Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Breastfeeding – Mastitis

Posted on: September 20, 2009

Q.A client of mine has developed a fever due to clogged milk glands (she gave birth 2 weeks ago). She is finding breast-feeding very painful and is concerned about infections.

A.Is it breast that is sore, not nipple area?  If it is the breast, perhaps a red, hot area it sounds like the beginning of mastitis.  It is very important that the woman ensure that her breast is not restricted by clothing or a tight bra, or by squashing her breast as she feeds.

The most important thing is to KEEP feeding.  If necessary perhaps start a couple of feeds on that breast to try to drain the excess milk (but be mindful that the other breast doesn’t become blocked too).  She may develop a fever and flu like symptoms – this can all be managed by just resting and breastfeeding (if caught early).  I suggest she take to bed, be naked with her baby and just rest and feed.  Paracetamol can be taken, as can homeopathy (refer to homoeopath).

Other suggestions are to go into the bath, placing hot flannels on the sore area and to gently massage the breast towards the nipple area to encourage the milk to flow out.  When out of the bath cold compresses can help to relieve the pain.  Some women use quark or cream cheese in a muslin on their breasts.  Also try not to touch the breast (apart from if expressing/feeding) as this encourages the breasts to make more milk.

If the infection really takes hold I suggest she consult a homoeopath/doctor and antibiotics are usually prescribed (if this happens she can still breastfeed).  I had this myself, got the flu symptoms, but managed to stave off full blown mastitis – so it can be done.

If it is the nipple area it is probably more about the position of the baby – she will need to look at this again, or get help – getting the baby to have a big wide open mouth prior to attaching.  For further information I suggest you look at www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk www.nct.org.uk www.laleche.org.uk or www.abm.me.uk

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