A mum of seven has shared an honest photo of the pain that occurs when breastfeeding turns ‘bad’.
Birth doula Lindsey Bliss posted the picture to her Instagram account, highlighting to her 21,600 followers the redness and swelling in her breast.
‘When a good boob goes bad – AGAIN!’ she wrote alongside the image.
‘I literally wanted Dan to bring me to the ER last night due to the most EPIC engorged boob, full body shakes, and a crushing headache. On the mend today from my bed. Why does this keep happening? #redboob #goodboobgonebad #breastfeedingisnotalwaysmagical #mastitis #engorgedbreast’
The symptoms Lindsey details describe the condition mastitis, which can occur in any woman, but reportedly affects up to 20% of breastfeeding mothers every year.
Mastitis causes the affected breast to become red, swollen and painful, and may also cause lumps in the breast and discharge from the nipple. Sufferers often experience flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, aches and overwhelming tiredness.
The cause of mastitis is usually a build up of milk in the breast, and it can strike at any time – indeed, Lindsey had breastfeed all six of her previous children, including two sets of twins in tandem, without encountering the issue.
‘It literally feels like someone kicked me in the breast,’ she told Cosmopolitan. ‘No one really warns you about how powerful mastitis is. Your boob can cause a full body shut down.’
To deal mastitis, many mums are prescribed antibiotics, and use painkillers and treatments like soothing warm cloths to provide relief.
‘Breastfeeding your baby when you have mastitis, even if you have an infection, won’t harm your baby and can help improve your symptoms. It may also help to feed more frequently than usual, express any remaining milk after a feed, and express milk between feeds,’ the NHS explains.
Lindsey added that although her picture appears dramatic, she’s not trying to put anyone off breastfeeding – just to raise awareness of the condition and highlight that the process is not always as easy as it might appear in the usual social media images.
‘You always see these flawless goddess photos of breastfeeding, and no one discusses or shows when sh*t gets crazy,’ she says.
‘Yes, [you might think] breastfeeding is the best thing for your child, but it isn’t always unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes it just sucks.’