The dreaded boob flu ! if you have yet to experience this beast consider yourself lucky. Mastitis is one of the more common breastfeeding related issues that I see in my work. Approximately 1/3 women will experience mastitis in their lifetime.
It occurs predominately during breastfeeding and lactation but can also happen during pregnancy. Your breast/ breasts (yes it can happen in both) will start feeling hot, heavy and hard, your skin may appear red and shiny and you will may feel as if you have the flu.
If you think you may have mastitis there are a few things you can do:
.Seek medical attention if these conservative measures don't resolve the issue within 24hrs.
.Get a lactation consultant involved pronto to find the cause.
.Optimize baby's latch for efficient milk drainage.
.Keep the sore breast as empty as possible by feeding your baby often
.Feed from the sore breast first
.Massage the breast gently while your baby feeds
.Apply warmth to the sore breast for up to a few minutes before a feed
.Express if needed, before, after and between feeds
.Cold packs after a feed may help relieve pain and reduce swelling
.Try dangle feeding by leaning over your baby to allow gravity to help.
. Get your electric toothbrush or vibrator involved
to help dislodge the blocked duct.
. Position baby so that their chin is directly on the blocked duct so that they can massage as they feed.
.Rest as much as you can
Prevention is key:
.Implement a probiotic daily (lactobacillus fermentum should be included if you are prone to mastitis )
.Don’t miss/ delay breastfeeds.
.Ensure your baby is attaching well
.Offer both breasts at each feed. If your baby only feeds from one breast make sure to offer the alternate breast at the next feed.
.Get support from an IBCLC if after feeds your breasts feel full
.Avoid pressure on your breasts from clothes or from your fingers when feeding.
.Wear a supportive, well fitted bra.
If you need support contact me or your local IBCLC today.