Mastitis presents itself in the form of an inflammation transmitted between you and your baby and typically is the the result of a blocked milk duct. The symptoms of Mastitis can be flu-like so be aware of headaches, fever and darting sharp breast pain.
These symptoms can also result in the form of a lump within the breast and sometimes there can be localised redness, swelling and cracked nipples. If you present with any of these symptoms then it is essential that you act quickly and contact your GP who will prescribe you a course of antibiotics which will help reduce the fever, soreness and swelling. You would usually begin to feel better after 24 hours.
Mastitis is most common in breast-feeding women and on average up to 1 in 10 women who breastfeed are affected in the first 3 months. If your doctor confirms that you have Mastitis you must try to go to bed and get as much rest as you can. A hot compress or heat pad will help ease the pain. If you feel up to it a hot shower will help the milk ducts unblock naturally. It will be painful but also essential that you continue to feed your baby as normal this will avoid the breast from becoming engorged. Drink plenty of fluids!
Mastitis can be avoided by feeding at regular times and by emptying each breast fully. Babies use an incredible amount of energy when breastfeeding and they can tire easily. If your baby is sleepy when feeding and fails to empty the breast you can try expressing for a few minutes to reduce the risk of an engorged breast.
Breast feeding your baby takes time to establish and for many women those early weeks of establishing breastfeeding can be challenging and if you feel like you are struggling its really important that you speak to your GP or healthcare professional who are there to listen and support you and your baby and will be happy to help you through your breastfeeding journey.
Did you successfully manage to breastfeed?
We would love to hear about your breastfeeding experience.