Unfortunately Mastitis is common in breastfeeding woman- and no mumma to be wants to know that.
But being aware of what it is, what causes it and how to treat it promptly is important in decreasing its severity and early cessation of your breastfeeding journey.
So what is Mastitis? It is an inflammation of the breast tissue which may or may not be associated with a bacterial infection. It can be non-infective inflammation or infective inflammation associated with most commonly staph. aureus bacteria.
It generally occurs in the first 6 weeks of lactation though it can happen any time during the breastfeeding journey.
What you might see and feel?
A redness, pain, and heat may all be present when an area of the breast is engorged
-Red, hot, swollen and painful lump or wedge-shaped area on your breast.
– Breast skin may appear shiny and tight with red streaks, discoloured skin, bruising, tenderness, a temperature and feeling of tiredness.
How it occurs?
-Most commonly from poor attachment leading to nipple damage, blocked ducts and poor milk drainage/transfer.
-Not feeding enough, missing feeds, or scheduled feeds or limiting timing of feeds on a breast.
-Issues with over supply
-Pressure on your breast- wrong flange size, ill fitting bra and even a seat belt!
What can you do if it happens?
-Seek help from a IBCLC if you feel you are having symptoms and keep draining your breast!
-Moist heat and massage are your breast friend.
-Go bra less- reduce any clothing restriction.
-Course of management will depend what the cause of mastitis is- plugged ducts, re occurring plugged ducts, mastitis and reoccurring mastitis.
-Remember the first 12-24hrs it is non infective mastitis so removing the duct or draining the breast frequently can prevent it turning into infective mastitis and potential need for antibiotic use.