Inflammation of the breast causes swelling, redness, and pain in the breast tissue and is most common in lactating women. One out of ten breastfeeding women may have mastitis during the first three months of a newborn's life.
In most cases only one breast will be involved. Other symptoms of mastitis include fever, chills and muscle pain.
There are two main types of breast infections:
Physical inflammation: This type of inflamation is caused by an obstruction of milk ducts in the breast by milk residue. This inflammation is common when there are difficulties in breastfeeding.
Infectious inflamation: This type is caused by bacterial infection.
Without proper treatment, non-infectious breast inflammation might evolve into a bacterial infection.
Despite the difficulty of breast-feeding, it is recommended to continue to breastfeed from the inflamed breast in order to:
Open blockages in breast milk ducts.
Achieve faster relief in inflammation condition.
Prevent worsening of the inflammatory situation and the development of secondary infection.
During mastitis, the milk might be more salty than normal, but there is nothing to prevent breastfeeding. Even if there is a bacterial infection that may pass to the milk, the newborn's digestive system will be able to treat it so that the newborn will not get any harm.
Most cases of mastitis can be treated with simple home care. It is important to rest, drink plenty and try to change the way of breastfeeding to prevent recurrence. Make sure that the baby is properly connected to the nipple so that he/she can empty the breast from milk at the end of each feeding.
You can also try to feed more often, pump leftover milk from the breast at the end of the baby's meal and/or pump excess milk between meals.
Milk can be pumped from the breast through a manual or electric pump, but also by manual pressure on the breast tissue (for example, in the shower under hot running water).
In an Infectious Mastitis, appropriate antibiotic treatment is needed to prevent worsening of the development of abscess. Our Tel Aviv doctors are fully experienced with treating Acute Infectious Mastitis.
Inflammatory breast infection can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but in severe cases a surgery might be neededin order to remove the inflamed milk ducts in the nipple area.