Can You Still Breastfeed with Mastitis?
Can you still breastfeed with mastitis? This may be one of the questions that bug you if you came to experience this medical condition.
Being a symbol of femininity, sexuality and maternity, the breast is among the most sensitive areas of the woman`s body. It`s completely normal to take care of our breasts the same as any other part of our body when we notice the smallest sign of breast disease. One of the most common problems related to breasts is mastitis.
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What Is Mastitis in Breastfeeding?
Mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast, which is generally related with breastfeeding. This inflammation can be associated with infection, tissue damage or even both. One out of 5 women who are breastfeeding will suffer of medical condition during the first 6 months of their baby`s life. The doctor can diagnose mastitis based on its symptoms and physical examination. – Read this!
The main signs of this condition are:
- Breast redness.
- Increased breast volume.
- Temperature change.
- Sensation of increased breast weight.
- The breast becomes stronger at palpation in the affected areas.
Other general manifestations of mastitis are similar to the ones of cold or flu:
- Mild dizziness.
Making a mammogram can really make a difference between a breast abscess and mastitis. In the case of an abscess, it can be localized quite precisely. If its presence is confirmed, the doctor will recommend either the aspiration of the abscess, either a surgical drainage followed by antibiotic treatment. If the patient doesn`t respond properly to the treatment, the doctor can ask for a mammogram or a breast biopsy.
Physical examination is the first investigation for a correct diagnosis. It happens that in certain cases, patients show, besides breast swelling and pain sensation, painful and enlarged lymph nodes. Most of the times, the nodules disappear along with the treatment for mastitis. Otherwise, the doctor will recommend investigating that particular node.
- Acute – It occurs most often at the onset of breastfeeding and it`s not followed by complications.
- Chronic – It occurs after a recurrent bacterial infection or hormonal disturbance.
- Carcinoma – It`s a form that sometimes has a severe evolution.
- Granulomatous – It`s a benign form, has a good evolution is rarely occurs.
Mammary abscesses – On occasion, mastitis symptoms may worsen and a pouch bag may appear in the area that is infected. The signs of breast abscess include:
- A firm and painful breast formation.
- An erythematous breast area.
- The symptoms similar to flu worsen (fatigue, chills, fever or headache).
Aphtha – It may occur in the child`s mouth and may spread to the nipple and galactose channels. If there are signs of mastitis that won`t disappear after treatment, such as pains around the nipple during or after breastfeeding, sharp breast pain between breastfeeding sessions or pink nipples, they suggest the presence of aphtha (read more). Also, they may occur by the occurrence of sudden pain or burning during breastfeeding. If there are symptoms that suggest the presence of aphtha, the breasts and mouth need to be checked. The treatment is performed for both the mother and child, even if there aren`t any symptoms.
During breastfeeding, mastitis can occur at any time. The period with the most increased risk is the first 2 months after birth, before the child`s food habits start to regulate.
Risk factors for the occurrence of mastitis while breastfeeding include:
- The existence of a previous episode of mastitis.
- Incomplete or delayed emptying of breasts, which favors angulation.
- Blackage of galactose channels.
- Cracked and irritated nipples due to improper positioning of the baby during breastfeeding.
- Anemia or various medical conditions.
- Using breastfeeding devices which block the milk flow and multiply the germs on the surface of the nipples, therefore increasing the risk of infection.
How Do You Fix Mastitis?
- If you experience the signs for more than 24 hours, you should start taking antibiotics. If you experience them for less than 24 hours, probably a doctor can prescribe an antibiotic, but he may suggest you to wait a bit until starting to take it. – Check for more details!
- If in the following 8 to 12 hours, the symptoms worsen (high pains, enlargement of the red area, the extension of the hard surface), then you should start with the antibiotics.
- If, after 24 hours, there`s no change in your state, you should start taking the antibiotic. Still, if the symptoms start to diminish, it`s not necessary to take the antibiotic.
- Usually, the signs continue to improve and disappear in the following 2 – 5 days. The fever will pass in 24 hours as well, while the pain in 24 to 48 hours which will be followed by breast strengthening the following days.
- The reddening of the skin might maintain more than 1 week. After your general state start to improve, with or without antibiotics, the positive evolution should continue. If your state gets worse suddenly or if the symptoms don`t improve in the next 24 – 48 hours, you should go to the doctor again.
Can You Still Breastfeed with Mastitis?
Yes, it`s completely normal and safe to breastfeed your newborn when you experience mastitis. Actually, it may even help with your recovery. Mastitis is a breast infection which occurs when the ducts are not being drained completely. This may sometimes lead to a bacteria growth and stagnant milk. The result can consist in a sore breast area which might really hurt during breastfeeding.
What Antibiotics Are Used to Treat Mastitis?
When you need to use antibiotics against mastitis, it`s best to choose cephalexin and dicloxacillin. As methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has started to become more common, it`s also likely to be a much more common mastitis cause, so antibiotics which are efficient might become preferred.
- Continue to breastfeed your baby, unless your pains are too strong when breastfeeding. If you cannot continue, pump your milk manually as soon as possible and start breastfeeding your baby as soon as you can. Continuing breastfeeding helps in a faster healing of mastitis and doesn`t show any danger for the baby.
- The heat (under the form of a bottle with hot water) applied to the affected area will help you fight the infection.
- Rest will help you fight mastitis.
- Fever helps the organism fight the infection.
- If necessary, take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or any other drug that fights pain. You`ll feel better and there`s no danger for the baby to whom only a small amount of the drug reaches.
Can a Baby Have Mastitis?
The germs causing mastitis might enter through your nipple if your baby may fall asleep when nursing. If the nipple`s pores are still opened, the germs will have the opportunity of an easier access. If you have developed chills and fever, you are now dealing with mastitis, but just a duct that is plugged. The simplest solution can be some antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.