Q&A: Breast Infection?

What do I do if I think my breast is infected?
Save article
ByErin van Vuuren
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image

Symptoms of a breast infection (or mastitis) are similar to flu symptoms: headache, weakness, aches, fever (usually more than 101 degrees F), and chills. One breast will also be very tender and probably streaked with red.

If you suspect that your breast is infected, get in bed, get comfy (take off your bra if it’s tight), and breastfeed your baby at least every two hours — starting on the infected breast. If you don’t think the breast if fully drained after baby feeds, use a breast pump to further empty your breast. You should also put in a call to your doctor, who will probably prescribe antibiotics. Moist heat can help too, as can extra fluids, vitamin C, and mild painkillers like Tylenol and ibuprofen.

Never ignore a suspected breast infection, and don’t try to wean during a breast infection. Failure to empty the affected breast frequently can lead to a breast abscess, which may need to be drained surgically. (Not fun.) Starting antibiotics ASAP can protect your breastfeeding relationship, your milk supply, and the health of your breasts.

Related Video
Save article

How to Treat a Baby Fever

Lambeth Hochwald
Contributing Writer

5 Baby Fever Myths—Debunked

Cassie Kreitner
Senior Editor

The Heat Is on: Find the Best Baby Thermometer

Amrita Nandagopal
Contributing Writer

Tonsillitis in Babies and Toddlers

Jennifer L.W. Fink
Registered Nurse

Ear Problems in Babies

Anita Chandra-Puri, MD
Pediatrician

Ringworm in Babies

Jennifer L.W. Fink
Registered Nurse

Lyme Disease in Children: How to Protect Kids Against Ticks

Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH

The Stomach Bug: Doctors Weigh in on What It Is and How to Treat It

Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH

How to Spot Fifth Disease in Babies and Big Kids

Celia Shatzman
Contributing Writer

Teacher’s Science Project Grossly Shows Importance of Washing Hands

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
12/18/2019
Article removed.