Welcome to parenting!
You and your sweet new bundle of joy made it through work and childbirth and are now getting to know each other well and the quirks that come with the birth of a new baby.
How you feed your baby is entirely up to you! For those who breastfeed, pump, or choose a combination of feeding styles, you may have found that breastfeeding isn’t as easy as it seemed.
There is an endless list of things that can make lactation difficult – milk supply, night owls, tongue ties, chafing nipples, teething problems – the list goes on.
One of the more difficult complications is mastitis.
What is mastitis?
Simply put, mastitis is the inflammation of the breast in a person who is breastfeeding. Ouch!
Most common During the first six weeks after giving birth, mastitis may be due to a variety of causes and may or may not be associated with infection.
It is important to mention that anyone who breastfeeds can have mastitis. Pregnant parents who do not identify as mothers can breastfeed, and parents who endured Pregnancy loss can also come with mastitis.
Traffic on the Milky Way
While a clogged milk duct doesn’t always lead to mastitis, it is the most common cause.
Milk flows through a beautiful, complex network of ducts in the breasts. When these ducts are clogged, it can impede the flow of milk and lead to blockage and tenderness near the blockage.
If left untreated, this can lead to infection.
A blocked duct can also be accompanied by a blister. This is a small, usually painful, milk bubble on the nipple or areola.
Often these resolve without treatment. If you have a sore sore you can use a damp or dry heat pack followed by breastfeeding. It is also helpful to soak the nipples in warm water and try to squeeze out the blockage by pressing behind them. Once the bladder opens, you can prevent infection by keeping it clean and washing it with mild, unscented soap once or twice a day.
Breasts and bacteria
Another cause of mastitis is when bacteria enter your bloodstream through a cracked nipple. These bacteria can come from your baby’s mouth or the surface of the skin.
If this inflammation or the clogged duct doesn’t improve, it can lead to an infection. In addition to painful and swollen breasts, you may also experience flu-like symptoms such as a mild fever, pain, and fatigue.
Common symptoms of mastitis:
- Breast sensitivity.
- Redness of the breasts.
- Hard spot or sore lump in the chest.
You should consult your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- You have a fever over 38.4 ° C.
- Your milk contains pus or blood.
- You have excessive chills or worsening symptoms.
- If your breast (s) are hot and swollen, or if you have red streaks from your nipple towards your armpit.
Treating a blocked duct and / or mastitis
It is absolutely fine for your baby to breastfeed from the infected side. In fact, it can help clear clogged ducts and prevent further infections. It can even help boost your baby’s immune system by sharing valuable information antibody that you were producing while fighting the infection.
Here are some other helpful treatment options:
- Apply a damp or dry heat compress to the affected chest.
- An ancient folk remedy that people swear by is chilled Cabbage leaves on the affected chest, which can act like a heat pack.
- Nurse and / or pump often on the side of the blocked duct.
- Try to rest, especially if you think an infection is developing.
- Massage the lump gently or just behind it, especially when feeding.
- Try going braless or wearing a bra with no underwear and loose fitting clothing.
- Dip the breasts in warm water (you can bend over a basin) and massage them. After that, try to breastfeed her.
- Use a device with low vibration over the clogged area, e.g. For example, the end of a toothbrush, a low-setting vibrator, or a special device designed to encourage milk flow.
- If your baby is feeding less or changing the schedule, try doing a little hand squeezing to avoid clogging.
- If you are prescribed antibiotics make sure to stop them.
Prevent mastitis and clogged ducts by following a regular breastfeeding and / or pumping schedule, switching positions while breastfeeding, massaging your breasts while breastfeeding to aid milk flow, and following any treatment regimens suggested by your doctor.
You can also seek out a lactation advisor who can help find the best locking and positioning for you and your baby, as well as other life-changing tips on how to care for them.
Ultimately, how you feed your baby is up to you. If you have recurrent mastitis, blocked ducts, discomfort, or breastfeeding, it just doesn’t work for you anymore – it’s okay to stop. The best thing you can do for the wellbeing of you and your baby is to make an informed decision about what works best for both of you.