Mum with mastitis ignores advice to stop breastfeeding
Summer Dawn has learnt to endure the most unbearable pain over the past year and a half.
It's been at least 17 months since the agonising mastitis infection first appeared, but the US mum hasn't let that stop her from breastfeeding her son Knox at least eight to 10 times a day.
"In the beginning, I was a little nervous because it was hard latching him but after time it became easier," the 22-year-old said.
Knox was just five-weeks-old when the red bump first appeared on Summer's right breast.
Since then the aggressive infection has developed into an excruciating abscess.
"After about five weeks, I woke up to a painful, red, hot lump on my breast," she said.
"I didn't know what it was, so I called my OBGYN. I was scared I wouldn't be able to nurse my son anymore."
The doctor diagnosed the first-time mum with mastitis.
"He gave me antibiotics that failed to work, so over the next six weeks I went to a breast surgeon to remove the abscess," she said.
When Summer first visited a breast surgeon for treatment, the doctor again recommended she stop feeding until the mastitis had been treated.
"She wanted me to quit breastfeeding, but I cried and cried and told her we had to try something else besides that," Summer said.
"So, she gave me the strongest antibiotics I could get, and I took two scripts [prescriptions] of it before she finally just lanced out (surgically drained) the abscess."
But unfortunately, the dramatic treatment failed to completely treat the mastitis.
"It affected how much milk I was producing, I couldn't nurse my son off of the breast because it could've made the infection worse," she said.
But Summer couldn't stop - switching to feeding Knox exclusively from her left breast while the infection continued, even in public.
"I plan to breastfeed Knox until he's at least two-years-old or older if he decides to go longer than that," she said.
"I will stop whenever he is ready to self-wean."
"My oldest sister and mum, Connie, are very supportive - as well as my boyfriend."
Despite the support, Summer said she has also copped a fair amount of criticism for her choice to continue feeding her toddler.
But she isn't letting that stop her.
"My boyfriend's family used to say he was too old - but they know I'm not going to quit until he's ready so they don't comment anymore," she said.
"Breast milk is better for him than cow's milk and if other mums aren't going to help wean him - then it's none of their business.
"I hope to encourage more mums especially new mums to breastfeed and stick to it."