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Mastitis While Breast-Feeding - Topic Overview

You can help yourself feel better by getting more rest, drinking more fluids, and using warm or cold packs on your painful breast.

Before breast-feeding your baby, place a warm, wet washcloth over the affected breast for about 15 minutes. Try this at least 3 times a day. This increases milk flow in the breast. Massaging the affected breast may also increase milk flow.

You can safely take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain or a fever. You can take ibuprofen (such as Advil) along with acetaminophen to reduce inflammation.

Breast-feeding from your affected breast is safe for your baby. If starting with the affected breast is too painful, try feeding your baby with your healthy breast first. Then, after your milk is flowing, breast-feed from the affected breast. If your nipples are too cracked and painful to breast-feed from that breast, use a breast pump to empty the breast of milk. Use it each time that you cannot breast-feed.

This is a good time to consider getting help from a lactation consultant. This person—usually a nurse—specializes in helping women with breast-feeding. You can breast-feed more effectively with less pain and help prevent future mastitis if you remember to change positions and make sure that your baby is latching on properly.

Be sure to get treatment for mastitis. Delaying treatment can lead to a breast abscess, which can be harder to treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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