3

votes

Breastfeeding Moms: Should I Take Antibiotics for my Breast Infection?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Just two weeks ago, I posted about potential thrush from breastfeeding here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/145381/breastfeeding-moms-how-did-you-deal-with-thrush#axzz25TD7C3PM

So, the good news is that it probably isn't thrush. Bad news is, looks like it might be an infection instead. It's not mastitis (yet), though the doctor did prescribe a 10 day round of antibiotics to treat what she believes is an infection based solely off of the fact that I had a fever of 102 yesterday. I took ibuprofen and the fever subsided, so now I'm still wondering whether I should go on the antibiotics. I'm pretty sure I have a plugged duct to deal with, which is the sore area, but I'm hoping that if I get that taken care of, hopefully I won't need to take the medication. I'm soooooooo afraid of getting actual thrush after antibiotics!!!

Don't get me wrong, if this were seriously bad, like actual mastitis, I'd take the antibiotics in a heartbeat, but because it's not quite there yet, I'm hesitant to do so. She seemed too quick to just give me the prescription so she could be on her way. I just don't know! Any suggestions? What did you ladies do to treat your plugged ducts or infections? Breastfeeding is soooo hard for me, but I did see a lactation consultant today, and that certainly helped! I just can't wait until I'm all healed up so I can be the best mommy that I can be! These breastfeeding setbacks are really taking a toll on me! :(

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Thanks for your input and for husbands like you to help out their wives! My husband has been a great help to me as well during this time, and thankfully, it has gotten a lot better without my having to take the antibiotics for now. The doctor I saw was not my regular OB doctor as I made the appointment last minute. I absolutely trust my regular doctor though! :) I will be seeing him next week for my 6 week postpartum checkup and see what he thinks!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:08 PM

I hear you on not being able to take of yourself without hubby to hold the baby, it can be almost impossible, to juggle that one. Are there any postpartum doulas in your area, or a friend or relative you could lean on right now? Bringing someone in for 3-4 hours a day at least 3 days a week while your husband isn't there could be a valuable investment in your recovery. Mastitis is a sneaky weasel that likes to go after mom's who don't have enough backup help. We are in strange times, there is no evolutionary precedent for mom's doing so much of the early infant care solo.

193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

(1260)

on September 07, 2012
at 02:21 PM

(Inb4 a million down votes for advocating western medication and listening to a doctor)

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 11:01 AM

I admit, I was kinda skimping on the hydration, and I was super exhausted too, but with the help of my husband, I think I'm doing a lot better! I sometimes find it difficult to find a moment to take care of my affected breast without my husband around to watch the baby though. Thanks for your advice! I always appreciate it! :D

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:57 AM

Thanks! You're absolutely right! It's so important to get help ASAP! That's the one piece of advice I will definitely pass along to my girlfriends!

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:56 AM

This potato idea is intriguing! :) I think I'll try it! First I have to look up the word "poultice" though!

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:55 AM

It's great to hear your perspective, and I hear ya on the painful nipples, but I assume your pain was a LOT worse since you had actual thrush! :( Hope things got a lot better for you though! Thanks for always responding to my pregnancy/baby related questions! :D

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:51 AM

Thanks for the encouragement! :) I've been taking all those steps and I guess I just need to be patient with clearing the ducts, though I admit, I do get excited when my breast finally feels softer, like I'm making progress!

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 07, 2012
at 04:40 AM

So off topic, but this would probably be a great poultice for inflamed piercings. :)

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 07, 2012
at 04:39 AM

It is nice to hear from a mother with experience.

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 07, 2012
at 04:38 AM

I'm concerned bout the interactions between the antibiotics and your breast feeding baby as in, should she be breast fed while you are on antibiotics and when is it safe to resume once the antibiotics have cleared your system. Also paleo alternatives to formula for babies. I'm a guy, not a dad, but I am invested in issues of women's health.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 07, 2012
at 12:53 AM

Yes, superbugs exist because of industrial (in particular) and medical abuse, but I'm just saying don't mess around if it gets worse. I took the microbio classes etc, I just think that a doc could be swayed quickly by anything that has reached the point of a fever.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 07, 2012
at 12:05 AM

I doubt it, JeJ. Throwing a script at the patient is standard operating procedure for most docs. This is why so called "super bugs" exist.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on September 06, 2012
at 11:19 PM

That's a pretty high fever- I think that's why your doctor was so quick to prescribe. Be super careful, you don't want to mess around and have to go on IV antibiotics. You can only judge your comfort with this yourself, just be very attentive in the next few days. Ibprofin can also hide infections BTW b/c you remove the fever but still have the infection.

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6 Answers

5
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 06, 2012
at 11:55 PM

Personally, I would not take the antibiotic. When I was nursing my last baby and had a plugged duct, I used warm compresses often and pumped on that breast every two hours. I couldn't stand nursing on that side (I was also dealing with thrush at the same time, so it literally felt like my nipple was being ripped off to nurse).

102 is not a "high" fever as suggested above and indicates that your body is working to fight the problem. If you do decide to take the antibiotic, dose yourself well with probiotics.

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 07, 2012
at 04:39 AM

It is nice to hear from a mother with experience.

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:55 AM

It's great to hear your perspective, and I hear ya on the painful nipples, but I assume your pain was a LOT worse since you had actual thrush! :( Hope things got a lot better for you though! Thanks for always responding to my pregnancy/baby related questions! :D

5
707342e3cb97e0fc088917919a154b8a

on September 06, 2012
at 10:31 PM

If you think it's a plugged duct, as much as it hurts to do so have your little one nurse on that side to try to unplug it. Warm compresses and massage will help, too.

