Take Care When Breastfeeding To Avoid Mastitis
Breastfeeding provides your baby with vital nutrients and immune protection. But, some breastfeeding mothers may experience mastitis or breast inflammation (swelling). Mastitis is caused by milk building up in the breast or blocked milk ducts. The condition causes pain, tenderness, and red streaks on the breasts, as well as flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, bacteria can grow in the clogged milk, leading to an infection or abscess in the breast. Many things can increase mastitis risk, including improper breastfeeding technique, wearing restrictive clothing, smoking, cracked or sore nipples, and stress. You may have mastitis if you notice patches of warm, red skin on the breast, feel a hard lump that is tender to the touch, or have a low-grade fever. Fortunately, you can treat mastitis at home by continuing to breastfeed or pump the affected breast until drained and staying hydrated. Massage, heating pads, and anti-inflammatory medication may help relieve symptoms. Contact your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse.