- Fever of 101.3° F or higher
- Chills, sweating, and body aches
- Pain, heat, and swelling in the breast
- Breast appearing red or inflamed
- Redness or pain spreading from the breast
- Hard area of the breast, usually shaped like a lump or wedge
- Painful nursing, often at let-down
- Pressure or pain in breast
- Relief after nursing or pumping
How to treat mastitis
You should not stop breastfeeding if you have mastitis. Even if you have a breast infection, your milk is still safe for your baby to eat. Mastitis does not usually compromise your milk supply unless you stop breastfeeding.
If you stop breastfeeding, you increase the buildup of milk in your breast, which can lead to plugged ducts and make your symptoms worse.
If you are unable to breastfeed, lactating without breastfeeding, or weaning, you should express milk with a pump or by hand. Clearing out your milk ducts, and decreasing the risk of plugs, is essential for relieving the pain and pressure of mastitis and preventing your condition from becoming worse.
Home remedies for mastitis
You can also relieve symptoms of mastitis and reduce inflammation in several ways.
- Apply hot or cold compresses to your breast
- Take a hot shower while massaging your breast to express milk
- Pump or nurse extra to clear out plugs
- Rest and drink fluids
Research has also found that applying green cabbage leaves against the skin of your breast can help reduce engorgement and pain caused by mastitis.
If you suspect you have mastitis, contact your doctor quickly. You may need a prescription for antibiotics to resolve an infection. You will need to fully finish any course of antibiotics a doctor prescribes in order to prevent your symptoms from returning.
April 08, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN