Monday, April 11, 2011

How Our Health Care System is Failing Mothers (& Therefore Babies).

I had an interesting Saturday. I woke up and nursed Ava like I do every morning, except instead of nursing with ease, my slightly sore nipples (this may be the time to bow out, boys!) felt excruciating, so painful to the point where I was wide awake and struggling to allow her to finish nursing.

Now this isn't my first rodeo, seeing as how we've been a nursing baby/mama couplet for the past 15 months, and so I was confused. My immediate thought was thrush, as it was a burning, razors-coming-through-my-nipples feeling that continued after the feeding ended, and so seeing as how my doc wasn't open Saturdays, I called A's, assuming she'd need treatment. Fast forward through that very upsetting appointment (homegirl HATES the doctor's office!), and no signs of thrush for A.

Not knowing what to do but unable to make it 48 hours until my doctor's office opened Monday without treatment, I called the S&W Clinic, praying they'd have a Saturday appointment. They sure did! I felt hopeful that they'd be able to write my an oral script to take, and we'd knock this thing right out.

The doctor, who - to what little credit he deserves - was not an OB/GYN, was visibly confused. I explained to him the issue and what I was feeling and how I was pretty certain it was thrush, and how it wasn't mastitis as I've had that experience before, but he seemed uncomfortable more than anything. Look, dude. I don't really feel like talking about and showing my breasts to a stranger, either, but at least you're getting paid, and not the one PAYING to have this awkward chat.

He looked me over, and said, "Hmm, yes. They certainly seem raw. But they're not splotched with white, so it's not likely thrush." Oh. OK.

Instead, he wrote me a prescription for antibiotic cream that - if it is thrush, since white and splotchy patches aren't necessarily a symptom! - will make things much, MUCH worse. Needless to say, I didn't fill it. He couldn't give me a single reason why I should use antibiotic cream and what he was prescribing it for, and I'm still not convinced it's not thrush. This, however, is forgivable. What isn't is what came next. The inevitable, "Maybe you should quit breastfeeding."


When I looked visibly perturbed, he backtracked, saying, "You know, just for a couple days while they heal."

Um, are you the most clueless medical doctor in the world? My milk will dry up if I stop breastfeeding for "a couple days", you idiot. And the pump isn't going to go any easier on them.

Why is it that doctors always sprint towards discouraging breastfeeding mothers? I'm no saint, obviously, but how about an encouraging, "Wow, way to go! Way to stick with it and give your baby what is best!", or even just a nod to the sacrifice. Not to get all holier than thou, but if you could refrain from discouraging and judging my choice - the BEST choice for her, esp. given her dairy issues - I'd appreciate it, doc.


Why aren't more general practitioners well-versed in breastfeeding knowledge? Why can't they go the teeny tiny extra distance to learn how to best treat nursing mothers - and therefore their babies - rather than giving the extremely lazy response of telling them to toss in the towel?!

(I remembered my signature finally - lol!)


  1. Let me start off by saying- wow! way to go! :) You are amazing and Ava is so lucky to have you. You both are benefiting a ton by continuing to breastfeed. I hope you figure out what's causing the pain and are able to get some relief. Let us know how it goes!

  2. I am really sorrt for your awful experience! I actually have had nothing but positive experiences with doctors regarding bfing. His Ped. even suggests continuing until at least 2. Um, ya I love him. Lol.

    Anyway. That pain does sound like the beginning stages of thrush from what I've heard. When I started to get that feeling I asked on the @The Leaky B@@B page on facebook (awesome support group by the way) and the founder told me she would start vinegar rinses. She said white vinegar would be best. Let them air out a bunch and vinegar rinses. You should head over there and ask on the wall though...because there were several suggestions.

    Good job on being the best thing for Ava...and kepp on keepin on mama! ;)

  3. Oh and I saw the "I'm not pregnant" remark at the end of your last post just now...not to be a pill...but are you sure? I hear stories about how bad it hurts...and I have heard it described as that sort of pain! Lol. I just wanted to put that out there. sorry.

  4. That stinks! Asher and I had this kind of problem last spring - lots of pain and bleeding on my end - and although my OB said it was thrush Asher never got it. Weird. I ended up using this amazing prescription cream from a compounding pharmacy and things cleared right up! If you'd like to know more about what I used I can give you more info.

    It's so frustrating how people who are supposed to be our support can often be discouraging. When Asher first got diagnosed with his milk allergy quitting BFing was everyone's solution. Um, thanks, but that's NOT a solution - that's a last ditch effort!

    You can do it - feel better soon!!

  5. I wish I had something to contribute:( We didn't even make it to 6 months and in that time with thru two clogged ducts and mastitis. I hope you figure it out quickly without too much pain.

  6. If you don't know if it's thrush or not, then don't diagnose it. Worse for you to self-treat on an assumption and potentially make things worse, IMHO.


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