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The Bump Editors

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 breast infection to minimize the possibility of it becoming systemic. Getting heat to the area before nursing is important — a warm washcloth, shower, or even soaking your breast in a bowl of very warm (don’t burn yourself) water will help open up the milk ducts to help increase milk flow. Immediately breastfeed on the affected breast first, utilizing breast massage during the feeding to try to aid in milk removal from the congested area. It is recommended to use gentle breast compression during the feeding, starting from the plugged area and working toward the nipple. Use any position that helps in allowing your hands to massage the breast at the affected area. Some moms even lean over the baby to help use gravity in addition to breast compression in dislodging the clogged duct. It's important to frequently and completely remove the milk from the breast at every feeding when dealing with mastitis. Many moms use a hospital-grade breast pump after nursing their baby to help ensure complete drainage of milk from the breast. A cold compress applied to the breast after the feeding will help alleviate any additional inflammation and help control subsequent breast pain. Since fatigue is both a symptom and cause of mastitis, it is essential that moms get some extra rest, keep their fluids and nutrition balanced, and get some help while they are recovering from mastitis. A knowledgeable healthcare practitioner should be contacted if symptoms persist for more than 12 to 24 hours.