Breastfeeding

Q&A: How Do You Treat Mastitis?

How do you treat mastitis?

As soon as symptoms of mastitis appear, it is important to address the breastinfection to minimize the possibility of it becoming systemic. Getting heat to thearea before nursing is important — a warm washcloth, shower, or even soakingyour breast in a bowl of very warm (don’t burn yourself) water will help openup the milk ducts to help increase milk flow. Immediately breastfeed on theaffected breast first, utilizing breast massage during the feeding to try to aid inmilk removal from the congested area. It is recommended to use gentle breast compression during the feeding, starting from the plugged area and workingtoward the nipple. Use any position that helps in allowing your hands to massagethe breast at the affected area. Some moms even lean over the baby to helpuse gravity in addition to breast compression in dislodging the clogged duct. It'simportant to frequently and completely remove the milk from the breast at everyfeeding when dealing with mastitis. Many moms use a hospital-grade breastpump after nursing their baby to help ensure complete drainage of milk from thebreast. A cold compress applied to the breast after the feeding will help alleviateany additional inflammation and help control subsequent breast pain. Sincefatigue is both a symptom and cause of mastitis, it is essential that moms getsome extra rest, keep their fluids and nutrition balanced, and get some help whilethey are recovering from mastitis. A knowledgable healthcare practitioner shouldbe contacted if symptoms persist for more than 12 to 24 hours.