The Milk Pantry – Blog Post
I’ve had mastitis a few times and let me tell you it is horrible! It left me with a low supply and difficult breastfeeding experience as I battled through the pain of reoccurring mastitis.
However, it was my issues with mastitis that helped me discover that there are things you can do naturally to prevent and treat mastitis.
Mastitis is a very common affliction and will affect many mothers somewhere along their breastfeeding journey. Caused by a blocked milk duct that has become infected, it can get very serious very quickly.
Keep an eye out for these symptoms of mastitis. It can come on quick and fast, so if you notice any of these symptoms it is best to act quickly.
- Redness or tender breasts
- Hot spots on breasts
- Lumps or hard spots
- Flu-like symptoms
While mastitis can’t always be prevented, there are some things you can do to naturally help prevent a blocked duct turning into an infection. Make sure you have clean hands when breastfeeding or pumping, bacteria on your hands can get into your milk ducts and lead to infection. Work on baby’s attachment, as damage to your nipples resulting from poor attachment can contribute to infection. Try not to hold off on a feed too long, make sure you feed regularly or pump in between feeds if needed. Wear loose clothing and well-fitting bras
– avoid underwire bras that put pressure on ducts and blood flow to your breasts.
Tips to treat and relieve the pain
It is most important that if you think your blocked duct has progressed to mastitis or if you have a fever and flu-like symptoms, please see a medical professional!
There is much you can do to relieve the pain of a blocked duct:
- Continue breastfeeding, especially from the affected side.
- Make sure you drain the breast each feed. Lean forward a little when feeding rather than reclining, as this uses gravity to help drain it. If bub falls asleep or finishes before the breast is drained, try hand expressing or pumping the remainder.
- Pop a wet nappy in the freezer and place frozen nappy on your breast, it’ll help relieve some of that pain and burning feeling.
- Change feeding positions.
- Keep well hydrated and rest.
- Massage the affected area when feeding, it may hurt but will help to drain the area.
- Antibiotics. If all else fails or you start feeling worse, you’ll probably need some
antibiotics to clear up the infection.
- A lactation consultant – contact the Lactation Consultants of Australia and
- An Australian Breastfeeding Association breastfeeding counsellor phone 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 2 686)
- Your midwife
- Your doctor
Mastitis can be an unpleasant step in your breastfeeding journey but it is far from insurmountable.