Mastitis is the word that drives fear into every breastfeeding mothers heart. Yet many do not understand what causes it or that a good fitting nursing bra can help reduce mastitis. We help outline what mastitis is, how you can treat mastitis, when to seek medical advice, what causes mastitis and how to ensure you do not get it.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is a condition which causes a women’s breast tissue to swell and become painful. The swelling can make the transfer of the breast milk inside harder, which in turn makes the lump bigger and sorer.
It usually only affects one breast and the symptoms tend to appear rapidly. The symptoms include:
A red hot swollen area on the breast that may be painful to touch
A hard area on the breast
A burning pain when you are feeding and this pain can continue after feeding
Nipple discharge which may be white or even streaked with blood.
Flu-like symptoms like aches, fever, headache, sore throat, chills and fatigue.
How to treat mastitis?
If you catch mastitis in the beginning stages it is wholly possible to treat at home without the need to see a GP. Self-help options are:
Put baby to your breast to feed often (as much as possible). This will help to move the milk through the swollen milk duct.
Gently massage the are from armpit to nipple to push milk through the duct. Especially when you are feeding.
A warm compress can help with pain but also swelling and freeing milk to move through the milk ducts.
Take paracetamol and ibuprofen to combat fever or pain
When to seek medical advice?
If after 6-24 hours the lump has not reduced in pain or size or your symptoms are not getting better, you should see your GP immediately. Antibiotics will be used to treat any infection and will clear up any mastitis quickly. However, we do stress KEEP FEEDING throughout. Feeding is the most effective way to unblock a duct and stop an abscess forming.
What causes Mastitis?
Mastitis can happen for a number of reasons, including:
Inadequate emptying of the breast milk from a poor latch, infrequent feeding or sucking issues.
Knocking or breast trauma
Ill-fitting clothing or bra
What can I do to ensure I don’t get mastitis?
The majority of breastfeeding mothers will experience mastitis at least once and it’s more common in the first 3 months when milk production is at its highest. However, it can occur at any point.
It is advised that you feed on-demand and do not follow a feeding routine. Young breastfed babies need to be fed more regularly compared to formula fed babies as breastmilk is more easily digested. If your baby is having any latching issues or has sucking problems it’s always advised you seek professional advice from a lactation counselor.
If you have had any breast trauma from a bang or fall pay, particular attention to your breast for 24-48 hours as this is the time when you are more likely to suffer from mastitis.
How are you sleeping? Leaning on breasts whilst sleeping can lead to recurrent mastitis, so bear this in mind when you lay on your front.
Clothing is something that often overlooked. Poor fitting undergarments such as bras can play a pivotal role in the case of mastitis. This is why it’s so essential every breastfeeding mum gets a professional bra fitting. Avoiding underwires is something that is always advised as these could put pressure on milk ducts and cause swelling.
Bravado does a range of beautiful and comfortable breastfeeding bras, that not only support your breasts but also look seamless under clothing. They also give you easy access for a nursing child and feel amazing on. Most importantly it doesn’t compress the bra which means to breast trauma.
Cost wise Bravado comes in at around £30 which is amazing value for such an essential purchase. It’s also great for a pregnancy option too. So, one bra can take you through your pregnancy AND your nursing journey also.
The Bravado Body Silk Seamless nursing bra comes in a variety of sizes up to a 46G, so most nursing mothers can now enjoy a comfortable and supportive breastfeeding experience.
They even have an amazing video how to measure yourself from home
For more on the Bravado Nursing bra visit – https://www.bravadodesigns.com/eu/
For more on Mastitis visit – https://www.laleche.org.uk/mastitis/
This was a collaborative post
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