When B began sleeping longer overnight, I still got up at regular intervals to express milk. However, when I mentioned this to a group of other moms at a friend's party one night, they told me to just sleep and wake with B instead. What a fantastic "get out of jail" card this sounded to a sleep-deprived newborn mom like me! So last week, despite my internal alarm clock and tingling boobs, if B was asleep, I'd snuggle back down. Then last Thursday, I woke at ~1:30a with a sudden headache and burning boob! My left side was inflamed and I spent the next few hours restlessly alternating between a low grade fever and chills after downing two Panadol pills and painfully emptying all the milk I could (a measly ~3 oz/90 ml after 6 hours--eek! vs my usual ~1-1.5 oz/30-45 ml per hour). The next morning, my obgyn and a lactation consultant confirmed that I was showing early signs of mastitis and prescribed antibiotics, painkillers, warm showers, cold compresses, manual pumping and massages for my left boob. It'll take longer to express milk because of the added TLC but this will enable me to recover and keep breastfeeding. Else, I could apply cold cabbages to dry up the clogged milk ducts but this would eventually reduce my milk supply.
I didn't want to wean yet, so I spent all weekend diligently treating my boobs, drinking fluids and resting in between. Thankfully the pain and swelling have subsided and my milk output is slowly recovering. Sadly, the biggest takeaway for me after this incident is simply -- breast is best but you get no rest! Last night, when B amazingly slept a whole 8 hours (from 9p to 5a!), I dutifully woke up midway to express. Nothing beats a mother's love and sacrifice :)