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What Is Breast Infection And How To Deal With It ?

What is mastitis or Breast infection?

Mastitis happens usually in the first two weeks of feeding. The symptoms are similar to a plugged duct or blocked duct and gets relieved within 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes, it is quite difficult to tell the difference between a breast infection and a plugged duct.

Mastitis is an infection that causes red, swollen, hot and painful breasts with soreness and a lump in the breast accompanied by a fever and flu-like symptoms that is nausea and shivering. 

Some women may have yellowish discharge from the nipple that looks more like Colostrum milk. This infection can occur when any one of the family members have a cold or flu.

Breast infection usually occurs only in one breast. Most infections improve on their own within 24-48 hours if this does not happen, then need to see a doctor who will prescribe some medicines.

Continue breastfeeding your baby during treatment as this is good for both you and your baby.

Tips to deal with sore breasts: 

Offer breastfeeding often on the affected side of breast every two hours to help loosen the plug and helps making the milk move freely

Massage the area gently towards the nipple using your fingers in a circular motion.

Use a hot compress on the sore area applied hourly and a hot water bottle may relieve the pain.

A plugged duct is an indication that a mother is doing too much. Try to relax and get more sleep.

Wear a well-fitted supportive bra that is not too tight and make sure the plugged duct does not lead to mastitis (breast infection).

What is breastfeeding thrush or yeast infection or fungal infection ?

Fungal infection is also called yeast infection or breastfeeding thrush. The key sign of a thrush is that you develop a sore nipple which lasts more than a few days even if you baby had enough feeds.

The symptoms of thrush may include pink, flaky, blistered, and cracked nipples with deep shooting pain in the breast during or after the feeds. Thrush in your baby’s mouth appears as white spots on the inside of the cheeks, gums, or tongue and at times babies refuse to take milk and become very cranky.

If you or your baby has developed any of the symptoms of fungal infection, see the doctor immediately to prevent any infections further. Fungal infection takes several weeks to cure.

Try the below tips to get relief from breastfeeding thrush

  • Wash towels and any clothes you use during breastfeeding in hot water.
  • Boil and wash the breast pumps daily.
  • Wear clean and washed bras and pads every day.
  • Wash your hands and your baby’s hands often especially if your baby has the habit of thumb sucking.

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