This isn’t a mom-zombie costume. It’s mastitis.

At time of publication, I’ve spent five and a half years of my life nursing a baby.

Of course, that’s not five and a half years of non-stop nursing. But, yeah, actually. In a way, it is.

Five and a half years! That’s longer than I was in college, longer than I’ve lived in any home since childhood, longer than the first marriages of Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, and Katy Perry combined.

With all that experience one could say I’m a self-proclaimed breastfeeding expert.

So you can imagine my surprise when, last week, I came down with the tell-tale symptoms of mastitis. 

Sorry. I try to keep it clean here on the blog, stay away from foul language and whatnot. And THAT, the m-word, is the dirty word of breastfeeding. Now I know why.

Even though I had all of the tell-tale symptoms that show up in every breastfeeding mothers’ nightmares — swelling, soreness, redness, malaise, fever — I did not believe I had mastitis. First, because I’ve never had mastitis. I considered myself a person who did not get mastitis, as if that’s a thing. (It’s not a thing.)

Second, because I’m nursing an 11-month old, and only women who are nursing newborns get mastitis. Women who are nursing 11-month old babies do not get mastitis.  So says the statistically irrelevant survey I’ve taken of all of my friends. 

But what happened (I think) is that in the past few days it occurred to me that Anna nurses aaaaaalmost as often as a newborn, and when David was Anna’s age, he weaned himself, slept through the night, and did our taxes. So Anna needs to get it together.

I cut out ONE feeding. ONE FEEDING. And Anna’s response was to fire a shot across the bow in the form of mastitis.

As my symptoms were getting worse, Tom took the three youngest kids with him to pick up my prescription, and David stayed home with me. David finished some homework, then we snuggled on the couch and watched funny cat videos on YouTube together, just like we did when he was six months old and got his very first fever.

This one was our favorite:

But then, because he’s now a seven-year old and not a six-month old, he wanted to switch to videos about incubating snake eggs:

Anna’s 11-month old mastitis turned into two cases of mastitis that I am still, after one week, a trip to the doctor’s office, and two different antibiotics, recovering from.

I’m getting better, but Anna has completely made her point. I’m not actually planning to wean her anytime soon, but how will I ever wean her if this happens after one skipped feeding?

Am I the only person in the world who’s gotten mastitis with an 11-month old?

Help a sister out.

And if you see me walking around moaning, with dark under-eye circles, slumped over with a limp, it’s not a Halloween costume. It’s mastitis.


  1. Becky October 24, 2018

    My friend Sarah got it with her 9 month old and I thought it was crazy!! So not as bad, but still past the first few months you think you are in the clear.

    • amandakrieger October 25, 2018

      right, after the first few months we should be in the clear! apparently you can get it any time, even if you aren’t nursing. ACK! no thank you.

  2. Leah October 24, 2018

    Ugh I’m SO sorry. Mastitis is the absolute worst. I got it for the first time when Neal was 16 months old…. 16 months!!!! It was because he cut out a very early morning feed so I went running without nursing him first like usual. The doctor was even beyond shocked. Feel better soon!

    • amandakrieger October 25, 2018

      interesting. my dr wasn’t shocked, but she did say, “well, you do have something interesting going on…”
      do you think running had anything to do with it? (like if you’d dropped that feeding and NOT gone running, would it have happened?) I haven’t gotten into a good running schedule, but i went running the morning before AND skipped a feeding. I’m wondering if somehow that triggered it?
      obviously i’m grasping at straws here….

  3. Gayle Ann October 25, 2018

    I’m addition to antibiotics, and I am a firm believer in better living through chemistry, have you tried Bag Balm? Please don’t take this comment as insulting. But, we used it on the cows, and every farm woman I know who breastfed used/uses it, when breastfeeding. Like most everything, it is on Amazon, but also Walmart, and of course, Agway and TSC, and some pet stores.

    My other suggestions, which are prescription, and I don’t know how they interfere with breast feeding, are Pennsaid and Voltaren, both of which I use. They are FDA topical anti-inflammatories, and I believe they are the only FDA approved topical anti-inflammatories. I had ulcers that perforated, so I can’t have anti-inflammatories, ever. I’ve used the Pennsaid and Voltaren after surgery, not rubbing on the incision, and they really help. I also use them daily for the rheumatoid arthritis pain in my hands and wrists. The Pennsaid is double the strength of Voltaren, which is over the counter in Canada, but it is alcohol based, and dries out the skin. Voltaren is a cream, so I go back and forth between the two drugs.

    Bath and Body Works also has soap free hand cleaner and a body wash version, designed specifically for broken skin. It is sold under the C.O. Bigelow brand, and labeled, CO 140. It can be had in the stores, their website, and Amazon. We use it in the winter.

    Again, I did not mean to be insulting, and I hope this information is of use. I hope you feel better.

    • Amanda October 28, 2018

      certainly not insulting! i’m thankful for all the tips i can get!

  4. Amy @ She Runs By Faith November 17, 2018

    Oh no!!! So sorry, Amanda… hope you’re feeling better now. I had a similar situation two weeks ago (11.5 months old) but it wasn’t full blown mastitis. I was sick, exhausted, red/painful clogged ducts and baby refused to nurse!

    Turns out he was popping some a few teeth and just grumpy about it. Didn’t want to nurse, and I went for a run. I’m guessing my sports bra didn’t help matters.

    Anyway, I pumped the next day when we got home and that helped. I’m stuck though – how on earth do I wean him when this kind of thing happens? How did the other kids wean? I can’t remember ‍♀️

  5. Carrie August 5, 2019

    I am glad I read your blog! I am currently sick with mastitis, and nursing my 9 month old fourth child. Literally, truly 8 straight years of nursing without a break and this is my first mastitis. I remembered this post of yours and it gave me comfort that I wasn’t the only one!

    • amandakrieger August 7, 2019

      YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! so many people told me that they had similar experiences. And my OB told me that the more/longer you nurse the more dilated your mammary glands become, making them more susceptible to bacteria and infections (gah! it’s like we get punished for breastfeeding!!)
      I also think it had something to do with how tired i was, my immune system just couldn’t keep up. FEEL BETTER!!


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