Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue, either resulting from a clogged milk duct, or via bacteria in baby’s mouth which enters through cracked nipples. If you suspect you have mastitis, it requires immediate treatment—here are the symptoms to look out for.
The most common indicators of mastitis include: headaches, intense pains, tender and red breasts, fever, cracked nipples, symptoms that mimic the flu and a generally unwell feeling.
If you are manifesting any or more of the above, contact your healthcare practitioner immediately. If diagnosed with mastitis, you will require antibiotics—your fever dropping after 24 hours, the pain decreasing around 36 hours after beginning your course.
Along with the medication, it’s important you get rest to promote healing. Stay in bed for as long as possible and keep well hydrated.
Place a hot water bottle or warm wet towel on to the affected area—never an ice pack as you want to increase blood flow and open up ducts. Don’t stop nursing—frequency is key to avoiding painful engorgement.
The infection may change the taste of your breastmilk—if baby fusses, offer the other breast, and express from the infected one.