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 its 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
How to treat Mastitis:
Dont 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
Find out ways to avoid mastitis here
Help your baby latch onto your breast properly. Read our step by step picture guide to breastfeeding