Breast Feeding Support

Breast milk is one of the most nutritional foods for your newborn baby. It is the healthiest for both the baby and the mother. Studies suggest that an infant should only rely on breast milk for the first six months. Similarly, breast milk should be the main diet for infants for up to 2 years of age. However, breastfeeding is not easy for every mother. There can be some complications during the lactation period for some mothers.

Some of the most common problems include breast fullness and tenderness in the breasts. But there are even more complicated problems like engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis. Women should be aware of these situations. 

Here are the common problems related to breastfeeding and their treatment:

Breast Engorgement: Breast engorgement is also commonly known as breast fullness. It usually happens in the early days of breastfeeding. Your breast becomes hard and warm, and you also feel pain in your breasts. Mother can also get a mild fever. It happens due to excess blood flow or milk supply in your breast. It can also occur as you make changes in the frequency of breastfeeding.

Plugged Milk Duct: Plugged duct occurs when the milk duct in your breast gets blocked. It creates a build-up of milk in the clogged area. You can feel hardness or a lump in the breast in the area of blockage. You can increase the breastfeeding frequency and use a breast pump to clear the breast. Gently massaging the breast can also help loosen it. Plugged milk ducts can cause more complicated problems if you do not treat them well. 

You should talk to a doctor if the complication stays for a prolonged period. 

Mastitis: Mastitis is swelling in the breast and commonly happens due to infection. Plugged milk ducts can cause breast infections if you do not treat them right. The infected part of the breast becomes red, painful, and warm. You can also witness swelling in the affected area. Mastitis can also cause fever and headache in the affected patients. The symptoms are similar to general flu other than the changes in the breasts. 

Causes of Mastitis

A clogged milk duct allows milk to build up in a particular area. The built-up milk becomes a prime reason for infection to develop in your breast. There might be more reasons for allowing bacteria to enter the milk duct. Bacteria from a baby’s mouth can also enter the milk duct using a crack in your skin. These bacteria cause infection in breast tissue leading to mastitis.

Diagnosis of Mastitis

Mastitis usually affects only one breast. You can diagnose mastitis based on the symptoms. The doctor can also perform a breast exam to diagnose mastitis. Breastfeeding mothers with the symptoms can also get a breast abscess.

Treatment of Mastitis

Doctors can remove excess milk from your breast. The doctor also prescribes antibiotics to patients diagnosed with mastitis. However, you should not take antibiotics without consulting a doctor. You should apply a warm cloth to the affected breast every few hours. The doctor also suggests breastfeeding your baby more frequently. It ensures the proper flow of milk from the milk ducts. Gently massaging the breast and wearing a comfortable bra can help. The doctor can also prescribe other medicines and treatments based on your medical history. 

Complications of Mastitis

Mastitis can cause breast abscess if you do not treat it right. The abscess is a collection of pus in the breast. It is a more complex condition and requires minor surgery to drain the abscess. Doctors usually use a small needle to drain the collected pus. You should consult a doctor to treat mastitis to avoid such a situation. 

Breastfeeding is not a smooth experience for every mother. Many women face complications during the lactation period. The chances of complications are even higher in the early days of lactation. However, you can overcome these complications if you take action in time. You should consult a doctor as soon as you face any problem. It can help you avoid any serious medical condition in the feature. 

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Koramangala. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How can you prevent breastfeeding complications?

Wear a comfortable bra with proper fitting. You should empty your breasts properly and position your baby well while breastfeeding.

2. What is the hardest stage of breastfeeding?

The first month is the hardest period for mothers as they might feel some complications. Things get better with practice. However, complications might also appear after one month.

3. What happens if you do not treat mastitis?

You should treat mastitis in its early days. A breast abscess can form if you do not treat mastitis in its early stage. It requires hospitalisation and minor surgery to drain the excess milk from the breast.

4. Should you continue breastfeeding if you have mastitis?

Yes, mothers can continue breastfeeding if they are suffering from mastitis. The infection does not transfer to the baby through milk. You can consult a doctor if you feel uneasy doing so.

5. Can mastitis increase the risk of breast cancer?

Mastitis does not increase the risk of breast cancer. However, the symptoms of mastitis are similar to inflammatory breast cancer. The doctor might suggest an ultrasound or other tests to eliminate the chances of breast cancer. Still, there is no link between mastitis and breast cancer.

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