mastitis treatment

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been reading up on mastitis because, thankfully, I don’t have any firsthand experience with it, but I need to know how to treat it.  Here’s the basic recommendation:

  1. Heat
  2. Rest
  3. Massage
  4. Empty the breast

1. Heat — either wet or dry, whichever feels better to you — can help, particularly right before nursing.  Use a warm compress, lean over a basin of hot water, or take a hot shower.

2. Rest!  Treat yourself as though you have the flu, because your body essentially thinks it does.  Consider mastitis your body’s way of telling you to slow down.  Increase fluids, and get someone to help you around the house, if possible.

3. Nurse your baby on the affected side first, while massaging the breast toward the nipple.  Massage often during and between feedings to help loosen the plugged area.  Massage in combination with heat — in the basin of water or the hot shower — is particularly effective.

4. Get in bed and nurse, nurse, nurse.  It is imperative that you nurse as often as possible.  Let me repeat: do not stop nursing during mastitis.  Even if you have an infection, the infection is in the breast tissue, not the milk, and you should keep nursing.

Kellymom has some great guidelines for identifying if you have plugged ducts or full-blown mastitis.  If you think you have mastitis, call your doctor, because if the symptoms don’t clear up using the above methods within 12 to 24 hours, you should be on antibiotics.

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