What is mastitis?
- swelling or breast enlargement
- redness, swelling, tenderness, or a sensation of warmth on the breast
- itching over the breast tissue
- tenderness under your arm
- a small cut or wound in the nipple or on the skin of the breast
Bacterial infectionBacteria are normally found on the skin. Everyone has them, and they are normally harmless. But if bacteria are able to break through the skin, they can cause an infection. If bacteria enter the breast tissue, due to a break in the skin near or around the nipple, they may cause mastitis.
Obstruction of a milk ductMilk ducts carry milk from the breast glands to the nipple. When these ducts are blocked, milk builds up within the breast and causes inflammation and may result in infection.
- breastfeeding for the first few weeks after childbirth
- sore or cracked nipples
- using only one position to breastfeed
- wearing a tight fitting bra
- previous episodes of mastitis
- extreme tiredness or fatigue
- Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics can eradicate the bacterial infection causing mastitis. You should not take any antibiotics that have not been prescribed by your physician.
- Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to decrease the pain, fever, and swelling associated with mastitis.
- Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen can also be used to decrease pain and fever.
- taking care to prevent irritation and cracking of the nipple
- frequent breast-feeding
- using a breast pump
- using a proper breast-feeding technique that allows for good latching by the infant
- weaning the baby over several weeks, instead of suddenly stopping breast-feeding