To enliven World Breastfeeding Week 2018 (August 1—7 every year), AIMI (Asosiasi Ibu Menyusui Indonesia) West Java chapter organised Breastfeeding Festival on August 11—12. Through Bubi Ari, I was invited to share my breastfeeding experience with mastitis. Wow, it’s about six years ago when Daya was one-month old. But it’s unforgettable, and it’s not hard to recall the experience. And I don’t want it comes again.
The event was named “Our Breastfeeding Journey: Ups and Downs in Building A Foundation for Our Kids”. The title makes me want to sing the dangdut song, hehe… Well, I was one of the panel speakers among Dr Laila, Drg. Eska, Teh Pepew and Kang Ulum, with Mbak Mawar as the MC. The couple Teh Pepew and Kang Ulum told us about how to build teamwork for a successful breastfeeding activity. Drs\. Eska shared her experience in relactation. I’ve just known that the relactation process is no way easy, while Dr. Laila gave her advice from the perspective of an expert.
My mastitis experience began with a clogged duct that might be caused by the unmatch attachment. Joining ASI class while I was pregnant didn’t automatically make me great at breastfeeding, guys. The field experience was more challenging:)))
When a clogged duct happens, the breast milk hardly flows at a certain point, then the breast gets swollen. In my case, it happened to my left breast, on the cleavage. It got worse because I didn’t take it seriously hehe… I have a high volume of breastmilk, to the point that I got bored since my routine was all about breastfeeding and pumping. This made me cocky and confident just because I’ve made enough breastmilk. “Keep breastfeeding, your breast will deflate. Give massages on it then it will be alright” The fact was not like that. Because when clogged out is not seriously handled, for example, by immediately go to the counsellor to get the solutions, that area will get hardened. You will start to have a fever, your skin reddens and peels off in thin sheets.
I thought I’m a superwoman, I didn’t rush to see a doctor after even though I was sick. It turns out the disease was racing against a clock. Sooner handled is better, a delay just makes it worse. The clogged duct can turn into mastitis in only a few days. I finally decide to see a counsellor when the pain made me feel like I was pricked. Not with one needle, but a lot of it. It felt so painful, even I could wake up shocked by the feeling that those needles are pricking my breast.
When I contacted Midwife Okke who helped me give birth in Galenia. I was immediately directed to consult Bubi Ari, the AIMI counsellor. Bubi Ari had tried to massage, but it was impossible because the swelling had reached the level of mastitis. I have to find a doctor. I contacted Dr. Stella Tinia and she directed me to contact Dr. Frecillia Regina (Sp.A who is also a lactation counsellor). Dr. Frecil then advised me to go directly to the surgeon. There are two possible treatments: injection for suctioning, or major surgery for the removal.
The next day, we tried to meet three surgeons in a day. The first surgeon quickly suggested surgery with a note: I had to stop breastfeeding. I cried… How the hell on earth to stop breastfeeding while the child is not familiar with drinking the formula milk and sucking? I would be okay if she finally could manage, but if I stop it, won’t my swollen breast get more swollen?
Then we looked for a second opinion from the surgeon at Santosa Hospital. Bingo! Because the schedule for meeting the doctor is still a few hours away, we then went to Al Islam Hospital. We asked here and there to find an oncologist as soon as possible. We met Dr. Syafwan at RSAI, and he suggested the same action: surgery. He calmed me enough. He said that I don’t need to stop breastfeeding because the mastitis is not on the nipple. I can still breastfeed after surgery. I just need to keep pumping my breastmilk and having someone look after Daya for a while.
But who? I moved to Bandung with a daily helper whose job desk is just cleaning the house, not for taking care of the baby. No family here. We then asked Maulida and Bima for taking care of Daya for several days, and at the same time, I asked Maulida to breastfeed Daya. This is the most possible solution since Daya still completely depended on her mother’s milk. Maulida became Daya’s wet nurse. We have a picture of Maulida breastfeeding her child (Amartya, 14 months) and Daya, on her right and left breasts. We also have a picture of Bima bathing Daya, while I was at the hospital, and Zen constantly came inside and out of their homes and the hospital.
After the surgery, we contacted the counsellor to come to the hospital for teaching me how to safely massage and breast pump without disturbing the bandage. The sticker also got repaired. When I’m hospitalized, Zen couldn’t be beside me at any time because he had to make time for Daya who was looking for his parents and because of his work. Zen asked Riphan and Baihaqi to take care of me at the hospital. Omg, I will never forget these Daya’s kind-hearted uncles :”) When I was in the hospital and I needed breast pumping, they helped secure breastfeeding bottles.
It’s such a valuable experience. It’s a lesson for me. And thank God, I was still able to breastfeed after the surgery, I even donated my milk to several children in need. Thank you AIMI Jabar for having me. Hopefully, this would be a fruitful talk.