Updated: May 14
Mastitis is the inflammation of breast tissue. Common reasons are due to inadequate milk removal and/or suboptimal latch leading to the break down of your skin tissue allowing an entry point for bacteria.
Both of these reasons require you to move your milk frequently.
Diligently move your milk no less than every 2 hours via baby with a deep latch, hand express or use your breast pump. Moving your milk frequently is good practice in the early postpartum period and definitely if you think you are symptomatic. Why? Milk continually coming out of the breast prevents the inflammation response from occurring further (it also supports a healthy milk supply). Not effectively removing milk frequently allows the milk to fill and fill, you get more uncomfortable/heavy leading to your body responding with this uncomfortable inflammation response. It doesn't help if you have been doing "too much", trying to do one more thing before latching baby or pumping, not resting when you may have had the opportunity, not staying hydrated, not eating vitamin c rich foods and/or if you have underlying health conditions. The body is responding and needs TLC.
It's helpful to gently massage your breasts a bit during nursing or pumping and following with cold compress for 10-15 minutes. If you don't have an IBCLC now would be a good time to call one. They can help guide you in the next steps. Your body and your baby need you to slow down, rest, drink to thirst and increase your fruit/veggie intake.
Let's recap. Move your milk! frequently, slow down, hydrate, increase fruit/veggies, call your IBCLC and if symptomatic and not improving within 12-24 hours with effective milk removal call your Healthcare Provider. Remember to KEEP MOVING YOUR MILK after starting the medication (ask them about taking a probiotic as well) and take the whole course of medication, along with slowing down, hydrating, eating fruits/veggies. The medication is not the only fix, its also fixing the root cause of the issue which includes effectively and frequently moving your milk, slowing down and calling your IBCLC to help you.
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Read this! Excellent break down of what to do and when!