Lately I have been working with mother's who have been given the strangest breastfeeding advice by the their Doctor's. At times, I have to stop myself from laughing because the recommendations that have been given are quite comical and yet, quite scary all at the same time!!
As a new mother trying to navigate through the wonderful, yet confusing world of breastfeeding, we naturally look to our health care professionals for sound advice. But over the years, I have found that unless ones provider is knowledgeable in breastfeeding medicine/support, it can often be detrimental to the breastfeeding dyad to actually act upon some of this (and I use the term loosely) advice.
For example, I had the pleasure of working with a new a mother whom I will call N this past weekend. She is the mother to an almost 4 month, beautiful, little boy. She contacted me because she was concerned that she had developed mastitis for the third time in the past few months. A few days earlier, her Doctor examined her and found an area of hard, plugged ducts on the outside of the right breast. The effected area was also slightly warm and red. These were her only reported symptoms. N's Physician diagnosed her with mastitis and prescribed her oral antibiotics........for the third time in the past few months. He also recommended that she stop breastfeeding altogether and switch to formula.
Ummmmm.......just a second here..........I didn't realize that having 'mastitis' 3 times in a few months warrants ceasing to nurture ones infant??!!! To put a little more icing on the cake, the Doctor also suggested that perhaps the baby had a bacteria in his mouth that was causing N's breasts to repeatedly become infected. This was when I had to stop myself from laughing. But to be perfectly honest, i was upset!! I was angry that N had been given such horrendous medical advice!! This poor mother had been in pain for days!! She had been massaging, and expressing, and using cabbage leaves, and pumping to help alleviate her plugged ducts. At times the plugged areas would soften, but they always returned. If N hadn't listened to her own mother's intuition and sought out another opinion, she may have taken her Doctor's advice and quit breastfeeding.
Firstly, Mastitis can not be diagnosed as such unless there is accompanied fever. Otherwise, she just has plugged ducts....which still requires proper treatment and management.......but not antibiotics. Thankfully, N had not started taking her antibiotics and waited until i saw her to complete a thorough breast exam and come up with a better plan. As it turned out, she did had have some pretty plugged milk ducts on both breasts that were most likely due to a couple of milk blisters located on both her nipples. Together, we came up with a plan that involved treating the milk blisters and working out those blockages in her milk ducts. Needless to say, she was one happy mama by the time I left her home!!!!
So please take this case as an example of when you need to listen to your intuition. If you feel that your Doctor is recommending something that just doesn't sound right to you, take a few moments and seek out a second opinion, preferably from an IBCLC or a health practitioner who specializes in breastfeeding medicine. It may be the best decision you can make for you and your baby.
Remember........knowledge is EMPOWERING!!!!!!