Mastitis is something that affects 1 in 10 new breastfeeding mums, and some bottle feeding mums as well. It is an inflammation of the breasts which manifests in hot, red, swollen, hard, or painful breasts. You may also feel a lump, and may have chills, a temperature, headache or exhaustion. It is simply an over-supply of milk. Milk builds up faster than it is being released and stasis occurs. It could happen because your baby doesn’t latch on properly and so your milk is not being fully discharged (check out this video about latching on). It could also come from engorgement that doesn’t go away, an injury to your breast, or feeding to a strict routine. Infective mastitis can also follow, especially from cracked nipples it is a good idea to use creams like the Lansinoh 40ml Lanolin Cream and nipple shields like Closer to Nature Nipple Shields to help prevent and protect from cracked nipples.
When you recognise the symptoms above, it is important that you seek advice and help, and continue to breastfeed. Whilst it may be painful, keeping the milk flowing out is exactly what you need to do. Ease the process by putting warm facecloths on your breasts for a few minutes prior to each feed or use the Lansinoh Theraperal 3 in 1 Breast Therapy Packs that can help relieve plugged ducts and mastitis to help promote faster milk flow. This will help let-down and make breastfeeding more bearable. At the end of the feed use a breast pump to empty excess milk. You can also try expressing all your milk and use a bottle to feed your little one if that is less painful.
The help you get from the doctor may extend to antibiotics, if you’ve had mastitis for a few days. You can also try a few at-home remedies. You should always make sure that your baby is properly latched on, and feeds well. Try a different position if this helps latch-on. It is also advised to breastfeed on demand to reduce milk build-up. Take as much rest as you want, or indeed can.
Some mums find that very gentle massage works to help expel all the milk but avoid vigorous massage which can push more milk into the breast tissue. Having a warm bath or shower has also been found to help. Other mums claim that cold compresses work better. Gel-filled pouches stored in the fridge may help, as may borrowing your baby’s cooled teething ring. Whatever conventional or unconventional remedy you find works for you, take heart in the knowledge that it is only temporary and that it will not affect your baby.