Vasospasms And Mastitis

Sitting on the sofa at 2.33am listening to the leaky tap in the bathroom and the whir of my laptop fan I realise that it’s been a while since I was able to quietly enjoy the sound of the night. It’s been such a busy week for me that I’m wondering how, as busy working mums, we fit it all in.

It’s all come to a bit of a head and I realised something had to give. I was juggling:

  • my businesses – my jewellery creations, placenta encapsulation services and website design
  • the charity I am a trustee at, Project Kidogo
  • social media and blogging for those above
  • being a wife and a working mum to two under-threes
  • sobriety (which should come at the top, if I’m not clean I’ll lose the rest!)
  • breastfeeding exclusively with massive pain all the time

And it’s been almost five months since I first started having the severe pain in my left nipple.  There’s a great article about nipple pain here on La Leche League’s website and after months of being misdiagnosed by uninterested GP’s I finally saw a La Leche League leader in my home town of Monmouth.  Emma was fantastic and we found out that it was nipple vasospasms causing my suffering.

Some of you might remember from my milksharing post that I had a breast reduction when I was 18.  I always knew I’d suffer from supply issues and was well-prepared when Small Girl arrived.  Thanks to The Alpha Parent’s Boobie Trap Game* I’ve come up with my own bingo card for her which gives a glimpse into the troubles I had.
When she was four months old I started to train with Barnardo’s as a peer supporter but after a few weeks I couldn’t return because it was all so raw for me.  Eventually I’d like to do the breastfeeding counsellor training with La Leche League so I can put all this breastfeeding know-how to good use helping other mums!  But all in all I could probably count on my hands the amount of good feeds we had.  So when Tiny Boy came along I was just as prepared (with a freezer full of donor milk) and determined.  But there’s only so much preparation we can do and here’s my booby trap bingo card for him:


Poor little lad had tongue tie and although we got it snipped pretty quickly, I’ve always had trouble getting a great latch.  So for the past four months I’ve had the most horrific tissue damage or trauma on my left nipple.  That’s the breast which was always my main producer, despite it being the one that had tissue necrosis after my reduction and has had four surgeries including a skin graft and two lots of tattooing.  Struggling with chronic pain is never much fun, especially when it seems so easily preventable.

But I’d always managed to avoid mastitis.  Until Saturday morning that is.  After my meeting a friend took me straight to the hospital where I got a prescription for antibiotics (yeh, those wonderful things that make my stomach lining turn to fire).  Seems much better already but I wonder how common it is for vasospasms and mastitis to be linked; it felt like just a matter of time till the dead tissue in the nipple affected the rest of my breast.

*Apparently the phrase “booby traps” has been trade marked by the ‘Best For Babies Foundation‘, so whenever anyone uses the phrase in connection for breastfeeding, they have to credit them, or something. Their founder contacted [The Alpha Parent] to say so:

“We LOVE your Boobie Trap Bingo game idea and we were thrilled to see it 🙂 Boopy Traps is a term we trademarked in the U.S. in connection with breastfeeding because it’s a sound bite that sums up the trouble with breastfeeding perfectly. Will you consider adding some language to your game crediting BFB which will indicate that your use of the term is not a stand-alone but a part of something much bigger, uniting all moms internationally under one banner, so that we continue to create trust among consumers, raise awareness in the mainstream about this cause, and elevate it to the level of the March of Dimes, St. Judes, (Red), etc.  Thanks so much”

No probs.

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