By Emma McShane, Dietitian, August 2021
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue, affecting 10-25% of breastfeeding women. The majority of cases occur during the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding, however mastitis can occur at any time during the breastfeeding journey. Mastitis can be caused by engorgement or inadequate milk removal from the breast, resulting in a blocked duct. This causes the milk blocked behind the duct to be forced into the nearby breast tissue, causing inflammation. This inflammation is known as mastitis and can lead to infection. Fast and supportive treatment is needed, as mastitis can lead to early weaning from the breast, or complications such as a breast abscess if left untreated.
Mastitis may occur due to latching problems, sucking issues, sleepy babies, oversupply, or hurried feeds, including limiting a baby’s time at the breast. These factors can affect how much milk is drained from the breast.
How do I prevent Mastitis?
Please note that some mothers do not get the early signs of a blocked duct, and feel that mastitis comes on ‘out of the blue’.
It is important that if you feel a blocked duct coming on, to start treatment immediately. The most important part of treatment is to allow for effective milk removal, regularly.
It is very important to keep up your fluids, which means consuming >2 litres per day
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