Mastitis is a condition which causes a woman's breast tissue to become painful and inflamed.
- a red, swollen area on your breast that may feel hot and painful to touch
- a small lump in your breast or area of hardness on your breast
- a burning pain in your breast that may be continuous or may only occur when you are breastfeeding
- discharge from your nipple, which may be white or contain streaks of blood
- baby having poor latch
- a baby having problems sucking (tongue tie)
- infrequent feeds or missing feeds
- your symptoms are particularly severe
- you've had recurrent episodes of mastitis
- you are on antibiotics and your condition hasn't improved
- Massage - if you feel a hard spot in your breast, begin massaging it immediately, preferably while nursing. This little spot is likely a plugged duct, which is more easily cleared before the breast becomes too engorged and tender
- Heat - placing heat on the engorged breast will help soften the blockage and encourage the milk to flow.
- A shower - getting into the shower can be an ideal way to soften your breasts. If ever I could feel a little blockage forming, standing in a hot shower facing the spray and letting the water work it out often helped.
- Looking after your nipples - if your nipples are sore and cracking from a poor latch, treating the nipples with a lanolin cream or even just breastmilk will help them to heal and reduce the chance of infection.
- Rest - getting plenty of bed rest (even with Baby) and staying well hydrated
- Pain Relief - using over-the-counter painkillers, such a paracetamol or ibuprofen (both safe while breastfeeding) to reduce any pain or fever
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothing, including bras, until your symptoms improve
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired in the chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.