Mastitis is an inflammation in the chest, which can go together with an infection. It is most common in women who are breastfeeding. Annoying, because it can be excruciating! What can you do about it and can it be prevented?
Cause mastitis during breastfeeding
The most common cause of breast infection when you are breastfeeding is that the breast is not emptied sufficiently. This may be because your baby is not appropriately fitted or too little, or because he does not drink the breast properly.
If the breast is not emptied sufficiently (or bubbled) enough, milk may stall in the milk ducts. The milk then accumulates, and as a result of this accumulation, the flow is blocked. The milk duct can then become clogged. You will often suffer from stowage. If the blockage is not resolved quickly enough, mastitis may occur. Au!
The milk accumulation creates a breeding ground for bacteria. An infection can therefore also occur in addition to inflammation. Bacteria that occur on your skin or in the mouth of your baby can enter the milk channel via broken skin or a milk channel entry. Nipple gorges increase the chance because the skin is often broken.
Risk factors mastitis
In addition to inadequate emptying of the breast and nipple gaps, some other factors increase the risk of constipation or chest inflammation:
- Fatigue and stress
- Insufficient hygiene
- Squeezing clothes
- Cold or flu
- A changing frequency of nutrients (for example if your baby
goes to sleep at night)
Symptoms of breast inflammation
Breast inflammation is usually associated with one breast. You can recognize it by different symptoms:
- Your chest is painful, red and swollen.
- Your chest feels warm.
- Feeding hurts.
- You have an increase or a fever.
- You can have a flu-like feeling.
- You may feel swelling or hardness in the chest. These are the blocked milk channels.
What can you do about it yourself?
Some women think that they can stop breastfeeding better if they have a breast infection. However, this is not necessary! Continuing with breastfeeding is required to correct the inflammation. If you have a (preliminary) breast infection, you can do the following things to make sure that the inflammation disappears:
- Very important: feeding or pumping more often, so that the milk will flow well again. Therefore, submit as often as possible. If your baby does not drink enough milk from the breast, then choose to pump (the rest).
- Put your child first to the sore breast, so that the milk accumulation there decreases. Is feeding to the inflamed chest too painful, then choose again for flasks.
- Do not forget to have your other (non-inflamed) breast empty or drink too. Otherwise, you run the risk that the problem also arises on this side.
- Before feeding, you can heat your chest (for example, with a hot shower or warm jug on your chest), so that the milk channels open. This stimulates the flow and admission reflex.
- After feeding it is useful to cool the chest, to relieve the pain.
- You can try to massage the painful spots gently.
- Take a painkiller if you are in a lot of pain.
When to the doctor?
You can try to solve the inflammation with the above tips. If this fails after 24 hours and you still have a lot of problems, go to the doctor. The doctor can prescribe antibiotic treatment. Do not wait too long with a doctor’s visit. If the mastitis is not treated, an abscess may develop, and that can be dangerous.
You can feel sick from a breast infection. Take enough rest and stay in bed for a day. Fortunately, with the right treatment, it usually takes only a few days.
Can you prevent mastitis?
Of course, you want to avoid breast infection altogether. Therefore, try to pay attention to the following things:
- Always allow both breasts to drain correctly or empty them if your child does not drink both breasts properly.
- Alternate posture during feeding, to ensure that all milk channels are adequately drained.
- Pay attention to good hygiene: wash your hands and take care of your nipples.
- Wear a well-fitting bra and loose clothing. Too tight clothing can pinch your milk channels, causing them to become clogged.
- It is important to properly baby to build.
- Do you find it difficult to apply correctly or do you suffer from breast infections more often? Then turn on the help of a lactation consultant.