Can the New Mom Continue Breastfeeding with Mastitis?

January 29, 2015 by  
Filed under New mom health

breastfeeding-during-mastitisYes, the New Mom can continue breastfeeding when she is affected with Mastitis. During Mastitis the breast will become heavy, hard like lumps and very painful. Mastitis can happen at any point while you’re breastfeeding. However, it’s most common in the first three months, particularly in the second week or third week, when you are getting used to breastfeeding.

Keep feeding your baby from the affected breast. Although this may be painful and miserable for you, it will make the mastitis worse if you stop feeding from your affected breast. Try putting towels that are dipped in warm water before every feed. This warm sponging will help you relax and you will feel less pain.

Warm cloth sponging should help feeding more bearable for you. If your baby doesn’t finish a whole feed from your inflamed breast, or if it’s too painful to breastfeed, you can use a breast pump to express your milk. You can then give it to your baby in a cup or bottle. Follow precautions associated with storing breast milk.

Also read: Can I Continue to Breastfeed my Baby when I’m Back from Work?

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation in your breast tissues. The inflammation may quickly become an infection, which means that bacteria grow in the inflamed tissues. You may notice that areas of your breasts are red, hard, sore, swollen and hot

You may also feel a lump, called a blocked duct, though it isn’t caused by an actual blockage. It’s the build-up of milk in your breast that causes the tissue to become inflamed and your breast feels hard and heavy.

Will breast milk affect my baby during Mastitis?

Though you may be feeling unwell and uncomfortable, mastitis won’t affect your baby. It’s perfectly safe for the New Mom to feed from your affected breast, but it might taste a bit saltier than usual.

Even if you have infective mastitis, and your baby swallows bacteria in the milk, it will be killed off by the acid in her stomach. There is no risk of breastfeeding if the mother has mastitis.

Also read:  What to do when newborn baby has swollen breasts?

How to treat mastitis condition?

Continue feeding your baby from the affected breast. Although this may be painful and miserable for you, it will make the mastitis worse if you stop feeding from your affected breast.

If you feel unwell, or if continuing to feed your baby is making no difference to the inflammation, visit your doctor. If you’ve had mastitis for a few days, and it’s become infected, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Here are some self-help methods you can try, whether or not you’re taking antibiotics:

  • Make sure your baby is latched on properly and is feeding well.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing or a bra until things improves.
  • Breastfeed as often as your baby wants, aiming for eight to 12 breastfeeds a day.
  • Try different breastfeeding positions, to see if they help your baby to latch on better.
  • Remove milk by hand or with a pump, after feeds, if you feel your baby has not fed well. This can be useful if you have sore nipples.
  • The New mom has to take rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • You may find that it helps to apply warmth to your breast. Put a flannel or compress on your skin, or have a warm bath or shower. However, you may find that cold compresses help you better.
  • Try massaging your breasts very gently while your baby is feeding to help the milk to flow. Gently stroke from where your breast feels lumpy towards your nipple. Vigorous massage can make mastitis worse, though, as it pushes the leaked milk further into your breast tissue.
  • Consult your doctor prior to taking painkillers. Safer option would be paracetamol to reduce body pains.

You can follow these self-help measures before seeing your doctor and taking antibiotics.

However, if your mastitis doesn’t start to improve, it may develop into a breast abscess. This is a collection of pus within the breast that affects about three per cent of women who have mastitis that requires antibiotics.

The new moms need not be worried. You can breastfeed your baby even with Mastitis condition. When you see your baby smile all your pain is going to wane away.

Good luck and remain healthy!!

Please add a comment and, if you like the post, feel free to share it with your friends. You can also visit our Facebook page and Google plus page for more insight.