The Day I Had Mastitis


It was going to be a lovely Friday. It was my day off after having been back to work for four full weeks post-maternity. I was looking forward to cleaning/tidying up the house, a pedicure and other wonderful things … maybe even a massage.

I got up like normal at 4:15 a.m. to do my first pump of the day. Thankful to be able to crawl back in the bed, I did and I slept until nearly 9 a.m. Daddy and kids were gone to work and school, and I was looking forward to a quiet day alone.

As I became fully awake and aware of my body, I realized my left breast was enormous. Hmmm, I thought. How did I get engorged this morning? The pumping routine I had established was at least five weeks strong by now. This seemed odd to me. Then I realized not only was I swollen, but I had a good bit of pain in that breast.

I set up my pump and realized as I was getting all my parts and pieces situated, this wasn’t normal engorgement pain. This was something new. I also felt really lousy as my legs and back were really achy. And I was very lethargic, even after so much sleep.

I wondered if I had the flu. I also wondered about mastitis. I googled mastitis first to see what that was all about. I’d never had it before with my two other kids, but heard stories from friends.

WebMD stated that symptoms included fever, chills and body-aches. Well, by lunchtime I was suffering from all three symptoms. My husband brought me lunch and as he looked at me I could tell he knew something was up. “Are you cold?” he said, as I sat on the couch shivering. He took my temperature and it was 101.3. Great. I told him either I had the flu or this was mastitis. 

Meanwhile, our oldest son was performing in a preschool choir performance that night and I almost started crying thinking about not being able to go.

At the encouragement of a friend, who believed I had mastitis, I pursued that route. I left a message with my doctor, who was booked up for the day and wouldn’t be able to see me. And after two hours passed without a call back, my husband gave me the great idea to go to the Minute Clinic at CVS. I checked online and the one closest to me had a 36 minute wait. I logged in and held my place in line (such a great feature!). I put on some mascara (cause you can’t leave the house without mascara!), grabbed my shoes and out the door I went.

As I sat in the room talking to the nurse I became emotional. I felt like I was falling apart and the thought of missing our son’s first real performance had me a little distraught.

She was able to quickly assess my symptoms and confirm I had mastitis along with a possible sinus infection (dang pollen). She prescribed me a simple antibiotic that would take care of both issues she said; Tylenol for the fever and pain, and I should be good to go.

Back in the car I called my husband and told him I was too weak to pick up the kids, but by golly I was going to that performance.

I think I was sweating through most of the hour-long show that night. My husband asked me a few times if I was okay, did I need to leave. I pushed through and was thankful to be able to share that moment, those memories with our son.

As far as the mastitis, I had it for about 36-48 hours from what I could tell with the pain I was experiencing. I know many other women have had it much worse, and I’m thankful that we were able to get it figured out as quickly as we did. I’m also thankful for my friend Sheri who pushed me to see a doctor before it got much worse.

My advice? If you’re breastfeeding and feeling pain in your breast that isn’t normal, call your doctor. Don’t try to wait it out like I was thinking I could do. Address it quickly and it will save you some heartache … as well ease the terrible pain!

Have you experienced mastitis? What advice would you give?

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Michelle is a Georgia girl – born and bred in Macon, and a graduate of UGA (no booing!). She moved to Columbia in 2003 and has loved it here ever since. As a full time working outside-the-home wife to Andrew (5+yrs) and mom to Reynolds (3) and Eliza Jane (18mos), she has her hands and life very full! Michelle started her blog, Camellias and Copper in the Spring of 2014 and it has been a wonderful journey so far. Michelle blogs about everything from her faith to getting hijacked by her kids and locked in the bathroom, vacations (and all the packing!), food and anything in between. A favorite weekend enjoyment is hosting Sunday Suppers for their neighbors and friends.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, i agree with you that the best thing to do is to see a doctor. Probiotics will also help targets and out competes the pathogenic bacteria in breast milk that may be causing the pain and infection that leads to mastitis. It also helps to restore and maintain a healthy balance of protective flora in the breast milk microbiome to help prevent recurrence.


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