Mastitis - How to Alleviate the Symptoms
Mastitis is a common complication that can occur in breastfeeding individuals. It can be painful and uncomfortable, but there are many ways to alleviate the symptoms on your own.
3 min read
Verified by Ingela Ågren
Continue breastfeeding when your baby shows interest. Your baby's sucking stimulates milk letdown and helps alleviate mastitis. Start by breastfeeding from the breast where the symptoms are most pronounced, as babies are most efficient at sucking at the beginning of a feeding.
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby can increase the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes milk production. This can calm both you and your baby and promote breastfeeding behavior. A gentle shoulder massage or other skin contact can also increase oxytocin release.
Ensure that your baby has a good latch on the breast. You can try hand-expressing a bit of milk first to soften the nipple and make it easier for the baby to breastfeed effectively. Changing breastfeeding positions, such as placing the baby's chin towards the area with mastitis, can also facilitate milk letdown.
To relieve pressure in the breast, you can gently stroke the palm of your hand or your fingers over the firm area and towards the nipple while breastfeeding, pumping, or hand-expressing milk. If the pain is unbearable or pressure is not relieved despite breastfeeding, you can try pumping or hand-expressing to get relief.
Applying warmth can alleviate symptoms and increase blood circulation in the breast. Try taking a warm shower before breastfeeding to soften breast tissue. Some people also find it comforting to apply warmth directly to the sore area.
Cold packs can also relieve pain and swelling. It may be worth trying to apply a cold compress to the breast for short periods to reduce discomfort.
Pain relief medications containing paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used and also help if you have a fever. Make sure to get enough food and drink for your well-being.
When to seek medical care
If your symptoms do not improve with self-care or if they worsen, it is important to seek professional medical care. You can contact your pediatric care center or midwife clinic for support and advice. There are also lactation clinics that can help you. If you cannot visit a physical clinic, consider booking a video consultation with a doctor or midwife to receive the right advice and care.
Treatment for mastitis
If the pain is severe, you can use pain relievers containing ibuprofen or paracetamol. It is important to consult with a doctor before taking any medication while breastfeeding.
Some people have also had positive experiences with acupuncture to relieve pain and tension. However, it is important to discuss this option with a midwife or doctor before starting treatment.
In rare cases, a bacterial infection can develop in the breast and require antibiotic treatment. If you experience a high fever and worsening of your symptoms, you should contact a doctor promptly.
Verified by Ingela Ågren
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