What is it?
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue that involves an infection, obstruction of a milk duct or an allergy. The inflammation can result in warmth at the site of infection, pain, swelling (your breast may feel hard like a rock), fever and chills (flu like symptoms).
How Does this Happen?
A cracked nipple. Bacteria from the baby's mouth enters through these cracks and causes the infection.
Failing to fully empty your breasts due to oversupply or latching problems.
Going for long stretches between nursing. This often occurs when you return to work, your baby sleeping through the night, or there’s an abrupt weaning from breastfeeding.
How do we treat Mastitis?
Get rest! Before nursing, heat the affected area with a warm compress, such as a warm, wet towel. Next, massage the area and allow your baby to nurse frequently on the affected side. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids and ASK FOR HELP! If you have a high fever, pain, redness, swelling and flu-like symptoms for more than 24 hours you will want to contact your physician.
How to prevent it?
Complete, regular removal of breast milk is the best way to prevent mastitis. Whether it’s from nursing or pumping you, will want to make sure that both breasts are completely drained.
Make sure your baby’s latch is correct and that they are not leaving milk in your breast due tongue tie, lip tie or other latching issues. If you have concerns reach out to a Lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor.
Avoid wearing tight fitting bras or tops that compress your chest and can create a clogged duct.