Mastitis Information

Causes

Blocked ducts occur when the milk is stopped from flowing, making the area sore and swollen. If not treated this can lead to mastitis (an infection), where the mother feels ill and feverish.

Treatment

The basic treatment for a blocked duct or mastitis is to rest, feed frequently, and apply heat to the affected area. If the mother doesn't feel any better within 24 hours then she should visit her doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics. Any advice to stop feeding on the affected side is incorrect, and can make the problem significantly worse.

Heat from a wheat pack or similar will encourage the milk to start flowing through the duct. Massaging the swollen area, particularly when the baby is feeding or during a warm shower, encouraging milk towards the nipple, can help.

To help prevent mastitis reoccurring mothers should try to take things easy, avoid going long stretches without breastfeeding, take care to wear bras that fit well, and ensure all antibiotic prescriptions are taken in full. If the blocked duct or mastitis reoccurs it is worth discussing possible causes with your midwife, a la leche league leader (www.lalecheleague.org.nz), or a lactation consultant (www.nzlca.org.nz).

Your midwife, lactation consultant, or a la leche league leader can provide further help for women with blocked ducts or mastitis.

Recommended Websites

La Leche League - Mastitis

La Leche League - Repeat Mastitis

Disclaimer:

Information provided by Summer Warmth is not meant as a substitute for professional help from your health care professional. Please seek advice from your health care professional if you are having problems with breastfeeding or if you have continuing concerns.

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