According to La Leche League International, mastitis is a breast infection and it sounds horrific. Usually affecting only one breast, mastitis can cause swelling, redness, and pain, as well as making your breast feel warm to the touch. Mastitis can be caused by several situations, such as obstruction, infection. The good news is, mastitis is preventable and treatable. Knowing that and these 11 things can help ease your fears about mastitis.
1. Apparently mastitis can feel an awful lot like the flu.
2. Cracked nipples increase your risk. Cracked nipples can increase your risk for mastitis, as germs from your baby's mouth enter into your breast through the crack.
3. With mild symptoms, you can usually get over mastitis within 24 hours. You may need antibiotics immediately if your baby is less than two weeks old, if you have broken skin on the nipple with signs of infection, if your milk is bloody, and if your temperature increases suddenly, should also call your doctor if you think you have mastitis in both breasts.
4. Breastfeeding is still safe. La Leche League International notes that you shouldn't worry about breastfeeding your baby while battling mastitis. The antibacterial properties in your milk protect your baby and your breast infection doesn't put them at risk.
5. Your milk may look & taste different. While you're fighting mastitis, your milk may taste saltier due to increased sodium and chloride content.
6. Heat & breast massages can help. Massaging your breast before breastfeeding can be a huge help in emptying your breast completely, and heat can help speed your healing process along. La Leche League International also says wet heat, such as a compress, hot water bottle, not only relaxes your breast, but can help move any dried milk blocking the flow of milk from your nipple. If you can, try breastfeeding while your breast is still warm to encourage the milk to flow.
7. If you're battling mastitis, you need rest and lots of it.
Make sure that you are aware of the symptoms of plugged ducts and mastitis so you can start treatment immediately.
1. Inadequate treatment of previous mastitis. A major risk factor for recurring mastitis is failure to completely recover from a previous bout of mastitis due to slow treatment, incorrect treatment. Has the treatment of previous bouts of mastitis been delayed, inadequate? If you were treated for a previous bout of mastitis, did you take a complete course of antibiotics? A related risk factor is a previous plugged duct. To reduce this risk, be vigilant about keeping the milk flowing well after a plugged duct is resolved.
2. Poor milk drainage. Are latch-on and positioning optimal? Problems with either can affect milk drainage, and whenever the milk flow is hindered you are at risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. Look for anything that results in consistent pressure on the breast tissue — this can block milk flow and lead to plugged ducts. Does your baby choke, gag, strangle when nursing because of a fast milk flow? Remedying the oversupply will help to reduce your risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. Use of a nipple shield can result in poor milk drainage from the breast. Any kind of exercise that involves repetitive motions of the upper arm may lead to plugged ducts. Any breast surgery can cause scarring and pressure on milk ducts. Other things that can cause plugged ducts are an anatomical problem, breast lumps, past injuries. Recurring mastitis in the same location is one of the warning signs of a breast tumor.
3. Nipple problems. Look for dried milk secretions on the nipple. Milk blisters can cause repeated plugged ducts. Secondary infections such as thrush can cause inflammation within the milk ducts which increases the risk of plugged ducts. Moms who are experiencing recurrent plugged ducts due to thrush may benefit from taking an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation.
4. Mother’s overall health. Lowered resistance to infection can cause to recurrent plugged ducts. According to La Leche League’s Breastfeeding Answer Book, food allergies occasionally result in plugged ducts that occur either premenstrually or before ovulation.
5. Mother’s diet. Lack of sufficient fluids can contribute to plugged ducts. Adding lecithin to the diets of moms with recurrent plugged ducts has been shown to be very effective.
1. Dietary supplements and diet. A Vitamin C supplement can be helpful for any mom suffering with recurrent plugged ducts. Many moms have found that taking lecithin can help to resolve and prevent recurrent plugged ducts.
2. Therapeutic breast massage. Daily breast massage may help to improve milk drainage and prevent plugged ducts and mastitis.
3. Long-term, low-dose antibiotics. This type of treatment has broken the cycle of repeated mastitis for some women.
4. Acupuncture, has also been used successfully for recurrent plugged ducts.
5. Homeopathic remedies. Some moms with recurrent plugged ducts have also had good luck with homeopathic treatment.