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Women's Health

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Breast Infection

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Breast Infection Treatment

Breast infections require treatment by a health care provider.

Breast Infection Home Remedies

After you see a doctor, try the following to help your breast infection heal.

  • Pain medication: Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) for pain. These drugs are safe while breastfeeding and will not harm your baby. Your doctor may prescribe a prescription strength pain reliever if your pain is severe and not relieved with over-the-counter medication.
  • In mild cases of mastitis, antibiotics may not be prescribed at all. If you are prescribed antibiotics, finishing the prescription even if you feel better in a few days is very important.
  • Frequent feedings: Do not stop breastfeeding from the affected breast, even though it will be painful. Frequent emptying of the breast prevents engorgement and clogged ducts that can only make mastitis worse.
    • If needed, use a breast pump to relieve pressure and completely empty the breast.
    • You can also breastfeed from the unaffected side and supplement with infant formula as needed.
    • The infection will not harm the baby because the germs that caused the infection probably came from the baby’s mouth in the first place.
    • Breastfeeding should be avoided in the infected breast when an abscess is present.
  • Pain relief: A warm compress applied before and after feedings can often provide some relief. A warm bath may work as well.
    • If heat is ineffective, ice packs applied after feedings may provide some comfort and relief.
    • Avoid using ice packs just before breastfeeding because it can slow down milk flow.
    • Drink plenty of water -- at least 10 glasses a day. Eat well-balanced meals and add 500 extra calories a day while breastfeeding. Dehydration and poor nutrition can decrease milk supply and make you feel worse.
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