Having your baby can be one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences. Life just takes a dramatic turn with the arrival of your little one. If you have a newborn, your first priority now is to feed your baby. If you have decided that bonding and providing essential nutrients from your bosom is for you, then you need to know how to prevent or rid yourself of mastitis. Nothing should get in the way of a mother's ability to breastfeed her baby.
How to Avoid Mastitis
Mastitis is an infection caused by a clogged duct in the nipple of a nursing mother. To reduce the chances of developing clogs in the ducts of your nipples, avoid wearing bras or tight fitting tops that constrict your breasts. Sleep on your back or side as a clog may occur by sleeping on your stomach.
Make sure that you are feeding your baby breast milk on a regular basis. Missed feedings can cause your breasts to become engorged, which can cause your ducts to clog. Breast compression or breast massage before latching is one of the most effective ways to avoid clogged ducts all together. Using a breast feeding pillow can help ensure you are feeding in a good position.
There are many indicators of a possible case of mastitis that every breastfeeding mom should be wary of. These are just a few:
- What may begin as a tingling sensation in the nipple and quickly develops into pain while the baby is nursing may be mean mastitis. However, not every case of mastitis results in significant pain so a nursing mother should pay attention to other indicators as well.
- Soreness and redness around the area of suckling could be caused by mastitis; the site of the clogged duct develops a very pronounced red spot, which is extremely painful to the touch and holding, or carrying your baby on this side may become unbearable. There may also be a lump visible or detectable by touch.
- A breastfeeding mother may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever with chills and body aches. Mastitis may also cause exhaustion as many women report with mastitis have reported a sharp decline in energy.
Tips for Reducing the Effects of Mastitis
As soon as you suspect you have mastitis:
- Go to sleep as soon as possible and get good rest! Sitting quietly for a few hours without much activity can help shorten the duration of mastitis.
- Take Echinacea and Vitamin C to enhance your immune system and help fight the infection. If the infection persists beyond a few days, you should consult a physician.
- Apply warm water to the site of the clogged duct. Use warm tap water or immerse your breast in a pot of warm water. A warm shower or bath can work wonders as well.
- Try to nurse and if you do not succeed at first, try and try again. Attempt to nurse the baby on the side of the clogged duct as often and as long as possible to work out the clog. (If you are away from your baby for a period, you might try using a breast pump, to find one locate a good breast feeding supply store near you). Massaging the breast while the baby suckles may also help.