Mastitis: early detection

You have woken up and all of a sudden it looks like you have a red, sore patch on one breast. You’ve heard so many mastitis horror stories that you panic and wonder, do I have mastitis?

Your breast pain may be due to a blocked duct, which, if treated quickly, could prevent an outbreak of mastitis, an inflammation of the breast that may or may not also be infected.

Blocked ducts

A blocked duct is, as its name sounds, an area of ​​the breast that has not been drained properly. When this happens, the fat globules can clump together and cause milk to pool behind the blockage, creating inflammation of the breast tissue.


In addition to chest pain, the entire chest is red, hot, and painful or may have a localized tender area; Mastitis symptoms can include headache, general body aches, and tiredness as if you are catching the flu. Mastitis can strike suddenly and hard: one minute you feel fine and the next you feel wrecked and achy all over with chills and fever. Sometimes flu-like symptoms appear even before you develop a fever or notice breast tenderness.

Mastitis can affect you emotionally too; it is common to feel awful and tearful.

Mastitis Prevention

Taking care of yourself is one of the best preventative measures against mastitis – overdoing it, exhausting yourself, and stressing out are often contributing factors. Rest, a nutritious diet, and relaxing activities that make you feel good will reduce the effects of stress and strengthen your immune system.

Plugged ducts (which can lead to mastitis if not treated quickly) can be caused by pressure from clothing, such as ill-fitting bras, or from sleeping in positions that compress the breasts, such as lying on your stomach. Lack of feeding and overly full breasts can also result in blocked ducts, so take breaks on long car rides to feed yourself (full breasts and seat belt pressure are a deadly combination!) And squeeze to feel yourself. comfortable if you go out without your baby or if you feel full after feedings.

If the baby sleeps during feeding, gently squeeze or wake him up to feed. If you feel any lumps, gently massage your breast towards the nipple under a warm shower (or apply a warm facial cleanser) and squeeze for comfort.

If you have blocked ducts, your milk may taste salty, so your baby may not be feeding well on that side. One tip from lactation consultant Sue Cox is to eat freshly crushed garlic. Babies like the taste of garlic, which will mask the salty taste, and your baby will drain your breast. Also, since garlic is a natural antibacterial agent, it could help reduce infection.

Cracked nipples can also lead to mastitis, as the infection can enter the breasts through broken skin, so it is important to seek help for nipple pain early.

Mastitis treatment

Whether you have blocked ducts or mastitis, warmth, rest, and emptying your breast is a good motto to remember, and if you suspect mastitis, remember that it is a medical condition. Ideally, delegate all duties except feeding your baby and see your doctor early.

– Take pain relievers such as Panadol or Nurofen half an hour before breastfeeding and apply heat to your chest pain.

– Feed the baby frequently to drain your breast. Feed on the sore side first and vary feeding positions to empty all ducts.

– Alternate hot and cold compresses on your chest so that the comforting warmth before a feed will stimulate circulation and mobilize chest infection fighters. It will also increase oxytocin, which

Helps milk flow, clearing blocked ducts while feeding.

Applying cold compresses after feedings will relieve pain.

– Drink plenty of fluids, fever and infections will increase your need for fluids.

– Weaning is not wise while treating mastitis, as this will increase the chances of developing an abscess that must be surgically drained.

–If you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take the full course or you could experience a recurrence.

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