Being a mum comes with many physical challenges. It is expected for us to experience pain during and after pregnancy. After that, mums also become vulnerable to several infections. Data shows that 1 out of 5 breastfeeding women in Australia develops mastitis during the first 6 months after giving birth. This could be stressful especially for first-time mums. No worries, though! Knowing more about this infection would give you a head start towards preventing mastitis or faster recovery.
To guide you, here are the frequently asked questions mums have in preventing mastitis:
What is mastitis?
Mastitis normally happens during breastfeeding. It is a common condition that mums go through when the breasts become painful and inflamed. The breast can appear reddish, lumpy, shiny, or streaky. It can also feel quite hot and painful.
What are the common causes?
Infectious mastitis may develop when breasts are too full and bacteria gets into your milk ducts. Blocked milk ducts cause nipples to become cracked or sore. Nipple damage leading to mastitis can also happen to other non-breastfeeding women due to nipple piercing.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Mastitis usually affects one breast at a time. Signs may include pain, tenderness, swelling, and redness on the breasts. Additionally, flu-like symptoms like headache, joint ache, fever, and chills may also be signs of mastitis.
How can I prevent it?
Be mindful that you are not stopping breastfeeding too quickly. Learn different breastfeeding positions and ensure that your baby is latched on correctly during the process. It is also advisable for you to wear a comfortable bra, along with organic breast pads, to accommodate breast leakage and sensitive skin.
How can I treat it?
You can treat mastitis naturally at the comfort of your own home. Apply heat before feeds and cold packs afterwards. Breastfeed more often and massage it during the process for added relief as well. Do not forget to rest up as much as you can to regain your strength.
Preventing mastitis is possible and can be done through adequate self-care. If you do not feel better in 12 hours with natural treatment, stay calm and consult your doctor for immediate help.