Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bonding time with baby, but for approximately 1 in 5 women it can lead to mastitis and eventually cessation of breastfeeding.
Why Is Breastfeeding So Important?
There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both you and your baby.
- Can help your body to get over the birth quicker—reducing your risk of bleeding, leads to improved iron status, and it also helps you regain your pre-pregnancy body weight.
- Evidence suggests that it may help protect you from breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
- If you developed gestational diabetes, it is especially important to breastfeed as it can reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
- It can save you money, reduce preparation time when you take the baby out.
- It releases hormones that make you feel relaxed and help you sleep easier.
- You can help protect them against illness including but not limited to infections, asthma and diabetes.
- Reduce obesity.
- Research indicates that it can help protect from SIDS, heart disease, coeliac disease.
What Happens With Mastitis?
The milk does not clear or drain from the breast creating a blockage. The mild behind this blockage can leak out into the surround breast tissue causing irritation and inflammation. There may or may not be an infection as well.
How Do I Know If I Have Mastitis Or A Blocked Milk Duct?
Generally, the first thing you will notice is pain in one area of your breast. Other symptoms may include:
- red and warm to the touch
- general flu like symptoms
- A palpable lump in your breast
- Headaches or general increased fatigue
- Fever, not in all cases
How Can I Prevent It?
Things to try at home include:
- Heat and ice – some say to heat before feeding and ice after, sometimes you have to find a combination that suits you. Ice can help with the pain.
- Alternate which breast you start feeding on, and ensure you have drained that one before moving onto the next. Using a hair tie around your wrist can help you to keep track
- Wear loose fitting clothing and a correctly fitted bra, your breast can increase in size by a couple of cup sizes when your milk comes in, so please don’t try and squeeze into your pregnancy bras as they may now be too small.
- Alternate your feeding postures. Yes, different postures can be harder to begin with but by changing postures you could be ensuring a good draining of your breast.
Find more information here.
Who Can Help?
- A women’s health physiotherapist can help you in this time of need. There are many techniques that they can teach you.
- A good lactation consultant can also be worth their weight in gold in this trying time. Having correct latching, feeding and feeding positioning can help prevent mastitis from occurring.
If you suspect an infection then a trip to your GP or Obstetrician for a course of antibiotics may be required.
Having tried all of the above, some women still have ongoing issues with mastitis and it may just be how their breast is composed. Knowing this can take the frustration out of “why do I keep getting Mastitis” to get rolling into treatment.
If you would like some help treating your Mastitis, please call our friendly administration team to book your assessment today.
Book an appointment
Need to see a Physiotherapist? Book an appointment now with one of our team by calling 0410 559 856.