Mastitis is some thing I had never even heard of until in landed me in hospital when I breastfeeding my first daughter. I had no idea of how serious it could be and how horrible it could make you feel. You literally feel like you have been hit by a bus and I wouldn’t wish it upon any one EVER!!
I really do personally believe we need to be given more info and guidance on this common infection/sickness during pregnancy or post baby in hospital or with your home care nurse as it can really destroy your feeding journey and also become very serious very quickly BUT it can also be cleared up quickly and efficiently if you take the right action.
In this quick little article I want to share with you what I have learnt in my experience – I am not an expert and this is all just basic info. Please contact your doctor or lactation consultant for professional advice or if you feel any of the symptoms coming on and PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THE WARNING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS.
SO WHAT IS MASTITIS?
Mastitis is very painful illness that happens while breastfeeding which is usually an infection of the breast, swollen breasts and blocked milk ducts. Did you know? It can actually also happen when you’re not breastfeeding but mainly it is when you are.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
Tender, swollen breasts
You can feel one or more lumps in your breast
Breast that is warm/hot to touch
Breast pain or a burning feeling either during or when not breastfeeding
Red skin – sometimes it can be in a triangle shape pattern on your skin
Flu-like symptoms like body aches, chills or extreme tiredness
Fever/ high temps
WHAT CAUSES IT?
A BLOCKED MILK DUCT can lead to mastitis.
These can happen from simple things like wear a bra thats too small, an underwire, a seatbelt on your chest too long, if your baby sleeps or doesn’t feed for an extended period of time so your breasts become engorged, if your baby has a bad latch and doesn’t drain the breast or if you have an oversupply of breast milk that your baby drain the breast fully just to name a few.
INFECTION if your baby doesn’t latch properly or when you’re establishing feeding and your nipples are cracked and sore you can get a bacteria infection on the nipple it can lead to mastitis if it gets inside the breast.
WHAT I DO IF I FEEL THE SYMPTOMS:
If you feel the symptoms coming on PLEASE contact your doctor ASAP.
I also jump in a hot shower and massage any lumps to try to break them down.
Feed, feed, feed. I get Remi on the boob as often as possible with a hot pack on the boob to drain them and also express if I need to. TRY feeding in all different positions to help drain correctly. A tip I was given was to dangle feed/pump (google it) and try to get bubs chin as close to the direction of the lump as possible.
REST!! Take it easy.
HOW TO PREVENT:
The best way to prevent for myself is to often check my breasts for lumps and DO NOT IGNORE them.
EXPRESS AND AVOID ENGORGEMENT:
I am often engorged and especially in the mornings so every morning the first thing I do before any one is awake is jump in a hot shower and use either my HAAKA pump or hand express so that my boobs feel a bit softer. I then feed Remi off one side and use my Pump to express the other side. This works for me. I know a lot of people say not to use the pump but I have to as any time I don’t I end up with mastitis symptoms. Having an over supply is challenging and unless you have one too you may not understand. When I first had Remi I had to express or feed both sides each feed or I would get so sick so quickly. Once I got to about 8 weeks I can just do the morning express and maybe sometimes I need to again in the mid afternoon if Remi sleeps for too long or isn’t draining both breasts enough during the day.
Take a good quality probiotic:
Take a probiotic daily to help prevent …
QIARA is one suggested by lactation consultant and many many of you.
Life Space Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Always ask your doc before taking any meds or supplements please.
Wear the correct size bra.
And if you’re prone to engorgement or blocked ducts don’t wear underwire. Also avoiding tight clothing can help.
IF YOU ARE FEELING LUMPS ( or when establishing feeding I found this helped)….
HOT PACK BEFORE & DURING FEEDING to break down the lump.
ICE PACK Post feeding to reduce inflammation and soothe.
Make sure baby is draining the breast when feeding. If you’re worried about poor latch seek help from a lactation consultant.
Once mastitis is diagnosed most the time you will be prescribed an anti biotic to take. Its should start to make you feel better with in 24-48. In severe cases you can be admitted to hospital for IV anti-biotics and treatment. If symptoms persist once you’ve been prescribed the medication please make sure you go back to your doctor to seek further advice.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN TREAT BLOCKED DUCTS AND MASTITIS:
Physio (Womens health) can do ultra sound treatment to break up the lump.
One last tip…
Don’t ignore your other breast while trying to get rid of mastitis or it too can become infected or get blocked ducts. Make sure you’re still feeding or expressing from that side too!!
I hope this helps. Like I said I am no expert but I hope you found this useful.
Please contact your doctor or lactation consultant for professional advice and don’t ignore it because it can be very serious and even life threatening.
Jan 21, 2019
Thanks for this post! I read it the first time while I was pregnant and it definitely helped. I never developed mastitis, thank God! And thank you! <3 I hope you don’t mind if I link to this entry on my blog.
Great blog Brittany! I would say a lot of what is mentioned is complementary to information in this blog which your readers struggling with mastitis might find helpful too https://www.mattoslactation.com/blog/mastitis-questions-answered