Babies struggle to feed for a variety of reasons, but it turns out this bub had a very good reason – one that ended up saving his mum’s life!
In fact, Sarah Boyle credits her baby son for ‘discovering’ she had breast cancer after refusing to feed.
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) February 20, 2017
Five-month-old Teddy suddenly refused to breastfeed from his mum’s right breast and would become “very distressed” or scream if she attempted to feed him.
“He just wasn’t having it,” Sarah, 26, told The Telegraph. “I had no problems with my left breast, but every time I tried with my right he would start screaming and get very upset. He wouldn’t go near it.”
Hs change in behaviour pushed the British mum to see a doctor, as she’d previously had found a benign cyst in her breast in 2013.
Sarah’s GP initially told her she was fine, but Teddy still refused to feed for two months so she went back and insisted on having a scan.
If your baby suddenly starts to refuse one breast, take note. There may be more than just a fussy baby going on…https://t.co/h2G1cAeMVs
— breastfeeding (@breastfeeding4u) February 20, 2017
“I felt as if Teddy was trying to tell me something. It was, what you might call, a mother’s instinct,” says Sarah.
In November last year, Sarah had an ultrasound followed by a biopsy and it was revealed she had lump that contained a non-hormonal type of breast cancer, which is extremely rare in young women.
Sarah is now undergoing chemotherapy and is planning a double mastectomy with reconstruction.
“My consultant told me that breastfeeding helps a mother and baby bond. In my case it did more than that — it saved my life,” she adds.
“Teddy could obviously smell and taste that the milk from my right breast tasted different from the milk from my left breast — and so he rejected it.”
Why did Teddy stop feeding?
But while Sarah’s consultant was left “baffled” and “amazed”, some aren’t convinced Teddy ‘knew’ his mum had breast cancer.
Health care professional Catherine Priestley points out that a baby refusing to breastfeed doesn’t necessarily mean that a mum might have cancer, but urges women to always check for changes.
“While there are many reasons why a baby may stop feeding, getting any new breast changes checked out must be top of the list,” she told the BBC.
Thanks for giving us permission to share your incredible story, Sarah!
Check your breast health
Being aware of changes in your breasts and understanding the signs and symptoms of breast cancer could help save your life.
Don’t forget the Breast Cancer Australia website is your go-to place in regards to breast help. It has a range of resources and information that can help you learn the possible signs of breast cancer.
If you have any concerns, we advise you see your GP as soon as possible.