What is Mastitis?

What is Mastitis?

Mastitis is inflammation and infection of breast tissue associated with blockage of the milk ducts. It usually occurs in the first few weeks of breastfeeding and affects 1 in 5 lactating women.

What is Mastitis


  • Tenderness
  • Pain on feeding
  • Swelling
  • Firm mass / lumpy
  • Redness and shiny skin
  • Flu-like symptoms including fever & chills


Physiotherapist with specialist training in managing this condition
Therapeutic ultrasound by a physiotherapist should commence as soon as a painful lump is detected. A painful lump usually indicates a blocked milk duct. Early intervention via ultrasound can help clear the blockage reducing the likelihood of needing anti-biotics.

Lactation Consultant
Mastitis or a blocked milk duct is often an indication that you need to see a lactation consultant to assess why you are getting a blockage. A lactation consultant can help you with attachment, milk supply, pain associated with attachment and stop the recurrence of mastitis.

Anti-biotics prescribed by a GP are important if you have a fever and flu-like symptoms.


  • Continue to breastfeed baby and completely drain the breast.
  • Continue to breastfeed baby and completely drain the breast.
  • Gently self-massage towards the nipple during feeding.
  • Ensure baby has latched on correctly and see a lactation consultant if unsure or if you have recurring blocked ducts.
  • If breast not fully drained at end of feed, express remaining milk via hand expression or pump.
  • Heat using warm flannel, hot bath or shower before feed to encourage let down.
  • Cold pack after feed can help reduce pain and inflammation of the breast.
  • Change breastfeeding position – point chin towards the blockage or side lying.
  • Painkillers including ibuprofen and paracetamol.
  • Avoid tight fitting bra / clothing that puts pressure on the breast tissue.
  • Rest to help your body heal and recover.
  • Take probiotics to counter the effect of anti-biotics.
Jessica Teeger Physiotherapist

About the Author

This article was written by Jessica Teeger. Learn more about Jessica and our pelvic physio team here.


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