Is there anything worse than being sick at Christmas? Rewind to 2018, my little girl Isobel was five months old. We were living in London and travelling back to Ireland for the Christmas holidays. We were looking forward to Isobel’s first Christmas at home.
The night before Christmas Eve, I remember it so clearly, I was in bed and absolutely could not stop shivering. I came to the sitting room to try and get warm by the fire. My sister-in-law and brother were still up, and when they saw me, they knew immediately that I was sick.
The night before Christmas Eve, I remember it so clearly, I was in bed and absolutely could not stop shivering.
I was burning up, but I didn’t feel warm. I checked my boobs and saw my left breast swollen and red. I knew at this stage what it was, as I suffered from recurrent mastitis. I took two paracetamol and started thinking about how I could get antibiotics on Christmas Eve.
Mastitis can come about so quickly
Mastitis is such a funny thing. It can hit you out of nowhere, and you can go from feeling perfectly fine to not being able to crawl out of bed.
I had experienced this before, so I knew what to do. I had to keep feeding through it and get help as soon as possible.
We contacted the local out-of-hours GP service on Christmas Eve. I talked through my symptoms over the phone and explained to the doctor the previous occurrences of mastitis. He agreed to write me a prescription if we could send someone to get it.
Thankfully by midday on Christmas Eve, I had my antibiotics. I spent the day in bed trying to recover, and my husband brought Isobel to me every time she needed a feed. I only got up to meet a neighbour who had dropped off a gift for Isobel.
Mastitis can be draining, so getting bed rest is essential. Christmas Day was the same. I got up for dinner and went back to bed. I spent the next two days in bed recovering, and by the 27th, I was feeling better.
Mastitis can be draining, so getting bed rest is essential.
Why mastitis can happen more at Christmas
Years later, I found out it is really common to get Mastitis at Christmas. Most lactation consultants call it “Christmastitis”.
So why can mastitis happen more during the festive season? There are a few reasons for this…
- If you are travelling a long distance by car, train, plane or ferry, your baby is more than likely sleeping much longer during the day than they usually would. This means they are potentially missing out on feeds.
- You might be seeing some family for the first time since your baby was born, and they all want a cuddle. It’s a bit like passing the parcel with your baby. Just remember you need to interject and feed your baby at some point.
- You are out of your normal mother and baby routine, so you may miss feeds or forget feeds, as you are not in your house and daily routine. This can put you more at risk of mastitis so try and remember to feed as regularly as you can.
You can find out more about mastitis here.