Mastitis: What is it and how can I treat it? – LaVie Mom

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Mastitis: What is it and how can I treat it?

Mastitis: What is it and how can I treat it?

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’ve most likely heard of mastitis. According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, approximately up to 20% of breastfeeding women develop mastitis during their breastfeeding journey, with most cases occurring during the first 6 weeks postpartum. Mastitis is an infection that develops within the breast tissue and is caused by a persistent, unrelieved plugged duct or a cracked or damaged nipple.

How do I know if I have mastitis?

The beginning signs of mastitis usually include a warm, reddened area on the breast, breast tenderness, headache, body ache, chills, fever, and fatigue. Mastitis usually affects just one breast, but in severe cases can affect both.

How do I treat mastitis?

In order to treat mastitis properly, the breasts must be emptied frequently and efficiently. Now is not the time to stop breastfeeding, as breastfeeding is an essential part of treatment. Fortunately, the organism that most commonly causes mastitis (Staphylococcus) is not harmful to your baby. Rest is another key component to treating mastitis. Make sure to get as much bed rest as possible. Keeping your baby next to you will allow you to breastfeed and rest at the same time.

If you’re running a fever, make sure to contact your health care provider. In most cases antibiotics will be prescribed. It’s very important to complete the entire course of antibiotics as mastitis can re-occur if the infection is not completely treated. Antibiotics used to treat mastitis are compatible with breastfeeding.

If breastfeeding is too painful, pump the affected breast. You may wish to rent a hospital grade pump, as they are more efficient and gentler than a personal use pump.

If symptoms do not subside within 24 hours, or if they worsen, contact your health care provider. You may require a different antibiotic.

What happens if mastitis is not properly treated/resolved?

Untreated mastitis can lead to a breast abscess. An abscess is a collection of pus that forms from an infection that has no opening for drainage. If you continue to experience a hard, firm area in the breast that will not go away despite all treatment, call your health care provider. An ultrasound can help to diagnose an abscess.

How to prevent mastitis?

Overall, removing milk from the breast regularly is the best way to prevent this condition. Whether you do it by pumping or by feeding, getting that breast milk out is key to increasing your comfort and cutting down on pain from engorged breasts. Milk removal is also vital in maintaining a strong milk supply, too! LaVie Lactation Massagers is designed to help fully empty your breasts and prevent recurrent clogs that can lead to mastitis. Our Clogged Duct Relief bundle combines breast massage with organic duct flow tincture to relieve pressure and support lymphatic function.

Another important way to prevent mastitis is to make sure your baby has a good latch. If your baby is regularly leaving milk in the breasts, this can contribute to plugged ducts and other issues. Sometimes, babies who have a tongue tie or other latching issues have a difficult time getting enough out of the breasts, which can cause nipple pain and milk duct issues.

If your baby is on a nursing strike or can't nurse at the breast for some other reason (like illness), it's still extremely important to keep milk flowing out of your breasts. Pump as often as your baby would normally feed. The LaVie Hands-Free Pump Strap & Warming Lactation Massagers is a must have combination while pumping to prevent clogged milk ducts.

To prevent mastitis that develops from clogged ducts, avoid wearing tight-fitting bras or tops. There are a lot of cute nursing bras out there, but it's a good idea to go select a properly fitting nursing bra that is stretchy and comfortable. When you exercise and wear a sports bra, take it off immediately after finishing your workout.