You’ve woken up and out of nowhere it seems like you have a sore, red, lumpy patch on one breast. You’ve heard so many horror stories about mastitis that you’re terrified as you wonder, do I have mastitis?
Your sore breast may be due to a blocked duct which, if treated quickly, could prevent an attack of mastitis, an inflammation of the breast that may or may not also be infected.
A plugged duct is just as the name implies, an area of the sinus that has not drained properly. When this happens, fat globules can clump together and cause milk to pool behind the blockage, creating swelling of the breast tissue.
In addition to having a sore breast, the entire breast is red, hot, and painful or may have a localized tender area; Symptoms of mastitis can include headache, general body aches, and flu-like tiredness. Mastitis can hit suddenly and hard: one minute you’re feeling fine, the next you’re feeling shattered and achy, with chills and a fever. Sometimes flu-like symptoms appear even before you have a fever or notice breast tenderness.
Mastitis can also affect you emotionally: It’s common to feel horrible and tearful.
Taking care of yourself is one of the best preventive measures against mastitis: overdoing it, exhaustion and stress are often contributing factors. Rest, a nutritious diet, and relaxing activities that make you feel good will reduce the effects of stress and boost 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 sleeping in positions that compress the breasts, such as lying on your stomach. Lack of feedings and overly full breasts can also lead to clogged ducts, so take breaks on long car rides to feed (full breasts and seat belt pressure are a deadly combination!) and pump. milk for comfort if you go out without your baby or if you feel full. after the shots.
If the baby falls asleep during a feed, gently squeeze or wake him up to feed. If you feel any lump, gently massage your breast toward the nipple under a warm shower (or apply a warm facial cleanser) and express milk for comfort.
If you have blocked ducts, your milk may taste salty, so your baby may not feed well on that side. One tip from lactation consultant Sue Cox is to eat freshly ground garlic. Babies like the taste of garlic which will mask the salty taste, and your baby will empty their 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’s important to seek help early for sore nipples.
Whether you have plugged ducts or mastitis, warm, rest and empty your breast is a good motto to remember and if you suspect mastitis, remember that it is a medical condition. Ideally, you should delegate all functions except feeding your baby and seeing your doctor as soon as possible.
–Take pain relievers such as Panadol or Nurofen half an hour before nursing and apply heat to the sore breast.
–Feed the baby often to drain your breast. Feed the painful side first and vary feeding positions to empty all canals.
— Alternate hot and cold compresses on your breast for comforting warmth before nursing to stimulate circulation and mobilize infection fighters in the breast. It will also increase oxytocin, which
help milk flow by clearing blocked ducts as you feed.
Applying cold compresses after feedings will ease the pain.
–Drink plenty of fluids Fever and infections will increase your need for fluids.
–Weaning is not wise while mastitis is being treated, as this will increase the chances of developing an abscess that will need to be surgically drained.
–If you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take the full course or you could experience a recurrence.