Mastitis and breastfeeding: what it is and remedies

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Mastitis

During breastfeeding or after its discontinuation it is possible that the mastite, an inflammation of the breast. Among acute mastitis, the best known and most frequent is the puerperal mastitis, which arises precisely during breastfeeding. Let's see what it is and the remedies.





  • Symptoms, 
  • Cause, 
  • Remedies.

Symptoms of mastitis

They are similar to those of engorgement, but the fever is above 38 ° C. During breastfeeding, the breasts (usually only one) are sore and hard, with a red part. In addition, the mother feels a sense of exhaustion and general malaise.



Why it happens

The following are the main causes of mastitis:



  • Inflammation of a mechanical nature, which can result from an incorrect latch, from excessive pressure on the breasts, for example in the case of bras that are too tight or with underwire, from the presence of engorgement not treated adequately.
  • Bacterial infections, for example because there are deep fissures, through which bacteria penetrate, or because the mother has low immune defenses or has followed a previous antibiotic treatment that has altered her bacterial flora.

Who to ask for help


If the mother cannot solve the problem on her own, the best thing to do is to contact a breastfeeding expert as soon as possible, who will assess the situation and help her understand how to position the baby correctly.
There are various realities to which mothers can contact: the hospital where they gave birth, the territorial counseling centers (although they are not always present), IBCLC breastfeeding experts, who are the only ones to receive official international training. There are also various associations that can offer help, such as the Leche League or the Mami, the Del Paeseno Maternal Breastfeeding Movement.

How it works out

  • The first thing to do is increase the frequency of feedings, to facilitate the emptying of the breast. If the attachment is too painful or if the baby cannot latch on, manual emptying of the breast is also fine.
  • If there is a traffic jam, they can help hot-moist compresses before feeding, because they favor the emptying of the breast.
  • After feeding, cold compresses are helpful, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • If the pain is intense, they can be taken painkillers, such as high-dose acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • As this can be an infection, it is always good to consult your doctor, who may prescribe one antibiotic treatment. Generally, antibiotics are used if after 24 hours of the onset of symptoms there has been no improvement with the proposed strategies and the fever has not subsided.

Read also:

  • Breast engorgement
  • fissures
  • Recessed nipples
  • Breastfeeding without problems

Sources for this article: Breastfeeding Dossier: between art, science and nature of the Ministry of Health; consultancy by, gynecologist, expert in the pathology of pregnancy and lactation of the Buzzi Children's Hospital in our city.

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Questions and answers

What are the symptoms of mastitis?

Symptoms of mastitis are similar to those of breast engorgement, but the fever is above 38 ° C. During breastfeeding, the breasts (usually only one) are sore and hard, with a red part. In addition, the mother feels a sense of exhaustion and general malaise.

What are the causes of mastitis?

The causes of mastitis can be of two types:

  • the inflammation can be mechanical in nature, due to an incorrect attachment, excessive pressure on the breasts (for example in the case of bras that are too tight or with underwire), the presence of an engorgement not treated adequately;
  • bacterial in nature, for example because there are deep fissures, through which bacteria penetrate, or because the mother has low immune defenses or has followed a previous antibiotic treatment that has altered her bacterial flora.

I have mastitis. How can it be cured?

The first thing to do is to increase the frequency of feedings, to facilitate the emptying of the breast. If the attachment is too painful or if the baby cannot latch on, manual emptying of the breast is also fine. If there is engorgement, hot-moist compresses before feeding can help because they help empty the breasts. After feeding, cold compresses are useful, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. If the pain is severe, pain relievers, such as high-dose acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can be taken. As it can be an infection, it is always good to consult your doctor, who may prescribe antibiotic treatment. Generally, antibiotics are used if 24 hours after the onset of symptoms there has been no improvement with the proposed strategies and the fever has not subsided.

TAG:
  • breastfeeding
  • breast milk
  • fissures
  • mastite
  • breast engorgement
  • breastfeeding problems
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