Mastitis is inflammation (swelling) in the breast, which is usually caused by an infection. It is most common when a woman is breastfeeding, but it can happen at other times as well. A clogged milk duct that doesn't let milk fully drain from the breast, or breaks in the skin of the nipple can lead to infection.
Symptoms are a swollen area on your breast that may feel hot and painful to touch – the area may become red but this can be harder to see if you have dark skin, a wedge-shaped breast lump or a hard area on your breast, a burning pain in your breast that might be constant or only when you breastfeed.
Sometimes breast infections go away on their own. If you notice you have symptoms of mastitis try breastfeeding on the affected side every 2 hours, or more frequently. This will keep your milk flowing and prevent your breast from getting too full of milk.
As it progresses, mastitis can cause the formation of a breast abscess. This is a localized collection of pus within breast tissue. Severe cases of mastitis can be fatal if left untreated.
If you have an infection, a 10-day course of antibiotics is usually needed. It's important to take all of the medication to minimize your chance of recurrence. If your mastitis doesn't clear up after taking antibiotics, follow up with your doctor.
Breastfeed regularly to prevent bacteria from building up.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Position yourself well.
Use different positions.
Alternate which breast you offer first.
Wear a bra that isn't too tight or restrictive.
Take care of your nipples.
Wean your baby gradually.
At Happy Breast Balm also recommend dry skin brushing and massaging the breasts during pregnancy and after the birth (with our Pregnancy Care Kit) to help keep the lymph, blood and chi flowing to support the breasts during this important time. As well as the support from brushing, massage and TLC, the antibacterial essential oils and the magnesium oil, also help the breasts to stay healthy.