I woke up yesterday morning with a searing headache and the worst pain I've ever felt in my left breast. Like hot coals. Turns out I have mastitis--a milk duct infection, caused I'm sure by my improper bra wearing techniques. I'm one of those moms who took a violent dislike to nursing bras right from the start. Consequently, I wear regular ones, (sizes larger than any of my pre-pregnant pretty bras which now sit forlornly in my bottom drawer) and hoist the bra cup up over my boob when Bean nurses, rather than serenely unsnapping the cup like any good LLL mother wearing an appropriately boat like nursing bra would do. Clearly, this has been my downfall. That and fervent outdoor activity. But, following the blithe advice from the book of all books on this subject I took a hot shower and tried to relax. But seriously, do these ladies live in the same world I do??? "If at all possible," the book states, "you should climb into bed with the baby tucked beside you for the rest of the day. At the very least you should eliminate all extra activities and spend an hour or two relaxing with your baby at your breast and feet off the floor."
CLIMB INTO BED WITH THE BABY TUCKED BESIDE YOU? Do they know what this looks like with an eager and inquisitive almost six month old? Do they know the endless squirming that ensues? The wriggling, the kicking, the hair pulling and boob grabbing? Are they aware that no six month old is willing to cuddle in bed for an entire day when there is so much to learn about and explore and grab hold of. Perhaps I am the only mother in the world who doesn't love the exquisitely painful feeling of little sharp fingernails digging into my cheek while I have a migraine. That and being kicked in my infected breast, repeatedly, feels delightful, let me assure you.
After an hour or two of attempted "wlimination of all extra activities" I called my doctor whimpering, and she phoned in a prescription of antibiotics to the local pharmacy. I'm not a big antibiotic fan. I've read too much about growing immunity from over use of antibiotics for common ailments, including viral infections such as ear aches, where antibiotics are incapable of doing anything at all. But sometimes, on occasion, I am incredibly grateful to live in a country with advanced medicine and easy access to such things as amoxicillin. Within hours, the headache that felt like a little gnome was smashing pottery in my head had dissipated, and by evening, I started to feel like a normal human being again.
I'm all for cuddling with my little guy. But I prefer to do it when I can take his abundant energy and verve for life. This morning it was wonderful to wake up feeling like myself again, and spend time reading him books in bed, using my husband as our head rest. I am all about the "extra activities." The late evening bike rides along the lake, the morning walks to the farmers market, the hikes, the adventures around town. These things make me feel much more whole than lying in bed ever does. It's been enough of a transition to realize I'm virtually NEVER ALONE anymore. I've got Bean with me nearly all day. Getting outdoors is my sanity. Where is the book that's written for mamas like me? Mamas who breastfeed and stay at home, but who still are still active and adventurous and not willing at all to put our feet up all day.