Something that many breastfeeding new mums may face, is a condition called Mastitis. Mastitis is the inflammation of breast tissue which can sometimes involve infection. The Royal Women’s Hospital states that mastitis can feel like you have the flu with symptoms such as body aches and pains and feeling hot. Women are more likely to experience mastitis in their first 6-12 weeks of breastfeeding
Symptoms of Mastitis
Women with mastitis will often complain of a red/sore swollen breast, achy joints and may even be expressing temperatures.
What are some causes for mastitis?
- Blocked milk ducts
- Nipple damage
- Poor attachment/latch to the breast
- Breasts that are too full
- Breastfeeding ceased too quickly
- Restrictive clothing
Key tips to preventing mastitis as advised by the Royal Women’s Hospital;
Regular breastfeeding is recommended (at least 8-12 times a day) to ensure that your breasts don’t get too full. If baby isn’t hungry try expressing a small amount of milk instead to avoid your breasts becoming too full. When breastfeeding, try to feed from both breasts. Dr Robyn Thompson of the Thompson Method suggests feeding from one breast, burping baby and then offering the other breast. If this isn’t possible, try and remember which side you fed from the previous time and offer the other breast for your next feed.
Lactation consultants are an amazing resource to access if you are struggling with anything related to breastfeeding. They can help with positioning, latching and offer education and advice around helping you and baby. Tracey Foster is a local Gold Coast lactation consultant and midwife @yourmidwife that can come to your house and help you until you get your breastfeeding under control.
- If your milk flow is disturbed, try heat packs to the sore area before feeding
- After breastfeeding, apply an ice pack for a few minutes to reduce discomfort
- Gentle massage from the armpit to the breast – your women’s health physiotherapist can help with a particular style of massage to be most effective for drainage.
- If symptoms don’t ease, make a GP appointment. If it is suspected you have mastitis, your GP may prescribe you antibiotics to help with the infection.
Your Women’s health physio can also provide ultrasound therapy for those who have mastitis. Ultrasound can help open the ducts and increase circulation to improve flow of milk. Talk to your women’s health physiotherapist if you have any questions around mastitis.
Until next time,
Bump Fitness Physiotherapist