Dr Colin Michie looks at one of the most common breastfeeding problems.
Initial symptoms are breast tenderness, local inflammation and a
reduction in milk output. If you think you may be developing mastitis
you should visit your health visitor or doctor for advice and treatment
5 - 33% of breastfeeding mothers will experience mastitis at some
point, although this most commonly occurs during the first three
months. On rare occasions, mastitis can also develop on weaning.
Some mothers may suffer recurrent mastitis, both with one infant
and/or in successive pregnancies. Trained breast feeding advisors
and midwives can help to avoid the risk of mastitis, by giving advice
on feeding and expressing of breast milk.
factors in the development of mastitis can include frequency of
feeds, wearing of a tight bra and also personal hygiene. Mastitis
and breast abscesses are preventable in almost all situations. Exclusive
demand breastfeeding can help to reduce the risk. Correct positioning
of your baby and ensuring he or she is latched on properly can prevent
mastitis. It is important to feed first from one side until the
breast is empty and then switch to the other side to finish the
feed. The second breast may still feel full when your baby finishes
feeding, in which case remember to feed from this side initially
doctor, midwife or breast feeding counsellor will also be happy
to help you overcome initial feeding problems and give advice where
needed. If mastitis occurs it is important to continue feeding from
both breasts. If this does not work, your doctor may need to prescribe
appropriate antibiotics and painkillers if necessary.
information and advice on breastfeeding try visiting www.lalecheleague.org