Ugh…we said it! The dirty M word. The thing no mother ever wants to experience.
Reality check? Mastitis does happen to breastfeeding moms, and is most common during the first month of breastfeeding, but can happen at any time during the breastfeeding journey. The two main causes of mastitis are clogged ducts and bacteria entering the breast due to cracks and cuts.
What are the Symptoms of Mastitis?
It is typical that the flu-like symptoms will come on first, and then the actual breast symptoms will follow. However, mastitis makes it very difficult to care for a baby, so it is best to call your provider, as antibiotics are often necessary. There are many antibiotics that will be safe to take while breastfeeding, and there is no need to stop breastfeeding during mastitis, as it actually will help in your recovery. Eating more cultured yogurt or drinking kombucha while on the antibiotics will be a great way to prevent thrush, a yeast infection of the nipple or breast.
Ways to Prevent Mastitis
Upon recovery from mastitis, you may notice that baby is fussier at the breast. This can be due to antibiotics, but can also be because milk supply can lower at first, as the infection is healing and clogs are opening back up again. Continued nursing should allow this to be overcome in no time. If there are any further concerns, a call to your provider or an IBCLC is suggested.