Your doctor can tell
whether you have mastitis by talking with you about your symptoms and examining you. Testing is usually not needed.
usually cure mastitis. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, take them as
directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to
take the full course of pills. The antibiotics will not harm the baby. If
treatment doesn't work at first, your doctor may send a sample of your breast
milk to a lab to help identify the type of bacteria causing the infection.
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. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
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, hand express or use a breast pump to empty the breast of milk.
Try this 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
Be sure to get treatment for mastitis. Delaying
treatment can lead to a breast abscess, which can be harder to treat.
Frequently Asked Questions