Remi Peers, a 24-year-old mum from the UK, posted a photo of her sore and cracked breasts on Instagram, alongside a call for more resources – and better knowledge sharing – around breastfeeding and mastitis.
“After hitting the 1 year breastfeeding mark last Sunday I felt compelled to share my story,” she starts. “Breastfeeding did NOT come easy for me. My milk came in after 5 days. I wasn’t aware that it could take that long, I didn’t even necessarily know what “milk coming in” meant. (Nobody ever taught me.)”
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Remi explains that she was the only woman breastfeeding on her ward and that no one had taught her about cluster feeding.
“When I got home, problems started to arise-my nipple literally cracked in half. I have never felt such pain, I dreaded every feed, but persisted with tears in my eyes until I was healed,” she writes.
She said that no one had ever taught her that breastfeeding could be painful and no one had ever shown her what a good latch looked like. She was too embarrassed to breastfeed in public and this resulted in clogged ducts and engorgement. Then came the mastitis.
“I remember waking up at 3am shivering, putting on my dressing gown and extra blankets and trying to feed my son,” she writes. “The pain. It was excruciating. I was shaking and sweating but freezing to my bones.”
“At 5am I woke up my boyfriend and told him I thought I needed to go to the hospital. We got my stepdad, a doctor, he took my temperature and said it was slightly high, but to take a paracetamol and try to sleep. 7am comes, I’ve had no sleep, and now I’m vomiting, he takes my temp again – 40C. I had developed sepsis overnight.”