Mastitis During Breastfeeding: While childbirth is one of the best things about being a woman, she would have to be aware of common issues that may arise during nursing her baby. One such issue is breast infection, clinically known as Mastitis.
The most common symptom of breast infection is a swollen, red area that feels warm and tender. This blog post elaborates on some possible methods to help mothers overcome this problem quickly and safely.
What is breast infection (Mastitis)?
An infection of the breast tissue due to breastfeeding is medically termed as “Mastitis”. The condition occurs when bacteria from the infant’s mouth go into the milk duct through nipple cracks.
The occurrence of mastitis is most common between one to three months after a mother gives birth, but it can occur in women who have not recently delivered and in women after menopause also. Fragmented breast emptying or engorgement can be one of the reasons for mastitis and exacerbate things.
In postmenopausal women, breast infections might be associated with inflammation of the ducts below the nipple. The hormonal changes in the body can cause the milk ducts to become clogged with dead skin cells. These ducts make the breast more open to bacterial infection, due to which mothers may get infected with mastitis.
Youtube credits : Child and You by Dr.Pankaj & Dr.Nihar Parekh
What causes breast infection?
The cause of breast infection could be due to:
- The poor technique of breastfeeding: Improper breastfeeding method can result in trapping of the milk in the breast. It is known as a significant cause of Mastitis.
- Blocked milk duct: If a breast is not empty after nursing, the milk can get blocked, prompting milk to back up, hence causing an infection.
- Bacteria from the baby’s mouth entering the breast through cracked nipples.
Symptoms of Mastitis
The signs of mastitis become apparent as soon as the bacteria penetrate the mother’s breasts and cause the milk blockage. Usually, the condition begins with pain only in one breast.
To determine whether a mother is affected by mastitis or not, they should examine their condition and see whether they have any of these symptoms:
- Body pain or pain in one breast
- Swollen breast
- Chills and fever with no improvement for more than 48 hours after treatment.
- The appearance of lumps in the breast
Mastitis rarely has adverse effects on babies. But without proper care, mastitis can build up yeast contamination otherwise called as oral thrush in babies. This may happen to mothers and infect the infant.
How to prevent breast infection (mastitis)
Mastitis is uneasy for both mothers and their children. Thus, taking some of the crucial prevention tips to reduce the possibility of mastitis are needed like
- Getting the nipples dried after every breastfeeding session to fight against cracking and irritation.
- The mothers should consume healthy foods and sip fluids to help stay hydrated
- The mothers should take enough rest
- The mother should use the proper-size nursing bras. It should not be restrictive and tight
- If the mother wants to wean the child’s breastfeeding, it is better to stop gradually. It will help protect the breast from getting full of milk and provide the baby with enough time to adjust new eating habits.
On the other hand, there is something a mother should avoid doing so that the treatment can get the best result.
- She must stay away from soaps, including antibacterial soap, powders, and deodorants. When one uses such products that have dangerous triclosan, the condition might become bad with severe irritation
- Also, avoid sleeping on the stomach. Otherwise, the breasts can suffer from a lot of compress from the mattress.
Home Remedies for Breast infection
Here are some useful home remedies for a breast infection, which are easy to apply at home to cure the infections.
A cold compress is among the essential home solutions for such infections. Numerous individuals experience the ill effects of mastitis due to the inadequacy of milk expulsion from the breast. Applying a cold compress on the breasts will help improve the flow of milk and prevent swelling.
How to apply:
- Put some ice cubes in a soft and clean towel or just by soaking a towel in cold water.
- Place the towel over the painful breast for 15-30 minutes.
- The cold compress can efficiently ease many problems for women temporarily.
A progressively natural approach to utilize water in the treatment of mastitis / mastitis treatment is through increasing the everyday water intake. It will guarantee that a mother, despite everything, has enough milk to nurse her infant to the fullest. At the same time, water can help decrease the development of microscopic organisms in the breast.
Accordingly, a nursing mother could get rid of mastitis in a brief timeframe. Water is known as one of the most valuable home remedies for mastitis.
Apart from cold compress, heat compress is also one of the best home remedies, which can be used for mastitis treatment. The mother can use a towel soaked in hot water to apply over the painful breast for half an hour to relieve the pain. A warm compress can be used to treat sore nipples as well.
It is another source of relief. A few minutes of massage will give a mother’s breasts time to rest. The benefits of massage include a decrease in swelling. The mother can use some natural oils during the massage to maximize the benefits.
Aloe Vera plays a vital role in many skin and hair remedies due to its healing property. It is also significantly helpful in soothing the inflammation caused by mastitis. Aloe Vera may repair the tissue damaged by an infection in the breasts. Furthermore, this remedy can make skin light and smooth.
How to apply:
- Take the gel from Aloe Vera and apply it directly to the painful breasts
- Leave it to dry naturally
- Use warm water to wash those areas
- However, it is to be kept in mind that the mother should not apply it before feeding her child because the aloe vera gel is not suitable for infants.
In short, vitamin C assumes an indispensable job in keeping a mother healthy and strong. The treatment of mastitis requires an expansion in vitamin C consumption. Along these lines, she will be prescribed more foods that contain a lot of vitamin C, for example, oranges, lemons, strawberries. Each one of them works well for home solutions for mastitis.
A balanced diet with various nutrients will ensure a mother to be healthy enough to feed her child.
In general, mastitis is extremely common among breastfeeding mothers. And with the doctor’s help, following proper hygiene, and regular change in breastfeeding positions, one can get rid of mastitis quickly. But a mother should try to overcome it as soon as possible to avoid any potential risks in the long term. Also, read to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding for a mother and baby
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