Mastitis is a breast infection. It may feel sore like a plugged duct. It may happen when you’re stressed or have changes in your usual routine. This may be when guests are visiting, during the holidays, or when you’re returning to work. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a breast infection and a plugged duct. They have similar symptoms, and both can get better within a day or two.
Mastitis typically develops when the milk is not properly removed from the breast. Milk stasis can lead to the milk ducts in the breasts becoming blocked, as the breast milk is not being properly and regularly expressed.
It has also been suggested that blocked milk ducts can occur as a result of pressure on the breast, such as tight-fitting clothing or an over-restrictive bra, although there is sparse evidence for this supposition.
Mastitis may occur when the baby is not appropriately attached to the breast while feeding when the baby has infrequent feeds or has problems suckling the milk out of the breast.
The presence of cracks or sores on the nipples increases the likelihood of infection. Tight clothing or ill-fitting bras may also cause problems as they compress the breasts.
Mastitis – Common Symptoms
Mastitis may include a number of symptoms, including:
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue.
- Yellowish discharge from the nipple that looks like colostrum.
- Breasts that feel tender, warm, or hot to the touch.
- Painful, hard lump in the breast (usually begins as a clogged duct)
- Painful nursing
- Redness (or red streaks on breast)
- General malaise, chills, aches
Mastitis Treatment Options
What to do? Well, if you think you have Mastitis, ESPECIALLY if you have a fever already, it’s really important to call your midwife or OB! Mastitis can be easily treated with a prescription of antibiotics!
The same tips for plugged ducts may help with mastitis.
Take a hot shower or apply warm, moist cloths over your breast. Breastfeed frequently and use different positions. Empty the affected breast first. Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra that is not too tight. Consider trying a bra without an underwire. Apply heat, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and breastfeed often. In addition, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Rest LOTS, empty breasts LOTS, and hydrate LOTS too!
Have you had mastitis? It SUCKS!