Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast. It is commonly liked with having an infection, or a blockage of a milk duct. Mastitis is a very common among breastfeeding mothers and can be very unpleasant if left untreated. It’s important to recognise the symptoms as early on as possible.
Symptoms of mastitis can often include:
- Localised redness in the affected breast
- Pain and heat in the affected
- You may develop flu like symptoms such as fevers, chills, and aches.
10% of breast feeding mums experience mastitis, and the highest risk of it occurring is in the second and third weeks after giving birth.
How to treat mastitis
1.Begin with frequent breastfeeds and/or pumping to remove milk from breast tissue and resolve blockages and engorgement. If you stop breastfeeding the condition may get worse, so if the pain is so severe you feel you can’t feed, start with the other breast, and swap once you have let down. Try different feeding positions with your baby.
2. Rest! This means no housework, cooking, cleaning, exercising or socialising!
3. Check your bra! Too much tightness and restriction on your breast tissue can lead to mastitis. This includes bras, tight clothes, seat belts, and even sleeping on your tummy.
4. Apply a warm compress to the breast tissue before feeding, and gently massage the breast towards the nipple while you are feeding. When you have finished breastfeeding bub, pump to finish off, to ensure the breast is empty.
5.Bruised cabbage leaves can help with engorgement and may help provide relief during about of mastitis.
6. Using a probiotic specific for breastfeeding can help increase immunity and reduce infections.
7. Garlic may help due to its antibacterial properties. Include more in your cooking, or take a garlic supplement.
8. Make sure you are drinking PLENTY of water!
9. Massage with a herbal cream can help provide relief and promote healing, Aloe Vera gel or Calendula cream, or even breast milk itself can help soothe the inflamed tissue.
10. A herbal tonic with echinacea in it can help reduce infections.
11.A poultice made of fresh ginger applied to the breast may also help promote healing and provide symptom relief.
12. Lastly, Antibiotics may be prescribed by your Doctor to clear infection if at home treatments are not working.
Cheree Sheldon, Healthy Mummy Nutritionist
At the Healthy Mummy we support ALL forms of feeding your baby. Although we believe that ‘breast is best’ we do understand that not all mums are able to breastfeed or chose not to breastfeed, and as long as both mum and baby are happy and healthy we also support all forms of feeding.
If you are having trouble breastfeeding and would like some support we encourage you to contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
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