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

SYMPTOMS

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

WHO YOU SHOULD SEE

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.

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

ADVICE

  • 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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