Mastitis is a common condition that can occur when the breastfeeding process isn't going as smoothly as it should. This can happen for several reasons, such as when milk isn't effectively removed from the breast, if there's a blockage in the milk ducts, or if bacteria enter the breast through a crack or damage in the nipple.

Typically, mastitis can develop from untreated engorgement and may lead to symptoms like breast hardness, redness, swelling, and pain. Women experiencing this may also suffer from headaches, fatigue, and fevers above 38 degrees Celsius, along with the potential blockage of milk ducts.

Understanding the Causes of Mastitis

  • Excess breast milk production surpassing the infant's needs.
  • Incomplete breast emptying during feeding, leaving behind residual milk.
  • Improper sucking by the baby, leading to milk retention.
  • Blocked milk ducts.
  • Dry, cracked nipples that become gateways for infection.

Effective Treatments for Mastitis

  • Persist with breastfeeding, as it can aid in the healing process despite discomfort.
  • Start feeding with the affected breast to promote thorough emptying.
  • Aim to breastfeed 8 to 12 times within a 24-hour period, dedicating 15 to 20 minutes for each breast.
  • Check that your baby is latching well, and position their chin towards any lumps to enhance milk drainage.
  • Rotate your baby's feeding position to ensure all breast areas are emptied.
  • Massage your breast gently during feeding, working from the blocked duct towards the nipple to relieve the blockage.
  • Apply cold compresses after feeding to reduce pain and inflammation, and consider taking a pain reliever like paracetamol if necessary.
  • Wear a well-fitting supportive bra.
  • If symptoms do not improve within a day, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider or visit a Breastfeeding Clinic for further assistance.

By following these guidelines, breastfeeding mothers can manage mastitis effectively and continue to provide the best care for their infants.