Mastitis and Breastfeeding: Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to feeding a newborn, there are so many factors to consider. From the type of milk your baby will be eating to how often you plan on breastfeeding. There are so many questions running through your mind. How much formula should I feed my baby? Is it okay if my baby feeds every two hours? The list goes on and on. Fortunately, most of these concerns can be answered with a little research and insight from a lactation consultant or other trusted source. That’s where this article comes in! Read on for all the details you need about mastitis and breastfeeding.

What is Mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in your breast milk. Breastmilk is a delicate fluid that is produced in the mammary glands solely for your baby. The exact cause of mastitis is unknown, but it’s believed to be due to a number of factors that include overproduction of milk, bacterial contamination of the breast milk supply, decreased breast drainage, and hormonal changes in your body. The best way to prevent mastitis is to ensure that you are properly latching your baby onto your breast and draining your breast properly. Aside from this, you can also try some of the home remedies below.

Signs and symptoms of mastitis

  • Breast pain: This is the most common symptom of mastitis. You may experience breast pain, soreness, swelling, and/or redness in the breast.
  • Discomfort when feeding your baby: Avoid feeding your baby in a certain position if you experience any breast discomfort. Instead, try breastfeeding in a different position. Breastfeeding should be pain-free.
  • Decrease in milk supply: If you notice a decrease in the amount of milk you produce, try pumping extra to ensure you aren’t overproducing.
  • Inflammation around the nipple: This is called phlem. You can easily identify this by the discoloration around the nipple.

Causes of mastitis

  • Overproduction of milk: As mentioned earlier, overproduction is the most common cause of mastitis.
  • Bacterial contamination: This happens when you spill some breastmilk on your shirt or when your baby touches the breastmilk with his/her hand.
  • Decreased breast drainage: This is when there’s a blockage in the milk ducts that causes stagnation of the milk.
  • Hormonal changes: The rise in prolactin and estrogen levels during pregnancy and the postpartum period can also causes mastitis in mothers.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can also cause mastitis.

How to treat mastitis

  • Warm compresses: Warm compresses can help ease the pain and speed up the healing process of your breast. You can do this by:
    • Using a clean cloth to wrap the breast.
    • Making a compress with milk and water.
    • Cover the breast with a hot cloth and then cover it with a clean cloth.
  • Ice packs: Ice packs are another effective way to ease the pain and speed up the healing process.
  • Medications: Your lactation consultant or physician can provide you with any prescribed medication to combat bacterial infection.
  • Staying hydrated: Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent further bacterial contamination.
  • Rest and elevate the breasts: Make sure you rest and elevate your breasts so that the milk flow isn’t blocked and so that the inflammation doesn’t get worse

Tips for preventing mastitis

  • Clean your breast thoroughly: Clean your breast thoroughly with warm water and a soft washcloth. Make sure to clean inside your breast as well as outside.
  • Pump regularly: If you experience overproduction, you can pump extra milk and store it in your freezer. This way, you can feed your baby whenever he/she needs it.
  • Keep your bra off while pumping: If you’re storing extra milk in a refrigerator, make sure you keep your bra off. This helps prevent milk from getting transferred to your breast when you remove your bra.
  • Avoid straining while breastfeeding: Try not to strain while breastfeeding. This can cause milk to leak and lead to mastitis.
  • Never feed your baby on a full tummy: Avoid feeding your baby on a full tummy. If you do, the milk will be harder to produce and you will increase the chances of breast infection.
  • Don’t strip your nipples: Avoid stripping your nipples while they are raw or red. This can lead to bacterial infection.


Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissues that can occur during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or after giving birth. If you experience breast pain or discomfort, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as possible. If you have mastitis, you will feel a lump or pain in your breast and you may also have a fever and redness in your breast. There are a few things you can do to ease your symptoms. Make sure you clean your breast properly, avoid straining while breastfeeding, and drink plenty of water.

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