Anxiety in Breastfeeding, Mastitis & Support

By Amanda Rowe, Feeding Friend

I always wanted to breast feed. I gave birth to my first born in the month of September. I had no idea what I was doing. A handful of nurses popped in and out of my room to check if bub was latched on. I was told that it was their busiest time of the year and that a lactation consultant will be visiting. This unfortunately did not happen. After complaining that breastfeeding ‘hurts’ I was informed by all staff that this was ‘normal’…

Little did I know that I had the beginning of Lactation Mastitis. Two months on, the pain became excruciating. During a milk let-down, the pain felt like what I would imagine razor blades would feel like if it were to cut my skin from my back, up over my shoulders right through my breast and out of my nipples. I cried many times.

The issue was that I did not have the obvious signs of Mastitis which include redness, lumps or inflammation of the skin. Even my local health care nurse said it was normal to feel ‘pain’ and advised me to attend a specialized center to help me with latching techniques.

After sending hubby out to buy formula, a close girlfriend advised me to get a swab done of my milk. Yep- I had a confirmed case of Mastitis and a few days of antibiotics eliminated the pain except the damage had already been done. I was emotionally scarred from breast feeding. I developed anxieties associated with feeding my baby and dreaded the thought of having to feed in public at the built-up fear that I was doing it all wrong….

I had zero confidence feeding in public. I would sweat all over and tense my shoulders while holding my breath as my baby latched on. The muscle tension and panic associated with feeds delayed my let-down and resulted in a hungry screaming baby. Some women have immediate let-downs however my children have had to ‘work at it’ for any milk to surface.

The fear was built up over time after recovering from mastitis and I needed to learn how to relax and overcome this fear. If you’re an expecting parenting who plans on breast feeding, it is crucial to know the importance of being comfortable. Physical comfort promotes mental relaxation and aids with lactation.

When my second child was about 6 months old, I started developing pain in my hands and wrists. This time I went straight to the doctor. I was informed I had Carpal Tunnel caused by repetitive cradling positions while breast feeding. I wore a wrist strap and searched for an ideal nursing support pillow. I have a busy lifestyle and the big and bulky pillows were not ideal for lugging around with me with a newborn and 2-year-old in tow.

I wanted a better solution for feeding my baby while on the go. I could not find a portable nursing pillow that supported the angle in which I fed my 6-month-old daughter. This is how Feeding Friend was born. Women are all different and Feeding Friends wedge shape design provides various levels of support to cater for different body shapes and sizes. Flexible levels of support also cater to position changes that may happen with your growing baby!

I believe all Mothers deserve to feed their baby confidently and comfortably – Especially in public. Feeding Friend started as my side project which aided in my healing process of overcoming my fears of breastfeeding. I hope my blog inspires you to speak up if you need help and know that you are not alone. Fear in breastfeeding is common. Talk about it and seek advice and feel comfort in knowing there is a practical solution for support while feeding on the go….

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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