I have probably been complaining enough about my poison oak so you know the story, right? If not, no laughing at me, ok? I hope that another breastfeeding mama doesn’t have to deal with this same situation but in case she does, I am there for her.
I went on a nature hike with the family to Lake Anza in Tilden Regional Park this past weekend and two days later, I look like this:
COATED IN POISON OAK RASH! Do you see how it has made my chin all swollen? I thought I always wanted a cleft chin but nope, I changed my mind. A deformed, rash induced cleft chin is not sexy.
The rash spans from under my breasts, on one of my nipples, up my neck to my mouth. There is even a little bit near and in my eye, thanks to my loving toddler. Yes, I am totally blaming this one on the baby. I carried her for half of the walk, letting her breastfeed as she pleased. (I love nursing on nature walks. Or until this happened anyway…) Whenever she wanted to walk around with her big sister, I put her down and she had fun playing with sticks and stomping in mud and crunchy leaves. I think one of the leaf-less twigs she was holding was a poison oak. When I picked her up again at some point in our walk, she jabbed me in the mouth and eye with it before I threw it far away. She cried. I don’t like getting poked by sticks. I digress. And now, because I’m such a sweet mother, I am exploding with a nasty rash and my daughters have had no reactions what-so-ever.
I am swearing off nature for a month.
I’ve been googling everything I can think of to help make my rash less itchy, less weepy, heal faster, you name it. So far I’ve tried calamine lotion, fresh aloe, and Tecnu.
Today’s experiment: Oatmeal Treatment
Here is the a pretty decent oatmeal treatment for soothing the weepy blisters and drying them out that I tried today. I like the instant cooling action but did not care for the dry, cracking, and itching that happened when I washed it off. Maybe I won’t touch it at all next time.
Anyway, you can read that right? Super simple. I just added oatmeal and baking soda to my Vitamix and blended with enough water to make a paste. Then I patted it gently on my skin and waited for it to dry.
Meanwhile, the babies were having FITS with all this junk on their milk. I finally let my little one nurse.
She just wanted a little suckle (because we all know mama’s nipples are the one true pacifier, soothing upset babies instantly) and then she was happy and back to her lunch. I’ve been pretty strict about letting them nurse while my chest has been on fire, as you can imagine, because any and all prodding by little fingers leaves me on the edge of insanity. The rules are no flopping around, no scratching, no fighting while tandeming….just to be calm and get off as soon as possible. I hope my supply doesn’t tank too badly while I’m dealing with it.
How long will this poison oak rash last? I hear anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks. So much for having a normal face by this weekend for my three-year-old’s birthday party.
Have you ever nursed with poison oak? Did you try prednisone? Please tell me how you made it through in one piece!
PS. In case you think I care, or should care, about being topless in these photos, think again. Read my post on why women should have equal topless rights. If Rihanna and everyone else can be naked on cover of national magazines and in New York City, so can I.
PPS. And no, no babies were harmed in the making of this blog. Oatmeal and baking soda if consumed is OK, not that they ate any. And poison oak rash is not contagious.
At 4 days post exposure, I tried my first Aveeno oatmeal bath and Gold Bond’s medicated lotion. I liked the oatmeal bath, it was soothing. Gold Bond seems to be a little less smelly than the other OTC anti-itch stuff I’ve been trying (mostly Aveeno brand anti-itch creams and Blue Star), and it feels better good on my neck and chin. I saw some Arnica cream and thought about it for a moment but I already have too much stuff so I passed. The doc I went to today recommended I take Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) with Prednisone, which she told me was OK once a day for a few days in a low dose. I had to confirm I wasn’t pregnant before she gave it to me. No new little babies in this house in nine months! (Not that we’re trying or anything.) I am feeling pretty guilty about resorting to “major” drugs to get this under control, especially since there are a ton of CYA posts about taking any drugs while nursing. Sigh. When I had my eye surgery this summer, I took the drugs for a day or two and then quit for fear of passing stuff to my kids. And during my hbac? No drugs. After birth, only arnica. So yea, I am feeling really crappy. So far though, my little one isn’t showing any signs of the drugs but I didn’t let her nurse much. Only once many hours after I took the drugs. I hope I can just stop taking them in a day or two if everything looks much better and go back to normal healing but until then, beef up the baby on solids and cut down nursing to a couple times a day instead of her usually ALL day routine, and return to normal next week. On the plus side, she has decided to sleep through the night this week since my husband has been putting her to bed. Thankfully, I started night weaning last week because I was so exhausted and she was just falling asleep on my chest (I had to wear a shirt) without crying so she was getting more rest and her morning diaper wasn’t a hundred pounds of pee anymore. Now, she’s really getting the hang of sleeping all night and that leaves me less stressed about not having to worry about nursing her at night while I’m recovering. I hope it lasts! Who would have thought there was a positive to all this?
- Helping a Breastfeeding Mother with Poison Ivy Dermatitis – Le Leche League
- HOME REMEDIES FOR POISON IVY BLISTERS – Live Strong
- Natural Remedies for Poison Oak – Poison Oak, Ivy, Sumac Information Center
- Medications and the Breastfeeding Mother - Le Leche League
- LLL thread on taking Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) while breastfeeding