A baby’s fussy feeding helps uncover his mum’s breast cancer

Sarah Boyle

UK mum credits her baby son with saving her life, saying he made her aware that there was something wrong with her breast, when he began refusing to feed.

Sudden refusal

The 26-year-old mum from Staffordshire had previously had a breast lump in her right breast scanned, but it was found to be a benign cyst.

Sarah Boyle told the BBC that her little boy Teddy was about 6-months-old when he started refusing her right breast – the one with the harmless lump.

Teddy had previously been feeding with gusto from both sides, so this shift in behaviour was particularly worrying.

The new mum persevered, trying various feeding positions and approaches over several weeks, to no avail. Teddy just would not accept the right breast and even began physically pushing his mum away.

“He became very unhappy and even hit out. For an eight-month baby to push his mother away was really heartbreaking,” Sarah explained.

Posted by Sarah Boyle on Friday, 24 February 2017


While a mystified Sarah tried to work out why Teddy was having so much trouble feeding, it dawned on her that the cyst in her right breast seemed to have undergone some changes. The lump was more rigid and painful, and Sarah said her breast even seemed to have changed shape.

As any breastfeeding mother will know, lactating breasts are a law unto themselves, look and feel-wise, and changes are not unusual. It’s a testament to this determined mum and baby team that Sarah was vigilant enough to seek medical support and follow things up.

Second scan

After the concerned mum firmly insisted something was wrong with her breast, doctors performed another scan and a biopsy on the harmless lump, to put Sarah’s mind at ease.

The biopsy came back positive for grade two triple negative breast cancer, proving Teddy’s instincts about her breast were spot on.

The young mum is now undergoing chemotherapy, ahead of a scheduled double mastectomy and reconstruction.

“I listened to Teddy”

Sarah says Teddy’s fussy feeding undoubtedly saved her life and is convinced the milk from that breast tasted ‘wrong’ to her baby.

“Nobody can say for certain whether it was Teddy, but I know that if it wasn’t for him then this time next year it could’ve been completely different if I’d listened to doctors, but instead I listened to Teddy. [It’s] Because of him that I’m now being treated,” she told the BBC.

Hero baby achievement unlocked. We wish Sarah a speedy and full recovery.


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