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Mastitis and Lactation

Answers to the most common questions about Mastitis in lactating women.

Q. Is it OK to breastfeed with mastitis?

A. Yes, midwives and lactation consultants encourage feeding with mastitis to ensure the breasts are fully empty.
Not emptying the breasts will increase the severity of mastitis.

Q. How common is mastitis while breastfeeding?

A. Mastitis is common, occurring in approximately 1 in 5 women. Mastitis most often happens in the first 4 weeks of breastfeeding when cracked nipples, positioning problems and breast engorgement are most common.

However by seeking the correct support and guidance from your midwife/lactation consultant then this number can be decreased.

Q. What does the beginning of mastitis feel like?

A. The beginning of mastitis may have fever symptoms, redness on breasts, engorgement, tingling sensation, and pain. 

Q. What are the main causes of mastitis?

  • Milk that is trapped within the breast/milk ducts caused by Ineffective feeding, incorrect positioning, having a shallow latch, and going long periods without feeding.
  • It can also be caused by bacteria build up on the skin/saliva which enters milk ducts through cracks in the skin/nipple.

Q. Does mastitis go away on its own?

Sometimes regular effective feeding/expressing is enough. However, depending on the severity may require antibiotics/ readmission into hospital.

Q. What are the best treatment for Mastitis?

The best treatment for mastitis are;

  • Warm Compress
  • Pain killers (anti-inflammatory)
  • Antibiotics (if required)
  • Rest
  • Fluids
  • Regular Feeding/Expressing

Note: You should consult your Doctor before taking any medications.

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