Mastitus definition: Inflammation of a mammary gland, usually caused by infection.
Breast infection occurs with inadequate or infrequent milk removal, or both. Symptoms typically begin with a firm knotty area in one part of one breast that will be tender to the touch, but can occur in both breasts. The area will then turn red and become very painful to the touch and some mothers will also experience fever and/or chills, similar to the flu. If infection is deep within the breast, along the chest wall, there may not be any visible skin reddening.
Recovery from a breast infection should always include anti-inflammatory medication, frequent, thorough milk removal using warmth and breast massage, rest and may even require antibiotics. It is also important to determine the underlying cause to avoid recurrence and always ensure baby is correctly latching. Recurring breast infections may negatively influence milk production even in future breastfeeding relationships.
American Breastfeeding Foundation is dedicated to providing access to education and lactation care to ALL vulnerable breastfeeding families. If you are struggling with breastfeeding or have questions, American Breast Feeding Foundation is here to help.
René Moore is a registered IBCLC in private practice in Phoenix Arizona. Her interest and passion for breastfeeding began in 1996 upon becoming a mother. In 2000 she became a La Leche League Leader and still leads local meetings for groups she started in her area, then also became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to be able to help more mothers, babies and families. She’s been performing in-home lactation consultation visits for well over a decade and regularly attends procedures when requested by parents and welcomed by providers.
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