Mastitis is a breast tissue infection that can occur during breastfeeding and is caused by three main ways:
Milk can build up in your breasts because its being made faster than it’s removed which then causes milk stasis.
A bacterial infection can develop from sore cracked nipples.
A blocked duct that has been left untreated can progress to mastitis.
If you have mastitis you may find your breasts are:
- Red and blotchy
- Hard and tight
- Tender and sore
- A lump or lumps (known as a blocked duct). This is caused by by milk in getting into your breast tissue instead of your milk ducts.
Because of infection you may also feel:
- Flu –like symptoms
- A high temperature
- Feverish chills
How to treat Mastitis:
- Don’t stop feeding as this will make the milk build up worse. Mastitis won’t hurt your baby.
- Seek medical advice straight away, if the infection has settled in for a few days you may need to be prescribed anti-biotics.
Self help methods:
- Try putting warm flannels on your breasts before feeding to soothe and increase milk flow.
- If your baby fails to empty your breasts during feeds, gently express the rest with a breast pump
- Rest as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help flush the infection from your system
- Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will help reduce pain and to reduce pain and high temperature- a small amount of paracetamol can enter the breast milk but it is not enough to harm your baby (aspirin is not safe to take while breastfeeding).
- Wear loose clothing without a bra until swelling has reduced