Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue that is seen to be occurring usually as a result of some breast infection. Generally, factors like a blocked milk duct or an invasion of the bacteria through a crack in the nipple are responsible for causing mastitis. However, it can be seen as a result of other several factors as well. Infection may or may not be present in mastitis. Tenderness in the breasts, redness and swelling are common signs of mastitis, that can be associated with pain and/or fever. Mastitis is usually seen in women who are breastfeeding. But it can be seen in other women and sometimes in men too.
What To Do If You Think You Have Mastitis?
If you feel a lump or soreness in the breast, start working on it immediately:
- Express the milk often when you feel that you may have mastitis.
- Drain the breasts as often as you can, but gently.
- The milk is quite safe for the baby. There is no need to stop feeding the baby because of a thought about the infection.
- The breasts need to be kept empty and feeding the baby is the best way to assure that.
- Keeping the breasts empty is a priority when you think you have mastitis.
- It can be achieved by feeding the baby frequently and, also on demand.
- It is advisable to start feeding from the affected breast first, so that if the baby stops feeding halfway, the milk does not build-up in the affected breast again.
However, take care to empty the other breast too, as it might get inflamed if it becomes and stays too full.
- If you think you have mastitis then gently massaging or applying pressure on the breast from just behind the sore spot and towards the nipple will help in an efficient draining of the breast.
- You can keep massaging gently even while the baby is feeding.
Pump or Express Manually
- After the baby is done feeding, remove any leftover milk by massaging gently and squeezing very gently to express the milk especially if you think you have mastitis.
- You can use a breast pump to do the same.
- The purpose of doing this is to ensure that the breasts are as completely empty as they possibly could be.
- If this doesn’t happen, new milk will start coming in and together with the leftover milk it will start to build-up and cause inflammation over and over.
Apply A Warm Compress
- A warm compress can help to drain the milk easily.
- It is advisable to use it just before the feeds or afterwards to drain any leftover milk.
However, warm compress should be used only if needed, and not at all times and use it if you think you have mastitis.
Apply A Cold Compress
- If you think you have mastitis then a cold compress can help in relieving the inflammation and pain.
- You can use it in between feeds to alleviate the pain.
- It is advisable to take as much rest as you possibly can if you think you have mastitis.
- Resting will ensure that your body has enough energy to fight off the condition.
If none of the above methods give you a relief and if you feel that the condition is not improving, it is advisable to seek help of a medical professional immediately, as a prolonged illness is bound to make you miserable and the whole breastfeeding experience will become tiresome. You will be able to take care of the baby more efficiently if you get better quickly.
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue that is seen more commonly in breastfeeding women. However, non-breastfeeding women and men too can get affected by it at times. It ca be a very painful condition and it may or may not be associated with an infection. When you think you have mastitis, it is advisable to start taking some easy to-do-at-home steps, to keep mastitis in check. However, if none of these methods work and you still feel miserable, it is advisable to seek some medical help at the earliest.