This post is an amended version of one I wrote almost two years ago, when I had my first attempt at blogging. I have resurrected it because I want to contribute to the fabulous new Parentonomy section on Mummy Central.
I’m so happy I breastfed my daughter. It ended up being one of the most amazing things I have ever done. But we got off to a shaky start. I wanted to share this experience, in the hope it will stop other breastfeeding mums going through something similar.
I got mastitis three weeks in to motherhood . I was prescribed antibiotics. I now know that antibiotics are pretty much a waste of time for mastitis. But that ended up being the least of my worries.
It came as a surprise when the doctor said it was ok to continue breastfeeding my then three-week-old baby. But I (stupidly) went along with the advice. Within days, my baby (now known as the Tinkerous Toddler) developed thrush.
Why isn’t the risk of a baby developing thrush considered a problem? I never thought about doing anything other than breastfeeding my baby when I was pregnant. But if I had known what would happen, I would certainly have opted to bottle feed her until I was clear of the antibiotics.
The process of getting rid of the thrush was a long and arduous one. My daughter was prescribed Nystatin, which I had to give her orally four times per day. To say she hated it was an understatement. I felt like the most evil mum in the world as I spooned it into her reluctant mouth and regularly shed a tear. The course of medicine lasted four long weeks. It didn’t work.
I used nipple shields to try and stop the vicious cycle of baby infecting mother and mother re-infecting baby. This made breastfeeding a trial, as I constantly had to sterilise the shields and always had to have one to hand to give a feed.
Eventually, after another visit to the doctor, the practice nurse happened to overhear my tale of woe and suggested that I needed to take an antifungal tablet. I did and within 24 hours the thrush was gone in both of us. It was the end of a long and unnecessary nightmare.
The first few weeks of looking after a baby are hard enough. It’s a great shame if episodes like this can’t be avoided simply by giving more sensible advice around breastfeeding whilst taking antibiotics. Not only was it a traumatic time, I am also concerned that my baby’s tiny body was subjected to antibiotics and antifungal medicine unnecessarily so early on in her life. Encouraging mums to breastfeed come hell or high water, when their baby could be put at risk, is just plain dumb. A week of bottle feeding has to be a better option than what we went through.
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