sweet baby will fall asleep snuggled up against you…and that’s when you’re going to need to pee. Unless you have a handy butt flap on those pajamas, it’s best to wear a two piece pajama set until you’re no longer at risk of a cute, cuddly, sweet smelling, soft, squishy….okay, okay I’m getting carried away again.

-You can easily redecorate and customize your Ergo to fit your kick-ass personality! Check out this tutorial on my Pinterest page!

So, what are you waiting for?! Are you convinced that this baby carrier will SERIOUSLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE?! Do you already own one? Show me your photos. Tell me your stories. Have you ever lost YOUR baby on your back?!

Still not convinced? Check out this video on how to wear your baby in your Ergo carrier!