Have you ever experienced mastitis? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s a situation where part of a woman’s breast becomes warm, very painful and swollen due to inflammation. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sometimes it’s associated with fever and chills and later develop into a collection of pus (an abscess) as the body tries to contain it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Mum’s who stop breastfeeding abruptly due to latching issues or weaning and later develop blocked ducts or engorgement are at of mastitis . Infected nipple cracks, sores and smoking are also risk factors .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
How can mastitis be prevented?
1) Always drain your breasts of milk after each feed or express whenever your breasts are engorged.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2) Avoid nipple cracks by ensuring baby has a good latch during breastfeeding ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3) Ensure you are using the right size of breast shield (flange) in your breast pump. The wrong flange can mar your pumping experience. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4) If you do develop a nipple cracks or blisters please keep them clean or seek medical care as soon as possible if they don’t heal within 3 days.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5) Adopt a gradual approach to weaning your baby off breast milk to reduce the risk of engorgement.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you develop mastitis ensure you keep hand expressing milk from the affected breast and applying cold gel pads.
Visit your doctor to get an examination and a prescription of painkillers and antibiotics as well. Learn more about dealing with common breastfeeding challenges here.