Nov 22, 2010  •  In Baby, Claire, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal

My Goth Baby (And More Breastfeeding Woes)

In my last post I asked if anyone could guess why my breastmilk has turned purple.

Well, kalen, mlwindc, and LatteLove got it right: it is due to gentian violet, which I am using to treat our latest bout of thrush.

While gentian violet is proven to be one of the most effective remedies against thrush, I had been reluctant to try it because of the ick factor, the “ick” being that it is messy. Gentian violet is a deep purple solution that seems to get everywhere once the bottle is open, and it is almost always guaranteed to stain fabrics permanently and skin temporarily.

Before giving Claire a cotton swab of the purple stuff, I had dabbed her lips and area around her mouth with Vaseline as suggested by numerous sources in order to prevent staining, but it only helped a little as you can see in this picture:

This is actually a lot better than last night, when the purple stuff was all over her chin and cheeks.

My nipples look pretty comical as well after undergoing the gentian violet treatment, resembling bruised and tumorous boysenberries. I would show you a picture but I’ll keep this blog PG-13.

We will continue with the gentian violet for a couple more days, and I am praying that this will work.

First, Claire developed thrush in her mouth and passed it on to me. The thrush in my boobs led to my developing mastitis in my right breast. And by taking antibiotics to treat the mastitis, I managed to develop thrush again, this time with a vengeance — I get hot, shooting, searing pains in my right breast every time I pump. I have tried not emptying the breast completely and nursing directly in order to try to lessen the pain, but have had no success so far. The pain lasts for about an hour after each pumping session and it is so bad that my body jerks and spasms every time another jolt passes through my chest.

The mastitis and thrush has lessened the milk supply in my right breast considerably. Meanwhile, my left breast seems to be producing extra milk in order to compensate, and so I am suffering from oversupply and engorgement there.

So for the first hour after each pumping/nursing session, my right boob is in excruciating pain. But as soon as my right boob starts to feel better, my left boob gets painfully engorged to a point where it hurts to hold my baby.

Oh, and my boobs are lopsided now too. Lovely.

It has been like this for the past week, and J is starting to lose his patience. Not with my (lack of) recovery, but with how miserable I have been. Last night, as I was unable to show my face at a family dinner due to my breast pain — choosing to lie in bed instead, spasming with each jolt of pain with tears in my eyes — he held me tight and told me that he would much rather that we give our daughter formula than my continuing to be in so much pain and feel like a bad mother for continuing to have so much trouble breastfeeding.

I know that quitting breastfeeding will be no easy task either — engorgement in both breasts! — but it is looking mighty tempting at this point.

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10 Responses to “My Goth Baby (And More Breastfeeding Woes)”

  1. Amber says:

    So I said I wouldn't come back for a bit, but I think you need some support here. As you might know, Piper is days away from turning a year and I'm still nursing. I know a little about it.

    First: clogged ducts can lead to mastitis, too, so not emptying out your breast is actually hindering your recuperation.

    Do NOT wear wire bras, it can apply pressure to the boob and also hurt your chances of recuperating.

    When you don't nurse to empty the boob, allllways pump it out. The more you can get the milk flowing the easier it'll be to get better.

    Heat and massage your boob before feeding. A hot compress or a hot shower, while massing towards the nipple is helpful.

    Nurse on the affected side first, if it hurts TOO much, move sides after let down.

    Use breast compressions while nursing.

    My friend nursed while on all fours and it helped her alarmingly. 🙂

    Usually thrush is caused from the meds given for mastitis. In most cases mastitis is caused by a restricted milk flow.

    Go to Kellymom for a tooooon of more information, and I hope you all feel better soon!!

  2. Christine says:

    YIKES!! Sorry to hear about all your bfing woes. I really hope it gets better soon. Keep fighting the good fight. But if it's really too much, you should still be proud that you did everything you could for as long as you could. I don't think anyone would hold it against you.

  3. Susan says:

    Oh, Jenny!
    While my inner Goth likes the purple breast milk, this must be really difficult!
    I think the best thing for the baby will be whatever you need to be a happy and healthy Mom. If you need to switch to formula so you can enjoy feeding and bonding with your baby, so be it. I really believe Claire will reap more benefits from your improved physical and mental state than from the breast milk at this point. Do what you need to do.

  4. Oh Jenny, I so sorry to read you in so much pain. ((HUG)) <– but a really light one, so I don't hurt you 😉

  5. I swear I thought your baby was munching on a Now N 'Later candy, or perhaps a piece of Bubble Yum. I'm sorry to hear about your engorgement. HORRIBLE. Warm compresses– that's all I remember… and hot showers.

  6. Okay, I know NOTHING about breastfeeding. But I have experienced thrush and I've gotten both thrush and yeast infections from antibiotics. And I would suggest eating a lot of yogurt. Like three little yogurt cups a day. You could also take acidophilus but it seems that yogurt works a tiny bit better for me. It will balance out the bacteria in your body, and it usually makes my thrush go away.

    Just an idea that's cheap and doesn't require a prescription.

    I feel SO BAD for your boobs. They sound so sad.

  7. Pam says:

    i know that breast is best, but with that said, a happy and healthy mama is even more important. i know how hard it is just trying to get baby to latch and extract enough, and then pumping pumping pumping. You feel like a slave to the pump. On top of this, you are in so much discomfort and pain, I am wishing you a speedy recovery and relief. And if you decide that you are going to formula, that is perfectly fine and it might be hard in the beginning to not feel guilty, but you'll get over it, and find that being a happier and less stressed out mama is more important to your health and sanity, and you'll actually just get to enjoy your baby and enjoy being a mom.

  8. Kit says:

    Like I have commented before- the first 6-8 weeks were the hardest for me for breastfeeding. My husband is a pediatrician and HE was even shocked how as "natural" as breastfeeding is- it definitely isn't! I had an amazing support group: my mother, my sister, my hubby, the 2 lactation nurse(s), la leche league and other mommy-friends. No one pushed me to breastfeed, but I really think whenever I just LOOKED at my daughter who just LOVED to be up against me, she LOVED to put her lil hands on my chest/breast that she was nursing on, she would become insanely CONTENT on me the minute she latched- and yet it was oh so painful for my cracked, bleeding nipples (it was so bad when she spit up sometimes blood would come out of her tiny mouth, which broke my heart, and several times my boobs felt like they were on fire & I couldn't hold my own baby which also killed me!)– just me GAZING ON HER led me to make a motherly instinctive decision. I didn't know where breastfeeding would lead me- to weaning my baby? to formula feed her?

    My point being there were definitely cross roads for me and times when I just curled my toes and cried while feeding her- and yet love just burst out from me. Whatever you decide you are doing it for your little one and it will be with an abundance of love with whatever decision you make! If breastfeeding NOW is keeping you from being the mother you envision yourself being because you are exhausted emotionally and physically do what you need to do! It's ok. Maybe the next child breastfeeding will be effortless and wonderful compared to now. Or maybe if you hang in there- in a week or two it'll be wonderful and effortless and your patience will have paid off!

    I am sending you oodles of virtual hugs. Whatever you decide will be the right decision for you.

  9. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the purple lip picture . I have to say it is pretty cute – it would be alot funnier, though, if it wasn't due to pain and trouble on your part. My breasts just hurt reading about your problems. You are a determined mom that is for sure. I am sorry this has been such a difficult task for you and your daughter. One more tip on yeast infections, yeast feed on sugar so eliminate it from your diet completely and they will die off. ( I cured chronic vaginal yeast infections this way many years ago).

  10. Oh my goodness, I hope you and Claire feel better soon!

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