Experts suggest that nothing promotes closeness between a newborn and mum like breastfeeding. There are many well known benefits of breastfeeding your newborn.

However with breastfeeding there are chances you may develop mastitis. It is often caused by the swelling of blocked milk ducts or a bacterial infection resulting in painful abscess.

What should I do if I develop Mastitis?

  • It is essential to treat your blocked milk ducts. Continue to breastfeed your baby and offer the affected or sore breast first to feed. Breastfeeding your baby with infected milk ducts will not harm your baby.
  • Gently massage the affected area and the area around your nipple while breastfeeding.
  • Avoid blockage of milk ducts by frequently draining yours breasts of milk after feeding your baby, by expressing and making sure there is no milk left behind.

Symptoms of Mastitis

Mastitis can occur at anytime and affects at least 10 to 20 percent of women who breastfeed. If you notice any of these symptoms call your doctor or take measures to cure it immediately.

  • Sore, painful and tender breasts
  • Fever
  • Fatigue, tiredness or weakness
  • Tearfulness
  • You will notice muscular aches and pains
  • You may have flu like symptoms

Treatments for Mastitis

  • Consult your doctor; you may need to take antibiotics. On taking prescription medicines and effective drainage of your breasts by feeding or expressing you should notice some improvement by 36 hours.
  • If you have any fever you may need to take a mild paracetomal.
  • If you are feeling tired, or have severe muscular aches your doctor may give you mild painkillers.
  • Hold a warm compress to your breasts before a feed and a cold pack to your breasts after feeding the baby.
  • If you feel tired take plenty of rest and relax. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated.
  • Continue regular feeds by starting with the infected breast and expressing to fully drain your breasts of milk.

Preventing Mastitis

Like the old adage goes prevention is better than cure. Options to prevent mastitis include,

  • Avoid long periods between feeding your baby, in other words feed your baby frequently. If that’s not possible continue to drain your breasts of milk using other methods like expressing.
  • You will have to ensure your baby is in the correct position and latched on properly while feeding.
  • Avoid wearing tight bras and clothing when you are breastfeeding. Avoid frequent use of ointments and creams around your nipples.

Where to get help

For more information and assistance you can call Australian Breastfeeding Association breastfeeding counsellor Telephone 1800-mum- 2-mum (1800-686-2-686)