Mastitis occurs in every three breastfeeding mothers, and can be confused with breast infection which is not always the case.
Mastitis means inflammation of the breast and happens when a blocked duct does not clear and causes swelling and redness. There are various signs and symptoms of Mastitis some of which include:
- engorged or swollen breasts
- sore or painful breasts
- nipple discharge
- flu like symptoms.
Treating Mastitis - mastitis can usually be easily treated and here are some ways to help:
- Feeding the baby more frequently or expressing: Feeding the baby frequently, especially from the affected breast/s, or regular expressing helps to improve the condition quickly.
- Adjust Positioning and Attachment: Adopting different feeding positions can help the baby drain the breast more efficiently
- Apply cool or warm compresses: Relieves discomfort, reducing swelling and promotes milk flow
- Gentle massage: massage close to the blockage using your palm or fingers in a gentle circular motion over on behind any tender spots.
- Soften your breast before feeding the baby: The best way of doing this is by expressing some milk before the baby starts feeding. This makes it easier for the baby to feed and relieves the pain.
- Rest and Drink: getting plenty of rest and stay well hydrated
Parenting tip from the NCT “The milk from the affected breast can be a little saltier than normal, but it is perfectly safe for your baby to drink.”
Expressing with Ardo breastpumps helps to relieve the pain and help unblock the ducts.
The Carum hospital grade breast pump is great for long term use, if you have twins or triplets, low supply or want to use the same pump you used in hospital. The Calypso breastpump can be used for frequent expressing it is quiet yet powerful. Both pumps can be used for single or double expressing and can effectively help unblock the ducts that cause mastitis and relieve the pain.
Charlotte says “I purchase the double Calypso breastpump after borrowing one from my hospital. Having suffered a case of mastitis early on and having a lazy latcher, exclusively breastpumping was the only way to ensure my baby was getting my milk. We have successfully made 3 1/2 months and plan to continue until 6 months old.”
If you have tried all the above methods and nothing has improved between 12 - 24 hours it is important to seek medical advice. Visit your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor as they may need to prescribe you a course of antibiotics.