KellyMom is a great (and very natural, I'd even say almost Paleo!) resource, here's the direct link: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/mastitis/

I know breastfeeding can be challenging but hang in there--- and definitely see an LC and ask for support/help as needed!

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:51 AM

Thanks for the encouragement! :) I've been taking all those steps and I guess I just need to be patient with clearing the ducts, though I admit, I do get excited when my breast finally feels softer, like I'm making progress!

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 07, 2012
at 07:26 AM

Hydrate, hydrate, rest, rest, rest, nurse, nurse, nurse (or pump, pump, pump if nursing is too painful, the worst thing you can do is to let the breast become engorged by avoiding it). If you are nursing and have a fever without a viral cause it is almost universally assumed that mastitis is the cause until ruled out (which your doc might be trying to do by prescribing a particular antibiotic). You don't have to fill the script for the antibiotics now, but if you don't start to feel better in a few days, and the fever hasn't done its job, please don't hesitate to do so.

If the plugged duct is uncomfortable, I've had postpartum clients dangle the breast into a bowl or basin of very warm water (hot shower works too), and then massage the area working from further back, towards the nipple, and then immediately pump or nurse.

There are things called Soothies, that are just what they sound like, a soothing/cooling and reusable gel sheet that are heaven when put on sore nipples between feedings if your nipples are hurting.

Susun Weed is one of my favorite herbalists, and she recommends Echinacea tincture (quite a lot of it, up to 12 times per day) for mastitis. Here are her more specific recommendations: http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Breastfeeding2.htm

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:08 PM

I hear you on not being able to take of yourself without hubby to hold the baby, it can be almost impossible, to juggle that one. Are there any postpartum doulas in your area, or a friend or relative you could lean on right now? Bringing someone in for 3-4 hours a day at least 3 days a week while your husband isn't there could be a valuable investment in your recovery. Mastitis is a sneaky weasel that likes to go after mom's who don't have enough backup help. We are in strange times, there is no evolutionary precedent for mom's doing so much of the early infant care solo.

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 11:01 AM

I admit, I was kinda skimping on the hydration, and I was super exhausted too, but with the help of my husband, I think I'm doing a lot better! I sometimes find it difficult to find a moment to take care of my affected breast without my husband around to watch the baby though. Thanks for your advice! I always appreciate it! :D

2
B799e36de7b04fc6de3d62851ae39eb8

on September 07, 2012
at 03:35 AM

I've had mastitis 3 times and never used antibiotics. This is really your body's way of telling you to slow down so get as much rest as you can. If you have someone that can help you try to just stay in bed and keep nursing your baby. Ht showers, massaging te affected area, and warm compresses can help. Also, dangle feeding can be very helpful the release the clog. Try a potato poultice (it really works). Boil, drain and mash a 2-3 potatoes, place between a folded paper towel and put it over the affected area a careful not to burn yourself. There's also a cold method in which you thinly slice a potato (I just use a peeler), let them soak for 20 min, apply in a single layer over the affected area for 20 min and change out the slices, do this for an hour and take a 30 min break and repeat if necessary. Potatoes have anti inflammatory properties and will draw out the infection. The cold method works best for me personally. Hope you're feeling better soon!

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:56 AM

This potato idea is intriguing! :) I think I'll try it! First I have to look up the word "poultice" though!

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 07, 2012
at 04:40 AM

So off topic, but this would probably be a great poultice for inflamed piercings. :)

1
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on September 07, 2012
at 02:21 PM

My wife contracted mastitis last month, and her doctor prescribed antibiotics for her. She and the babies are doing fine. If you trust your doctor (and why are you using them if you don't) you should put a great deal of weight behind their recommendation. If you are unsure if you really need the antibiotic, call the office and ask the doctor for their opinion. We also check every prescription against WebMD and/or Google to be sure that it's safe for everyone.

I'm not saying that you should never question your doctor (my past question history here is proof that I do), I'm just saying that the doctor has a greater understanding of the situation that you--and especially anyone here--ever will. While it may be the case that they just gave the an antibiotic because they felt you expected SOMETHING, and it is likely true that you will shake the infection on your own, you also have to consider the losses in your ability to care for your child, the way that you feel, and the risk that it will develop into something more dangerous. As a husband who had to increase my contribution while my wife recovered, I'd also like to point out that decision will affect other people in your home as well.

So I would call the doctor to double check, but ultimately advise you take the course of meds and get on with things. Why make your breastfeeding experience any more difficult than you have to?

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Thanks for your input and for husbands like you to help out their wives! My husband has been a great help to me as well during this time, and thankfully, it has gotten a lot better without my having to take the antibiotics for now. The doctor I saw was not my regular OB doctor as I made the appointment last minute. I absolutely trust my regular doctor though! :) I will be seeing him next week for my 6 week postpartum checkup and see what he thinks!

193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

(1260)

on September 07, 2012
at 02:21 PM

(Inb4 a million down votes for advocating western medication and listening to a doctor)

1
1402c9a3dedfc9a22e2659fa2b8c664d

on September 06, 2012
at 11:16 PM

Check and see if you have a La Leche league in your area, they were a great help and support to me when I was breastfeeding. It can take a little while to get everything in the groove, but it is so worth it.

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on September 07, 2012
at 10:57 AM

Thanks! You're absolutely right! It's so important to get help ASAP! That's the one piece of advice I will definitely pass along to my girlfriends!

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