Mastitis After Weaning

by Carol Gomes


Mastitis is a painful condition that develops as a result of a blocked milk duct in the breasts. When this happens, the milk that builds up behind the blocked duct spills over into the nearby breast tissue and results in inflammation. Also known as ‘milk fever’ mastitis may or may not be accompanied by an infection. Mastitis after weaning is a common complaint especially if you suddenly stop breastfeeding. It is important to take preventative measure to stop mastitis from developing whether two weeks or six months after weaning.

Symptoms

During the early stages, mastitis symptoms may seem similar to those of the flu. You feel cold and start the shivers and your body begins to pain. For some mothers, mastitis symptoms may occur suddenly and without any prior warning. When they do appear, symptoms include:

  • A sore breast that is painful to touch
  • The breast may also be hot and red with the pain
  • The skin seems shinier and sometimes has red streaks
  • A lump in the breast at the site of the blocked milk duct
  • A general feeling of malaise or being unwell

Treatment

  • One of the best ways to treat mastitis is to drain the breast often. For mothers who are still breastfeeding, doctors suggest that you keep your breasts as empty as possible by feeding you baby often and gently. While breastfeeding it is important to relax completely to help the milk flow freely. You should also change feeding positions often and massage the breast towards the nipple while your baby feeds to help dissolved the blockage. Since you have already started weaning your baby off breast milk this may prove to be a problem. In such cases, it is best to express the breast milk and remove the painful build up that occurs. You can do this easily under a warm shower for the best results.
  • Another way to increase the flow of milk is to apply a warm compress followed by a cold pack. Try having a warm shower or immerse your breasts in a basin for warm water for instant relief. You could also use a heat pack or a hot water bottle against your sore breast. After expressing your milk, apply a cold compress of an ice pack on the breasts to reduce swelling and soreness.
  • Getting adequate rest is also necessary if you have mastitis. Try and stay in bed as much as you can and rest for most of the day to speed up the healing process. If none of the above remedies work or provide any relief, contact your doctor at the earliest to prevent the development of a more serious breast abscess. Medical treatment for mastitis may include a course of antibiotics.
  • Take painkillers to treat the pain and soreness
  • Drink plenty of water to relieve the inflammation and help flush out the infection.
  • Sleep without a bra or wear a loose bra to avoid compressing the breasts

Ways to Prevent

There are certain factors that may increase your chances of developing mastitis. The best ways to prevent mastitis include:

  • If your breasts are engorged with milk, try and breastfeed or express the milk as soon as possible. Milk that builds in the breasts tends to get thicker and is more likely to lead to blocked ducts.
  • Once you have started the weaning process, ensure that you prevent engorgement by expressing with a breast pump or by hand. Over time, the supply of milk will naturally decrease and the need to do this will lessen.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach and compressing your breasts.
  • Rest often and get off your feet whenever you can.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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