Mastitis

    Mastitis is inflammation of the breasts triggered by the milk not draining. The most common signs of mastitis or a breast infection are: Breast pain, fever, body aches, localized breast redness and warmth.

  1. What Can I Do to Resolve Mastitis?

    When discovered early, frequent feedings and breast massage will usually be sufficient to resolve the problem. If your symptoms are not improving within about 24 hours of increased feedings and breast massage, the inflammation may be infectious and oral antibiotics may be necessary. It is important to make an appointment or call your physician/midwife if this is the case.

    Some mothers benefit from warm compresses during feeds to let their milk let down and others from cool compresses to decrease inflammation. Use the compress that feels comfortable to you. Other things to consider include checking your bra to make sure it is not too tight, resting as much as possible, drinking plenty of fluids and nursing as frequently especially on the affected side.

    With mastitis, don’t stop nursing. Emptying your breasts is essential to resolving the inflammation and infection.

    If your symptoms are not improving with your efforts at home, we suggest an appointment with one of our lactation consultants or Dr. Ann Witt for a consulation and in-office Therapeutic Breast Massage. We have had success with hands on techniques to help improve breast drainage and speed resolution. An appointment is also appropriate if you are having frequent episodes of mastitis.

  2. Plugged Duct:

    A plugged duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed. Symptoms include local breast swelling and tenderness. If there is redness or warmth, it sometimes can be difficult to distinguish from mastitis. A plugged duct doesnot have fever or body aches.

  3. How can I Treat a Plugged Duct?
    • Frequent feedings
    • Warm compresses to the plug prior to or while feeding
    • Breast massage
    • Latch with the baby’s chin positioned toward the lump.
    • To decrease swelling try feeding your baby while applying a cool compress to the plugged area and gently massaging around the plugged duct.
    • Remember to rest, increase fluids, eat healthy and wear loose clothing

    When massaging, focus on massage in front of and around the plugged area. Gentle hand stroking away from the plugged area toward the arm pit may help decrease swelling. You can alternate massage, hand expression and breastfeeding to work out the plug. Massaging with olive oil may help. The goal is to see the milk flowing and for the pain and redness to subside.

    If your efforts at home do not resolve the plug, we suggest a visit for in-office Therapeutic Breast Massage.